Here is an article with many valuable resources posted to the LivinginCentralAmerica yahoo group:
Driving any type of vehicle to Central America?
Rainy season over, ‘Snowbird’ time is here.
Traveling soon to Central America?
Here are some UPDATED Web resources that may help you. Be super aware driving alone. If driving solo would recommend a dog. If heading to CR (crime free paradise outside of SJO?) not so, petty theft is endemic throughout Costa Rica and rising….read daily or weekly on the web:
never leave your vehicle door unlocked for even a minute, petty and violent crime is on increase world wide, due to circumstances beyond your control as endemic poverty and unemployment in many areas.
Hoping you speak some Spanish.
Never DEMAND Police or officials, nor locals, speak English to you, you are a guest in their country.
Never forget the magic words, please and thank you, in any language.
It is your journey, aside from friends and family, fellow travelers you may meet, basically no one else cares, most Central Americans are honest and hard working people struggling to survive, generally locals do not tip at small establishments, so if you decide to leave a gratuity on the road, do it quietly, keep a low profile as possible and never flash money while on the road, nor give strangers your itinerary, there is now a brand new ‘Coconut Telegraph’, everyone, including thieves, corrupt cops and their grandmothers have a cellphone
Purchase insurance all the way down if you have a newer expensive rig or you may be sorry. Drivers in Central America more loco than ever, worst roads and drivers (now raining, potholes galore) in CR. Lots of paperwork and stress at each border crossing..follow instructions on the websites below..remain calm in any emergency. Get a cell phone..international roaming (Claro and Tigo cell phones..cheap ones, buy in Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua are programmed to work internationally or Skype account, I have Magicjack www.magicjack.com for calls to US, Canada, worldwide.
Wi Fi in many public places in C.A. also lots of ATMs, the 24 hour Texaco, Esso (On the Road) stations on highways are good, take out money where there is a guard, never alone outside a bank. El Salvador and Panama USD is legal tender, including coins, careful “changing money” at borders, the money changers have fixed calculators. Most problems with crooked transit cops still in Honduras. Be aware and drive safely in all the countries. People are nice and helpful. Buen viaje..buena suerte
Ex Pat and Survivor in El Salvador.
El Salvador is no longer “the most dangerous country in C.A.” Camp at the beaches, drive the coast highway CA2 you need not go into capital city at all.
If you break down best cities to by auto parts imported new or used are Guatemala City and San Salvador, hire a local mechanic to go in with you, need bring the broken part as a sample. Both Guatemala and El Salvador, Pacific side of Nicaragua heavily populated. Drive very slow in towns. Drunks, old people, kids on bikes on the road. Mangy dogs often run in front of you, if you hit on, keep going!!!!! NEVER drive at night!!!!
DRIVING ANY TYPE OF VEHICLE TO AND THROUGH MEXICO, CENTRAL AMERICA AND OR SOUTH AMERICA FROM OR VIA USA OR CANADA?
http://www.go-panamerican.com/ Covers all countries on Pan Am highway.
Another Good resource
http://www.travelindependent.info/america-north.htm (Mexico is part of North America!)
http://www.mexicomike.com/ Great site!!
some great info on routes, places, camping, boondocking
Your Best Mexico Guide Book is ‘Peoples Guide To Mexico’
Best Central and South American Guide Books:
Footprint Handbooks, Moon Travel Guides, Rough Guides and Lonely Planet, check out at local book stores or on Amazon.com
Best Hospex Portal, Thousands of local members en route:
also try out http://www.bewelcome.org/
for free local information in 170 countries from native and expat guides
click on http://www.localyte.com/ type destination(s) and “ask a question”.
Advice is cheap
Books and Websites are great resources
EXPERIENCE IS PRICELESS
BUENA SUERTE Y BUEN VIAJE.
Dave, El Salvador
Ex Pat & Survivor.
No advanced University “Degrees”
Never an “Ex Spert”
Learn something new every day!!!!!
If you have never been to Central America, drive, fly, bus it around or hire a car and local driver by day, whatever your budget will bear and look around, this post is simply advices to assist you in planning your journey, along with timely updated information. Remember, even the best print guide book is outdated by the time you purchase it at the travel section of your book store..experience is priceless..contacts in Latin America essential…volunteer short term somewhere if you have time and gain trust of locals
for low or no cost volunteer opportunities.