Thursday, September 18, 2008

Driving South In Central America

January 2007

We started at Brownsville Texas because this border crossing does not allow commercial trucks and is thus not too congested. We wanted to skirt around Mexico City at all costs.

Our objective was to reach Costa Rica as quickly as possible, doing almost no sight seeing. Ginette did all of the planning. See the earliest posts in this blog for day-by-day details.

Jan 7: This morning, we crossed into Mexico at Brownsville, stayed overnight in Tampico. Great city. In Mexico, when you cross from one Mexican state to another you will find an army check point. When these check points see you are a tourist, they generally wave you right through without stopping. They seem more intent on checking the local people.

Jan 8: We stayed over night at Veracruz. Driving through Mexico altered my image of Mexico. Mexico is now a modern state. It has a strong middle class. Things work in Mexico. The old images of Mexico that I developed from films have been broken.

Jan 9: cut across Mexico to the Pacific coast (bypassing Mixico City) overnight at a little place, Tuxtla Gutierrez

Jan 10: Then we started up into the southern Mountains, staying overnight at San Cristebal. This is a beautiful city. I would like to return here.

Jan 11 We crossed into Guatemala at La Mesilla and reached Huehuetenango for the night. We got into a grid lock coming into Huehue and we got lost coming out of Huehue.

Jan 12 We crossed into El Salvador.

Jan 13 Crossed into Honduras and stayed overnight in northern Nicaragua, Choluteca I think.

Jan 14 Crossed into Costa Rica and reached Playas del Coco at 4:30 pm

7 day transit. Not bad for gringos!


USS Sir Moby Dick said...

i am thinking of doing this drive in a "short bus" what were the fees entering and exiting on average?

USS Sir Moby Dick said... is my email

Michael and Ginette Cook said...

All of the following is from memory but it will give you an idea of the fees.

First, you will need local currency at each crossing. At each crossing you will find free-lance money changers; this guys are like card sharks out of the old west ! Most are honest but only most. Before you leave, look up the current exchange rate for each country so you will have a reference point. Then, proceed slowly with each transaction despite all the noise and hassle because once the money changer walks away, the deal is done and he melts into the crowd.

Mexico: about $50 for car insurance
Guatemala: about $35
El Salvador: $60
Nicaragua: about $40
Costa Rica: $32 for car insurance plus $20
Honduras: this is a real rip off ! about $100 coming in, $80 going out

If you take notes on your way down and send them to me I will put them on the blog site