Usually, tropical regions are one of the premier travel destinations during summers, given that most are filled with lush rainforests, jungles, and beaches. Basically, these tropical locations are commonly understood to be in: the area surrounding the equator, including Panama, Brazil, the countries in the Caribbean, and those in Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia.
Though the tropics are perceived as the ‘gateways to paradise’ and home to exotic cultures, what are these places like for the people who live there in the first place? Here’s a list of things that only people who live in tropical regions would understand:
1. You see tourists every day
Given that the tropics are warm throughout the year, seeing tourists walking around the streets and engaging with the local population is nothing new. In fact, you see it every day.
2. You live near a beach
If you live on an island or an archipelago in an area like the Bahamas, Indonesia, and the Philippines, you’re just a short drive away from the sun, salt, and sand. Going to the beach can become a weekly activity instead of an occasional trip.
3. You live near a forest
There are landlocked tropical countries, particularly in South America (Bolivia, Paraguay) and Africa (Burundi and Chad). These countries, (along with many other tropical countries), are filled with forests hosting a wide array of flora and fauna. Rivers and geographical attractions are also close by, giving you a variety of places to visit.
4. You can wear the same types of clothes year round
You don’t need to spend much money on season-specific clothes, given that there are only two seasons: dry and wet. The good part about having two seasons is you can wear the same type of clothes regardless of the season- though you’ll need coats and jackets to keep you dry when rain starts to fall.
5. You wear flip flops every day
Particularly in Southeast Asian countries, flip flops are everyone’s staple footwear. Regardless if you’re in the streets or on the beach, they’re everywhere and are good for your feet if it’s extremely hot.
6. You consider air conditioning bliss
The dry season can get extremely hot, and given the high levels of humidity in tropical countries, summers can be pretty exhausting. Air conditioning gives you a temporary reprieve from the discomfort, and so you find places where air conditioning is installed to be blissful spaces to spend time.
7. Your skincare procedures are different
If you look up “skincare tips” on Google, you’ll most likely find tips tailor-made for a western, non-tropical audience. Bear in mind that weather conditions and the climate are different in these places, which in turn changes the way you deal with your skin. Common examples include dealing with humidity, the constant necessity for sunscreen, and the importance of moisturizers as human skin can absorb humidity from the air.
8. You’ve encountered too many bugs
Insects and other similar critters thrive in tropical countries, and you’ve likely met the gargantuan spider that made a home in the hole in the bathroom ceiling. Ants, cockroaches, and flies can be found anywhere, which is why cleaning is a frequent requirement and food is stored away meticulously.
9. You eat fruit and seafood regularly
There is no shortage of fruit trees in tropical countries. Bananas, guavas, mangosteen, watermelon and less familiar fruits like lanzones, durian, and star apple are cultivated and widely distributed. If you’re near the sea, squid, various fish varieties, and seafood options like crabs, oysters, and clams can be in abundant supply – just go to the local market to find out!
10. You bathe frequently
At least once or twice a day, bathing is a necessity, particularly during summer. It’s humid all year round, and by the end of the day, your skin is always left sticky.
11. You never run out of activities
There’s so much to do, you’ll never get bored!
12. You have seen the negative effects of deforestation and littering
Unfortunately, the influx of both local and international tourists takes a toll on the environment. Litter is everywhere, from the white sandy shores to the muddy forest floors. That aside, you’ve also probably seen green mountains with balding brown spots brought about by deforestation and slash-and-burn farming.
13. You love it
In your lifetime, you’ve probably gone to other countries and regions with a different climate. You’ll find the winters of Europe too cold, while the ‘urban-ness’ of American cities will make you wish you were back home. You just can’t forget about your favorite forests, rivers, and beaches.