On The Road Heading North!

Season finished, gear stored… time to head North.  Here we go on our 8th trip driving through Central America!  Here is a little about our route.  We head north from Sarapiqui towards the Nicaragua Border at Los Chiles.  It is a small and quiet border where things move quickly.  The Costa Rican side is an ingenious design of refurbished shipping containers.  Upon check out of Costa Rica we enter Nicaragua on the east side of Lago Nicaragua.  This crossing is very quaint, quiet and smooth particularly in comparison to the west of the lake crossing at Peña Blancas (the craziest border in Latin America).  Once in Nicaragua we head north and stay at the very comfortable “La Hacienda” hotel just outside Juigalpa.

After a few hours drive on good roads we meet up with the Pan Americano highway CA1 and take it north past Esteli to the border El Espino/La Fraternidad.  High in the mountains on a windy road we are lucky to be able to quickly and efficiently check out of Nicaragua and into Honduras.  We had crossed this section of Honduras weeks before during some post-election-recount-civil-unrest.  Our previous crossing was done early in the morning we were now descending late in the afternoon as the glow of the setting sun illuminated the mountains and lakes of the region.  This section of Honduras is spectacularly beautiful, has good roads and despite a Canadian Gov’t travel advisory that is in force for Chuloteca Departamento turned out to be a highlight of our exodus.

Next we were off to El Salvador.  Despite a slight setback with the van right at the border (transmission cable disconnected) we were able to get up and going into El Salvador .  We headed north along the coast highway and crossed all the way to El Tunco for a night in one of our favourite places La Guitarra.  La Guitarra is a classic hostel/hotel right on the beach.  It is a perfect location for a morning walk on the beach and features an incredible sunset in the evening.  We turned our overnight into 3 nights to get some work on our new website happening.  Who knew that I could revamp our digital presence while swinging in a hammock in El Salvador.

After a smooth entry in Guatemala we forged our way towards Mexico.  Unfortunately the roads in Guatemala are in such poor condition that we really only travel about 30km per hour dodging potholes and zig zagging between the new road, old road and never really knowing which is which.  Maybe next year will be a bit better.  Our overnight is on the north side of Mazetenango a busy city about halfway through the country.

Next up we arrive back in Mexico!  It is amazing how organized and systematic the border feels… words that don’t often describe bureaucratic procedures in the country.  While at the border we met 2 fellow Canadians that had crossed into Mexico without realizing they had blown through Customs and Immigration, had the wrong VIN on their vehicle importation papers and were trying to check out of Mexico and into Guatemala.  Although it seemed like they would be challenged to leave Mexico and enter Guatemala luck seemed to be on their side.  We helped them with some translation etc before they continued South and we headed North.  Our destination for tonight being Arriaga Chiapas.

We made it back to Mexico!  We are currently in a favourite hotel in Arriaga which is a special place for us.  Arriaga is where the famous cargo train La Bestia departs loaded with Central American Migrants clamouring onto its hulking rolling stock hitching a free ride north in search of their dream of better economic fortunes north of the border.  We are happy to be back in Mexico!  One more day and we are home to Jalcomulco.

Jim, Barbara and Taïgan


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