Road trip destination: Austin, Texas to Argentina
Date left home: October 21, 2007
Date arrived in Argentina: March 10, 2008
Vehicle: 1995 Honda Accord
Purpose/motivation for the trip: The Adventure; traveling by car allows you to be free and travel like a local; wanting to just hit the road and keep on driving; and drive Alex back to his home town in Brazil.
Camping or hotels: Cheap and nasty hotels
Top 3 recommended hotels: I'll be honest the only hostel or hotel that stands out on the entire trip was the Black Cat hostel in Xela Guetemala, the breakfasts were amazing. Otherwise we stayed in some very substandard accommodation.
Average daily expenses:$60-$70 USD per day
Mode of shipping around Darien Gap:We chose RORO and shipped our car from Balboa in Panama to Manta in Ecuador. We used a shipping company called CCNI shipping. But we went through an agent in Panama City called Pancanel Shipping Agency. To ship the car cost $850 plus $50 in document fees and $6 in port fees in Balboa.
Worst border crossing: Exiting Nicaragua, because of the weird paper trail that took nearly 2 hours. 5 stamps, 5 signatures just to exit the country.
Preferred guidebook(s): Lonely Planet. We used the South America on a Shoe String. It had good general info about the sights and hotels, etc. The prices were way off though - a lot higher than they were in the book.
Top 2 books read on trip that relate to where you traveled through: Didn't read any.
Best piece(s) of practical advice for someone following in your footsteps: It was a much easier trip than I imagined but I recommend breaking the trip down into bite size sections and have goals and schedules to work towards to keep the flow going.
Take 3-4 days break from driving every now and then and take your time to enjoy the surroundings. It's hard not to become obsessed with constantly wanting to keep moving and get to the next destination.
Enjoy where you are, wherever that may be.
Future road trips: In mid April 2009, we are planning on shipping our Honda Civic from Houston, Texas to Lisbon, Portugal. From there we head south to Spain, then take the ferry across the Gibraltar straight and start our African overland journey in Morocco.
Hayden's website: www.africaby2wd.com