Category Exploring the Americas

The End of the Overland Life for Camper Clan?


One Last Border Crossing

Our journey through Mexico was a long, hot race across the desert. While we wished we could have spent more time soaking up the warm Mexican sun and dining on the cuisine that had come to remind us of home over the years (a concept that has long ceased to be defined by place), we had made a commitment to be back in the US for Overland Expo, the yearly convergence of world travelers like us who live for the open road.

Mexico felt like one long, dusty freeway after passing through so many smaller countries which required border crossing after border crossing – endless lines, uncertainties, beaurocracies, and paperwork. “Do we have to cross another border today?” Eva would ask. “I don’t like borders, mama.” Neither do I...

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Huatulco: A Secret Special Beach You Never Knew Existed in Mexico

Huatulco mexico with kids

We finally found our paradise in the sun!

After being on the road with our two toddlers for almost a year from Argentina to the US, passing into Mexico was like entering the home stretch. From Guatemala we had the choice to take the Panamerican Highway through Chiapas – and more direct route to Mexico City – which is one stop we definitely wanted to make to visit some good friends of ours. The other option was to take highway 200 along the Pacific coast. As always, we asked as many locals as we could about the routes – conditions, safety, etc. From what we were told, the Panamerica Highway is the most traveled route to get to Mexico City from Guatemala, and Highway 200 along the coast through Chiapas and Oaxaca would be a good an safe route, though less traveled...

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Cahuita, Costa Rica: A Great Place to be a Sloth

beach at cahuita national park costa rica

After a month in Panama, we were excited to get to Costa Rica, the land of plentiful wildlife, tropical fruits, beautiful beaches, and “pure vida” or “pure life” – which from what I can tell is the Costa Rican equivalent of “Aloha.” A couple from Spain with a little girl Coco’s age that we had met in Bocas del Toro recommended we check out Cahuita – just an hour over the border – as it was beautiful and quiet; great for families. Someone else later told us it might be “too quiet” and we should stay in Puerto Viejo instead. So we decided to have lunch in Puerto Viejo after crossing the border to feel it out, then head to Cahuita.

costa rica border crossing sixaola

So nice that they wash your car before crossing the border!

Crossing the Border

Much to my dismay, our first impression of Costa Rica left us feeling very negativ...

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Seven Reasons Why Colombia Should be Your Next Family Vacation Destination

7 reasons why colombia should be your next family vacation destination

Fulfilling a crazy dream we’ve had since we were first married, my husband and I – and our two little ones – have taken a year off to drive the Americas from Argentina to the US, and we recently spent a month exploring Colombia. This was one of the countries that we had the most fear about visiting, as we were nervous about driving through areas under control of armed rebel groups. These fears quickly faded away as we found the country – from it’s landscapes to it’s people – to be warm and inviting, and a great place to visit with our young children. In fact, I’d recommend Colombia as a great vacation option for families looking for a new place to travel. What makes Colombia such a great option for families?  

1. Colombians Love Kids: In our travels through Colombia with our two toddle...

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Colombia the Beautiful and Perilous: Driving the FARC Route

colombia death road putumayo ruta 10

What comes to your mind when you think of driving through the jungles of Colombia?  If you’re from the US you probably think of cocaine fields and armed rebel groups and wonder at the sanity of a family of four with two small children who dare to undertake a drive through the “zona roja” of Putumayo – an area deemed under control of the FARC.

Ford Ranger driving road from Pasto to Mocoa Colombia through FARC territoryPutumayo

At the level of the clouds we find a pullout in the road and stop for a pee break

The route in question is a 60-mile stretch of sometimes one-lane dirt road between Pasto and Mocoa that winds precariously along muddy steep mountains with drops of 3,000 feet straight down...

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Ayangue beach: A hidden gem on the Ecuatorian coast

Ayangue Ecuador kids

Our first destination once we crossed into Ecuador from Peru on our overland adventure from Argentina to Montana was the tiny beach town of Ayangue. This quaint fishing village, nestled within the protective cliffs of a small bay, is a haven for local families from Guayaquil and other points in southern Equador. A good friend of ours from Quito, who I met in Ashland, Oregon over 12 years ago while attending Southern Oregon University, recommended the place as a great beach for families, and he was right.

Check Out Our Video Highlights of Ayangue

You couldn’t ask for a more peaceful to place to unwind on the beach and let the kids run amok than Ayangue...

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Christmas in Ecuador: Nativity Scenes on Crack


Could It Be the Fumes from Cotopaxi, or the “Cocaine Tea”? Either Way Christmas in Ecuador is Very Special

Having been an expat family for the past four years, we are used to going with the flow and celebrating holidays in new ways, skipping treasured festivals completely, and learning about new holiday traditions. For example, each Christmas in Argentina we participated in the elaborate tradition of staying up late and keeping our tired kids awake until midnight, then sneaking in the presents and pretending Santa had just flown off – followed inevitably by the frightened screams of our sleepy toddlers who apparently were not at all overjoyed when faced with the reality of a strange fat man sneaking around our house at night.

This past holiday season found us on the road, overlanding fro...

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Machu Picchu with Kids

machu picchu with kids

Exploring Machu Picchu with Kids

The ancient city in the clouds has held a mystical fascination in my mind ever since I began to dream of travelling. It’s no wonder this place, voted one of the Seven Wonders of the World, has become a sort of mecca of the West, drawing adventurers from across the globe. Machu Picchu has been at the top of my list of places I want to visit, but after my two children were born, I wasn’t sure making the trek would be feasible, so I wrote it off as another “someday.” But since starting our South-to-North America overland adventure, I have begun to rethink what is possible with children. After trekking the Valley of the Moon in Bolivia, I knew no excuse could hold our family back from experiencing Machu Picchu!

Watch Our Video Review of Machu Picchu wi...

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Three Tips to Survive a Day at the Street Market (Without Getting Mugged)

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Buying flowers from a street vendor in Bolivia – Eva and Coco make friends quickly in the markets as everyone is fascinated by their gringo looks!

On our overland trip from Argentina to Montana, we stopped in Cochabamba, the gateway to the Bolivian Altiplano, and found out that the city hosted the largest open-air market in the Americas: “La Cancha.” This market was described to us as a crowded, chaotic, claustrophobic, and exhilarating place where you can find just about anything for sale.

The street market sprawls more than 25 hectares (61 acres) and it’s divided in sections (potatoes, fruits, costume rentals, electronics, clothing, etc) but there is no official guide on how to find what you want...

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Getting Philosophical and Feeling Sad About Goodbyes


Crossing a river on a rickety bridge near Villarica, Paraguay

We never originally planned to pass through Chaco, Argentina and Borja, Paraguay on our overland trip from Buenos Aires to Montana, but after spending a month in the altiplano at 10,000 feet above sea level waiting for our truck to be repaired we did a lot of soul searching about our trip and decided to a) get rid of the camper trailer so we could have more freedom and flexibility in our explorations, and b) take it a little slower and visit friends along the way. Up until that point we were pretty much rushing through Argentina and Chile, spending 1-3 days in each location and were feeling really road-worn.

It was actually Lorraine Chittock – a fellow former and future overland traveler who we visited on the Chilean coast...

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