We pulled our 4×4 into the Tourist Police yard (Asistur) in the heart of Antigua on Tuesday afternoon, excited to partake in some much appreciated free camping, complete with showers, bathrooms, internet, and 24 hour police security. After finding a spot for our rig among the dozen others in the yard, we were approached by a group of Germans. The next day at 0500 they planned to leave camp to summit Volcan Acatenango (13,045’) and were eager for us to join them, we quickly said yes.
After the usual preparations, 0415 arrived rapidly. 13 of us packed into two trucks and headed up the winding dirt road toward the looming volcano in the Western horizon, windows down, mariachi blaring. Included Continue reading
We arrived in Pana after sunset via the detour road through Godinez. What appeared to a be a quick route from border crossing to campsite quickly turned into an uphill battle between us and the road as we gained 5,000 feet. Although the winding highways were in fairly good shape, navigating through large city centers was an extravagant waste of daylight. If there is a street sign, it is often painted onto the side of a building and most have faded away completely. Further, the highways of Latin America were built to pass through the colonial cobblestone streets of each town center. Imagine I-80 routed through the one-way alleys of Chinatown.
Finally arriving at camp, we set up under moonlight Continue reading
As we prepare for a border crossing we often consult our maps and do a read through (or three) of the several guidebooks we keep on hand. Lonely Planet always outlines border crossing via airline first. This never fails to amuse us and we find ourselves reminiscing over our own international flight experiences. You arrive in the waiting area, gazing sleepily at the tarmac, awaiting a dramamine induced slumber on your way to paradise. A couple of hours and a bag of peanuts later, you have filled out your international visitor’s form and are dumped into an air conditioned waiting room with hundreds of other gringos. The rest is a carefully laid out, practically fail proof system, to get you Continue reading