Health and Medication

Overland advice series, 10 of 10. Neither of us are medical professionals. What follows are our amateur observations. Consult your doctor before making a decision.


  • The majority of Westerners driving the PanAm do not take prophylactic medicine for Malaria.
  • We never encountered a local who was taking a prophylactic for Malaria..
  • We found Doxycycline (Spanish: Doxiciclina) to be the most commonly used. It is a broad spectrum antibiotic taken daily.
  • Doxy and other Malaria medication can be purchased over-the-counter in most of Latin America
  • Brianna was on Doxy for much of the trip and had no noticeable side effects. Logan did not take a prophylactic but carried a month supply of Doxy to take if symptoms appeared.
  • Most of
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Overland Advice Series, part 9 of 10:

Spend a long weekend in Puerto Vallarta and it’s easy to believe you’ve mastered the Spanish language. The reality is you know how to order a beer and ask for the bathroom. That margarita weekend won’t get you far at the Guatemala border crossing.  The first step is to admit ignorance.

How far you stretch your Spanish skills will determine how your trip will play out. It’s entirely possible to get by on the usual memorized phrases. But with an increased comfort level, your options for exploration expand enormously and as a bonus side effect, costs go down. When you find your organized campground no longer exists and you’re 200 miles from the   Continue reading

Corrupt Policia

Overland advice series, 8 of 10:

When planning we had a pretty good sense that bandits wouldn’t kidnap us, the truck frame wouldn’t snap nor would we disappear in the Nicaraguan jungle. But we knew from a bit of previous wandering south of the border that the police in Latin America can be corrupt.

One of the worst was in Ecuador where a young officer on a dirt bike led us down to a dark alley on the wrong side of town. He wore a black face-cover as he listed off his demands. In Honduras an officer holding a shotgun made the internationally recognized hand-gesture of ‘I’ll slit your throat’ before his comrade flagged us down at their road block.  Continue reading

Camping in the Bush

Overlander advice, 7 of 10:

Our first bush camp was on the tip of Baja.  We heard from a several experienced boondockers about Playa Tecalote.  This beach had no services, no fees, and no fences or watchmen to keep out those evil-doers.  It was nothing but undisturbed beach.  About the third person to bring it up described it to us as “a real life Corona commercial.

That was enough for us, we were going to give bush camping a shot.

Approaching the beach we shifted into four wheel drive and approached a small group of dispersed RVs and camper vans.  Popping up the camper we were sure to have the grizzly mace at the ready.  Over the next   Continue reading

Costs by Country

This is part six of a ten part series we are doing on overlanding advice. Future PanAm overlanders this is for you. They post each Sunday.

We’ve already spelled out our day-to-day budget in our budgeting and costs post, here we have broken costs down by country. Our overall average at the time of posting was $72 per day.

We found the costs below were more a function of our attitude than the country’s price index. For example, Bolivia is cheap but it isn’t half the price of Nicaragua. By the time we hit Bolivia we were in the wilderness-bush-camping, municipal-market-shopping zone. You might be in the dirty martini and live theatre frame of mind when you happen upon   Continue reading

Routing and Planning

After Christmas break and a hard drive failure, we’re back to our overlanding advice series!  This is part five of ten.

Despite living in the Bay Area I have always been one who prided myself on navigation sans technology. I reluctantly purchased our Garmin Nuvi months before our departure. Getting used to a calm computerized voice dictating my every turn took some getting used to.

When we started I thought we had our GPS system dialed in with the un-routable and horribly inaccurate Garmin WorldMaps loaded. What a mistake. It didn’t take long before our GPS was reduced to an expensive compass and we utilized paper maps and luck to get us though unsigned cities.

Country-by-country we stumbled through, slowly   Continue reading

Propane in Latin America

Editors Note: this is part four of a ten part series we are doing on overlanding advice.  Future PanAm overlanders this is for you.  They post each Sunday.

Propane was a difficult subject to gather good information on (second only to Malaria medication).  Because we had such little information we were never sure if we could get propane at any given plant or any given country.  In retrospect this was a mistake as most plants were able to fill up our cylinder.  Only in Argentina did we need a special $5 brass adapter, and even then, many plants in Argentina have their own adapter for US bottles.

We have one removable propane cylinder; the standard edition US 20 pound   Continue reading

Budgeting and Costs

Editors Note: this is part 3 of a ten part series we are doing on overlanding advice.  Future PanAm overlanders this is for you.  They post each Sunday.

Determining a long term budget for a trip like the PanAm is certainly the crux. Before this, our PanAm trip was still a wavering fantasy. Staring at the carefully crafted numbers was our moment of clarity, when we realized how attainable it truly was. These are our numbers to help you on your path to financial enlightenment.


Set-up costs

Probably the most variable of the cost categories, this is your truck and equipment.  Right now we’re parked in Northern Argentina next to a quarter of a million dollar Mercedes expedition camper.    Continue reading

Choosing a Guide

Editors Note: this is part two of a ten part series we are doing on overlanding advice.  Future PanAm overlanders this is for you.  They post each Sunday.

During our travels we utilized Church’s Camping Guide, Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, and Footprint guide books. They’re all useful and great for quickly learning a brief history on each place we visited and cover the popular highlights.  But most travel guidebooks are written for your fly-in, bus-riding, tour-taking tourist.  For overland travel, the information on accommodations and road conditions is inadequate at best.

We started out with Lonely Planet and their Central America (shoestring edition) book and thought it was a great value. Then again in Argentina and Chile, Lonely Planet books   Continue reading