Rob Wilson Photography Check-Ins

Date Place Comment
Test palce 4 - delete

This place is permanently closed.

Marble Canyon Provincial Park

Great spot right along the highway, but not too much traffic so not very loud throughout the night. Quite windy in the tent but worth it. Water pump was working and the outhouses were clean.

Ursa Minor Brewery and Little Bear Ranch

A remote ranch and micro brewery on Lake Ootsa, offering a small cabin for rent, as well as a brand new small campground with a handful of sites for both tents and vehicles. The micro brewery has a tasting room with a BBQ restaurant available some weekends of the year. Easy lake access with a small boat launch available. Typically opens for May Long Weekend. No wifi or cell reception when I visited May 2022. The roads out from Burns Lake were in quite good condition, accessible via car.

Call or email to inquire, or book via: https://www.hipcamp.com/en-US/discover/british-columbia/little-bear-ranch-ursa-minor

Helena Lake

Stayed in early May with no bugs, clean washrooms, and three other groups staying. $12/night, collected in the evening. Loons calling in evening and morning, very tranquil. The road was fine for a car but any earlier in the year and it would have been very muddy and only suitable for a vehicle with decent tyres.

Big Bar Lake Provincial Park

Stayed the week prior to May Long Weekend, and found the park was open and a couple others were camping. Stayed for free as the park wasn't officially open yet according to the ranger, who said it opens for May Long. Beautiful spot, no bugs at the time, lots of trout jumping, clean pit toilets.

David behind the mall great Residencial area

We came to this spot after seeing a movie at around 21:00. As we were driving around the grassy area, a police truck came over. We told them we were planning on camping and the officer said camping is okay, but not in this spot. My Spanish is far from great and he didn't speak much English, but he insinuated the property owners (or someone) would harm us if they found us camping here. He made this very clear by making a gun with his fingers and putting it to his head. He drove the point further later in the conversation by slitting his throat with his thumb.

He and his younger partner discussed among themselves the best places we could camp, but in the end suggested we find a hotel. It was getting late so that's what we did.

Kotowa Coffee House

Starbucks-esque coffee shop in a very new shopping complex. They have wifi and some electrical outlets, Air conditioning, adequate seating, lots of parking.

Prices aren't super cheap but aren't terrible I suppose. Cafe con leche is USD$2.00/Medium $3.00/Large.

Best place in David I've found to get some computer work done.

Hours at time of check-in:
Mon-Sat: 7:00-21:00
Sun: 9:00-21:00.

Warala

Coffee shop and ice cream place with wifi. Coffees are around USD$2.50, tea is a dollar less.

Wifi password is
[passwords are not allowed unless explicitly permited by the owner]
.

The only downside is the music is a little too loud.

I think it's a fairly new business because they got us to get a picture taken and sign the wall and stuff.

Biomuseo

The Bio Museum is an enjoyable place in itself and not too too expensive at USD$18.00 (bring your student card if you have one and it's $11).

They also have wifi which is great because if you're camping on the causeway you can just walk by and nab it. There's also water fountains and bathrooms on the ground floor that you can access during opening hours without a ticket.

La Esquina CLOSED!!!

Café, liquor store, grocery store. Pretty good place near the free camping on the causeway with affordable food and free wifi.

Mostly this place is a liquor store but they have a little Cafe area where you can sit and use wifi while grabbing a drink and some food. Prices as of check-in are USD$1.00 for espresso, $1.00 for café con leche, soups ~$3.00 and sandwiches ~$4.00.

They have their own off-street parking lot as well.

DIJ Vehicle Inspection

I'm not sure why this place was reported closed, it is definitely still open. I, and many others including fellow overlanders, got their inspections done on February 6/2017. A fairly painless process actually.

Free Camping Across from Hotel

Not a bad place to stay along Playa Hermosa. There's room for one or two vehicles almost right across from the hotel, under the trees. The site feels better than some along the road which are pretty secluded given that this site is so close to the hotel and thus feels a bit more secure. Although it's close to the hotel it's not directly across from it and is therefore out of sight from hotel staff. We stayed on Sunday night and it was quite quiet.

The hotel has a restaurant and has open wifi at the restaurant (but the signal didn't reach the vehicle. There's also bathrooms in the lobby but we didn't use them.

Big rigs probably won't fit under the trees.

Free Camping Across from Hotel

Not a bad place to stay along Playa Hermosa. There's room for one or two vehicles almost right across from the hotel, under the trees. The site feels better than some along the road which are pretty secluded given that this site is so close to the hotel and thus feels a bit more secure. Although it's close to the hotel it's not directly across from it and is therefore out of sight from hotel staff. We stayed on Sunday night and it was quite quiet.

The hotel has a restaurant and has open wifi at the restaurant (but the signal didn't reach the vehicle. There's also bathrooms in the lobby but we didn't use them.

Big rigs probably won't fit under the trees.

Camping Adonis

Great place in Port Jim. Adonis is very friendly and there's a plethora of wildlife to see from the campground. While there we saw a couple crocs (or maybe they were caiman), toucans, howler monkeys, squirrel monkeys, scarlet macaws, iguanas, and probably more I'm forgetting. We also met many other overlanders.

The bathrooms are clean (bring your own toilet paper), and the price is affordable at 4000 colones/night for two people.

As the last reviewer stated, noseeums/black flies are hanging about in most of Port Jim.

If you want wifi, the password for the restaurant on the beach-side road nearby, Marisquería Corcovado Seafood, is
[passwords are not allowed unless explicitly permited by the owner]
.

Camping Adonis

Great place in Port Jim. Adonis is very friendly and there's a plethora of wildlife to see from the campground. While there we saw a couple crocs (or maybe they were caiman), toucans, howler monkeys, squirrel monkeys, scarlet macaws, iguanas, and probably more I'm forgetting. We also met many other overlanders.

The bathrooms are clean (bring your own toilet paper), and the price is affordable at 4000 colones/night for two people.

As the last reviewer stated, noseeums/black flies are hanging about in most of Port Jim.

If you want wifi, the password for the restaurant on the beach-side road nearby, Marisquería Corcovado Seafood, is [Password removed by Moderator.]

Pension Santa Elena (NO CAMPING)

While I'm not sure whether they allow camping anymore (I didn't ask), I can't recommend this place enough. My girlfriend and I stayed three nights as our two friends were staying here.

We got a double room in the newer building (the building on the right if looking from the road) for USD$38/night, for a very clean and quiet room with a nice big window and hot showers.

They also offer dorms, cheaper doubles (in the older building), and bigger rooms which sleep 5.

The staff were incredibly kind, the price was one of the best we'd seen in Costa Rica, the kitchen was great, and the included breakfast from the neighbouring Taco Taco was a nice touch as well. Plus, they can organize tours, zip lining, etc for you and offer advice.

The only downside is there isn't any clear signage that we could see. If you can see Taco Taco, you've found it.

We would definitely stay again if back in Monteverde.

The Bakery Cafe

Meh prices, pretty good food. Coffee is cheap enough. New wifi password as of check-in is
[passwords are not allowed unless explicitly permited by the owner]
.

Java 654

Little cafe a bit away from 'downtown' Coco. Has prices you'd expect in Costa Rica, but has okay wifi and space to use laptops. The food's pretty good and the milkshake I had was really good.

Is the best coffee shop we could find in Coco for sitting down and doing some computer work.

Eco Camping Papgayo and Pizzeria

A small pizzeria a half minute walk from the beach with a large area for camping; tents or vehicles. There's decent washrooms with showers, though we didn't try the showers. The pizzeria has wifi measured at 1.5Mbps, and the staff were very kind, offering us bug spray. The price per night is USD$6/person.

We stayed on New Years Eve and I think we were the only non-locals. At the beach too there seemed to only be locals with very few, if any non-Ticos.

Although the campground is between two roads, it was fairly quiet. My girlfriend and I would stay again. In my opinion this is a far better option than the Congo campground in Playa Hermosa if you want cheaper and quieter.

El Caiman

Nice place to stay if crossing the border. Right on the river, not too far from the main highway. We didn't try any of the restaurant's food, but we had the coffee which was inexpensive. The bathrooms are clean, and have running water. There's apparently rustic showers available somewhere as well. The camping area is just a gravel parking lot, but it's quiet and we felt very secure. The owner speaks English and was friendly. 3000 colones per vehicle per night.

Las Tablillas/Los Chiles

Pretty brutal crossing; considering this is supposed to be the easy one, I can't imagine how the other one is.

There weren't any helpers and no money changers on either side, so that was nice. The roads up to and after the crossing are great, and the buildings were fairly nice; but man did it take forever. We arrived at the border at 13:30, and weren't through until about 16:15.

The process of leaving Nic. is just ridiculously redundant, gathering signatures from multiple people (who don't want to leave the covered areas to inspect the vehicle if it's raining) in order to cancel the TIP. First we received and filled out a declaration form, from the officers at the boom. We then drove to the parking lot and a police officer approached us and signed the form. Then we walked to the little circular booth and from there it was just a mess of having people not really know what they're doing signing the form and stamping it. Then we went to migration (behind and to the right of the circular booth), where we paid the fee and got our passports stamped. Then, we crossed the street to the aduana office where we were finally able to cancel the TIP and leave. Before we left the parking lot we exchanged currency at the bank booth. The lady had both currencies as well as USD.

On the Costa Rican side we drove through the boom and stopped at the police checkpoint. They checked our passports and sent us through. We drove through fumigation free-of-charge, and then parked in the big parking lot on the left. We walked along the road for a few seconds and turned right into the complex of seacans. Grab a declaration card and fill it out, then go to the farthest right window for the Entrada. Here we got stamped in, then turned around and went directly over to the aduana booth. The guy then told us we needed insurance and multiple photocopies including the new passport stamp and the insurance document. Thus, walk along the pathway past the photocopy booth on the left and the migration windows on the right, then past the bathrooms, and go left until finding the insurance window. Once we got insurance we went to the photocopy booth to find a sizable line. Finally once we got the photocopy of the stamp and insurance (we had the rest), we returned to the aduana window to find the guy nowhere in sight, with 10mins until 16:00 when the border closes. Luckily he finally showed up from who-knows-where, and got us a TIP. Then, he summons some guys to check the vehicle for mostly veggies, meat, eggs, etc. They confiscated our eggs and bananas.

Although most people were friendly, and they seem to be headed in the right direction, nearly nobody seemed to know what they were doing and that combined with even the shortest lines led to a very long and somewhat stressful crossing. Though the crossing with the least amount of traffic thus far experienced, this one took the longest. Get here long before 16:00 if you want to make it.

Hotel El Castillo

Nice and clean hotel with views of the city and some rooms with balconies. Wifi measured at 3.7Mbps. Paid USD$25/night for a room without a balcony with a double and a single bed, including breakfast. Street parking only though.
Would definitely stay again.

Hotel El Castillo

Nice and clean hotel with views of the city and some rooms with balconies. Wifi measured at 3.7Mbps. Paid USD$25/night for a room without a balcony with a double and a single bed, including breakfast. Street parking only though.
Would definitely stay again.

D&D Brewery

Still a great place, still USD$3.5/night per person. Highly recommended.

Las Manos, Honduras to El Paraiso, Nicaragua

My girlfriend and I crossed from Honduras to Nicaragua in my Toyota 4runner on Dec. 21/2016. What a mess. Trucks on either side of the road approaching the border, reducing the road to a narrow, single-lane. This caused a traffic jam as vehicles needed to take turns coming through. Also a bus drove all the way to the border and dropped off its passengers, then needed to somehow find a spot to turn around among the mess of trucks and people.

Our experience was similar to the others described. When we finally got to the actual border, we parked on the Hon. side and were swarmed by helpers and money changers. We shook them off and waited in line at the Honduras migration where they stamped us out for free. Then went to Aduana where I returned the TIP for free after filling out the form that really only applies to entering the country. They then stamped the passport (over migration's exit stamp) indicating the TIP was cancelled No photocopies were required, and nobody checked the vehicle.

After changing currencies for a pretty decent rate, we then drove to the Nic. side, through the boom, stopping in front of the small building adjacent the boom on the left side. Here a worker gave me a form to fill out concerning declarations, if we had a fever, that sort of thing. Once filled out, a man looked it over, took a very quick look at the vehicle, checked my passport, license, and registration, wrote a few things on the form, and sent us to drive a little down the street to migration and aduana.

We weren't directed to fumigation, nor were we ever asked to prove we'd been fumigated.

Park somewhere near the seacans and buildings which are on the left side of the road. Migration is in the white seacan, and aduana is in a building behind/left of migration. We went to the aduana first where we began the TIP process. The young guy seemed as if he'd never done this before, and it took quite a while as he worked on the computer. He required looking at the form I'd filled out previously, my passport, and the registration, which he scanned. He then walked to the vehicle to check the plates. After finally printing off the TIP we walked over to Migration.

At Migration, it took four employees to finally give us the tourist cards. The first two employees riffled through my passport looking for who knows what for about 7 minutes before doing anything. Our passports were then passed throughout the seacan to various employees before completing the job. We paid USD$10/person + C$45/person. We received tourist cards and receipts, and a lot of attitude. We didn't receive our C$5 change. They didn't check our temperatures or anything like that.

We then hopped back in the car and drove towards the boom where four different people approached. One checked the TIP, another checked our passports and took the form we originally filled out, another charged us the USD$1/person "municipal tax" and another was the insurance guy who charged USD$12 for a month. Finally, we could leave.

Overall, we spent 2.25 hours and this was probably the worst border crossing up until that point.

Hotel Colon

​​C$​200/night for a very basic, grimy, but ​o​kay room without air-conditioning​ (air-con is available but not sure of price)​. There's a small but secure parking lot and there's wifi. The wifi signal was quite weak in our room, but would probably be better if you were closer to the router. I suppose for the price, one must expect the bugs, stains on the wall, noise, etc. I'd probably stay again if passing through, but it's not somewhere you're stoked to hang out necessarily.

El Florido, Chiquimula, Guatemala to Copan Ruinas, Honduras

My girlfriend and I crossed into Honduras in my 4runner at around 14:00 on Dec. 18th. Our experience was almost the same as Rondjewereld's with a few differences.

The first was that there was almost no lines at all and the Guatemalan side didn't charge us at all for anything. They also made copies we lacked for us for free as we had all the other required copies. The SAT worker spoke English (I think his name was Victor), but he only gave us the original cancelled import permit, no copies. We weren't required to show any copies of the cancelled import permit to anyone on the Guatemalan side.

On the Honduran side we got our passports stamped and photos taken as well as fingerprints scanned for 71L/person. We then went to the next door where we got the import permit (I asked the lady who stamped our passports where the copia was and she just waved me towards the SAT door).

During this process he also copied the cancelled import permit for us for free, and didn't require any copies of the stamped passport or the receipt for the stamp. He did require 3 copies each of the unstamped passport, my license, and the vehicle's title. We received the import permit and a copy of it at a cost of 756.93L which we paid to the man himself, not the bank, which appeared closed (maybe because it was Sunday?).

Overall, we spent about 1.5 hours getting through. Rondjewereld's instructions were pretty helpful, as we're the others. Also, as an aside, the money changer we used in the parking lot across from the Guatemalan immigration building gave us a very good rate; we only lost about 13Q (much less than we lost when crossing from Belize into Guatemala).

Guate Java

Small little coffee bar with a few bar stools and a couple of couches. They speak English well and the prices are decent. They have a small selection of coffees and teas as well as cookies and Italian sodas. They also sell their coffee by the bag.

Wifi was measured at 7.49Mbps down and 1.02Mbps up with both my girlfriend and I's laptops and phones connected as well as the two worker's phones and laptop connected as well as music streaming.

We paid ~Q40 for a cookie, a Cinnamon White Mocha, and an ice tea.

The only downside is the road noise.

I'd come back again.

Rana Camping

My girlfriend and I stayed 2 nights at Rana's while visiting Semuc Champey (though, as an aside, 1 night probably would have been enough given we came only from Coban). We paid Q40/night for two people.

The young family is very kind, though they speak almost no English. They have a small shop selling Tortrix, Coca-Cola, cigarettes, etc attached to a small restaurant which we didn't try, but saw a handful of customers visit each day.

In addition to allowing camping in one's vehicle, they allow tenting, as well as provide a couple covered tents and a 4 bed dorm, though I don't know the price for the latter two options.

The bathrooms were clean enough, but don't expect too much privacy; there's no doors to the toilets, just a couple sheets somewhat blocking the view in. Also, the water to at least the sink seems to be only turned on during the day, but one can walk down to the river should water be required (we filtered/drank the river water multiple times during our stay).

The property is set right on the river and it's quite beautiful, the water is Semuc Champey blue, and great for swimming. The locals seem to walk though the bottom of the property as well as through the top beside the camping area, but, albeit curious, don't make the place seem unsafe.

While we stayed, various farm animals patrolled the property including young turkeys, chickens, a couple piglets, and two dogs. One of the dogs barked a bit, but for the most part, it was quiet enough.

The best part, of course, is being a two minute walk from Semuc Champey and the caves.

Parqueo Los Tres / Hotel El Portal

Stayed two nights here, once before heading to Semuc Champey, and then once more on our way from Semuc to Antigua. For a parking lot in the city it's quiet enough; the bars/restaurants around do play some music, but it never went all night or was unbearably loud with earplugs in.

There are no longer any signs on the parking lot's gate, so do be aware of that. We just rang the hotel's buzzer and asked if they offered sleeping in our vehicle and the young guy said sure and showed me into the parking lot across the street. We paid Q50/night.

The lot fills up overnight with vehicles of people who I assume live in the area and pay for secure parking. The gate is locked at around 21:00, and is unlocked at around 7:00. There is a very friendly man who lives in a building in the lot who offered us electricity and gave us some bananas.

We weren't able to snag wifi using the password mentioned in the other comments ('
[passwords are not allowed unless explicitly permited by the owner]
'), but we did go to Casa D'Acuna cafe right down the street one morning to use their wifi/bathrooms and grab some coffee which is surprisingly very inexpensive.

In the morning I asked if I could use the hotel's bathroom, and he let me free of charge, but I didn't shower (which he asked about).

Overall I would stay again.


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