Driving Central America & South America.

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Alabama to Panama

Tcat Left 2
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Tcat Right 2
soundandfury's picture
Joined: Feb 24 2009

I've been stalking this website for a couple of weeks now and first off, want to express my appreciation for all the information that has been collected here, especially the packing lists.

A couple friends and I are looking for an adventure towards the end of summer, and I thought a trip down to Panama would make for a great destination. Experience some different cultures (read: foods), meet some new people, and most importantly, have some time without commitments to work or school.

I have noticed that most everything i read has people traveling in trucks or RVs. Is this to haul camping/fishing gear or are the trucks for navigating ill constructed/planned roads? Would a '98 honda accord have much of a problem getting down to the canal?

My friend and I are both relatively poor, yet we're decently talented musically. Would playing guitars for tips be a worthwhile endeavor? or would that only work in tourist towns we happened upon?

What GPS systems have you all had the best luck with traveling through central American countries?

I'm sure more questions will come out once i get closer to the push off date, but any answers you can give we'd greatly appreciate. Thanks.

admin's picture
Joined: Feb 11 2009

I took a GPS on our second

I took a GPS on our second trip down, and never used it. Our first trip we didn't have one. I'd buy good maps (usually have to get a really good one in the country itself) and spend the remaining money on beer and tacos. Especially get a good one for Mexico, they've built tons of new roads.

About the guitar thing.. Hmmm, I'm unsure, but probably not the best way to make a buck. If you could get a bar to agree to have you play and pay you in beer, go for it if you just like playing. I'll let others weigh in more, I'm just not sure.

A car would be fine. Camping is tough, and hotels are cheap. The roads often suck, but bring a tire patch kit and a spare tire, and you'll be fine. There's tire fixing places *everywhere*.

atg200's picture
Joined: Feb 20 2008

An Accord will be fine. You

An Accord will be fine. You will just have to be slower and more careful on the heavily potholed roads.

I wouldn't bother trying to play for tips. There are a lot of locals already doing this for a living, and they need the money a lot more than you do. I doubt any locals would tip a gringo, and other travelers are going to be more likely to tip local musicians as well.

Not sure how much good a GPS would do. Even the printed maps are pretty inaccurate. With an Accord, you are going to be fairly limited to main roads in any case.