1. Posted by bigtravelers (First Time Poster 1 posts) 22w Star this if you like it!

looking on new info on traveling with a pick up from Manitoba Canada to Paraguay South America with our little family. best routs? what to avoid? has anybody ever done it with a semi or camper? I'm born in Paraguay and hubby is born in Bolivia our two kids are Canadians want to make them Bolivian citizens before we leave. wondering about visas down the road and the average coast on this trip?

2. Posted by Borisborough (Moderator 1168 posts) 22w Star this if you like it!

One big hurdle is getting across the Darien Gap in South Panama to Colombia. You might have to ship your truck from Colon or Panama City to Colombia. See here.

Also check border opening times - Nicaragua into Costa Rica can be very busy at certain times of the year and many borders are only open during daylight e.g 8am-6pm.

3. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 1104 posts) 22w Star this if you like it!

There is another hurdle: Unrest in Nicaragua. We traveled there this summer; and had to detour several times to avoid clashes between protesters and paramilitary forces (men wearing black face masks carrying weapons, frequently on Toyota Hilux trucks) allied with the government. There are barricades (built with pavers torn from streets) in many communities. Several hundred people already have lost their lives.

We were stopped by masked paramilitary forces at one checkpoint. They searched our vehicle for weapons before letting us go. We had to pay to pass through a blockade.

In one town, mothers who had lost sons to paramilitary forces, took over a bridge. We, along with others, had heard that government forces planned to retake the bridge. So we joined a convoy of other vehicles and traveled to a place where we could cross the river safely, driving into shallower water.

We originally planned to visit Leon; but decided not to after hearing reports that residents were digging trenches to prevent government forces from entering neighborhoods there.

If you decide to go, you'll discover that most hotels and restaurants are closed. People shop for necessities in the morning; and streets are deserted towards evening. When we flew Delta Air Lines to Managua in June, there were only about a dozen people on the flight (the aircraft seats about 180 passengers).

As you drive through Nicaragua, consult taxi and tuk tuk drivers. They often have up-to-date information; and can advise on detours. It helps if you speak Spanish. we had to adjust our itinerary several times in Nicaragua.

We spent 45 days in Central America with a guide and driver, returning home last week.

See this advisory issued by the U.S. State Department:

"Reconsider travel to Nicaragua due to crime, civil unrest, and limited healthcare availability.

"On July 6, 2018, the U.S. government ordered the departure of non-emergency U.S. government personnel. The U.S. Embassy remains open to provide emergency services for U.S. citizens.

"Heavily armed, government-controlled parapolice forces in civilian clothing, sometimes numbering in the hundreds, operate in large parts of the country, including Managua. They are often in vehicles that don’t have license plates, and they may be escorted by uniformed police forces. These groups are attacking blockades, kidnapping and detaining individuals, taking over privately owned land, and committing other crimes.

"Rallies and demonstrations are widespread and occur daily with little notice. Government-controlled forces have attacked peaceful demonstrators leading to significant numbers of deaths and injuries. Looting, vandalism, and acts of arson often occur during unrest, including in tourist areas. Government authorities detain protesters, and some people have disappeared. Human rights groups have documented credible claims of torture of detainees.

"Road blocks, including in Managua and other major cities, may limit availability of food and fuel. Road blocks may also limit access to the Augusto C. Sandino International airport in Managua. Criminals are in charge of some of the road blocks.

"Hospitals around the country are inundated with victims of violence and lack the capacity to respond to other emergencies. Other hospitals have denied treatment to people wounded in protests.

"Violent crime, such as sexual assault and armed robbery, is common and has increased as security forces focus on the civil unrest. Police presence and emergency response are extremely limited.

"The U.S. Embassy in Managua is limited in the assistance it can provide. U.S. government personnel in Nicaragua must remain in their homes and avoid unnecessary travel between sundown and sunrise. In Managua, they must avoid Rotonda Metrocentro, Rotonda Universitaria, and the vicinity of universities, particularly UNAN.

"U.S. government personnel are prohibited from using public buses and mototaxis and from entering the Oriental Market in Managua and gentlemen’s clubs throughout the country due to crime.

"Additional restrictions on movements by U.S. government personnel may be put in place at any time, depending on local circumstances and security conditions, which can change suddenly.

"If you decide to travel to Nicaragua:

"Consider arrangements to depart the country. There are no plans for a U.S. government-assisted evacuation.
"Avoid demonstrations. Foreigners, including U.S.-Nicaraguan dual nationals, may risk arrest or expulsion if they participate in protests.
"Restrict unnecessary travel.
"Do not attempt to drive through crowds, barricades, or road blocks.
"Maintain adequate supplies of food, cash, potable water, and fuel if sheltering in place.
"Ensure your U.S. passport is valid and available for a quick departure from the country, if needed.
"Use caution when walking or driving at night.
"Keep a low profile.
"Do not display signs of wealth such as expensive watches or jewelry.
"Be aware of your surroundings."

[ Edit: Edited on 18-Aug-2018, at 19:18 by berner256 ]

4. Posted by Piecar (Travel Guru 1169 posts) 22w Star this if you like it!

Hello. I will say that I am incredibly dubious of this story. Should this story actually be true, I am incredibly dubious as to how good an idea it is. You are talking about crossing through Canada, the US, Mexico(have some US bribe money), (I'm gonna pick a route I think is smart here) Guatemala, El Salvador, a tiny chunk of Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Ship your pickup, pick it up in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, then Paraguay. This is fraught with dangers and hassles. Nica being one, the shipping being another. Mexico being a huge one. The US being dicey. How much do you love this pickup?

Perhaps this is an adventure. With two young kids, it's a risky one... Okay. So you should stay inland through Mexico, and then head to the coast once you get into CA>. Have twenty copies of every document. Get at least half a dozen passport style photos for every family member. I don't think you'll use them all, but Times They Are A Changin'. Dent the pickup. Don't wash it. Ostensibly, you speak Spanish. Speak only that.

Shitty travel stories are some of the best stories. One can dine out on them. I suspect that you'll have a fair few free meals.

This seems incredibly pessimistic, I agree. It's possible you could skate all the way through and never would be heard a discouraging word.....But I've travelled through this region, and foreign plates sure bring out the worst in the locals.

Anyway. That's my perspective. Bonne Chance.

5. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 1104 posts) 22w Star this if you like it!

If you're determined to go, you should ask to join this Facebook forum that has useful information, including how to traverse Nicaragua expeditiously given the current situation: https://www.facebook.com/groups/panamtravelers/.

I wouldn't hesitate to revisit Nicaragua again (I'm used to travel in troubled lands). But I would give pause traveling with children there. Some Nicaraguans have told me they sent their children to Costa Rica and elsewhere for safety.

We spent 45 days driving and hiking through Central America (except for flights to/from Guanaja island, Honduras). Expect delays because of road construction. Also, fuel prices were higher than what I paid in Atlanta. Since my friend and I are U.S. citizens, we had no difficulties in entering any of the countries.

Travel in Latin America isn't as inexpensive as travel in India and parts of Southeast Asia, in my opinion.

We drove on many rural roads, some in good shape, some in bad (we had a four-wheel drive vehicle). Once we were warned not to stop too long (we were birdwatching and taking photos) as several travelers had been attacked on that road. When it doubt, ask locals.

[ Edit: Edited on 19-Aug-2018, at 03:59 by berner256 ]