September 2014

September 2014 trip to San Pedro de laguna in Guatemala, Central America.

Prep for Guatemala – September 2014

After having a great time at Overland Expo West this year, Emily and I came home excited about doing some travel outside of the US.  We want to do the long drive at some point in the future, but the timing isn’t right for us to take the 18 months away right now.

We’ve never been to Guatemala before, but numerous folks at Expo recommended Guatemala for Spanish language schools.  So we thought “why not?” and booked plane tickets to spend September in Guatemala.  Now all we had to do was figure out where we were going to stay, what school, etc.

There are a huge number of options – we don’t like big cities and prefer mountains to beaches, so after a lot of research we narrowed the search for schools down to San Pedro la laguna, a Guatemalan town on the southwest shore of Lake Atitlán.

Lago_Atitlàn[1]It’s a small town of 13,000 people and popular with backpackers for the language schools and restaurant/bar scene.  Apparently the downtown “gringolandia” has a pretty active nightlife.

So while it will be nice to have some places to go – we don’t want to stay in gringolandia.  Searching the schools I found Corazon Maya Spanish Language School which is just outside of the town area on the lake and will (hopefully) give us the peaceful place to stay that we are looking for.

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Travel to Central America is a little different than domestic travel.  We already have passports, etc. but it had been quite a few years since we had our vaccinations updated.  In addition to the normal stuff (MMR, flu, TDAP, polio) CDC recommends Hepatitis A, B, and typhoid vaccinations along with malaria prophylaxis when traveling to Guatemala.  We take Cipro and epipens with us to use as needed.  Neither of us has ever had a dangerous reaction to a sting or bite, but that’s no guarantee that you won’t the next time – epipens are cheap insurance against your throat closing up on you because you got stung on your tongue, etc! (That actually happened to my Grandmother once).

For staying in touch while we are gone, we expect to have decent wifi available in San Pedro, and I have a DeLorme inReach Explorer with paid up global SAR/MEDIVAC insurance.  MEDIVAC is a good thing to have – for about $220/year you get guaranteed medical evacuation / repatriation to a hospital of your choice.  If something bad happens to me and I need medical care in the US, this makes that happen.

Wikitravel

Virtualtourist

Tripadvisor Forum

sanpedrolaguna.info

Lake Atitlan Travel Guide

 

 

Categories: Prep, September 2014 | Leave a comment

So what’s next?

We’ve been home a week or two… I’m a great believer in momentum, so we are already planning what to do next.

Three things on the agenda…

1. Maintenance and repairs to the fuso after 7000+ miles of driving. We have a nagging fuel contamination issue that will probably mean dropping the tanks, and the subframe is sagging pretty badly on the driver side… So that means that the Bigfoot will have to come off again to assess the issue and repair/reinforce.

2. Evaluate other camper box options. Earthcruiser, All Terrain Warriors, and Global Expedition Vehicles all make a Lifting roof Fuso box and XP Camper is kicking around ideas to make one. I have a crew cab Fuso that we are working on converting to 4×4 that could be the platform for this new vehicle.

3. Plan the next trip. We’re going to spend the month of September 2014 in Guatemala doing Spanish language immersion and learning about the Mayan culture.  Not every trip needs to be by land, this time we will fly in and fly out.  We’ve signed up with Corazon Maya Spanish School which is in San Pedro La Laguna on the shore of Lake Atitlan.  The school has bungalows for rent so we’ve decided to do that rather than stay with a family – figuring that for a month stay it will be nice to have our own place to retreat to.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Categories: Prep, Repairs, September 2014 | Leave a comment

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