Panamericana 2013

… somewhere between Alaska and Tierra del Fuego

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Somoto Canyon. Dora goes swimming

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Transit through Honduras

Sorry, this entry is only available in Deutsch.

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Tight bikinis and trained bodies

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Happy without surfing

Our trip goes back to the ocean. In only a few hours we make it from the volcano to sea level and reach “El Tunco”.
It’s a touristy village. Not because the village is beautiful, because the waves are perfect for surfing. We don’t surf but we enjoy the beach although it’s not perfect for swimming it’s nice too cool down.
In the morning and afternoon we can watch the surfers who are really fancy 😉

We don’t camp in El Tunco directly because it’s a party village and way too full and loud for us. Especially at the weekends.

As this place has so many hotels we get the idea of making a video here, too. We ask each hotel and an hour later we have a deal with a nice resort. We film for a week and the KAYU Resort has a pretty nice promotion video now:

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Dora climbs volcano Santa Ana

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We made it to the top of Santa Ana

We drive to the “Parque Natural Cerro Verde” on 2.000 meters. There’s a fresh and cool breeze as well as a huge parking space to camp. We enjoy the “cold” temperature.
Together with another travel group of about 9 people, Dora and I climb up to Volcano Santa Ana while Jan stays in bed with a cold. The tour is really save as two police men from the tourist police always join the group. The hike up and down takes 4 hours and is (except for the last part back to the camp which are only stairs) really nice. Dora does very well and manages the whole trail perfectly. After the trip she was dog-tired – in the truest sense of the word 😉
The park does not prohibit dogs at all and Dora was fine without leash all the time.

 

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El Salvador – we’re coming!

Dora takes over the landcruiser

Dora takes over the landcruiser

We leave Monterrico. After a long time in Guatemala we will now cross the border to El Salvador.

Our first km back to Antigua are not overland as usual, it’s on water with an exciting “ferry” crossing the mangroves. You can see the pictures and know why I think it’s exciting 😉

I did not only think that we might sink, I also wasn’t sure if our captain knows how to steer as he always headed directly towards oncoming boats. After 20 minutes we reached the other side of the river and got back to normal streets which i really appreciated.

As we reached the border in Guatemala some pushy “helpers” were already awaiting us. While Jan waited in the car, I handled the paperwork and departure. It went really smooth and 20 minutes later we were in El Salvador.

Sticker number 7 for El Salvador

Sticker number 7 for El Salvador

Here, it took us 2 hours which is still ok for central america. Bringing Dora was not a problem at all. We only showed her vaccination pass and were ready to leave. We did not have to pay anything.

Our first destination in El Salvador are the “Termales Santa Teresa”, which are natural hot springs. The Resort ist really nice and has many pools to swim or relax. The temperatures in the pools are different, you can find really hot pools or some to cool down.

We’ve directly had the idea to take a video here, too. The manager was enthusiastic and liked the idea, especially the drone flight.

That’s why we stayed here for a week and took this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0Z8eOWblPY

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It’s getting hot.

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Calm beach flight in the sunset!

One day we needed to say goodbye to Linda cause we can’t spend the rest of our travel time in Antigua. (Information about the visa extension at the bottom)

A little sad to leave this place, we headed towards the ocean. Our destination was Monterrico where we stayed at Johnny’s place Hotel for a week. Usually we do not stay in hotels but this time Jan had a job offer here. He has to film the hotel to make a promotion video for this nice place. Dora and me enjoyed beach life while Jan had to work 😉 What we also enjoyed was the hotel room and restaurant as the accommodation as well as food and drink was our payment.

If somebody will visit Guatemala / Monterrico one day, we can absolutely recommend Johnny’s place. Watch the video and you know why.

Besides filming Jan flew a lot. Sometimes twice a day and had a lot of fun. One flight was amazing as he saw two wales. The pic shows them but very little – it was saver to fly high above the water in case the engine would have had stopped working.

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Dora – who else?

Dora had her first beach experience, we usually walked in the mornings as daytime was much too hot. She liked it and had to learn how to behave when she passed other beach dog areas 😉 She is really good and knows what to do. But, she is not a real beach dog. She hates water. Especially the waves. Well, she is still little and those waves are strong.

 

 

 

 

P.S: Extension of Visa & Car Import papers of the CA4 countries.

The extension IS possible. As well as for car and yourself.

First you need to extend the tourist visa at Immigration Office Extranjeria in Zone 4. Direccion General de Inmigracion (Extranjeria), Avenida 6, 3-11, Opening hours: monday – friday (not on holidays) 8:30am-4:30pm

In the Office go to the 1. level to window number 1

Tell that you want to extent your tourist visa and you will receive a form which you have to fill out. Also you receive a “number paper” which tells you when it’s your turn.

The actual number is shown on a display in the waiting area. Waiting took us the longest.

As soon as your number is shown on the display, you need the form, your original passport, a passport photo, two copies of your passport (the page with the picture), a copy of cour credit card (front and back side) or a departure airline ticket as well as 115,- Q per person. You pay only when you pick up the documents which is 5 working days later. Then, you can directly go to window number 2.

To extent the import papers for your car you have to show your car to the SAT office at the airport (GPS: N14 35.056 W90 31.829). You need your original import papers, the passport of the vehicle owner and your new tourist visa. The process took us 30minutes and we did not need to pay anything.

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We won’t stay long in Antigua and we don’t adopt a dog

Training Time !

Training Time !

We left AWARE and drove to Antigua to stay two nights before we wanted to head to El Salvador. Well, plans change.

So we ended up staying more than one months. Why?

I helped out at an animal shelter again. This time it was a huge difference to the shelter we visited before. It’s a small shelter with 20-25 dogs. “Unidos para los Animales” trains the dogs, they are healthy, spayed, well-behaved and socialized.

Luckily, Linda, the owner of the shelter was able to find a perfect camping solution for us – we camped at her neighbours house in the driveway, were allowed to use shower and bathroom, had a huge garden for ourself and quiet nights (expect fireworks). The home owners did not live there at this time as the house was under construction.

I walked dogs, played with them, gave them some love and cuddle time, learned a lot about “clicker training” and also trained dogs.

 

Love u!

Love u!

Also we met Achmet and Mira in Antigua, they also travel in Central America. One day, they hiked Volcano Agua where a small, cute puppy followed them all the way up. As this was very exhausting, Achmet had to carry the little girl down. Well, what do you do after such an experience with a dog? I (sure) would have not thought a second and would have taken her home. Achmet and Mira were waver and didn’t know if they wanna travel with a dog.

As soon as they told us this lovely story about a little dog searching for parents, we kind of persuaded them to go back to the starting point of the hike and see if she is still there. Sure, at the end THEY have to decide if they want a dog – but as they have not been against it, they only needed a little push 😉

And so it came, that Jan drove them to the village where they left the pup behind. After only 10 minutes, the dog found her new parents and was super happy to see them. What a sweet story! Ayla is a very lucky dog who now enjoys a really good life traveling through Central America and Germany.

Love her!

Love her!

This day, I was at the shelter with Linda who got four new puppies from a woman who also rescues dogs. She asked us to foster one (fostering means taking care of the dog in your own home, train usual manners like sit, down and going into a travel box) until the dog is adopted and can fly to the USA which would not take long. Maybe two weeks. SURE! We love to do that. So we fostered little Dora. She stayed with us one day, two days, three, four….

But what happens when you (I) have a cute, very smart puppy for this period of time – who sure was allowed to cuddle with us on the couch? Yes! I fall in love with her and won’t give her back. Also Jan loved little Dora. That’s why we are three again. We are sure that Lissy and Dora will love each other. Finally, Lissy gets her playmate – she only has to wait some more months.

The process to import a dog from Central America to Germany is not easy (it only is from Mexico). You can check for details: http://www.bmel.de/DE/Tier/HausUndZootiere/Heimtiere/_Texte/HeimtiereEinreiseregelung.html

It definitely was time to fly again without motor!

It definitely was time to fly again without motor!

While I was busy at the shelter Jan got in contact with some Paraglider and went to fly several times. Also, he went to a “crazy” airshow with Lindas husband who is also interested in flying. Watch this: If the planes get so close to the people, it can only be in Central America 😉

That’s why we ended up staying more than 5 weeks in Antigua. Also, we spend Christmas and New Year here. At this time we camped at the tourist police and celebrated with a lot of Overlanders. It was a nice group with people from all over the world: Australia, France, Germany, India, Turkey, Chile and Argentina.

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300 dogs – 90 cats. AWARE

Hey! Don’t you wanna give us a new home?

After a week at lake Atitlan we want “to do something good” and help at an animal shelter. Online, I found “AWARE”, a dog shelter with more than 300 dogs and 90 cats where help is always needed. We can’t really put our impressions into words.
The street dogs who were hit by a car, who were put on a short leash their whole life, who were hit with the machete or got abused in another way, find a “home” here but unfortunately the hygienic circumstances do not match our German ideas.

Taking care of 300 dogs – to keep the pens clean, to go for a walk with each dog, to provide medical care safely and to give each dog a little love and attention is not possible with this amount of dogs. There are just too many dogs and looking closely into it, it even brought tears in our eyes.

Many dogs are unhealthy, they have skin problems because there are too many fleas in the ground which unfortunately can not be tarred for reasons of cost and also diseases can be transferred quickly. We help two weeks: cleaning pens, walking dogs and just giving the dogs a little love and attention. We also buy wood at a wood factory and build 15 dog houses. We also tile two rooms of the quarantine station and install sewage pipes. After two weeks we leave with a heavy heart :(

Also, we bring a little christmas into the shelter 😉

Mecanico. BEefore he came here, he was used as a bait for fighting dogs :(

Tolken. One of the most cuddly dogs i have ever seen

Hey, how do you like this model look?

Polly. My favorite

Snook wants to play

That’s Snook. He is super cute, too

And what’s my name?

Sonia is an amazing worker here.

The clinic which needs an all over restoration.

Puppy without name. One of six puppies without mama

Sonia always has a little love for the animals

Hey . Get me out!

Me too!

Black Beauty. She came in the shelter a day ago

She is not only beauty, she also is very well-behaved…but

…she did not come alone…

…she has four white puppies who still have their eyes closed.

Polly. She got hit by a car and her leg got ruined but she still runs as fast as the others ;)

Finding tiles…

…well, not the nicest pattern but rare ;)

With room number 2 we became more creative.

New sewerage pipes…

…and new dog houses.

Yes, also I drilled and screwed ;)

Our new workplace for 5 days

“Sit” Training. These guys are fine as long as I have treats ;)

Iza who also volunteers here. Taking Black Beauty for a walk

The puppies thrive and prosper

Cooking rice and chicken for sick dogs

Hey! Why do I have to be here?

…we wanna go outside for a walk.

Those eyes tell stories.

Unfortunately not every dog is healthy

This guy has only three legs but he does not care…

A very nice husky mix…

…with a lot of energy.

He is anxious and needs a lot of love.

An old, blind lady :(

Cute but cheeky

The puppies open their eyes and start playing

They had four siblings who unfortunately did not make it :(

We hope the dogs will like them.

Iza takes care of these two. Without her, these two puppies would have died too :(

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Surrounded by volcanos at Lago Atitlan

Our Camp in Panajachel

After our volcano trip we want to relax at lago Atitlan. On our way we visit the market in Sololá where we do not see any tourists and get our fruit and vegetable ration for unbeatable prices. The market is really worth to see and explore.

The lake covers 130km², is 18km long and surrounded by three volcanos. The lake basin is volcanic in origin, filling an enormous caldera formed in an eruption 84.000 years ago.  Around the lake there are several small villages like Pana(jachel), San Pedro and San Marcos. Our first destination is the biggest village “Pana” which we do not like much. Our camp however provides a beautiful view to the lake and volcanos.

With the water taxi we reach the surrounding villages. San Pedro is famous for its party time, drugs, fireworks and souvenir stands – not really what we’re looking for. So we only spend half day here before we headed to San Marcos. We were told that there is a beautiful Campground so we pack our stuff and head this way.

The road to the small village is steep – really steep. While driving down we’re already asking ourself how we will ever get back up…

San Marcos is very quiet. It kind of seems dead. The motto here is: Meditation, Yoga and Relaxation!  The Camp is a little outside and we have to torture the trailer on a bad off-road route. But it’s worth it. The place at Pierre is amazing and we stay for one week.

 

Our Camp in Pana

Café in San Pedro – luckily we can get coffee in every village

Main road in San Pedro

Poor street dogs at the market in Sololá :(

Oil change needs to be done

Yummy chocolate fruits at the market

Somebody wants to join? ;)

Market Sololá

You can buy the living chickens…

…or the dead

Usually the vendors sit on the floor and pile up their fruits and vegetables in front of them.

The locals don’t wear colourful clothes.

Butterfly farm in Pana

Butterfly farm in Pana

San Marcos. Lucia and Jan having …

…fun while splashing into the lake.

“How do I get back up?”

Bread! Real bread. Our tipp:

…while you’re at the lake. Check Posada Jaibalito…

..super nice food and super cheap.

Also these guys know how yummy it is!

Our view…

…our BBQ ;)

To get into the small and steep property of Pierre we needed some helping hands.

Back to the main road… It’s even too steep for the Toyota who has to pull the trailer….

…we had to take several breaks.

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2.000 mts in height on one day. Volcano Acatenango

Fuego! Nearly within our grasp.

Dieser Trip wird unvergesslich bleiben. Bevor wir gestartet sind, wussten wir, dass es nicht leicht sein wird den 4.000 Meter Hohen Vulkan “Acatenango” zu besteigen. Wir wollen es natürlich dennoch und bereiten uns seelisch und moralisch darauf vor indem wir uns immer wieder sagen, dass es nicht leicht wird aber wir immerhin unser eigenes Equipment wie Zelt, Isomatte, Schlafsack und Trekkingrucksäcke dabei haben. Somit müssen wir uns nicht mit den “alten” Leihsachen der Touranbieter herumärgern. Mit vollgepackten Rucksäcken startet unsere Tour morgens um 9 Uhr. Es ist steil, wird steiler und bleibt steil. Ein Alptraum aber wir werden immer mal wieder mit traumhaften Blicken aufs Tal belohnt. Leider wurde Jan Höhenkrank und hatte eine seiner schlimmsten Nächste oben im Krater. Außerdem brachte uns unser Guide an einen Nachtplatz von dem aus der aktive Vulkan “Fuego” nicht aus dem Zelt zu sehen war. Um einen Blick auf den Vulkan zu haben, hätten wir 50 Meter aus dem Krater laufen müssen. Keiner von uns wollte allerdings noch einen Meter laufen und wir blieben fast den ganzen Abend im Zelt. Somit haben wir es verpasst den Vulkan aktiv zu sehen. (Wir wir im Nachhinein erfahren haben, gibt es einen Nachtplatz von dem man aus dem Zelt eine super Sicht auf den Fuego hat! Wir ärgern uns grün und blau aber das nutzt nun auch nichts mehr)

 

Uff… it’s getting warm

Step by step

It wasn’t that funny – we’re only smiling for the pic ;)

We get nice views every now and then.

BREAK!

We still feel good…

..but then it gets cold…

..colder and steeper…

…it is so difficult to walk as it is all sandy.

Yeah. We reach the crater. Now we only need to setup the tent.

Unfortunately we did not see lava…

…and as our photographer was sick we do not have any pics of the vulcano :(

GOOD morning. Luckily Jan can get up.

And pose for a pic

Looks like on the mood, doesn’t it?

Well, don’t know if the moon really looks like this.

Fuego! But it’s not erupting.

Yes, of course it does!

Wow!

Wow!

Our Guide! Thank god he was able to carry Jans backpack.

Getting down is not easier than coming up…

Think our faces say everything.

Adios!

It was COLD.

400 Meter weiter unten wird alles einfacher...

400 meter further down it got much easier…

…and Jan was fit again!

 

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