Costa Rica – Pura Vida

As soon as we entered Costa Rica we noticed a huge difference from travelling in Nicaragua. We passed lush forest on clean wide highways, with no cows or horse carts on the roadway. Affluence was apparent in the numerous large billboard advertisements for hotels, tours, restaurants or businesses. In the first hour we saw a 3-foot iguana cross the road in front of us, and passed signs for 4 of the country’s 27 national parks. Continue reading “Costa Rica – Pura Vida”

Detour in Honduras

We fully intended on entering Nicaragua at Los Manos, but our entry was denied. The trouble began when we tried to cancel our Honduran vehicle permit. The woman at the Aduana refused to cancel it. She insisted I walk into Nicaragua, and return with a permit before she would process our vehicle paperwork. This is not normal procedure. But then, nothing here is ever normal. Continue reading “Detour in Honduras”

Guatemala to Honduras

We left Antigua in good time, picking a route that skirted nearby Guatemala City by a wide margin, first on the Panamerican highway, then north on 3 and 4.  Our drive took about four hours, the first half through lush mountains, and later a wide flat valley. We passed large affluent brick or cement homes painted in golden yellow or terra cota, with flowering trees of purple, yellow or white, hanging over the walls. Continue reading “Guatemala to Honduras”

Guatemala

After all the pre border anxiety, we were the only tourists at La Mesilla, and no lineups. Using a step by step description from the internet, it was pretty straight forward. But still stressful. First the Mexican side where at one office we cancelled our van permit and at another office we had our passports stamped. Then we drove through the entry into Guatemala where we were stopped to have the van fumigated for 39Q. Then to an office to filled out a form for entry. Then park and stand at Ventana 1 where a guy made out a new permit for our van. Then move to Ventana 2, I don’t know why, and the same guy handed us an invoice.  Next to the bank to pay 160Q and back to Ventana 2 with the receipt. An hour later, and with a sigh of relief, we were all legal for Guatemala. Continue reading “Guatemala”

Last week in Mexico

The city of Oaxaca, capital of the state of Oaxaca, is located in the foothills of the Sierra Madre mountains. Driving to the city on Highway 190, (known as the Panamerican Highway), we were treated to a good wide road and spectacular views of deep gorges, thin slivers of river way below, and lush  green forested hills extending back forever until they blended with layers of blue mountain ranges.  Continue reading “Last week in Mexico”

Mexico, El Interior

Leaving the coast we drove inland on route 80 towards Guadalajara.  The road climbed for three or four hours through hills covered in thin deciduous forest. To our surprise, even at this higher elevation, stretching above the trees were tall branching cacti looking almost like trees themselves. Finally leveling out we traveled over a large flat mesa, quilted with fields of sugarcane, corn, and agave. Continue reading “Mexico, El Interior”

Mazatlán and the coast

We did not expect the ferry to be quite the adventure that it was. Early Saturday morning we headed to La Paz, and then right through the city to get to the ferry terminal.  Fortunately the Banjercito there was open, because we needed to purchase a vehicle permit for mainland Mexico and would not be allowed on the ferry without it.  The young clerk spoke little English but was very cheerful and thorough. Our Manitoba vehicle registration lists our address as NW-29-10-20W, that being our legal land description. This causes us issues in Canada, and she was no less confused. Continue reading “Mazatlán and the coast”

Hola Mexico!

We have spent one week in Mexico and are enjoying every minute. Our entrance was a bit bumpy though. We crossed the border east of Tijuana, at Tecate. Parking on the U.S. side, we walked in to Mexico to get our tourist permits. The Mexican official was quite jovial, helping us with the paperwork, and even lending Bob his red rimmed reading glasses. On the side he sold bottles of salsa (his grandmothers favorite) and honey (from his home town). We bought both.   Continue reading “Hola Mexico!”