Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Our Route

GPS Tracks | Hotels and Campgrounds

Below is our actual route downloaded from our GPS as we drove. Be patient while the map loads. You can zoom in or out or drag the map to see different areas. Look for the ADVODNA logo and click to read a story from that location.

View 2010-11-10 San Francisco to Panama in a larger map

Hotels and Campgrounds

November 10, 2010
Yosemite Valley, CA, US
The Ahwahnee ($$$$$$$$$$$$)
Obviously a splurge but a majestic old hotel and smack dab in the middle of the valley. A great experience.
November 11, 2010
Bakersfield, CA, US
La Quinta Inn ($$$$)
What am I gonna say? Then again, it’s on Merle Haggard Boulevard and has a waffle machine in the breakfast room.
November 12-13, 2010
Joshua Tree National Park, CA, US
Ryan Campground ($)
A good alternative to Hidden Valley. Quiet and good access to Headstone and Walk on the Wild Side for climbing. Get there early for a weekend (first come) or plan to make friends like we did.
November 14, 2010
Tucson, AZ, US
Red Roof Inn ($$$$)
Yeah… whatever.
November 15, 2010
Santa Ana de Magdelena, Sonora, MX
El Penasco Rancho ($$)
Close to the border and owned by a nice guy. Also has a tent camping area and a hostel. Endearing sheep and pack of dogs. A good first night in Mexico.
November 16, 2010
San Carlos, Sonora, MX
Totonaka RV Park ($$)
Expensive and pretty uninteresting (the park and the town) but it’s got wireless and laundry.
November 17, 2010
Los Mochis, Sinaloa, MX
Private (thanks, Edmundo!)
November 18, 2010
El Fuerte, Sinaloa, MX
Hotel La Choza ($$$)
Very convenient to leave your truck here to take the train into Copper Canyon. Secure courtyard and good restaurant. Try to get a room upstairs with incredible basket woven, domed ceilings.
November 19, 2010
Posada Barrancas, Chihuahua, MX
Hotel Posada Barrancas Mirador ($$$$$)
A balcony hanging over the canyon is gonna cost you a little but we talked them down 500 pesos and the price included dinner and breakfast. Apparently there’s one a little farther up the hill for less with just about the same view. Look in the Lonely Planet.
November 20, 2010
Creel, Chihuahua, MX
Casa Magherita’s Plaza Mexicana ($$$)
Nice room with Mexican décor and details around an interior courtyard. Dinner is included but is pretty poor.
November 21, 2010
El Fuerte, Sinaloa, MX
Hotel La Choza ($$$$)
See November 18.
November 22-23, 2010
Mazatlan, Sinaloa, MX
Mar Rosa RV Park ($$)
I guess 3 years ago you couldn’t get a site here without a reservation. Now it’s pretty empty. Right on the beach and behind a secure gate. In the touristy part but you can get to old town easily.
Nov 24 – Dec 1, 2010
San Pancho, Nayarit, MX
Private with Kim and Alex
December 2, 2010
Tequila, Jalisco, MX

La Rienda Mision Tequillan ($$$)
Fine hotel with parking. The fact that they specifically denounced child prostitution on a sign in the room isn’t a great indicator but it all worked out.

December 3-4, 2010
Guadalajara, Jalisco, MX
Hotel La Rotonda ($$$$)
Nice place with a great location in the Centro. They provide parking in a nearby garage but clearance is only 2.1 meters. They were very accommodating to let us park
December 5-7, 2010
Patzcuaro, Michoacán, MX
Villa Patzcuaro RV Park ($$)
Grassy field with some trees along the side. Easy to grab a collectivo into town. Be aware it gets pretty cold at this altitude during the winter months.
December 8, 2010
Guanajuato, Guanajuato, MX
Hotel Embajadoras ($$$)
Listed in the LP as a good place for people with cars, the place had good parking. Rooms were pretty shabby but passable. Easy walk to the centro, etc.
December 9-12, 2010
San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, MX
San Miguel RV Park and Tennis Courts ($$)
The only campground actually in town. Only 15 sites or so often occupied by regulars and long-termers but there seems to always be room to squeeze in a small truck. Friendly and knowledgeable campers will fill you with more info about San Miguel and travel than you can handle (in a good way).
December 13, 2010
El Rosario Monarch Sanctuary, Michoacán, MX
Hotel Givali ($$)
This place is all built up and must have a high season but this wasn’t it. We camped in the back. No amenities and you had to walk a ways for the bathroom. Close to the El Rosario Sanctuary which was empty on a weekday in December.
December 14, 2010
Valle de Bravo, State of Mexico, MX
Posada Doris ($$)
Decent little place with secure parking. Look at all the rooms before you agree to one. Valle de Bravo is like the Mexican Lake Como. Town is the usual mix with a nice zocalo and church but there are some gritty elements. Waterfront is schmancy so nice for dinner on the water.
December 15-16, 2010
Teotihuacan, State of Mexico, MX
Teotihuacan Trailer Park ($$)
An open field behind a fence right in town. Serves it purpose though wireless is only available right up next to the owner’s house. Good place to leave a truck and take the bus into Mexico City. Nice town and right next to the pyramids. Gotta mention that the owner accused us of running over her sprinkler. I was out of the truck while Ann was backing it in and watching so we didn’t run over it. Uh, might have been the big camper next to us that the sprinkler was right i n front of? I assured her it was not us and left it at that. Just left a bad taste…
December 17, 2010
Teohuacan, State of Mexico, MX
Hotel Mexico ($$$)
Big hotel but laid out nicely around courtyards. There was a wedding there when we stayed. Right off the large zocalo. Good size, modern Mexican town. All the amenities you’d need (we had the front brakes replaced at a spiffy Pirelli dealership) and not another tourist in sight.
December 18, 2010
Oaxaca, Oaxaca, MX
Casa de la Tia Tere ($$$)
Nice bed and breakfast style inn. Secure parking but it’s tandem so you have to leave your keys. Then again, they have keys to your room too while you’re out having dinner. All worked out well and a good communal breakfast with eggs however you want ‘em. 
December 19-26, 2010
Oaxaca, Oaxaca, MX
Los Nogales Villas ($$)
Nice apartments a little ways from the zocalo but walkable. Maybe 10 total all occupied by various ex-pats. Nice little community with the owner, Tere, living on site. Cheap way to spend a week in Oaxaca. Book early in the high season. We got lucky with a cancellation.
December 27, 2010 – January 1, 2011
Zipolite, Oaxaca, MX
Rancho Los Mangos ($$)
RV park with paver parking pads next to a nice pool and bathroom. 2 blocks from the beach.
January 2, 2011
Hotel Oasis ($$)
Simple room in a big hotel. Basic Mexican crossroads city.
January 3 – 6, 2011
San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, MX
Hotel Santa Clara ($$$)
Right off the zocalo and near pedestrian walkways. Parking is 4 blocks or so away so you need to have them go with you every time you need something from your truck. Rooms are nice off an interior courtyard. Good wifi.
January 7 – 9, 2011
Palenque, Chiapas, MX
Mayabell ($$)
5 minutes up the road from Palenque ruins. Filled with European overlanders, gypsys and backpackers on bus tours. “Festive” (read: loud) atmosphere which can be fun. Howler monkeys at dusk and dawn make the sound of a soul escaping a zombie that’s been set on fire.
January 10, 2011
Campeche, Campeche, MX
Best Western Del Mar ($$$)
Only place we could find with parking after a long day of driving. Campeche’s downtown has been so completely restored that it didn’t have much character and we didn’t even walk around. Hotel was comfortable with a restaurant downstairs. A nice escape/reset but not one to go out of your way for.
January 11, 2011
Santa Elena, Yucatan, MX
The Pickled Onion ($$)
Great place listed only as a restaurant in the Lonely Planet but the owner recently built cabanas around a nice pool for her family when they visit. Mud walls and thatched roof construction but very comfortable.
January 12, 2011
Valladolid, Yucatan, MX
El Meson de Marques ($$$)
Nice old hotel with an interior courtyard. Town isn’t much to visit but hotel has enough character to make it worth a stop. Wireless and parking in the back.
January 13 – 16, 2011
Tulum, Quintana Roo, MX
Cabanas La Conchita ($$$$)
Nice cabanas on a private beach and close to a little strip of restaurants. Wireless only from the hotel next door tho you can get it from some of the cabanas. Electricity only from 6-10pm and no outlets in the room, but they’re happy to charge things in the office.
January 17, 2011
Costa Maya, Quintana Roo, MX
Beach Camping at N18 30.587 W87 45.550
Also mentioned in the C & C Mexican Camping Book. Private property but just ask someone and they should let you camp.
January 18, 2011
Chetumal, Quintana Roo, MX
Yax Ha ($$)
Great RV park right on the water. You can pretty much camp anywhere next to a power outlet. Wifi seems to reach everywhere. Nice pool and tons of fruit bats provide an entertaining sunset show (and seem to keep away the mosquitos). Great last stop before the Belize border.
January 19, 2011
Bermudian Landing, Belize District, Belize
Community Baboon Sanctuary ($$)
Privately owned cabanas behind the Sanctuary visitor center. Traditional on the outside but modern (almost too much) on the inside. Still AC and a fan after a day in the jungle is a good thing. They let us pull our truck right up in front.
January 21, 2011
Near Belmopan, Cayo District, Belize
Caves Branch Jungle Lodge ($$$)
Very cool lodge 1 km in the jungle with cabanas starting around $95. Many have bunks as well as comfortable beds so would be a bargain for a family. The treehouses and jungle suites are impressive for anywhere, especially in the jungle. Great food, service and tours of the caves on their 58,000 acres of property.
January 22-25, 2011
Near San Ignacio, Cayo District, Belize
Clarissa Falls ($$), Mountain Pine Ridge and Chiquibul National Park
A family farm with cabanas (a little rundown) and nice camping on the Mopan River. Hot showers, no wifi, a great casual restaurant (try the Relleno Negro soup), and really nice family. Highly recommended for the the night before the Guatemala border. Easy drive to Tikal.
January 26, 2011
El Remate, Peten, Guatemala
Hotel Mon Ami ($$)
Rooms are fine and location to Tikal can’t be beat. Wireless in the tasty restaurant and nice owners.
January 27-29, 2011
Rio Dulce, Guatemala
Hacienda Tijax ($$$)
Cabanas connected by jungle walkways over wetlands on the banks of the Rio Dulce. We sprung for a nicer one which had a beautiful bed, private bath and shower. Good internet in the good, open air restaurant over looking the water. There are signs on your left as you drive into town. Follow the “Jungle Way,” a very cool suspended walkway for 200 yards or so to get to the hotel.
January 30, 2011
Antigua, Guatemala
Hotel Casa La Capilla ($$$$)
The cheaper of two incredible boutique hotels owned by the same people and few doors down from each other. Really nice inside and great rooms with free breakfast and parking.
January 31 – February 9, 2011
Antigua, Guatemala
Suites Buganvileas ($$)
We got a nice two bedroom apartment (3 bath!) for $300/wk. Would have been perfect for more people but was all they had. Good location, 5 mins from the square and close to our Spanish school.
February 10-11, 2011
Lago de Atitlan, Guatemala
Hotel Vision Azul ($$)
Camping on grass with power and a palapa. Great views of the lake and wifi up at the hotel. Don’t eat at the restaurant. Easy tuk-tuk ride into Panajachel.
February 12-13, 2011
Palin/Volcan Pacaya, Guatemala
AutoMariscos ($)
Balinero with good camping and waterslides. Wifi at the restaurant (not great food). Friendly staff but they’re not quite sure what to make of you. Only reason to stay is access to the volcano or possibly Guatemala City if you had to go there for some reason.
February 14-17, 2011
El Tunco, El Salvador
Eco del Mar ($$)
Modern (think El Salvador tho) rooms with a basic kitchenette and fan. Turn on the A/C and it’s another $20 a night but it’s plenty cool in the hammock on the balcony. Wifi can be “borrowed” from Mopelia next door. Also close by is the La Sombre Hostel for half the price and a more “communal” scene.
February 18-19, 2011
Tacuba/Bosque El Imposible, El Salvador
Mama y Papa’s Hostel ($$)
Simple, comfortable and homey. Mama is super friendly and will make sure you’re well fed and have info about the tours led by her son, Manolo, and their other guides. While she said the town was so safe you could leave money on the street, she let us pull the truck into their garage. Great wireless connection from the roof deck overlooking the fincas and volcanoes. GPS Coords: N13 53.900 W89 55.809
February 20, 2011
Lago de Coatepeque, El Salvador
Hotel Terremolinos ($$)
Not much to recommend it other than a great view of the lake and being pretty much the only game in town. Read “…and The Unfortunate” before going. Our books said it was the best restaurant on the lake. This was not true and we didn’t try any others…
February 21-22, 2011
El Tunco, El Salvador
Eco del Mar ($$)
See previous stay above. Although they seemed to be digging a pool while we were there this time!
February 23-24, 2011
Suchitoto, El Salvador
Hotel Las Puertas ($$$)
A splurge but really pretty damn nice for the price. Comfy beds, A/C, wi-fi and a great balcony overlooking the plaza and church. Oh, yeah, and free breakfast.
February 25, 2011
Santa Rosa de Copan, Honduras
VIP Hotel ($$)
Secure parking and passable wi-fi. Other than that, for $20 or so, you get what you pay for with dark, cramped rooms, paper thin walls and twin sheets stretched over full beds. Still, I think it’s the best place in town…
February 26, 2011
Copan Ruinas, Honduras
Hotel Buena Vista ($$)
Nice little 10 room hotel surrounding a pool on the hill above the town. Good parking and wi-fi and an easy walk (though a steep hill) down to the central square and good restaurants.
February 27-28, 2011
Lago de Yojoa, Honduras
D&D Brewery ($$)
Beer was pretty iffy, mattresses in the cabins were worse, but still a pretty great place to land in the middle of Honduras. Don’t miss an afternoon at Cataratas de Pulhapanzak. The lake is also really pretty although we didn’t get there.
March 1, 2011
El Paraiso, Honduras
Hotel Emilio Estevez ($$)
That’s not what it was called. I don’t remember. It was the only place with a gated lot on the mainstreet in town. Close to the Nicaragua border but that’s about the only thing to recommend it. Maybe find a better place in Danli?
March 2-3, 2011
Playa Aserradores, Nicaragua
Hotel Chancletas ($$)
Nice, simple private rooms or dorms. Shared bathrooms. Very nice and mellow with a huge beach (and waves if yer into that) all to yourself. Surprisingly, a really good restaurant. Nice first stop in Nicaragua.
March 3-4, 2011
Granada, Nicaragua
Posada del Sol ($$)
Apartments with partial kitchens (no stove or fridge but a bar and a sink) around a pool. Easy walk to the square and the pedestrian promenade. Clean, secure and with AC and wireless. Parking is around the corner in a lot for a couple bucks a day. Would be great if you wanted to stay a couple weeks.
March 5, 2011
Laguna de Apoyo, Nicaragua
San Simian ($$)
Cabanas on a slope above the thermal laguna. Nice outdoor bathrooms, hammock and chairs outside each unit, bar overlooking the lake and dinner area with wireless farther up the hill. Free use of kayaks. We loved this place and would have stayed a few days if they had room.
March 6, 2011
Playa Brasilito, Costa Rica
Brasilito Lodge ($)
Dumpy camping spot but right on the beach at the end of the main strip (of like 2 shops) in Brasilito. Served the purpose. Beautiful strip of coast without any of the development of Tamarindo. Short walk along the beach to Playa Conchal which some say is the prettiest in Costa Rica.
March 7-8, 2011
Santa Elena/Monteverde, Costa Rica
Cala Lodge ($$$)
Owned by a young couple who have worked in hotels and tourism, they have this small lodge pretty well dialed. Clean, simple rooms on a great property with an amazing view of the forest. Friendly help with tours and sights. Good breakfast with regular visits from spider monkeys in the trees. Wireless was weak in the rooms but great in the lodge.
March 9-10, 2011
La Fortuna, Costa Rica
Hotel Campo Verde ($$$)
Very nice cabinas close to town but felt like they were right under the volcano. Good wireless in the rooms.
March 11-18, 2011
Lago Arenal, Costa Rica
Surf Chalets ($$)
Comfy cabin with kitchen and amazing views of the lake and cloud forest beyond. Owned by a friendly, accommodating Austrian family. A perfect place to recharge in between kiteboarding sessions on the lake. Internet is through a shared cellular USB modem but was actually one of the best connections we’ve had.
March 19, 2011
Volcan Poas, Costa Rica
Lagunillas Lodge (SS)
4wd only down a steep road. Rooms and food are pretty bad but the view and location was amazing.
March 20-21, 2011
Orosi, Costa Rica
Orosi Lodge ($$)
German-owned lodge just a couple blocks off the main street (where you want to be). Clean rooms – the one we stayed in was more like an apartment – wifi and great coffee and braekfast. The café chairs in the front feel like you could be in the Alps.
March 22, 2011
San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica
Ranchos La Isla & Restaurante Los Lagos ($)
Great camping with ranchos (metal roofed palapas) with power and water right along side the river. Plus, clean bathrooms. A little buggy but nothing was biting. On the other hand, everything was biting across the street at the trout pond. We caught 2 fish and fried ‘em up for dinner!
March 23-24, 2011
Drake Bay, Costa Rica
El Mirador ($$$)
Open air rooms with bunk beds and a private bath. No electricity but there was an unsecured wireless connection nearby. Prices included three meals a day (no other options for food really) but were still pricey for what it was. Up on the hill away from the beach but with a nice view. I think the staff was just trying to be helpful but it came off very weird.
March 25, 2011
Pavones, Costa Rica
Delphin? ($$)
Nice simple place to stay. Owned by an Italian woman so the restaurant has huge,m good pizzas. Rooms with fans and private bathrooms. Wifi. 
March 26-27, 2011
Boquete, Panama
Hotel Oasis ($$$)
Nice hotel with wireless. Good breakfast is included. Across the bridge from the mainstreet which is about as close as we wanted to be.
March 28-29, 2011
Santa Fe, Panama
Hostal La Qhia ($$)
Great property with nice rooms and people. We stole tons of ideas for tile work and an outdoor kitchen for a house we'll own sometime in the future. Great location although there’s no really much to do in town anyway. Waterfalls and farm tours all are around tho.
March 30-31, 2011
El Valle, Panama
The Golden Frog Inn ($$$$)
It’s not gonna be cheap to stay at the vice president of Panama’s old house but it was worth it. Great breakfast, happy hour cocktails and beautiful grounds. Plus a sweet view of the Sleeping Indian.
April 1-6, 2011
Panama City, Panama
Panama Passage ($$)
House in a nice neighborhood set up as a landing spot for overlanders. Comfy rooms and home-like environment while working out shipping details. Also close to the police station for a needed inspection and paperwork.