Tag Archives: Honduras

Random thoughts/ 1.5

31 Oct

One year and six months. Really. Ruminations on that milestone later but on to this month. We’ve had our ups and downs, sweat and froze, beached and mountained and north we still go! This month we:


+ went back to Lake Apoyo, Nicaragua. As we headed down to the lake late and on the wrong road, I searched for Miguel, the caretaker of the property we stayed when we were there 5 months earlier. By some miracle, I spotted him on the road and arranged for us to park at the house tomorrow, as he had already left for the day. We spent 6 semi-glorious days at our old spot on the lake, which had substantially more mosquitoes now and was way hotter. But we swam, practiced the ukulele, and Olivia found her twin.

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+ successfully avoided the Managua market by finding “new” used tires on our way out of the lake. Our tires are an odd size and it’s been difficult to find replacements south of the border. Thankfully though, as one was flat and bald (the last original tire we left Key West with), we found something! They may be retreads from 1996 but they’re rocking and rolling. We WILL made it home on these same tires!

+ flew through northern Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador to land in Antigua, Guatemala over the course of two days of nonstop driving. That’s SIX frustrating borders in two days. I was so beat.


+ have settled into life at the tourist police in Antigua. We will be parked here until the beginning of November, nestled between the remains of an old hospital. We spend our days exploring the cobblestone colonial town, it’s many coffee shops and my favorite local market.




+ tucked our swim gear away and broken out our jeans and jackets. I cannot even begin to tell describe how amazing it is not to be sweaty first thing in the morning.

+ celebrated Hani’s 36th birthday on October 12. Now we have all celebrated 2 birthdays on the road. We wandered around Antigua with the dogs, had a scrumptious dinner and then cake with all the other travelers in the tourist police lot.




IMG_2789.JPG+ experienced our first earthquake! It was 10:00 at night and Hani was outside walking the dogs. From inside the truck, I felt Skyhorse move from side to side. Not just a sway but full on rocking back and forth. I thought Hani was pushing the truck so I yelled at him to stop messing around. He laughed that he wasn’t doing anything so I assumed he actually was. After a few more back and forths, we realized the dogs were a little freaked out. The thought that we just had an earthquake didn’t really dawn on me despite the fact that we are parked between ruins from a previous quake. It took asking two other travelers and a google search to convince me that it really was an earthquake. 7.4 all the way from El Salvador felt here!

+ launched a kickstarter campaign. We are writing a book about our travels and raising money through kickstarter to self publish it. We’ve made amazing progress but there is still time for YOU to contribute! By contributing to our kickstarter campaign, you can get a copy of our book, choose a topic for us to write about or be included in our book, depending on your donation. Click on the link, watch our video, read our book excerpt, check out the rewards on the right side of the page and donate! The more money we raise, the better our book will be! Thank you all for your support.  http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2094800206/adventures-in-skyhorse

+ explored an amazing farm overlooking Antigua. The owner is in the process of opening a farm-to-table restaurant and invites guests to check out the property. We spent a few hours one afternoon rambling about the farm and orchid garden and watching the storm roll in.

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+ realized we cannot stay in one place for a month and live in the truck. Being the cheapskate that I am, I thought with the cooler weather, we would be fine to stay in the truck and not rent a place. I now know that for our sanity, if we aren’t actually moving, we need more space than Skyhorse offers. How many of you have been waiting for me to say that?!?

+ were visited by the Mayas! My parents last visited us on the road when we were in San Diego, almost a year ago, right before we crossed into Mexico. This time, my parents came to Antigua for a 5 day visit. They brought us a bunch of goodies we were missing from home including our favorite: my dad’s homemade pumpkin pie (and seeds!). We had such a lovely time showing them the city, eating, walking, laughing, shopping, eating and more and more walking. I think they now need a vacation from their vacation.








+ rode the chicken bus with my parents to Pastores. It was all of our first time on these tricked out, polluting, crazy-fast beasts. I was hesitant about taking my parents on the bus but Hani insisted that it was part of the Guatemalan experience. I think he was secretly hoping my mom would have a melt down but they loved it, even danced along with the blasting music.


+ ate our way through Antigua. The food here really is unbelievable. You can find any type of meal you could possibly want. We’ve eaten Guatemalan (duh), Mexican, Middle Eastern, French, Italian gelato and pastries, real deli sandwiches, BBQ, crepes, and the best coffee. Coffee in Antigua is far superior to any other country we have been. It’s practically an art here.

+ toured the Finca Filadelfia coffee plantation with my parents. Aside from seeing the coffee process, the highlights were the drunk man stumbling toward our tour group with a big piece of wood and my mom yelling a story at us at top volume not realizing the group was right there listening. The coffee was fabulous.


+ bid fairwell to my parents and are continuing to venture into new parts of Antigua as Mochimo’s day, Day of the Dead and Halloween roll through town.



Random thoughts/ month 13

27 May

It feels like we did a lot more this month than pervious ones. Probably because we were in a bunch of countries in such a short time span. This month we:

+ celebrated my 33rd birthday on April 30th while in El Tunco, El Salvador. Toby and Chloe stayed for the occasion and treated us to a fantastic noodle dinner at Take A Wok, which was the first thing I ate all day. The day before, I was close to death. I was the sickest I’ve been, progressively feeling worse, totally dehydrated and unable to hold down a thing. I finally took some meds in the morning and started a much needed round of cypro. Happy 33 to me!

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+ officially took out our first cable. We were squeezing ourself into a tight space and forgot to look up. The guy said it was his fault for the gerryrigged low set up but then asked for $5 to fix it.

+ got unbearably hot. Air conditioning seems to be a necessity out here.

+ stayed in our first hotel since beginning this trip in El Tunco to escape the heat. The girls hated it, can’t you tell?

Then our second in Leon, Nicaragua while we volcano boarded (also escaping the heat).

And our third in Chinandega while Hani recuperated.

Notice anything different?


+ got a nice stash of American goodies. When I went to the states for a wedding the first weekend in May, I had a night layover in Miami on my return flight. It was awesome spending time with my parents and weird seeing all our stuff we had packed away in their house a year ago. My mom bought us a bunch of random items we were missing/ needing from home. Now Hani has enough airborne and his manly Oil of Olay ribbons soap to last another 6 months.


+ left Guatemala, toured through El Salvador, drove Honduras and have been in Nicaragua for 2 weeks. Our 90 day visas expire on June 8 so we’ll be entering Costa Rica soon. 4 countries down, 2 more to go.

+ chilled at an awesome surf beach hotel thanks to our new Florida friend we picked up in Honduras. Apparently there’s a group of Miami guys that have moved to the northern Pacific coast of Nicaragua. One found a wave and bam–Playa Aserradores is a destination among the surfing community. We spent a few days at Hotel Chanceletas, lounging around and had a great meal with an even more amazing view at the nearby Al Cielo property.




+ had an extremely positive experience with Nicaraguan health care. Hani had 2 minor procedures done by a plastic surgeon and dermatologist while in Chinandega. He is now officially a woman. Ha. Kidding. He had a cyst removed that kept getting infected and a harmless-but-bothersome fatty deposit on his head taken out. $450 later (meds included), he’s healing up well and looking forward to people not asking him what happened to his head. (Central Americans can be very invasive about stuff like that.)


+ discovered that Nicaraguans like their bombas almost as much as the Mexicans. And our poor dogs still aren’t used to the unnecessary freakishly loud blasts.

+ found the beach again at Poneloya after leaving Leon. We only spent a short time there because it was hot hot hot but the beach was pretty deserted and sunsets were spectacular. It reminded us of our days in Baja.





+ saw the active volcano of Masaya. For $8, you can drive up the lip of the steaming Santiago crater and drive right out when it gets too hot and smelly.



+ escaped to Lago Apoyo. I don’t know how, but we found a breezy non-sweltering area in Nicaragua and are forever grateful that it exists. This country is fantastic but we came at the hottest time of year. The lake is a volcano crater that houses a small laid back community of hotels and restaurants with a breeze to die for. We found a private property to park on for $4 a day (the owners live in the nearby town and rarely come to their lake house) and have our own little beach front. We swim and have taken the kayak out for the first time in a long while. It’s going to be hard leaving this spot, knowing our next stop–Granada–is supposed to be brutally hot.



El Salvador to Nicaragua in a day

20 May

This is not a typical “day in a life of Skyhorse” post. Actually, we did everything we NEVER do on this particular day. We never leave later than 9am on big travel days. We never drive through a country without seeing it first. We never pick up strangers (I freak out). We never drive at night. And these days, we rarely have a full day of driving. But on May 9, we broke all our travel rules and drove from El Salvador, through Honduras and into Nicaragua.

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Our day began at the mechanic outside of San Miguel, El Salvador. They had replaced our rear brake pads, coolant thermostat and air braking system the day before and finished late so we didn’t get a chance to test everything out. At 8am we left the mechanic, headed towards the Honduras border, but didn’t get very far. Brakes were fantastic but the engine was really loud, louder than it had been. So we returned to the mechanic only to realize our muffler hose had busted and the muffler was hanging on by a thread. Super. Surprisingly, all was fixed within 2 and a half hours and they only charged us for parts (mainly because we had been parked there for 2 night and I think they just wanted us to go).

We got on the road at 10:30am and arrived at the Santa Rosa de Lima, El Salvador/El Amatillo, Honduras border at 11:30 to see this:


back to back standstill of semis. I can’t even relive the annoyance of the 2 hours we spent trying to leave El Salvador but we accomplished nothing in the first hour, except I was told to make like a hundred unnecessary copies. We even had a “helper” which I never use because I find they are more of a hinderance than help. While Helper Jose walked-ran back and forth between where Hani was parked and the start of the line (about 1km), I followed, sweating profusely. At the front of the line was a camper with Florida plates. Turns out Mr. Florida was from Miami and went to my high school (small world). His traveling companions, backpackers from New Zealand, had been traveling with him for the past few weeks. We spoke only briefly because the stress of a border crossing is not conducive to any kind of meeting or lasting friendships. That and Helper Jose had walked away yet again with all my documents in hand. (Don’t ask why he was still holding them–I felt rude and grabby asking for them back, but eventually did).

At the start of hour two, I nearly lost it and told Helper Jose that if he got us out of there within the hour, he would get a big tip. All the sudden, at the mention of money, things started rolling. We walked/sweated back up to the front of the line, I waited and Hani appeared with Skyhorse. Helper Jose pushed to the front of the line and got the border guy to cancel our vehicle permit while all the other helpers stood by. After checking our VIN numbers, our documents and inspecting the outside of Skyhorse and the motorcycle (another 30 minutes), the permit was cancelled and off we drove to exit El Salvador.

It was a confusing 10 minute drive through a town before arriving at the point where they check your passports and you actually exit.


Then, yay! We arrived at the Honduras border…only to be told that we couldn’t enter there because we have dualies and this entrance was for passenger vehicles only. We had to go back through El Salvador and exit where the giant parking lot of trucks was lined up. I was so upset after the previous 2 hour ordeal, in my blabbering and begging I missed the part where the guy said he’d make an exception and let us pass. This confusion went on for a while until some lady translated for us. Oops.

With assurances that the entrance process into Honduras would be so easy and fast, a border agent handed my stack of paperwork to a lady who turned out to hate me as much as she hated her job. It took 2 hours to enter Honduras, mainly because this lady was so incredibly slow processing the vehicle permit. So while she did whatever she was doing with my paperwork, I got our passports stamped, paid for visas, and paid the dog fee. $87.10 for all of us plus vehicles to enter. For the day.

What was most annoying about this border was the runaround. Nothing was streamlined. The visa lady (in one building) accepts dollars but for the dog and vehicle permit (2 other buildings), you have to pay in local currency. And the bank, where you pay for the vehicle permit, doesn’t exchange dollars. Luckily there are skezzey men (aka money exchangers) everywhere you turn with rates that would rival a traditional bank.

The guy who collected the dog fee needed copies of the pups outdated vaccination forms (which are still the ones we left Key West with) so I pretty pleased my way into using their copier for free in a nice air conditioned room.

When the lady was finally ready with our permit paperwork, I was told to make 6 copies of this, 4 of that, then 2, 2 and 2…. My dog fee guy said “don’t work, be happy” and let me use the copier again. As I made the hundred or so copies, we sang “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” and I impressed him (and myself) by knowing all the lyrics. Then he asked “sabes 2 Live Crew?” and laughed when I told him I was from Miami and starting singing. He put on “Oh Me So Horny” and we jammed in the room while I made my copies. This was definitely the high point of the day!

Finally in a good mood, I proudly went back to the lady with everything paid, receipts, and all the copies she asked for. And that stupid B told me she forgot to give me a form that I need 4 copies of. Ughhh. Seriously?! Thankfully my dog fee buddy was still close by.

An hour and 30 minutes later, we were driving to the entrance of Honduras where they asked for a copy of our vehicle permit. A copy for him?!? Of course the B never mentioned THIS copy. After unsuccessfully trying to sweet talk our way out of it, we had to turn around, drive back to the border madness and make that damn copy. I made 2, just in case.

By this point, it was around 4:00 and we had JUST driven into Honduras. This stretch of Honduras (the pacific side) doesn’t have much to see. It’s the main highway trucks and tourists use when driving the PamAm, so it’s noisy with speeding semis and not great for boondocking. Since everything we want to see in Honduras is on the Caribbean side, we opted to drive the 2 hours through to Nicaragua without stopping. Otherwise, we’d be in for a noisy night parked off the highway.

An hour into the drive, we saw our Florida friend pulled off to the side of the road. He had an accident and his camper was undriveable. So we loaded all his stuff and the New Zealanders into Skyhorse and continued to drive with a packed house.

Exiting Honduras at Guasaule was the polar opposite of our entrance. We arrived after dark (around 7) and outside was super quiet. No money changers. No helpers hounding you. Everything was clearly marked WITH SIGNS! It was unbelievable. One building held everything I needed–one window (with no line) for our exit stamps and another window (again with no line) to cancel the vehicle import. I was amazed. No copies. No one came outside to look at Skyhorse or the moto to compare VIN numbers to make sure we were canceling the right vehicles. In 5 minutes, we were out of Honduras. And really out, not held up somewhere down the road showing the vehicle cancellation papers.


Arriving at the Nicaragua border was magical as well. In around 40 minutes we got fumigated, bought mandatory insurance, paid for visas (where they accept dollars or cordoba), got our passports stamped and vehicle permit. There were no lines. No money changers or helpers anywhere in sight and they certainly were not needed. I didn’t have to make any copies and it was free (thank god) to get the vehicle permits. No one looked outside at Skyhorse to see if the permit I was requesting was for an actual vehicle.

By 8:30, we were all safe and sound in Nicaragua. It was a very long day but I guess the moral of the story is when you are thrown off your rhythm, good things happen. And cross borders at night. They are less stressful and much more enjoyable.