As soon as I can, I’ll update you on my one year trip. I’ve decided to leave everything behind and spend real time with the people that matter the most in my life: my wife and three children. This is my story, I hope it will inspire you to create yours.
You can read my previous “On The Road” articles:
- On the road #1
- On the road #2
- On the road #3
- On the road #4
- On the road #5
- On the road #6
- On the road #7
- On the road #8
- On the road #9
- On the road #10
- On the road #11
- On the road #12
- On the road #13
- On the road #14
Date: from November 8th to November 13th
States/Province traveled through: Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua
Phew! I’ve taken another slump in my on the road updates as a lot happened in the past 30 days. I also had to focus a little bit more on my Best 2017 Dividend Stock eBook that will be launched at the beginning of the year. This is fun work, but still, it is a lot of work. I’ve decided to highlight a short, but very busy period of our trip; going from Guatemala to Nicaragua in a single week. This includes crossing the 2 most “dangerous” countries in Central America; El Salvador and Honduras. 2 countries showing among the highest rate of murder per capita in the world…
Antigua is a Great Place to Chill
Last time I left you with my stories, I was about to leave Lake Atitlan, one of my favorite place of the whole trip so far, to Antigua. I anticipated this day with concerns as I really felt I was going to die at some point going down the incredibly steep road down the mountain. Now it’s time to going through the “road of hell” again.
The morning starts well while I have to share the same 1 way road in a small village with a 10 wheels’ truck. The other driver and I start to laugh a great deal as this is mission nearly impossible as our both trucks may very well take a part of the roof on our rights. Oh well! I guess Guats have seen worse! Rapidly about 5 people were outsides of our truck yelling us directions and laughing at the same time. We both closed our mirrors to gain a few inches and let the Guats directing us. Miracle! We did it without even getting close of a scratch on both vehicles (I guess my definition of “getting close” is now getting through with less than 1 centimeter!).
I now get off the village and hit the mountain. I driving cautiously but fast enough to keep a good pace (mind you, Freefall is over 5,000 pounds and I need to give my engine a chance to push it to the top!). I’m following curve trajectories on my GPS and I’m almost done, only 2 more curves and I’m good to hit the first plateau… and then everybody stops!
There is a truck which bust a tire and missed the last curve. It is now sitting across the road and nobody could go through. A few weeks ago, I would have started to cry and curse, or both! But this time, I smiled, I laugh and I turned around to admire the incredible view I had of the lake. Life is designed that way; there are problems across the road and we just find a solution. About 45 minutes later, another truck arrived to unload the first one before they can move it. I jumped in the truck and help the Guats to unload the truck. Off course, they couldn’t transport a batch of light Huggies… it had to be cement! Oh well, 3 hours later, we were off for Antigua!
While the “bad curves” were over, I still had to go through the steepest part of the road. At one point, I was going all in, my foot to the floor and Freefall was barely doing 10 mph… I really thought at one point it would not make it and stall. I never talk to my “things”, but this time, I was encouraging Freefall out loud!
We finally made it and the rest of the road to Antigua was great. I anticipated to have some problem getting into the cities since it’s an old antique one. Fortunately, they made wide and beautiful road inside the cities and we were able to get to our camping (The Policia Touristica Parking Lot) before sunset.
We finished the day with a supper in a restaurant bar with a young lady playing guitar. Life isn’t that bad after all! Hahaha!
We spent 2 days in Antigua, a lovely city of Guatemala. We appreciated the nice architecture and its good restaurant (you can eat amazing Indie food for $35 for a family of 5!).
We also visited our first volcano; the Pacaya. We were so happy to hike again! This is something we started missing since we entered Mexico. The hike was small (about 6 km round around trip), but strenuous enough. The view on the top was amazing as you could see another volcano fuming!
The Pacaya erupted a few years ago (I think it was in 2014) and they had hot rocks about 1 foot behind us. We could dig a little and it was enough to roast marshmallows! What a crazy experience! It was impressive to see the amount of lava a volcano could spit out and to be so close to its center!
After 2 great days, it was time to hit the road again for the “worst” part of our trip. Going across El Salvador and Honduras wasn’t really a part of my trip I was looking forward. Going across two countries where life doesn’t mean much and crime is at high rate isn’t exactly the definition of a family destination!
Going to the Other Side…
We woke up very early and went to enter El Salvador around 8 am. Crossing the border wasn’t that bad as we were well prepared. I knew my stuff (e.g. the 4 different places you must go to get all the paperwork) and I had my helper with me (Caleb, a 4 yr old smiling at everybody is the perfect candidate to cross a border!).
But the problem was “entering” El Salvador. Below is the image of a 2 way road (one way in, one way out) showing 4 lines converting into one (while the road “out” was literally blocked by the 4 lines going “in”).
I was driving right, left, on the road and outside it to make it through. Fun enough, you just have to take it as a game and stay calm. Surprisingly, the road in El Salvador were just fine and we rapidly arrived at our first camping spot: Los Cobanos.
The ambiance was a little bit weird as the captain of the diving crew just passed away the day before. The place is “okay”, but not incredible. We decide to stay there for the night as it seems a quiet place and we rent a house for $10… which really worth that much, but the space was bigger than our burning RV house space (it was 35 or more that day).
The next day was probably the worst we had in our entire trip. Everything was cool in the morning, kids were playing in the pool and I was working on my sites while my wife was reading. Around lunch time, I got into my RV to cook something to eat. William comes right into the truck and tells me “mom wants to see you”. Strange.
While I was in the RV, the owner of the place arrived completely drunk and almost fall on the floor. One of his employee took him to his room. However, the drunk owner wasn’t alone; 3 young men in their 20’s, also very drunk accompanied him to the bar (which is directly in front of the pool). When I got there, the 3 men were very loud and I didn’t feel like they were about to become investment bankers to put it this way. They pretty much looked like their were part of a gang. To confirm our intuition, all women part of the staff disappeared quickly and the cook was making phone calls.
We decided to lock ourselves up in the smelly room for the rest of the afternoon. About an hour later, two big guys came in. Not too long after, the 3 men left the place without much noise. The owner eventually woke up from his ethylic coma and started his evening with a beer… and another one. It was too late for us to drive (sunset is about 5:45 pm) and we decided to leave the next morning. We left at around 8 am and the owner was with… a rum & coke in his hand!
Fortunately for us, El Salvador is not filled with drunk American who bought their place by the beach. We drove all the way across El Salvador to reach the end of it. We found a little place in paradise called Tortuga Verde.
The ambiance was super chill, people were relaxing in hammocks, playing guitars or surfing. It was definitely a little piece of paradise. We stayed there for 2 days and we started liking El Salvador! If it wasn’t that we wanted to cross the next borders on a Sunday (a proven strategy to do it faster!), we would have stayed there longer and learn surfing ($10 per lesson and you can rent board for $10 per day!).
Our game plan was to cross 2 borders the same day. First, we enter Honduras at the opening (6 am), we drive through it fast enough to make it to Nicaragua before 1 pm. Well, we followed our game plan and we made it through in a single day! Thx to Amy and Caleb (my 2 border crossing ninjas), we successfully went through all obstacle and by sunset, I was having my glass of wine by the beach in Poneloya, south of Leon!
In my next on the road, I’ll tell you how Nicaragua was a game changer for us!