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Dutchies go Home…

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Yes, we have decided to go back to the Netherlands. At least for a while. The last few months we have not really been into the traveling anymore. Is it because we spent too much time in Central America? We started to have a “been there, done that” kind of feeling. Another beach, another mountain, another sunset. Too many bugs.…

Bordercrossing Nicaragua – Costa Rica with foreign car and a dog.

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This bordercrossing was the most confusing so far, especially on the Nicaraguan side. None of the buildings had any sign on it and there were lots of steps to follow, which you just sort of had to guess.
Nicaragua
Arriving at the border, we were stopped at a gate by a guy who gave us a form to fill out.…

Work or travel?

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Michel’s sabbatical is almost over. It was a sabbatical without job guarantee and without a guarantee from Michel’s side that he would come back to his employer. Should we go back to the Netherlands, back to a “normal” life? Or do we want to continue traveling for another year?
The idea has always been to drive from Alaska to Argentina,…

Panda is for sale!

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Even though the final decision has not yet been taken, it starts to look more and more that Panama will be our final destination. Therefore Panda is for sale!
Volvo TGB1314 (1978) converted to an overland vehicle. It is the ex-army ambulance from the Swedish army.
Mechanical:

6×6 + differential locks on all axles
Portal axles for extra ground clearance…

Nicaragua..

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We spent about three-four weeks in Nicaragua.
Our first 4 days were spent in the North. We drove through the National Park Miraflor, where we stayed at the property of a Finca. The friendly owner invited us to stay on his land when we asked if we could stay overnight on the road near his place. The area is amazing…

Maintenance

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After having driven little more than 40.000 kilometers in almost a year, we decided it was time for some large maintenance on Panda. We needed an oil change, the brakes needed an adjustment/replacement of pads, we found a leak on one of the axles that needed to be checked, etc.  Even though we would be able to do most of…

Bordercrossing Honduras – Nicaragua with dog and foreign vehicle…

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Our crossing into Nicaragua was a bit unexpected. We planned to find another (free) campsite for a few days before crossing the border, but we were driving and searching and before we knew it, we were about 10 km from the border. It was 12h00 on a Monday when we said “let’s cross the border then”..
HONDURAS
Got our exit…

Honduras

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We spent exactly a week in Honduras. Crossed the border on a Monday, which went all very smoothly. However, when we tried to get money from a bank with either our debit card or our credit card, it did not work. We tried several banks and ATMs but none of them would give us any money.
Fortunately Honduras seemed way…

El Salvador – The War Zone

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El Salvador went through a very bloody civil war from 1980 to 1992 in which five groups of guerrilla’s got together to fight the government which was led by the violent junta at that time. By the end of the 1970‘s death squads instructed by the government were killing 10 people every day. In 1992 this war came to an…

El Salvador – The Beaches

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We spent our first week in El Salvador at various beaches along the Pacific Coast.
The first and best beach is Playa Palmarcito, or as we called it “Thomas’ beach”. We had read good reports about a town called El Zonte, along the Balsamic coast. Unfortunately there is no access to the beach and all hotels in that town have…

Guatemala – A Country Recap

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We spent about 5 weeks in Guatemala, of which about three weeks around Lake Atitlan.
The other nights were a mix of boondocking on beaches, volcano mountains and a few parking lots.
The People
Guatemala was one of those countries many people warned us for and we were a bit cautious after we crossed the border. Every building has high…

Guatemala – El Salvador Bordercrossing With Dog and Foreign Car

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We are still traveling with John and Betti from the UK when we decide to cross the border into El Salvador. For some unknown reason it is not allowed to drive into the country with a Right Hand Drive Vehicle though, which is what John and Betti are driving.
We are doing our border-crossing research in Antigua and find out…

Playa Tecojate

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Our minds have not been ready to write much in the past few weeks with Dunya almost dying. Now that she is doing better, I will try to catch up where we left.

After having to leave the beautiful Lake Atitlan, we decided to drive to the beach. Our new friends John and Betti decided to come with us after…

In which Dunya got very ill..

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After our last update here, Dunya got very, very ill. From the volcano we went to the beach and she stopped eating. We tried everything we had, but we never managed to give her more than a few bites. We kept treating her with antibiotics, but we could feel she was very hot and obviously had a fever. On the…

An Unexpected End To Our Lazy Days…

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In the third week of our “vacation” at Pasajcap, something horrible and unexpected happened that made an immediate end to our lazy days.
When we arrived at Pasajcap, the owner was a bit reluctant to let us camp there, because of Dunya. Only a month before, the two dogs of his girlfriend had attacked a dog of a customer and…

Lazy Days At Lake Atitlan

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After a few days of driving through the Guatemalan mountains, mostly in second or even first gear, and reaching an average speed of not more than 25 km/hour, we were very happy to arrive at Lake Atitlan. Lake Atitlan is a crater lake, surrounded by mountains and vulcano’s. We decided to drive to San Marcos, where we heard that we…

On How We Did Not Go To Tikal..

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In the past two months, traveling through Mexico and Belize, we visited several Maya ruins. The South-Eastern region of Mexico, Belize and Guatemala are famous for the Maya ruins. One of the highlights, and also the largest, is Tikal, in Northeast Guatemala. To be honest, after seeing about 6-8 ruins in Mexico and Belize, we were sort of done with…

Belize – Guatemala bordercrossing with dog and foreign car

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The bordercrossing between Belize and Guatemala was our first crossing that we did not do on a Sunday. It just happened that we were not ready to cross yet on Sunday, but did not want to wait almost a week either. We had always heard that crossing borders on Sundays is somehow easier, quieter, more relaxed. We were curious to…

Belize!

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As soon as we cross the Mexican-belizean border, the atmosphere changes. At the customs building and the car insurance office, they played reggae Christmas music. Relaxed rasta people everywhere. We get thumbs up from people on the street. Smiles everywhere. We felt comfortable immediately. We are in the Caribbean! Rum is cheaper than soft drinks and the food finally gets…

Mexico – country of dragonflies and butterflies!

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To us, Mexico was the country of dragonflies and butterflies. We have seen them both in all varieties and colours. On some occasions we would drive through clouds of dragonflies.

 
Especially the size of the dragonflies amazed us. I can not remember ever having seen such huge dragonflies in bright blue and green.

We welcomed the huge clouds coming…

Internet in Mexico

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TELCEL

Internet in Mexico was so much better than we expected. On our first day in the country, we bought a Telcel usb stick with sim. If I remember correctly, we had 3 GB + stick for 300 pesos, that is about 25 dollars. The 3GB were valid for a month and were enough to check our mail, update facebook…

Mexico – Belize bordercrossing with a dog

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We crossed the border between Mexico and Belize on a Sunday. Before being able to cross the Belizean border with a dog, there are quite a few hoops to jump through though.
The first thing you need to do is contact the BAHA – the Belize Agricultural Health Authority for an import permit for your dog. If you forget to…

Mexico – a recap

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Two days ago we crossed the border between Mexico and Belize. It is time for a recapitulation of our thoughts on the country. Our likes and dislikes on food, people, safety, camping and dogs.
Food
We had heard and read a lot about the Mexican food and were not sure whether we were looking forward to it, or fearing it..…

Gringo Dave’s last resort!

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Gringo Dave’s last resort is a campground/resort about 11 miles west from Chetumal, just before the border to Belize. The location is absolutely gorgeous, on the shores of Laguna Milagros. Because of its location close to the border, it is the perfect place to prepare for a bordercrossing into Belize. The buses to Chetumal pass on the nearby road and…

How to buy a hammock in Mexico

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Mexico is famous for its hammocks. Especially the area around Merida, on the Yucatan Peninsula is world’s best place to buy a hammock. The hammock exists at least since about 200 years before the arrival of the Spanish to the area, which means they are in use since at least 700 years.
We did not really know much about Merida…

Our Top Three Restaurants in Izamal

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We have been in Izamal now for two weeks. Even though we are able to sleep in our car and also would be able to cook, we decided to go for dinner each night. Partly just to have some reason to get away from the campground for a while, but most importantly, so we can finally try out some of…

Standing still!

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When we wrote about our plans to slow down a few weeks ago and our idea of standing still somewhere for a few weeks, we would not have guessed that the time of standing still for a few weeks would come so quickly.
Only days after I wrote that post about slowing down, Panda decided she did not want to…

Tequila!

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I am a big fan of trying out local food and drinks. If we go to a local restaurant, I usually choose the course on the menu that I do not know. Sometimes that works out well (I now absolutely LOVE ceviche), sometimes it does not (I remember once in France I got a pig’s foot on my plate, not…

Doing the laundry in Mexico

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To those of you who know me a little, this may come as no surprise, but I am not a big fan of the household tasks.  I do not like to clean, I do not like to do the laundry, I hate grocery shopping. When we were both working full time, I had a cleaning lady, someone to iron Michel’s…

Slowing down..

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It looks like the heat, the beaches, the good food and the friendly people of Mexico have taught us a valuable lesson. The lesson that it is not the finish line that is important, but the journey itself.
In the first seven months of our trip we drove almost 35.000 kilometers. Driving to Ushaia would mean at least another 35.000…