Driving to Costa Rica

May 23, 2008 at 6:25 PM
We're currently scheduled to start our trip on the 7th of July. It sounds wonderful. Getting lots of disagreement from people terrified of traveling. I didn't know I knew so many people afraid of Central America.


I am very interested in your feedback - any advice, any notes on these countries, any websites you think I should look at?


We're following the route laid out below. I look forward SO MUCH to getting there and seeing what Mexico has to offer.

I will be able to work as much as possible while I'm gone, but not enough to get paid - just enough to keep projects from falling apart.

Here is our trip detila so far - please let me know what you think - I depend on your feedback and advice to do a good job planning.

About the trip - outside advice

Basics about the trip:

We do intend to avoid all the large cities.

We have a big rig and will be sticking to the main highways and tourist areas.

The route will be California to Brownsville in Texas. That's about 2400 within the US.

Then Brownsville to Veracruz to Cancun where we will see Chichen Itza and probably spend a day or two.

We then are backing back to Highway 185 and crossing to the Pacific Coast. This is the fastest, largest road. It is the main truck route as it does not cross a moutain range.

Then down the coast on the Highway 1 (the Pan American Highway) the major route.

We cross Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and into Costa Rica.

It will take about a week in Mexico. One day in Guatemala. One day in El Salvador, 3 hours in Honduras, and we will probably get to Costa Rica without having to stop in Nicaragua.

There is about a hour needed to get through each border.

We will not be driving at night and will be in a secured facility each night, a hotel with fencing, guards etc.

We will not take cash. You can use your ATM everywhere for both US dollars and local currency.

There will be four adults on the trip, Shelley's parents are great drivers since they are truck drivers.

The entire trip LA to Costa Rica is 4400 miles.

I am traveling with Shelley who has done trips like this before and has lots of friends who've done trips like this before, plus she knows Central America pretty well.

More info here: www.tripadvisor.com

Shelley also says that:

"Nicaragua is currently one of the safest places in Latin America. They are trying very hard to have a tourism industry and in order to do that they have to be a safe place to visit. They have invested a ton of money into policing, as well as special tourist police. I personally have been to Nicaragua about 9 times with the kids and it is a very safe clean country. With some really nice tourist establishments. However since we'll pass through it in about a day this may not matter too much."



  1. Sidleness Says:

    We just recently drove from Costa Rica to Nicaragua and back it was about two hours at the border and that was a car.We did find young kids who make their money by assisting you through the lines for a price. The trucks were lined up for about a mile going through the border and the wait for a rig was about five hours. Cell service was good as soon as we hit the border but leaving it and arriving to it were very scattered with our Costa Rican cell phone. I take it you know Spanish....it sure comes in handy! The price of fuel is about the same as the US. Good Luck...my husband and I always take road trips because it is an adventure.

  2. Hi! I just stumbled across your blog through Just Kat Stuff! Anyway, as someone who has lived in Turkey and traveled through the Middle East I can tell you that Americans in general will freak out when you tell them you're going off the beaten path. Don't listen. You trip sounds amazing and well thought through.

    I have only been to Belize myself, so I can't give personal advice, but I can tell you that I have a friend who is 5'3" and a skinny, pretty little thing that just traveled through Mexico and Central America by herself for months. Never had a problem. Another friend just did the same (www.notesfromtheskye.blogspot.com) and never had a problem. She loved Guatemala by the way. Travel, as in life, is all about being ready for adventure and being as smart as possible! There are no guarantees, as you know, and my motto has always been that you should not live in fear--you should LIVE!!

    Anyway, sorry for the diatribe! Your trip sounds amazing and I can't wait to read about it!

    Love and light,


  3. Milla Says:

    Hi! Wonderful idea, I'm even a little jealous! I lived 6 years in Central America and it's a wonderful land. The pre-Columbian stuff is out-of this-world! I also have friends in CR and Guatemala. I'd be happy to help you in anything I can. :-D

    Your first post in Spanish has being online for over a week now (bad bad manners of me). It's here. Thanks a lot again and have a wonderful adventure!

  4. Kat Says:

    YAY, I'm glad Elijah responded to you - she's a major world traveler and a v. cool lady.

    I was just going to say that I have no idea whatsoever, but it sounds awesome, poo to anybody with scary stories, and have a fantastical time!!!!