Archive for June, 2014

Florida to Yucatan Ferry? Is it going to happen?

Posted: June 30, 2014 by Central America Overland Expeditions in Expedition/Travel

 

045This morning, we received a ferry update from Bruce Nierenberg, CEO of United Caribbean Lines, the company that is looking to start the Florida to Yucatán route.

“First let me apologize to all of you who have been so patient in waiting for the new ferry service to begin. My partners and I have continued to work towards finalizing the plans for starting the service and have actually come very close to providing a start date. We are still in that stage. I do not have an exact starting date.

I can tell you that from a practical point of view any of you considering holding off in your travel plans this fall in expectation of the ferry starting should make alternative plans.

The earliest the ferry can start will be in the winter of 2015 after the holidays. More likely the start will be in March, April [2016]. We are all meeting next week to determine a more accurate starting date for your use.

Additional facts:

We are still planning to have a combination passenger and car/cargo vessel to use. You will be able to bring your cars and pets. There will be additional accommodations for personal cargo. The voyage will be 30 hours one way. The price will average about $350 round trip including cabin and meals. We will have entertainment and casino operations on the ship.”

As soon as the ferry is in service, you’ll be the first to know where to buy your tickets.

Thanks for being patient and your continued interest.

 

Bruce Nierenberg,

CEO of United Caribbean Lines

 

 

Our response:

Dear Mr. Nierenberg,

We do appreciate the update. However, since this idea was initially explored/announced  several years ago, we’ve made several trips driving back and forth from the USA to the Yucatan, Belize and Eastern Guatemala.  Quote ” I can tell you that from a practical point of view any of you considering holding off in your travel plans this fall in expectation of the ferry starting should make alternative plans.” Yes Sir we have. We’d love to see this project get off the ground, but at this point and pace, is it going to happen? We’d be the first to buy tickets!

Sincerely

Team CAOE

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WikiOverland, the encyclopedia of Overland Travel.

Posted: June 25, 2014 by Central America Overland Expeditions in Expedition/Travel

Since we’ve been overlanding through Central America,  we’ve  come to realize there are many Overlanders out there in the community who are extremely supportive and helpful to others planning to set out on a grand adventure. Many of us try our best to post information on our blogs, Facebook, twitter, discussion forums and other social media that we think will be helpful to others, and some have even written books on the subject. Unfortunately, this information quickly slides off front pages, and goes stale and out of date, making it very hard to find, and usually not very helpful.

Enter WikiOverland, the encyclopedia of Overland Travel

wikioverland

WikiOverland is designed to “pick up where the traditional guide books leave off” for Overlanders.
Everything you need to know to successfully get around with a vehicle is included.

Some of the important topics covered for each country are:

  • Crossing the border – paperwork requirements, insurance requirements, costs and permitted length of stay.
  • Gas prices, quality and frequency. Prices are converted in real-time to any currency and unit you prefer.
  • Roads, Bribery and checkpoints.
  • Camping – both paying and “wild”.
  • Navigation – with paper maps and GPS co-ordinates.
  • Vehicle maintenance.
  • Buying and selling vehicles.
  • much more.

More general topics covered include:

  • Popular Overland routes.
  • Vehicle shipping.
  • Bribery tips and advice.
  • General Paperwork requirements explained.

If travel information is readily available in guide books or on the web, that information is linked to as much as possible.

To start out exploring WikiOverland, checkout the Overland Frequently Asked Questions

This is a project made by the Overland community, for the Overland community.
If we all contribute a little bit, we’ll make the entire site better for everyone.
Because WikiOverland is built on the wiki platform, you can click edit in the top right of the screen, update or add whatever you like, and click save all in less than 5 minutes.

You can help make WikiOverland better for everyone:

  • If you know a thing or two about the country you live in (like gas prices), please take the time to add or update that information.
  • If you are passing through a country, please take 10 minutes and update sections that have changed. If nothing has changed, you can just update the “last updated date” for those sections so we know it’s still good as of now.

Head over and check it out ! WikiOverland.org

 

 


Sitting there enjoying fine dining and ambience you could imagine yourself in some swanky upscale high-priced restaurant in NYC, LA or Paris. Other than watching the locals and tourist stroll by on the small one lane street below did I continue to remind myself that I’m on a small peninsula, Placencia. It’s was my wife’s 29th birthday again and lucky for me I thought ahead to make reservations, good thing, it began to fill out quickly and this was supposed to be low season. We arrived at the Rumfish Restaurant promptly at 7pm, were seated and ordered drinks. We felt right at home and comfortable, and the waiters very attentive.  Shortly afterwards the owner, John came over to our table to say hello, welcomed us and tell us what the specials were for the evening. Of course Lobster season has just begun here in Belize and I was keenly aware to see what delicious Lobster meals would be on the menu. I was not disappointed.

052Once we ordered we settled back into quiet conversation and people watched from the veranda. It was great see both locals and tourist strolling by in the evening calm walking eating ice cream, riding bikes and golf carts. We also spied a few small boys in convoy riding their bikes carrying fishing poles to do some night fishing from the Placencia Pier.What a great view, the cool breeze, the soft music and comfortable surroundings. Soon I had an appetizer of conch fritters in front of me and my wife had two wonderful appetizers instead of dinner because she found a variety of appetizers that she liked. ” I’m having two appetizers” she said laughingly to the waiter. All I could muster up was ” It’s your Birthday.”

002After my appetizer I felt too full to eat what I had ordered, but when it came to our table I somehow mustered up another appetite. Finishing our wonderful meal, my wife and I were surprised when John’s wife Pam and our waiter came over with a slice of Key Lime pie with a candle to acknowledge her birthday. The pie smelled and looked so good my wife almost finished it before the candle was blown out. That wonderful unexpected and thoughtful gesture made out night. We certainly enjoyed ourselves and it was evident that many visiting Placencia as well as the locals enjoy RumFish Restaurant as well. If you’re visiting Placencia we highly recommend you go there.

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http://www.rumfishyvino.com/

Rumfish y vino located in Placencia, Belize Central America is a “gastro-bar” offering local draft beers, a full bar, and ‘small plates’ style dining as well as a menu of great classic comfort foods with a Belizean twist and international fusion fare. A place for locals and tourists alike. Known for having the best wine list in Belize,  Rumfish y vino proudly imports all of their own wines. The atmosphere is breezy, cool, with lilting music… overlooking the cricket field. Outdoor and indoor dining, and a large rectangular bar with comfortable seating and wonderful views.



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The Land Rovers are full of gas, the tents have been cleaned and the call of adventure is calling. What should we do? Cave tubing, hiking and bird watching or boating, fishing, and snorkeling ? You decide. Any of our dedicated followers that recommend the best plan of action (adventure) will have an honorary mention in our blog. We’ll post results after the weekend, and thanks for following us. Don’t forget you can like us and follow along on facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/CentralAmericaOverlandExpeditions?ref=hl

 

Locked up abroad?

Posted: June 18, 2014 by Central America Overland Expeditions in Expedition/Travel
Tags: ,

Locked up in paradise? You may not mind the view. Seine Bight Jail, Placencia Peninsula, Belize. 

 


All good things must come to an end, and we knew our time was ticking to a close in Antigua. As much as we wanted to stay another week, month or maybe a year, the day had come when we had to trek back to Belize. Getting an early start and topping off with what we consider cheap gas ($4.00 Guatemala vs $6.00 Belize) we took the highway heading back through Guatemala City and then continued eastward across Guatemala towards Belize.

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Driving thru Guatemala City traffic reminded me of any big city anywhere. The daily hustle of people going to and from work, school, shopping and so forth. It was actually interesting too, as we saw Wal-Mart, three or four McDonald’s, a movie plaza and many more retail stores, car dealers, and high-rise apartments. Much of these we had not seen since leaving the states, and since we’ve been in Belize we are no longer accustomed to seeing such. Just then we saw something, the Guatemala City Ghetto’s. Full of  people scavenging  for a living in the garbage dump in the center of Guatemala City, scouring trash 11 hours a day for scrap items to sell to recyclers, I was humbled by the site of seeing people living like this and thinking this is all they have to look forward to each and everyday. Little children, Moms and Dads, all working the dump, day in and day out. Living, dying and trying to survive. It is such a pitiful site. I know that one day we will return and try to help out, if nothing more than mentoring, volunteering or in any capacity that we can make a difference.

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After successfully navigating the maze of signs, traffic jams, detours, mud slides and a few wrong turns we finally found ourselves on the outskirts of Guatemala City and now it was time to make up lost time.

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Finally we settled into a smooth pace, but we occasionally ran into some light traffic but otherwise enjoyed the view of driving across Guatemala’s beautiful countryside. The roads in Guatemala we found for the most part are very good, with lots of construction going on and improvements being made. Of course you can’t drive over 50 mph in most places , but for the most part traveling through the Guatemalan countryside was easy. There are plenty of gas stations, roadside stands to get something to eat and always something interesting to see, especially when you get off the main road and take a backroad.

” Hey Bernard” Scott called over the radio. ” Looking at the GPS, we can take this back road and shave about an hour or more off our trip” he quipped! ” I guess” I called back hesitantly, and thus began our real adventure. I wasn’t to worried as I know our Land Rovers have been built for this type of travel and they would easily stand up to the test, but I was just a little worried about having my kidneys shaking up for 40 miles of bad road. No sooner than we turned off the main highway, the road was all loose gravel, mud holes, ruts, ditches, dusty and one lane wood bridges that looked questionable. And we had over 40 miles of it to go, I’m thinking? Soon “Pigs” shouted Scott as I seen his brake lights come on and he abruptly stopped. What’s next I thought, and then I began to think was this a good idea? “Cows” he shouted over the radio not long after that, and then “Dogs, Chickens, Horses” and so it went. It didn’t get much better after those encounters and so we slowed down our pace, and just took it all in stride.

003 005 007 009 010 I guess it’s just a part of expeditioning, you know you’re not driving thru suburbia. Finally after this bone jarring drive and white knuckling experience it was refreshing to get back on the main road that would take us into Belize via the Western Highway. In all I’d have to say this is one of the most memorable drives in my life. It included all the elements of a great adventure drive. Beautiful scenery, unsuspecting surprise stops around every corner (animals), little one lane bridges that you hurried across because you thought you wouldn’t make it, the occasional possible head on collision from a farm truck or tractor coming directly at you, and drifting a 6,500 pound expedition vehicle around blind curves. Would we do it again? Who’s knows, probably, I think it was fun! Finally getting back to the border and into Belize felt like home, and it kinda is for now and we did miss Belize. Thanks for staying with us and enjoying our crazy adventures. And if you’d ever drifted a 6,500 pound 4×4 vehicle we’d love to hear from you.

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What’s not to like about Antigua?

Posted: June 9, 2014 by Central America Overland Expeditions in Expedition/Travel


Antigua, Guatemala! It’s been calling us. The city of eternal spring, in the highlands of Guatemala has been quietly whispering to us. We had no choice but to go. Surrounded by volcanoes, hundreds of cultural things to do and places to eat and shop, we couldn’t resist not going any longer. 029 045 106 107 Exploring Antigua is a joy. Food, getting around and accommodations are very inexpensive. The people are wonderful, friendly and helpful. There are many expats and tourist here and we understand why. As a world heritage designated city, Antigua retains all of its charm as an authentic colonial city.

 

111 113 120 123 125 I could go on and on, but don’t take my word for it. Antigua is a city that must be put on your bucket list of Central America cities. We’re glad we listened to that little voice in our heads and you should too. Wait, I hear something…… is that Antigua calling you? 140 151 153 157 168 171 179 182


Call these folks! LR-BELIZE LTD., also called “Land Rover Defenders in Paradise”.  Today we had a grand time,  stopping in to talk with legendary Graham Herbert and his wife Joyce. You can’t and shouldn’t miss their shop at mile marker 63 on the Western Highway. As owners and fellow Land Rover enthusiast we found it hard to break away after stopping in just to say hello for a few minutes on our way to Guatemala.

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You see they’ve been in business in Belize and have the only shop that specializes in Defenders since 2005. They’ve also owned and operated a Land Rover dealer in the states and have an original Mundo Maya Land Rover Discovery, so I’d say Land Rover runs through their blood.  ( You can see a video of the 1995 MM Camel Trophy Challenge here:

Additionally their shop has become a must stop for Overlanders expeditioning north or south ( Argentina-Alaska vice versa etc.) , as you must stop in and sign the Overlanders Wall of Fame! We did and had an interesting time talking Land Rovers, and looking around and gawking at what was currently at the shop. Joyce and Graham also took the time to explain to us other unique projects that they are working on as well. With one such promising plant  they are growing they are able to process eco-friendly bio-diesel fuel and soap,  and we were highly impressed.

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Thinking about getting a new Defender? ” We can order those for delivery here in Belize!” Graham said. Taking delivery on a new Defender and putting it through its paces in the jungles of Belize, you better Belize -it,  I couldn’t think of a better way to enjoy a Defender to its fullest potential.  They also have a rental program as well, so if you’d like to come to Belize and enjoy the thrill of getting off the beaten path in an unstoppable  and legendary vehicle,  LR-BELIZE LTD has got you covered.

In all they are a full service dealer, distributor, repair, preventive maintenance, rebuilder and all about Land Rover Defender shop, in my opinion,  the best in Belize! They still can get you parts for other makes of Land Rovers, but their speciality is Defenders.

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So if you’re traveling thru Belize on your expedition, make sure you stop in to say hello even if you’re not a Land Rover owner. They welcome all Overlanders to stop in and chat a while and please sign the Overlanders wall of fame!

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http://www.lrbelize.com/homebase.html

Contact info@lrbelize.com(www.lrbelize.com).

Graham Herbert

P.O. Box 262

San Ignacio

Belize, Central America

501-824-2523