Panamericana 2013

… somewhere between Alaska and Tierra del Fuego

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DIY-Project: Caravan

IMG_3423-2We are now traveling with our small, “self-build” trailer since three months through Central America – the roof top tent which we started the trip with, is sold. It’s time to introduce our “house on wheels” to you.

The project, which was supposed to take two weeks took two months but it was definitely worth it.  The idea came while camping in El Tule, Mexico at “Overlander Oasis“. After 9 months of traveling, we loved and hated the roof top tent at the same time.  Sure, the tent is perfect when the weather is fine but we did miss a weatherproof place to cook, eat, sleep and relax.

Thanks to Calvin and Leanne of “Overlander Oasis” we invented the project:”Let’s Build a Trailer”. Thanks again for all your time and effort!

Also we want to Thank Martin in Cancun who sewed a super nice mosquito net for our back door.

You can find pics of the project here:

Overlander Oasis – Craftsmen at work

Trailer Project Phase II and Santa Maria del Tule

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That’s what it looked like when we bought it…

Splash protection and we even can bake a cake! 🙂

Splash protection closed is additional space for stuff

Splash protection closed is additional space for stuff

Full size kitchen sink and two tabs. One for drinking water, one for external water connection

Full size kitchen sink and two tabs. One for drinking water, one for external water connection

Splash protection closed is additional space for stuff

The manual foot pump is energy and water saving – all time hands free!

Living area with table in up-position and closed back doors.

Living area with table in up-position and closed back doors.

Breakfast with Panorama view – sure, with mosquito net.

Under the table we have some storage space and the table support is also the doors of the storage space.

The table can fold and hide in the sideboard.

Full size of the bed when the table is folded. Time to arrange this: 15 seconds.

The awning was attached to the Toyota but is now useful on the Trailer.

Panorama View due to a huge back door. Also we got a mosquito net (very importatnt) There is some storage space under the bed and sideboard.

Self made roof fan with battery saving PC-fans

We spent quite a lot on details - just to have it nice and cosy

We spent quite a lot on details – just to have it nice and cosy

With the LED strips in the roof it can be really bright.

But normally we like it more cozy. Like this.

Cute, self made “mask light” and little reading light.

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Ruin of Tikal

100 steps to the top!

We left Belize and went on to Guatemala where we visit the famous ruin “Tikal”.  We are not really into ruins so much but the huge buildings always make us think about the past and how this was build without machines and with so many poor people who had to work very hard and possibly also died here. The highest temple which is located in the center, is 47m high. To see the whole site you need to spend a day or two as it’s really huge.

 

 

Belize: “Spanish Lookout”, a Mennoniten Village.

Visit the marked in Belize before we head to Guatemala.

This road welcomes us in Guatemala 😉

Reached the camp spot …

… and got a nice view.

Eine deutsche Backpackerin fährt 11km die Tikal-Straße mit - mangels Rücksitze auf dem Trittbrett.

We gave her a lift on the footboard as we have only two seats and Lucia already lies in the back.

Jungle path in Tikal

Some huge trees!

Tikal

Stairs to temple II

Spider monkeys climbing in the trees.

Smile

Time to relax and kiss 😉

Plaza with the highest temple.

Panorama of the main temple

Back at the camp we enjoy fresh lemonade…

... und Bananen-Crepes

… and banana crepes 🙂

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20 meter deep

Hey, Hai!

Hey, Hai!

The dive which we like to do with “French Angel” fall though as nobody else wanted to go. We search for to another dive shop “Scuba Sensations” which goes out today. Only 30 minutes later we sit in the boat with our guides Ian and Mike as well as two other divers from France.

I am only a stowaway as I do not have a diving licence and can’t handle the ear clearing.  After the first dive we sail to San Pedro to get new air tanks  – as the waves are too much for by stomach I decide to leave the boat. Lucia and Jan go for their second dive and also snorkel tour while I explore San Pedro on Ambergris Caye. When they came back we had lunch together before we sailed back to “our” island, Caye Caulker.

The two days on the island were really nice, we enjoyed the sunshine and ocean as much as we could as we will head into the inland tomorrow.

 

Get the equipment ready…

…see u later!

Althoug Jans dive is 5 years ago everything works very well.

Touching these guys can become painful.

Our friend who follows us all the way!

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Happy! That was fun!

 

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Ready for the island

DCIM100GOPROWe take the boat from Belize City to Caye Caulker, a small island before Belize. We want to spent one night here to go diving and snorkeling. After 25minutes on the boat we reach the island early in the morning. Well, it seems early as the streets are empty at 8:30 AM. We look for our hotel “Sandy Lane” and find a dive shop on the way. Jan and Lucia want to go diving but this dive shop does not offer a dive for today. Maybe tomorrow if another person will sign on. The dive trip only starts when they have at least three divers. Instead of diving we can go snorkeling today. Four people already signed on, so we will be 7 in total.

Juan, our guide is really good. He is funny and can explain well. Our first stop is the marine reserve “Hol Chan”. We see so many colourful fishes,rays turtles, lots of jellyfishes and a shark, too. “Why should I go diving?”, I asked. “I have seen so much now. It was beautiful! I am done”.  We get sandwiches on the boat and take a little break before we head to the next spot, the “Shark Ray Alley”. The name is not just a name. There are so many sharks. I do not want to get in here…. I let the others go and wait on the boat.

They came back unharmed and we went on to the “Coral Reef”. Unfortunately here is not much to see –  compared the the last two spots. We get fresh fruits and Coconut Rum and Juan heads back to the island. We can totally recommend this trip with Juan!

Before we went to bed exhausted we had a nice dinner at Syd’s Restaurant.

Caye Caulker main street.

Our room at Sandy Lane hotel.

Caye Caulker. Making new friends.

Juan, our snorkeling guide.

See turtle sooo close!

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Love these little fishes who always come in groups.

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Super cute

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All good!

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“I am good!”

Sharks. Soo close. Jan also touched one.

It was a super trip!

Yummy Yummy dinner!

 

 

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The police! Again!

IMG_1620We want to drive to Belize City were we will meet Lucia again. That’s the plan…. sure it comes different. As we drive on the main road, in the middle of nowhere, from Corozal to Orange Walk Town, we get stopped by the police. It’s a strange police stop as we can not see a car – only 5 police men with a “Police” T-Shirt. They ask if we have an insurance for the car. Sure! Jan shows the sticker on the windshield. The next question was about the insurance for the trailer. Our answer: Well, äh. No. Or maybe Yes”. We did not really know so Jan had to find the papers which the insurance guy gave us.

I show it to the police man and he explains that the trailer is not covered. We explain that this was not our aim and that we do like to get the insurance. Maybe right now? And here? But the police can’t do it. We promise to get the insurance in Orange Walk Town as soon as we get there. The guy we talked to seems fine with the idea but the other one who seems to be the boss, does not agree. He mumbles something like “You don’t commit the offence man! You go to jail and pay 500 Dollar US.”

He repeated this sentence several times but he never asked for a bribe. Well, sure we know that that is all he wants but we stay stubborn and explain that we are sorry and will get an insurance. We also explain that it’s only our 2nd day in Belize and that we liked it so far. After approx. 20 minutes we were allowed to leave without paying 1 Cent.

Our new goal for today: Orange Walk Town / Insurance Company. This is how plans change…

As the car is insured with “icb insurance” we need to find exactly this office to insure the trailer as no other company will insure only the trailer. Luckily we find the “icb” office fast. The lady is very friendly, we have to pay 46 Belize Dollar get the insurance without any problems. It takes us only 20 minutes and we can leave to Belize City.

Now we are ready for the next police stops! Sure, we did not get stopped again now. We reach our Camp “Old Belize” and find Lucia who is already waiting.

Before it gets dark we want to see the city and hop into a bus…

Waiting for the bus.

Most kids have these braids…

…and sure we were asked to get them too 😉

Loving the “old way” to contact home.

Post Office

Post Office

An initiative agains drugs and crime.

The founder in his element.

Kids get drum lessons and have something to do.

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Another church.

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Was jetzt? US oder Belize Dollar?

We are at the boarder from Mexico to Belize. The departure costs 300 Pesos each, which we do not have anymore cause we thought it’s cheaper. Luckily the boarder officer takes any currency so we can pay in Euro, Pesos and Dollars which we still have. We also get our temporary car import paper canceled, so that Mexico knows that we are gone WITH our car. In case we want to come back – this is very important.

Belize we’re coming!

First car and trailer need to get an “undersurface wash” because of all the “dangerous microbes” we could bring from Mexico. Sure, it’s not just water – it’s a poisonous liquid and we get told not to touch it. After this we head to the entry counter where a young guy catches us and explains us what to do and where to go.  He is friendly and really helpful. We know that he wants money at the end but as long as he really helps we like to give him a little tip. The entry process works very good, easy and fast. Also the car and trailer import is easy. We were a little concerned about the trailer first – as it’s not registered in Germany or Mexico – but it was no problem at all. As we have the papers and a german number plate it looks legal we think 😉

We are ready to drive on. No. Not yet. They have to check the car first. All they find are the eggs which we just bought – but okay, no problem.

 Danach wird das Auto grob durchsucht und die möglicherweise kontaminierten Hühnereier aus Mexiko einkassiert – bei der leckeren Ananas drückt der Grenzer ein Auge zu. Beim Anhänger muss ich lediglich die Tür öffnen. Damit sind wir eingereist, werden jedoch noch zur Auto-Versicherung – direkt gegenüber – geschickt. Wir versichern das Auto für zwei Wochen und 46,- Belize Dollar (ca. 20 Euro) und sind nach knapp 2 Stunden über die Grenze. Das ging flott und reibungslos!

Jan kommentiert, dass wir nun keine Versicherung für den Anhänger haben, aber wir machen uns keine weiteren Gedanken. Wir sind happy, dass wir fertig sind und fahren zur ersten Stadt: Corozal. Lucia nimmt sich ein Taxi und wir tuckern hintereinander her. Wir nutzen Jans Walki Talkies vom Gleitschirm fliegen, um uns während der Fahrt zu verständigen.

Wir erreichen den Campingplatz und fragen beim Einfahren auf das Gelände den Besitzer nach dem Preis. Er sagt 20 Dollar inkl. Strom. Natürlich gehen wir von Belize Dollar aus, wir sind schließlich in Belize – zumal wir von anderen Reisenden den gleichen Preis erfahren hatten. Nachdem wir unser Lager aufgeschlagen haben, gehe ich zahlen. Der Besitzer verlangt nun 20 US Dollar kosten, sprich 40 Belize Dollar, also das Doppelte. Das ist Abzocke! Ich bin stink sauer, gehe zurück zu Jan und Lucia und beschwere mich über die frechen Belizianer. Ich checke noch einmal im iPad den Preis, den Andere gezahlt haben und laufe zurück zum Office. Ich erkläre, dass wir auf Empfehlung hier seien und sein Preis nicht fair sei. Ich zeige ihm den Eintrag auf dem iPad. Er entschuldigt sich mit der Ausrede, dass lediglich der Strom 20 Belize Dollar kostet, ohne Strom kostet es 20 Belize Dollar. Wir sind uns sicher, dass der Preis den andere zahlten inklusive Strom war, aber in diesem Fall verzichten wir einfach auf die Steckdose und sparen uns die 20 Belize Dollar. Unser erster Eindruck von Belize ist ein weniger gedämpft.

Wir schauen uns dennoch das kleine Städtchen an. Immerhin wissen wir nun, dass wir bei den Preisen stark aufpassen müssen, um welche Art Dollar es sich handelt. 🙂