The Unimog Wherehaus

E-mail Dirk Rautenberg

 
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EL MUNDO MAYA
August 1-19, 2007

 

 

 

 


If you have ever dreamed of the "expedition thing" with a Unimog, ...well, here it is. Friends and I have been talking about this trip for many years and it is finally coming together. Luckily, we have been many places together and know each other well to understand what is important on a trip like this. We found an outfit that has taken this route many times before and they came up with a good itinerary for us spoiled Unimog folks. Since the diversity offered in Belize and Guatemala is extensive, we hope to prepare accordingly. The plan is to have two groups of 8 trucks traveling parallel and optional activities give us choices to make the most of the precious time frame we have. We plan on mostly camping with hotel/motel stops 2-3 times per week. Most nights will have optional lodging available. It is close to 3,000 miles in Mexico and Central America, so prepare with diligence. The fee for the guide is $800 per truck and some extra money is needed for border crossings etc. Difficult to forecast the fuel prices, though they won't be much less than now. Other than that it is BYOB and food. If you are interested in going, please send me an e-mail. Also, be aware that it is very important that your truck is in top mechanical condition. At this point we have mainly 416 trucks going and I will bring some spare parts for the trip, but can't provide for other models, nor will I have each and every part, period. There is always that chance of catastrophic component failure. We'll deal with it as it may occur.

Here is a suggestive itinerary:


Aug 1 Day 1 - Brownsville to Tampico () We'll get an early start on the very first day and especially here, discipline is important. We need to do a border crossing, and then ferry through a stretch of desert. Until we get to Cd Victoria, there's not much to be seen except for vast expanses of Yucca and cactus. Once we pass through Victoria, the landscape will change to more scenic jungle, however there's no good place to stop until Tampico. .


Aug 2 Day 2 - Tampico to Veracruz () We'll leave Tampico, and head south to a hacienda on the north side of Veracruz, along the Costa Esmeralda. Along the way, we'll drive through the city of Poza Rica, and can stop off at Tajin to visit the local ruins and see the native pole dancers.


Aug 3 Day 3 - Veracruz to Palenque ( mi) From Veracruz, we'll get on a toll road and cover quite a few fast but easy miles to Villahermosa. Past Villahermosa, we'll head south to visit the first Mayan Ruin of the trip, Palenque. Once there the group will camp in the jungle, just a few miles away from the Mayan ruins.


Aug 4 Day 4 - Palenque () Palenque is situated in the foothills of the Tumbala mountains. Palenque is perhaps most famous for the Temple of the Inscriptions. This temple was where the first complete Mayan royal sarcophagus was discovered in the 1950s. In addition the inside chambers have the second longest inscription remaining in the Mayan world, which recounts the life of the king entombed there.


Aug 5 Day 5 - Palenque to Chetumal () We'll head back to the highway and continue across the Yucatan peninsula. If time allows, there are a number of significant Mayan ruins that we can visit en route, including one which has a Mayan mask carved into it, with the original paint still intact. We'll spend the night camping on the beach at Chetumal.


Aug 6 Day 6 - Chetumal () We'll spend day 6 relaxing at the beach in Chetumal. Those that want to, can go into town and visit the highly informative Mayan Cultural Museum. Others can choose to relax on the beach or go snorkeling in the warm Caribbean waters.


Aug 7 Day 7 - Chetumal to Tikal () After a relaxing day, we'll get back on the road and make the 20 minute trek into Belize. Once there, we can head into Belize City to pick up any travelers who are flying in to meet us.

From there, we'll head west to the Guatemalean border, where we'll do our second border crossing for the day. We will then have a 90 mile drive to the famous Mayan ruins of Tikal.


Aug 8 Day 8 - Tikal (0 mi) The day will be spent touring the ruins and the surrounding jungle of Tikal. The trip will take us along rough jungle paths and over rough stone, so bring your hiking shoes.


Aug 9 Day 9 - Tikal to Mtn Pine Ridge () For those who are willing to get up early in the morning, we can make the hike to the top of Temple IV to watch the sunrise over the Guatemalan jungle. Back at camp, its time to pack up and head back into Belize. We'll stay in the centrally located Mtn. Pine Ridge.


Aug 10-12 Day 10-12 - Mtn Pine Ridge For the next three days, we will keep the Mtn Pine ridge as our base camp for the numerous activities to do in the area. This area is an excellent jumping off point for numerous activities from Cave canoeing to visiting the world renown Belize Zoo.


Aug 13 Day 13 - to Chan Chich () Be ready for adventure today. We'll pack up and get back on the road. Our journey will take us a short distance north to San Ignacio, where we'll head off into the jungle to the world famous Biopreserve Chan Chich. The road to Chan Chich will be muddy and difficult if the weather is against us, but the lodge makes it worth the effort. Set in the heart of a Mayan ruin, this lodge is consistently ranked as one of the top Ecolodges in the world.


Aug 14 Day 14 - Chan Chich () Today is a free day to explore the area surrounding Chan Chich. There are numerous activities to keep you busy through out the day in the surrounding preserve from canoeing to hiking to birdwatching.


Aug 15 Day 15 - Chan Chich to Corozal () We can get a late start on the morning, since we will be taking it easy on the first day of our drive back home. The route will take us through the Orange Walk District of northern Belize, back across the Mexico/Belize border and return us to the town of Chetumal. Camping will be on the beach again, although hotel lodging is available nearby to those who desire it.


Aug 16 Day 16 - Corozal to Isla del Carmen () Our journey today will take us back west across the Yucatan peninsula, but instead of heading into Villahermosa, we will go north to spend the night at Isla del Carmen, a charming coastal town located on the southwestern corner of the peninsula.


Aug 17 Day 17 - Isla del Carmen to Veracruz From Isla Carmen, we'll head south to Villahermosa, then backtrack along the toll road we took on the way South. Our evening destination will be the city of Veracruz, where we'll stay at one of the hotels along the vibrant city square.


Aug 18 Day 18 - Veracruz to Tampico () Heading out of Veracruz, we'll drive back north and spend our last night in Mexico in the familiar city of Tampico.

From here, interested parties will veer off and follow the highway to the Sea of Cortez. We will take a ferry to the Baja Peninsula and continue North that way. At some point, obviously, we will have to cross back into the US and go home :( . This will add about 10-14 days to the trip.


Aug 19 Day 19 - Tampico to B'ville () Today is the last day of the trip. The group will back track along the familiar highway up to Cd Victoria, and then head north up to Matamoros and Brownsville. Once we've crossed back into the US, some in the group may wish to break off and start the drive home, while the remainder will drive on to Corpus Christi..


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