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TRAVEL Hints and Tips Post your TIPS to travellers - all the interesting little tidbits you learned on the road about packing, where to get stuff, and how to cope with problems. Please make sure the subject describes the tip clearly!
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  #1  
Old 3 Jan 2011
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Mexico & Central America

For the last couple of months, i've been travelling Mexico and Central America. These are things i've learned and believe are worth letting others know about this part of the World.


[] Before leaving home, buy all the road maps you think you will need. There are no maps to be found here. None.

[] The helpers at any of the borders will make the process take longer and cost more. They must be told off or they'll stick around, cause problems, and ask for money.

[] A few colour copies of documents are really worth spending time and money on (international driver's license, bike ownership, bike insurance, passport). Laminating them will make them last longer.

[] Once you have figured a way to keep your documents safe and dry for the ride, add one more plastic bag or pouch. It's just never too dry.

[] Learn as much Spanish as you can before leaving. If stopped by a policeman for speeding, unless you were speeding, pretend you know absolutely no Spanish.




Things change over time, but as of fall 2010, these are places worth mentioning:

[] Hotel Azteca Inn, in the town of Ensenada, in Baja California Norte, Mexico.
Coordinates: N31 46.869 W116 35.427
Looks like crap from the outside, but very nice, very clean, very comfortable, very economic, and great wi-fi signal.


[] Campground in Bahia Conception, Baja California Sur, Mexico.
Coordinates: N26 45.894 W111 53.328
No showers, but spectacular site. Restaurant with good food and decent prices.


[] Hotel Naj-K'in, city of Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico.
Coordinates: N17 30.595 W91 59.011
Alex, the manager, is one of those people who are genuinely good and helpful. Hotel is clean, comfortable, economic, perfect downtown location, and includes wi-fi signal.


[] Hotel La Posada Del Sol, in the city of Granada, Nicaragua.
Coordinates: N11 55.700 W85 56.980
Nice, clean, comfortable, wi-fi signal, parking inside the loby of the hotel, great swimming pool.


[] Kawasaki dealer in Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, Mexico.
Coordinates: N17 38.601 W101 33.174
Very helpful people, good mechanics, parts in stock.


[] Kawasaki dealer in San Salvador.
Coordinates: N13 42.173 W89 13.862
Very helpful people, good mechanics, parts in stock.
2010_12_15_ 006_San_Salvador.jpg


Happy Riding!
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  #2  
Old 4 Jan 2011
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Salut Daniel

Mon nom est jimmy, parti de l'Alberta en Nov., presentement a Houston, getting new tires and spare parts, vais traverser a Brownsville Samedi et voudrais me rendre all the way south, pas d'itineraire fixe, j'ai vu ton thread et ton blog, je ride un 2002 Dakar, on est dans les memes ages, p-e avoir la chance de te rencontrer du coter sud
bonne ride
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  #3  
Old 4 Jan 2011
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Great Info, thanks. Any info for hotels or schools in Xela (Quezaltenango) Guatemala?
I want to attend a Spanish school for at least a week.
Plan to be there on my Wee Strom inj about a week.
Anyone in the area?
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  #4  
Old 6 Jan 2011
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Salut Jimmy!
Je viens d'arriver Bogota aujourd'hui (5 janvier). J'attend la moto pour demain.
Bien sûr que si on a l'occasion de prendre une bière ensemble, ce serait super! Tiens-moi au courant de tes déplacements.
As-tu un blog?
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  #5  
Old 6 Jan 2011
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Hey Digiamo!
No, i don't know any schools in that town, but i have a friend who took one week in Guatemala, so i'll send him an email right away and ask him if it was in Xela.
Dan
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  #6  
Old 6 Jan 2011
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I'm with you on numbers three through five....but as for maps, I bought them as I rode all the way through Central and South America. Only time I had real trouble was Peru, where it took a couple of hours to find one. And if I'd carried them all with me from the start, I'd have had to hire a support vehicle. If you don't see them in gasolineras, find the nearest stationary store (papeleria) or bookstore (libreria). When you can, trade with other riders headed in the opposite direction.

Helpers usually get in the way, as you say--their goal is to maximize commissions and fees, which has never been exactly what I had in mind. But in some spots they can be handy if you choose wisely....and not if you don't.

enjoy,

Mark
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  #7  
Old 6 Jan 2011
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good info

will be saving this information for when i'm there. thanx.
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  #8  
Old 6 Jan 2011
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Buying maps on the road

I have been buying as I go and haven't had too many issues.

For central america i bought all my maps at a store in Panajachel - There is a bookstore (Libro del Lago) on Santander
They sold IMTB maps. Also i found that a bookstore in the main square in Antigua sold the same maps.
The maps were the same price as buying them back in Vancouver though.

In South America we've just gone into any decent sized bookstores in major cities and found local road maps. So far have been really cheap
Colombia - 3$
Ecuador - full tourist book with maps for 5$

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  #9  
Old 6 Jan 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digiamo View Post
Great Info, thanks. Any info for hotels or schools in Xela (Quezaltenango) Guatemala?
I want to attend a Spanish school for at least a week.
Plan to be there on my Wee Strom inj about a week.
Anyone in the area?
We spent two weeks in Xela at the Sacribal Spanish School which included a homestay and 3 meals a day + safe motorcycle parking for the period. The schools activities seem to be a rip-off; however we thought we got value for our money for the instruction.
Daryll
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  #10  
Old 6 Jan 2011
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Digiamo, about the Spanish schools, my friend didn't take his course in Xela Guatemala, but in Panajachel. Not the same area. You can always check the website of IMAC (Learn Spanish Abroad: IMAC Spanish Language Schools | Spanish Language Courses). They have schools in many different city across latin america.
Have fun!
Dan
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  #11  
Old 6 Jan 2011
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Amazing how different people can have different experiences! I've checked so many gas stations, convenience stores, book stores, general store, for maps, that when i say i regret not buying all my maps prior to leaving, i really mean that! But i guess i didn't look in the right places.

I found one map-tourist-info type of book here in Bogota yesterday, from which i can pull out the pages i need and leave the rest behind, and i was very happy! Beats printing GoogleMaps maps.

But i know what you mean about carrying so many maps, and that is the reason i only took my Canada and my Ontario maps with me when i left home. It was that or no spare underwear!
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  #12  
Old 7 Jan 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackBeast View Post
We spent two weeks in Xela at the Sacribal Spanish School which included a homestay and 3 meals a day + safe motorcycle parking for the period. The schools activities seem to be a rip-off; however we thought we got value for our money for the instruction.
Daryll
Thanks Daryll, I'll consider the Sakribal, but not for the activities.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GatoMontes View Post
Digiamo, about the Spanish schools, my friend didn't take his course in Xela Guatemala, but in Panajachel. Not the same area. You can always check the website of IMAC (Learn Spanish Abroad: IMAC Spanish Language Schools | Spanish Language Courses). They have schools in many different city across latin america.
Have fun!
Dan
Thanks Dan, I appreciate the reply.
I am currently in Malaque on the MX Pacific side heading south.
I'm looking for Karl Bushby, the guy walking around the world.
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  #13  
Old 11 Jan 2011
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Thanks for the tips

CBD

Quote:
Originally Posted by GatoMontes View Post
For the last couple of months, i've been travelling Mexico and Central America. These are things i've learned and believe are worth letting others know about this part of the World.


[] Before leaving home, buy all the road maps you think you will need. There are no maps to be found here. None.

[] The helpers at any of the borders will make the process take longer and cost more. They must be told off or they'll stick around, cause problems, and ask for money.

[] A few colour copies of documents are really worth spending time and money on (international driver's license, bike ownership, bike insurance, passport). Laminating them will make them last longer.

[] Once you have figured a way to keep your documents safe and dry for the ride, add one more plastic bag or pouch. It's just never too dry.

[] Learn as much Spanish as you can before leaving. If stopped by a policeman for speeding, unless you were speeding, pretend you know absolutely no Spanish.




Things change over time, but as of fall 2010, these are places worth mentioning:

[] Hotel Azteca Inn, in the town of Ensenada, in Baja California Norte, Mexico.
Coordinates: N31 46.869 W116 35.427
Looks like crap from the outside, but very nice, very clean, very comfortable, very economic, and great wi-fi signal.


[] Campground in Bahia Conception, Baja California Sur, Mexico.
Coordinates: N26 45.894 W111 53.328
No showers, but spectacular site. Restaurant with good food and decent prices.


[] Hotel Naj-K'in, city of Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico.
Coordinates: N17 30.595 W91 59.011
Alex, the manager, is one of those people who are genuinely good and helpful. Hotel is clean, comfortable, economic, perfect downtown location, and includes wi-fi signal.


[] Hotel La Posada Del Sol, in the city of Granada, Nicaragua.
Coordinates: N11 55.700 W85 56.980
Nice, clean, comfortable, wi-fi signal, parking inside the loby of the hotel, great swimming pool.


[] Kawasaki dealer in Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, Mexico.
Coordinates: N17 38.601 W101 33.174
Very helpful people, good mechanics, parts in stock.


[] Kawasaki dealer in San Salvador.
Coordinates: N13 42.173 W89 13.862
Very helpful people, good mechanics, parts in stock.
2010_12_15_ 006_San_Salvador.jpg


Happy Riding!
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  #14  
Old 12 Jan 2011
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Mexican road maps

For Mexico it is hard to beat the Guia Roja, a red covered road atlas of Mexico. It is available in Canada at map shops, in the US near the border, and in Mexico at stationary stores, (and a little tiny Mexican shop called Walmart in tiny towns like Mazatlan, PV and Manzanillo).
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  #15  
Old 12 Jan 2011
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Guatemala on Sunday

I checked Walmart as well as every other place in PV...no maps of other than PV. Maybe there were sold out though.

Sorry to borrow the thread, but I'm crossing the Guatemala border on or about Sunday, I am in the Acapulco area now.
Anyone want to team up for the ride south?

Thanks all.
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