April 2022

After our not so fun experiences in Mexico in March, we needed time to think what to do. We drove to a campsite we had found through ioverlander to think. This was the first decent campsite we had come across. With working toilets, great showers, a pool, electricity available at every site so we could park in the shade, brick bbq’s and quiet. It was quite dry there though and we later heard it hadn’t rained since October! We stayed four days instead of two. But all this time we didn’t have the energy to even start finding information about shipping the van from Veracruz to Colombia instead of driving there. So after four days we decided to drive to Panama but through a faster and more direct route. So we are skipping Belize and El Salvador. After another 2 day hold up in Tapachula to get the van fixed again (steering linkage) and to get all Binkies paperwork in order, we drove in to Guatemala on the 6th of April.

We took the RN-1 road which is a steep mountain road. And the van got overheated several times. We stayed two days in Quetzaltenango to get a leak in the radiator fixed. But it turned out we also don’t have the right radiator. The one we have now is meant for a regular 2 wheel drive without turbo. We have a 4 wheel drive with turbo (we can’t go much faster than 90, and we go from 0 to 20 in 100 seconds, so I don’t really get the whole “turbo” part but ok). So we really need a new radiator. We had already seen several L300’s driving around so we figured getting the right radiator wouldn’t be a problem. Well, as I am writing this, it is early May and we are in Honduras arranging for a radiator to be shipped from the Netherlands… Even Mitsubishi parts in Guatemala City couldn’t help us, most L300’s are 2wheel drives without turbo as it happens. 

Fixing the leak did help of course a little bit and we made it to Lake Atitlan without any problems. Here we found a wild camp spot directly at the lake. Locals told us it was safe and it was. It is a very popular location for both tourists and locals. So there were lots of people around and the friendly police checked up on us to make sure we were oke. Lake Atitlan is a crater lake surrounded by mountains and volcanoes. It is located at 1500masl, so it was a welcome break from the 35C heat in Mexico. We relaxed, visited Panajachel with its colourful market and Kilian went for a bikeride. 

On the 13th of April we slowly drove to Antigua. Slowly, because parts of the route were unpaved and mountainous and also because the van still got overheated. In Antigua we camped on the parking lot of a hostel. The city was crowded! This because Antigua is famous for its celebration of Semana Santa. The holy week before Easter. The whole week there are processions with displays and re-enactment of Jesus life and the crusade. Antigua is a colourful colonial city with 46.000 inhabitants. But during Semana Santa up to half a million people visit the city. There are vendors everywhere. The streets are blocked with traffic especially because of the processions and the alfombra’s. Alfombra’s are colourful carpets made with coloured sawdust and flowers. They don’t last long as the processions walk over them. During this week very little else happens so we had to wait with going to a garage until after Semana Santa.

On Monday, the 2nd day of Easter, things got back to normal and Kilian made an appointment with a garage to replace the power steering box. For weeks the van had been making a weird noise. Replacing the steering linkage hadn’t solved the problem and Kilian now thought it was the power steering box. We relocated from our place at the hostel (nice but lots of noise and really crowded) to an event location that also offered camping. Here it was more quiet, green and we met lots of other overlanders. It was nice chatting and exchanging experiences. We shared a few meals and drinks. We also explored Antigua without the crazy chaos of Semana Santa. After the power steering box was replaced, Kilian did some more maintenance, replacing some rubbers and a dust seal from the wheel bearing.

Church of San Jose and the Nuestra Senora de la Merced convent church

Then it was time to be a bit more active again and we went to visit Hobbitenango. This area started out as a small eco village and has now become a nature orientated attraction park with hobbit houses, a giant, bungee like swing, a giant hand, a romantic swing and some games and restaurants. I especially liked the bungee swing and had several goes. It was quiet and with a few short trails, Binkie got to go for a walk as well. The view up there is supposed to be beautiful but it was very cloudy. We spend some hours there and then drove up to the volcano Pacaya.

We camped at the parking lot and the next morning we met up with the nice family from matugatu4x4, who we had met at the campsite in Antigua. We hiked up to the volcano with the mandatory (but not necessary) guide and roasted marshmallows above the petrified but still hot lava. We spend another night at the parking lot because from there we had a good view of the volcano Fuego and we hoped we could see it spit fire, which it does almost every night. But it started raining and it was to cloudy.

The next day we drove back to Antigua again. We stayed at the same campsite again and met up with pretty much the same overlanders. Some of them had temporarily left and came back as well. Antigua really is the (touristic) heart of Guatemala.  

Thank you, meat around the world and dino adventure for the great photo’s!

Despite all the repairs the van is still making the weird noise! Three different garages couldn’t figure it out and Kilian has spend at least two days under the van repairing, replacing and testing several parts. By now we have given up. Perhaps we will find out what is causing the noise when the responsible part brakes down. Hopefully not in the middle of nowhere. We started preparing for Honduras and took Binkie to the vet for a new health certificate. To our pleasant surprise (Binkie was less amused) she really examined him thoroughly before writing the certificate.  At the campsite the manager Isaac was taking care of a orphaned kitten and had managed to keep it alive with feeding it milk from a plastic bag! Quite an achievement! The kitten called Tigre also needed a treatment against parasites and we took him with us to the vet, because he was too small for the regular medications. Hopefully Tigre will grow into a happy and healthy cat!

With the health certificate we took of for our last stop in Guatemala, lake Izabal. Where Antigua is situated at 1400masl, lake Izabal is practically at sea level. So it was hot! 35-40°C during the day and at night the temperature in the van didn’t get below 29°C and it was humid. Even the lake water was warm! So we were basically “wet” 24/7. At night our pillows and sheets would become wet as well 🥵. Apparently Honduras would be even warmer, but nevertheless after three days at the lake we drove in to Honduras at early May. You can read more about the border crossing and Honduras in our next blog. 

4 thoughts on “April 2022”

  1. Hoi Marcia, een heel leuk en uitgebreid verslag met prachtige fotos maar vooral dat jullie weer een beetje zijn bijgekomen van de vervelende ervaring met Mexico . nu maar


    duimen dat de van het uithoudt .Wij kijken uit naar de rest van jullie rei

    Hoi Marcia een heel en leuk verslag met mooie fotos van jullie reis fijn dat jullie het nu naar jullie zin hebben en Mexico achter hebben gelaten met minder goed ervaring.Nu nog hopen dat de Van het uithoudt en Kilian er achter komt waar het geluid vandaan komt.



    • Hoi,

      Bedankt! Helaas is het geluid nog steeds een raadsel, maar hij rijdt ook nog steeds, dus…


  2. Wat een avontuur! Het blijft leuk om jullie te ‘volgen’. Benieuwd naar de laatste ervaringen.
    Groetjes, Jozèf & Petra

    • Hoi! leuk om te horen. We zitten nu sinds twee weken in Colombia. binnenkort komt er weer een update.


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