List of our Camp Sites -

© 2007-8 - no commercial use or re-publishing permitted!
If you wish you may save this list to your harddisk for personal reference :-)
A fellow traveller, Ian Cassidy, has created an excellent 2010 update of this page, which can be found at his blog.

Please note: we are travelling with a FORD F250 Truck Camper, ~ 6.4m (22 feet) long, 3.17m (10.5 feet) high,
hence we don't check all sites if they are suitable for really long or tall rigs.
GPS readings usually taken at the campsites (not at the entrance of the property). Sorry for changes in GPS formats.
Since we encountered some difficulties to find propane filling stations (south of Mexico) some locations are included.
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(towards upkeep and hosting - which we are paying for).
Anything from 50 Cents to 100 Dollars [ LOL ] will be accepted.
Thank You!



Completed: 28. January 2008 - Main Page Mexico Belize
Guatemala Honduras El Salvador
Nicaragua Costa Rica Panama
[ click the country name to jump to relevant section]


1. Mexico

  [$ = Prices in Mexican PESOS - current January-June 2007]
Town / Camp Site GPS Price p. Night Description / Our Impression
La Pesca / Gulf Coast
La Gaviota Resort
N 23°47.390
$170 garden of small lake front resort, very quiet!
on grass, tents?, pool, power, water, waste dump, clean toilets, hot showers with plenty of water
Cerro Azul / Hwy 180
Condado Western Auto Hotel & Trailer Park
N 21°08.256
$180 grassy, shaded sideyard of hotel (by the hour), close to highway bend, traffic noise!
o.k. toilets with warm showers, power, water, 1 or 2 dumps
Emerald Coast / Gulf
Quinta Alicia
N 20°17.691
$140 nice looking place & friendly people, camp on grass under palm trees, unfortunately near a TOPE and noisy all night (trucks), tents o.k.
full hook-ups: water, power, waste, clean bathrooms w. warm showers, 2 pools
near Casitas / Gulf
Yuri's de Alba
KM 86, Monte Gordo, Tecolutla
N 20°16'55.6"
$120 / day
$ 800 / week
next to Neptuno, for which the GPS location applies, some English, nice people, camp on grass some distance from highway (still a little noise), ocean front, large palapa, tents o.k.
water, power (weak), waste dump, WiFi, clean(-ish) bathrooms w. hot showers, large pool
Hotel room due to battery problems
Hotel Libres in Libres
N 19°28.343
room w. bath
secure parking in back, private bath w. hot shower, rooms in back are quiet(-ish), tope in front, bed bugs (??)
there's a large PEMEX almost across the road, where one could probably stay
Cholula near Puebla
Las Americanas
N 19°04.357
$140 / day
$ 840 / week
large grassed yard, some shade, (sometimes) gated, good access to shopping and collectivos into Puebla
power, water, waste hook-ups, ensuite style bathrooms w. hot showers, sometimes clean, sometimes not, tour groups stop here
ask son of owner (white house in back) for free WiFi access code, quiet for city location
San Juan Teotihuacan
Teotihuacan Trailer Park
N 19°40.580
$150 - 200 grassed yard, some shade, gated, right in town, good access to ruins, shopping, and bus into Mexico City (40 minutes)
(weak) power, water, waste hook-ups, o.k. bathrooms w. hot showers, caravans stop here (then it can be crowded), noisy church bells nearby, friendly owner speaks English, ask for free WiFi access code, safe place to leave vehicle and bus into Mexico City
San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel Tennis & RV
web site for bookings
N 20°54.435
$164 / day
$980 / week
new campground in walking distance to town, still improving! very friendly owners, who speak very good English, and keep the place very clean!
narrow access gate, when we were there parking on clay (like tennis courts) under some trees, will be grassed one day, no tents, good power, water, waste hook-ups, excellent free WiFi, "cleanest ensuite style bathrooms in Mexico" with hot showers, noise from roosters (owners are planning to remove them) and nearby church, sometimes noisy parties nearby until midnight
Bogamville RV Park
N 20°56.683
$150 well outside town, bus connection, large grassed yard away from road, quiet, power, water, dump station, showers not working!, only 2 toilets, large caravans stop here frequently (then it will be crowded)
Morrill Camping
N 21°01.490
$150 small campground near Panorámica on hillside above Guanajuato, steep and narrow access, level terraces, very steep walk into town, only 4-6 sites, tents o.k., barking dogs all night (though in the distance)
power, water, waste dumps, old o.k.-ish bathrooms w. hot showers, free WiFi, some parking for neighbours
El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary near Ocampo N 19°35.090
free take the upper parking lot, which has some level sections, lower lot for tour buses, quiet and cool (3,000+ meters) at night, busy during day, clean public toilets (w. bucket flush), tip attendant
Villa Pátzcuaro
N 19°32.047
$170 - 180 / day
$1000 / week
grassed hill, most sites level(-ish), some mature trees, communal kitchen, tents o.k., friendly, but temperamental owner (who doesn't like big rigs), close to town, quiet!
power, water, waste dump, clean bathrooms w. hot showers (new ones are being built), pool (too cold), free WiFi (best near pool), corner store nearby, walk or collectivos into town, area has lots to offer!
WalMart Parking
[- forgot -] free slightly sloping parking lot in front of WalMart, don't park near cinema, collectivos into town, traffic noise (trucks) from nearby peréferico, tip the attendant (if he's cooperative)
Playa Azul
Hotel Playa Azul
N 17°58'56.9"
$180 rear parking lot of hotel, walled, some palms, power, water, waste dump, supposed to have WiFi, neglected toilets and cold showers = not really recommended!
when we were there (second week of Semana Santa) the hotel was absolutely packed with Mexican families and noisy, only one spot to park our truck...
Zihuatanejo, Playa La Ropa
Restaurant El Manglar
N 17°37'34.9"
$180 / day
$1200 / week
rear parking lot of restaurant, walled and gated at night, end of cul-de-sac, mostly quiet, not much shade. next to it is a treed lagoon with crocodiles, turtles, iguanas, and lots of birds; hence no tents.
only one clean bathroom w. cold shower, 30 Amp (!) power, water, waste dump, only few meters to nice calm beach, free WiFi in restaurant, which is shaded and gets cool breeze, serving excellent seafood dishes (not cheap, but highly recommended!). no shopping nearby, you have to drive to town (public bus 1 block)!
Acapulco Trailer Park
N 16°54'11.6"
$300 !! Playa Pie de la Cuesta (north east), ocean front in sea mist, under cocos palms, good shade, cool breeze, loud surf, beach too rough to swim, but overall a nice spot
on compacted sand (some sites w. concrete pads), power, water, badly positioned waste dumps, o.k. clean bathrooms w. cold showers, small pool and shop, bus (½ hour) into town
El Coloso Trailer Park
N 16°52'36.7"
$200 other side (south west) of town in suburb Coloso, large messy campground on a main road, walled and gated, used car and gravel storage one end, noisy karaoke bar in an open lean-to on wall the other end, traffic noise, and also some bus and truck parking on property = NOT recommended!
neglected (out of season), some grass, power, water at some sites, waste dumps at some sites, green pool, dirty old toilets w. warm showers, some good shade.
Puerto Escondido
Cabañas de Cortes
N 15°51'46.2"
$100 small lot near bridge, probably 4-6 usable sites, hot, no breeze, noisy over night from restaurant music, and roosters, and dogs, overall neglected impression = DON'T STAY HERE!
some power points on trees, dirty brown water, waste dumps, little shade, filthy or un-usable toilets (bucket flush) and cold showers
Puerto Escondido
Palmas de Cortes
[- forgot -]
read description
$150 w/o air
$ 250 with a/c
Cabañas de Cortes is on inland side of the main hwy, to reach this campground you turn at the same intersection down towards the beach, when you reach the pedestrian zone turn left into lane (some shops on left) and turn directly right into the lot (tight turn), public parking, public baños, and campground all in one! same manager as above.
the beach front site is covered with cocos palms, decent shade, tight turns and sites, very good breeze (at ocean front), 5-7°C cooler than CdC, fishing boats and clean fish stalls (no smell) just outside the fence, long trip to shopping and mercado
24 hour attendant, but poor security, power, water, stupid little waste dumps, the second cleanest toilets we have found at a camping site in Mexico, cold showers, on weekend nights some noise from nearby bars, but otherwise nice...
TIP: buy some fresh tuna filets from the fish stalls just outside the gate = cheap & yummy!
Puerto Angel, Playa Zipolite
Rancho Los Mangos
N 15°39'56.0"
$100 / person new campground as part of large property, mango and fruit plantation, some luxurious cabañas, lovely large pool (cleaned every day), grassed and lush gardens, very friendly managers
power, water, waste dumps (not at all sites), use of the clean pool side toilets and cold showers, some good shade (and falling mangoes), not much breeze, 3 blocks to beach, 2 blocks to shops and restaurants, very quiet, recommended!
Oaxaca Trailer Park
N 17°04'42.9"
$150 its days are numbered: the site is being developed with office buildings and car parking, when we visited there were only 7 (maybe 10) usable sites left!
power, water (at some sites), waste dumps, toilets w. (mostly) hot showers, caretaker needs reminder to clean facilities, some good shade, noise at night from nearby live music, convenient to shopping and buses into town
carpark at ruins
N 16°55'43.7"
free level parking lot at entrance gate to ruins, in suburban location, some noise from roaming dogs (and teenagers), o.k. for one night!
during opening hours use of clean toilets at cashier of ruins possible
La Ventosa
PEMEX station
N 16°32'48.6"
free, hot showers
$12 / person
this was our first night at a PEMEX, and we picked the wrong one: busy intersection nearby, trucks coming and going all night = no sleep at all! the campgrounds in Tehuantepec, which we passed before, appeared unusable...
only plus: the restrooms and showers were maintained pleasantly clean
Puerto Arista
Jose's Cabañas & Camping
N 15°55'52.3"
$40 / person
+ $20 f. a/c use
friendly canadian-mexican owned property at south-east end of town. the small town was almost dead at the time of our stay, not many options even for basic shopping, o.k. beach with rough surf and some palapa restaurants
tents o.k., you might get power from some power points at the cabañas, water can be filled near main gate, the only waste dump (behind toilet block) is difficult to reach due to low trees, the basic toilets and showers are kept very clean! this is a hot spot with too little shade = we didn't stay long
Chiapa de Corzo
N 16°42'29.5"
free we first tried to stay within the one-way street system going around the zócalo, but passing traffic was too close to get rest, I then moved to the only 2-way section along the road coming up from the boat launching area, which didn't had many cars passing through... o.k. sleep from a bit before midnight until 5am when the cleaning crews arrived
there could be a quieter spot (with good breeze) behind the cathedral (enter between mercado and cathedral, go down to T intersection, turn right), small park with large trees, almost above stairs down to the boat launching area, but the access to this place is very tight (walk it first)!
San Christobal de Las Casas
Rancho San Nicolás
N 16°44'02.2"
$50 / person
$25 / kid
large property at the outskirts of town, access roads through town are narrow, almost rural setting, green, lots of trees and grass, some cabañas and communal kitchen, good spot to meet other travellers, long walk (almost ¾ hour) into town, cool to cold nights, cabañas are cheap and tenting would be rather cold o/n, mostly quiet, some nights barking dogs...
power (reverse polarity), water, waste dumps to about 6 sites, old, but o.k. toilets and hot showers
Tonina near Ocosingo
Parking lot of ruins
    this is one place where we did NOT STAY! we were told by other travellers that they had stayed here early this year, but we were sent away by security guards; there are cabañas just up the road, and we get the impression that the owner works hand-in-hand with the guards. at the cabañas you can camp for $100, but don't get much except some very uneven ground (too slopey) and the use of toilets...
Agua Azul
Parking lot
N 17°15'26.0"
entry $10 / person we felt safe here (despite other reports). not overly busy during weekdays, very quiet over night: all you hear is the water rushing down the rapids. there are some decent low(!) shade trees and the water cools the place down a bit over night.
use of toilets ($3) and cold showers ($5) during daytime hours (locked over night).
N 17°29'14.9"
$150 w.power
[less w/o power]
large property with trailer park, restaurant (live music), large pool, lovely gardens, some good shade. tents o.k., cabañas to rent (some air-conditioned!), quiet during nights, but busy w. Mexicans over the weekend. only 2 kms to ruins, uphill, so take a collectivo (we didn't and regretted it!).
power (voltage too high?), water, dumps too high, large clean(-ish) bathrooms w. hot showers.
Frontera Corozal
Escudo Jaguar
near boat launch to Yaxchilán
N 16°49'22.2"
free *)
*) first we were asked to pay $150 with use of bathrooms, $100 to stay with no facilities, which we found ridiculous since their rooms start at $170! upon second question at ticket counter for boats we were allowed to stay w/o payment...
parking lot, some shade, some slope, near river, but still hot, quiet overnight
we recommend to take a good flash light into all ruin sites!
Lacanjá Chansayab near Bonampak
Campamento Lacandones
N 16°46'06.5"
$25 p. person some rooms and a restaurant next to a river w. wide waterfall, decent shade in rainforest setting, relatively cool. nice and peaceful spot = recommended!
very basic, but clean toilets and (at our visit) unfinished cold showers
New Samula Trailer Park
N 19°49'01.8"
$80 suburb Samula: south of university, down Calle 12, turn right into Calle 19, left into Calle 16, property is on your left (sign Trailer Parck), it's really a suburban house with a nice green garden, room for maybe 3-4 vans or small campers, tents o.k., despite the heat it's cooler here than downtown.
some power, water, simple toilet and shower, palapa, owner (older lady) speaks some English, bus service into town 3 blocks away, too many dogs around, public party rental place at street corner (noisy on weekends).
if you want to stay for free with no facilities or shade: outside the Tourist Information near waterfront (7-lane road) is a large parking lot where "boondocking" is permitted!
Parking lot of ruins
N 20°21'36.8"
with receipt!
shocked about the price, but very quiet overnight, some shade, use of very clean toilets is all you get!
handy to visit the Sound & Light Show in the evening.
near Uxmal
Restaurant Can-Nah
N 20°23'52.9"
$100 *) *) this is a listed campground and the official rate is $200. we arrived a little after 7 pm and the place was closed - no access to (locked) bathrooms - hence the next morning we demanded a lower price.
grass under low trees near road, still quiet over night, some morning shade, power, water, swimming pool (which we didn't inspect), tents probably o.k.
Rainbow Trailer Park
N 21°02'29.9"
$200 on main road to Progresso, next to Liverpool department store, mostly an industrial area with the accompanying noise. some shade, camping on grass, tents probably o.k., terrible mosquito problem at the beginning of the rain season! decent bus connection into downtown, heaps of US-American-style shopping and dining nearby.
power, water, dumps (all 3 are difficult to co-ordinate), old bathrooms with solar hot water, old showerheads which spray in all directions (or not at all), fairly clean (we were the only guests).
Zócalo next to convent
N 20°56'00.0"
free a friendly English "Welcome" by the tourist policeman José, who said of course we could stay (he hinted a tip for himself) and the small town would be quiet overnight... that wasn't the case! it seems to be the main Saturday night entertainment to cruise with cars and noisy mopeds around the plaza until the wee hours of the morning - just before the first people arrive for the 6 o'clock mass...
near Chichen Itza
N 20°52'00.5"
free *) *) we ended up staying in a residential area: good morning shade and relatively quiet sleep, but under a flickering street light. other people recommend to drive into the hotel zone near the ruins!
we first stopped at the "Piramide Inn", the only remaining official camping option in town, and were allocated (for $40 p.person incl. fairly dirty cold showers) a site in their front yard, about 4 meters from the Highway 180. during the day it was quiet enough, but over night traffic picked up, mostly semi-trailers and b-doubles, and there's a bumpy tope just down the road - so sleep was impossible and around 1:00 am we went searching for another place. we found the entire ruin site blocked off by armed police.
La Playa [sign!]
N 20°28'20.0"
$150 bumpy dirt road off highway to a beautiful white beach with turquoise calm water. elevated campsite with good breeze (if there is any) and nice view (only interrupted by a cyclone fence).
full hook-ups, though only very few power outlets, and the water is a little salty. bathrooms with cold showers were cleaned after we politely asked for. there are also cold beach showers in front of the relatively expensive beach restaurant. overall a nice spot (out of season - might be too busy with longterm campers during season) - we went back for a longer stay!
near Puerto Morales
Acamaya Reef
N 20°52'21.4"
US$15 +
US$5 for a/c
narrow property with some cabañas right at the beach and about 8 campsites behind.
too much seaweed on the beach, large resort 2 properties up the beach, too little breeze, and a construction site right next door all didn't encourage us to stay more than one night...
sites are narrow with full hook-ups, unisex toilets and cold showers (there's supposed to be hot water during season) with only curtains for privacy, small restaurant which was closed for re-modelling, some nasty mosquitos.
north of Majahual
N 18°46'35.8"
$100 basically paid for nothing but a space to park (and sleep) overnight
no facilities (not even use of a toilet), some english spoken, not a nice beach: dirty with trash and seegrass, shallow water. some shade from cocos palms, good breeze, quiet overnight
a british group of marine biologists claim to have leased the entire property for a year; they don't want others entering it once their equipment has arrived!
Calderitas near Chetumal
Yax Ha Resort
N 18°33'39.9"
$250 - $350
depending size of camper
our last camping place in Mexico is one of the most expensive ones, but it also looks quite nice and well cared for: grassy property with pool next to the ocean, palms and trees, small beach and marina, clean and modern ensuite-style bathrooms with hot water. tents probably accepted, free WiFi (unreliable)! weak 15 amp power (120 + 220 Volts!), place to fill with fresh water and another place to dump waste water.
this could be a nice and quiet place, but the owners/managers let people in overnight to party at the waterfront; we were woken up one night at 5:00, the next at 1:40 by noisy drunks...
update: Chetumal was once again hit by a cyclone in mid 2007 - this place might have been affected

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2. Belize

  [B$ = Prices in Belize Dollars / 2B$ = 1US$ / current July 2007]
Town / Camp Site GPS Price p. Night Description / Our Impression
Old Belize near Belize City
Cucumber Beach Marina
N 17°28'20.2"
+ B$5 f.power
address: Mile 5, Western Highway, Belize City
marina with good restaurant, artificial beach, and Old Belize tourist attraction.
obviously at the ocean, so a good (sometimes too strong) breeze, cool enough overnight, quiet, security & night guard, use of decent hot showers and toilets, laundry facilities, free WiFi, secure vehicle storage whilst visiting the cayes (islands) = not bad at all!
Baboon Sanctury
Bermudian Landing
Parking Lot
N 17°33'20.3"
B$5 p.person some late afternoon shade, good breeze during the day, cool enough over night, use of new (unfinished) toilets and cold shower.
San Ignacio
Inglewood Camping
N 17°08'20.2"
+ metered power
little shade, hot!, some palapas, a cooking shelter, power and water to all sites, a spot to dump waste water near toilet block, some highway noise (main road to Guatemala), simple clean bathrooms with electric warm showers. supposed to have WiFi (for a fee!) which wasn't on when we stayed there. tents o.k.

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3. Guatemala

  [Q = Prices in Quetzals - current July-September 2007]
Town / Camp Site GPS Price p. Night Description / Our Impression
Jaguar Inn
N 17°13'34.5"
Q25 p.person [ staying at the campsite of the ruins is Q30 per person and you get less shade and cold showers only. ]
some decent shade, very quiet overnight, but early risers at around 4:00 (who join the guided morning walk at 4:30) might wake you up. tents o.k., they even rent tents or hammock spaces.
use of warm showers and toilets, both in ok condition (= not that clean, not really dirty). restaurant serves decent food and offers very expensive internet (US$5 per hour).
Lago Petén Itzá we didn't use either free 1. El Remate: coming from El Cruce, when entering the town, there's a large level lot on your left on the lake shore; it's community land where we were told we could boondock. another camper told us about some palapas along the northern shore (direction San Román, just out of town).
2. Santa Elena, one-way-street along lake shore, on the right just before the bridge to Flores: we were told by the INGUAT tourist office that it would be o.k. and safe to boondock on the large cleared and filled lot on the lake side (very exposed, no shade!). americans with an RV told us that they had stayed at a hotel with an arched gate, in the hotel yard right by the lake (before you reach the bridge - probably not free).
Santa Elena N 16°54.170
TROPIGAS after much searching and asking we found a plant outside town. this description has been written well after our visit; update and GPS thanks to Kathy and Rick!
go to the west end of town, turn left into another main road, follow it to a Y intersection (Shell station), take the left fork towards San Francisco, and follow this out of town for about 1 kilometer, TROPIGAS is on the left hand side.
Finca Ixobel
N 16°18'12.0"
Q22 p.person
+ Q10 f.power
a very lovely, quiet property just south of Poptún, very popular with international backpackers, offering rafting, caving, horse riding, and walking tours. it's a little paradise...
power is very weak and unreliable, only power point at bathroom! tents o.k. camping on a large grassed field with lots of mature shade trees and nice gardens, surrounded by simple "tree houses" for rent, shared clean bathrooms with electric warm showers. water only at bathroom building, no dumping facilities! sometimes unlocked WiFi at the restaurant for same fee as their internet computer (US$5 per hour)!
good restaurant with large buffet style dinner (Q40 for a plate or Q55 for all-you-can-eat), good place to relax and meet people, not so good for immersing in the local culture ;-)
Rio Dulce
or Fronteras/El Relleno
Bruno's Hotel & Marina
N 15°39'34.9"
Q50 small, partly well shaded, parking lot on the north-east side of the bridge. we didn't get enough sleep here: restaurant too close, opens before 6:00 for breakfast... quite a bit truck noise from the nearby bridge (engine brakes) starting already around 4:00, in harmony with local roosters. there are only a couple of power points, so if you want to have power your options are limited.
use of semi-clean toilets and hot showers, WiFi (usually for a fee, was unlocked during our stay), popular restaurant and bar at waterfront, small pool (fee).
Parking lot of ruins
N 15°16'26.0"
we tipped the guard
good shade, next to busy road into adjoining Del Monte banana plantation, quiet overnight. woke up in the morning at 5:30 to crop-duster plane.
use of really clean toilets (open all night).
Biotopo Del Quetzal
km 166.5 to Cobán
Country Delights
N 15°14'10.4"
Q100 ! very friendly English speaking owners. restaurant gets good reviews. 2 little A-frames and rooms for rent. tiny pool and a sauna (fee?). parking is on part gravel, part grass. a little too close to highway (which is quiet overnight, but traffic starts early), tenting on grass further away from road. nice nature walk through forest and viewing platform (we didn't see any quetzal, although the owner assures us that they are around).
use of clean toilet and cold shower, power point at bathroom shelter.
Hostal De Doña Victoria
Calle 3
N 15°28'06.7"
Q20 plus
Q20 f.shower
parking lot at rear (off Calle 4), untidy gravel lot on a slight slope, dead-end lane, gated and fenced. looked quiet and empty when we arrived, but used overnight by several collectivo and bus drivers; last arrival after 11:00, first got up at 3:15, then one after another every 30 minutes, all with the obligatory 5-10 minutes warm-up of their diesel engine and car stereo... NOT really recommended! if you want to use this location then park at the eastern end near school yard, away from the gate.
we paid extra for the use of basic toilets and showers with lots of hot water.
N 15°28'13.2"
not used! parking lot of shopping center "Plaza Magdalena", turn right at their clock tower, there's a small lot in the back (near interior food court) with some trees, away from road, should be quiet, river wier right behind - try to find an arangement with the security guards!
Semuc Champey
Parking lot
N 15°32'11.1"
new fee!
road not recommended for large vehicles with little clearance - very rough, narrow and steep in sections (starts at an altitude of over 1100 meters, ends around 260 meters)
end of the road, very quiet over night, some good shade, unfortunately too warm to leave camper closed, and lots of no-see-ums (little biting flies). tents?
use of clean (newish) toilets (no showers), not locked overnight
Hotel "El Recreo"
N 15°34'33.0"
Q50 camping in parking lot near road (no traffic overnight), under trees, gravel (to mud), sound of their private waterfall.
use of very clean toilets and electric hot showers.
in front of police station
N 15°20'53.2"
free we were a little late and very exhausted = stranded! upon enquiring we were told that overnight the town would be quiet... not so: this was our second most disturbed night so far with less than 2 hours of interrupted sleep! the station is next to the zocalo, from where all tuc-tucs, buses and collectivos leave; the last went past our camper around 1:30, the first arrived at 3:00 with loud music and the driver loudly calling out his destination every 2 minutes, from then on buses almost every 15 minutes = we had breakfast around 3:45 and left...
upon leaving town we noticed on the western outskirts a hotel with a parking lot big enough to accommodate a camper our size - if this is an option we don't know...
Hotel "Vision Azul"
N 14°44'55.0"
Q80 beautiful location right on the lake shore with stunning view, some shade trees, camping on grass, tents probably o.k. unfortunately overall a very neglected property with rubbish laying around, green pool, unkept bathrooms, partly broken palapas, long grass, terrible driveway, etc. = we didn't feel like staying more than 1 night!
power and water (need extensions for both!) at bar palapa, no dumping facilities, use of bathrooms with cold showers.

our preferred option, the Hotel & Trailer Park Tzanjuyú (see below - on the lake shore closer to the main road and town) was closed at the time: no water and no electricity!
Camping "Campaña"
N 14°44'18.2"
(Q50 f.longer stay)
+ Q5 hot shower
very narrow sidelane with 90° turn, off the road to Santa Catarina, camping on grassy slope with some trees, better suited for tents or smaller vans. friendly american owner, several longterm old american hippies seem to live here. good 15 mins. walk into town, tuc-tuc Q5/person.
it's a quiet location. use of o.k. toilets and showers, shared kitchen (all could be a bit cleaner), hot showers upon request for a fee. weak power connection with long extension cord, no dumping facilities.
Hotel "Tzanjuyú"
N 14°44'33.3"
Q75 nice location on the lake shore similar to "Vision Azul" (above), few shade trees, camping on grass, tents probably o.k. the property seems to have changed hands and during our stay they started to do some work, at the time one old caretaker did his best to keep on top of things (overall cleaner than "Vision Azul")...
quiet over night, and relaxing even in daytime. security is non-existant. relatively short and easy walk into town, even closer to boats to San Pedro.
power and water at the closed restaurant, use of old, but o.k bathrooms, with electric warm showers, in main building (quite a walk from campsites), access to dump directly into septic.
or Xela
Hotel Del Campo
N 14°50'39.9"
(took a room) hotel at outskirts of town, in town we couldn't find any decent spot or even a hotel room with secure parking. this hotel (recommended by one in town) has a large paved parking lot, unfortunately rather close to a main road which is busy from early in the morning with trucks and buses.
we didn't enquire about sleeping in our camper (though we should have - the room wasn't very quiet either). the parking lot is certainly big enough for one or two campers and their visiting buses.
Quetzaltenango no reading TROPIGAS this description is from before we started to take GPS readings, and has been written well after our visit!
on the main road between Cuatros Caminos and the town center (well past the turn off for the bypass to San Marcos) are 2 plants on the right hand side; the first is a ZETAGAS, who refused to fill our bottles, the second is a TROPIGAS plant, who filled our bottles.
Later we found this option outside of
near Zunil
Fuentes Georginas
N 14°45'01.6"
+ Q20/car
Fuentes Georginas is a hot springs resort above the town of Zunil, south of Quetzaltenango (Xela). take the road to Retalhuleu (to Pacific & CA2), just before Zunil there's a Y intersection signposted to the left to "Aquas Georginas". narrow windy road through market gardens, lovely views. resort (w. cabañas) is at the end of the road. not recommended on weekends (too busy)!.
level parking lot, use of toilets and poolside shower. we didn't use the hotsprings or the shower since we found it too cool (overcast and only 12°C); quiet except for noisy generator (turned off late at night).
along CA2 not used! parking lot of a large US-american style mall with fastfood outlets and a Hiper Paiz. there are spaces up the hill well away from the highway, currently the place seems to be not overly busy. we only stopped for some shopping. try to find an arangement with the security guards!
between Frontera El Carmen
and Malcatán
Hotel Real Pacifico
[website not done yet]
N 14°55'00.8"
Q100 ! address: Kilometre 272 Panamericana, around 5 miles from border on T intersection to Malcatán. new hotel which welcomes campers! arched entrance, left gate (locked - park on road side) easily tall enough for buses, steep-ish paved driveway down to river, some low overhanging branches. camping site is a large grassed area right above the river, some trees, a bit muddy (rain season), at the time of our visit they were building a large palapa which had provisions for several power outlets.
use of lovely pool, free WiFi, and poolside bathroom (toilet and cold shower) - all uphill from campsite. quiet, away from road, and the bubbling river cuts out remaining traffic noise.
parking lot
N 14°56.664'
from another site To get there continue down the street from the Shell station (7 Avenida), past the Hotel Santo Tomas about 2 or 3 blocks and look for a black gate on your left about the middle of the last block before you come to the end of the street. A hand painted sign says parking or parqueo. That's the entrance. If it's closed, holler or bang on the gate and someone will come. These people are interested in having RVers stay. They have had several before us and had good experiences with all, plus Diego had to have a serious surgery 2 years ago and can't do the kind of work he used to, so they are struggling to hold onto their land. It cost 100 Quetzals a night. Don't be confused by the sign at the end of the street for another parqueo, it's not the one. If you can't find it, ask for Diego Canil, he is well known in town. Telephone: 77562419 or cell: 55524059
The parqueo is completely fenced and secure, and is convienently located a few blocks from the market. There is a bathroom and shower for a small fee.
Hotel Real Plaza
N 14°33'08.1"
(took a room) hotel on the western by-pass route around town, with a large walled parking lot in the rear (we heard that they accept campers) - it's close to the bus station and traffic starts early (before 5:00)...
facilities would include pool and use of poolside bathrooms. free WiFi!
we splurged and took an expensive room.

UPDATE: camping in Antigua has become a lot easier since the Tourist Police, right in town, has opened their yard for camping, complete with toilet facilities, and free!
Villa Nueva
south of Guatemala City
no reading ZETAGAS this description is from before we started to take GPS readings, and has been written well after our visit!
Km 19 Carretera Pacifico [CA 9] a little south of Villa Nueva on the left. we needed to make a U turn, then pass the first ZETAGAS plant, take the small road to the right (with an enclosed factory bridge across) just before the ZETAGAS fuel station, the gate is on your left... this was a very bureaucratic place, where it took over 30 minutes to fill 2 bottles.
Posada El Canja
N 14°47.161'
Q50 on CA10 just out of town - hotel set back a bit from the (not so busy) road, 2 arched gates with well over 4 Meters clearance. parking on concrete (or possibly on grass) near clean pool, no shade, use of clean toilet, but no shower. possibility to fill water from tap near fountain.
N 14°48.052'
  just down the CA10, across the river, is on the left hand side the "Hotel Casa Y Campo": we had this address from other people who camped there in 2006. it's a large garden lot with lots of trees and a pool. at the time of our visit it was closed (and looked closed for some time)!
other options in town, we had heard about, turned ot to be too small for us...

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4. Honduras

  [L = Prices in Lempiras - current September/October 2007]
Town / Camp Site GPS Price p. Night Description / Our Impression
Balneario "El Jaral"
N 14°52.136'
US$7 p.person elaborate and well kept balneario (commercial pools and water slides) about 15 kms from Copán. we wanted to cool down and have a shower (not in our tiny bathroom), so we accepted the expensive price...
camping on sloping grassed parking lot, which was a little muddy during rain season. use of nice pools, cold poolside showers (outdoors = no privacy!) and clean toilets, clean water to fill, but no power (we used power in palapas for computer and battery charger). close to road, but surprisingly quiet over night.
second option: most people use the TEXACO station right next to the parking lot of the Copán ruins. it's a small old fashioned station, a tip (~ L50) to the night guard is expected. you can get power behind the Coke machine and you can fill with water. we heard it's quiet over night (there seems to be very little traffic on most roads in Honduras!).
Santa Barbara
Turicentro "Bella Vista"
N 14°51.015'
L50 p.person just off the main road a good 10 kms south of town. not much "bella" about this place: the entire balneario looks rather run down, although (or because) the place is huge. pools are filled with dirty river water, toilets and the one cold shower are very dark and basic, the large gated parking lot is sloping and partly rather muddy. although there are some trees and lots of space, it's a hot place with little breeze. quiet at night, but a concert of roosters woke us early. upon leaving we discovered a power point inside the gate house...
Lago De Vojoa
Finca "Las Glorias"
near Peña Blanca
N 14°56.242'
L200 large property well away from road, partly a working coffee and fruit plantation, partly a rather large and nice looking lakefront hotel. for several years already the property is undergoing a slow renovation.
camping on grassy parking lot between orange trees (which are too close and low - we broke a roof vent!), and little shade.
use of pool, clean(-ish) toilets, some other bathrooms with clean cold showers are a long walk from campsite. at the end of our stay they installed (weak) free WiFi, otherwise there's an expensive internet computer to use. one power outlet outside a salon can be reached with long extension. water near office. there's a bar & decent restaurant, plus a shop, next to the pool. busy on weekends, still quiet over night.
N 15°01.510'
L30 p.person
[+ camping fee?]
second option: Centro Turistico Pulhapanzak at the waterfall north-west of the lake. 2 kms access road was very rough at the late rain season. we know of several people who have stayed here, and upon arrival the caretaker asked us straight away if we wanted to stay the night... it's a large partly well shaded parking lot near the waterfall, some breeze and some cattle smell, there are so-so toilets.
Comayagua   free at the town hall we were offered to use a municipal parking lot with no facilities - an offer we should have taken up, because our night in a hotel was rather restless...
the edificio municipal is on the north side of the plaza near the cathedral. access roads are a little narrow, but parking is no major problem.
Comayagua is a beautiful colonial town, by-passed by most foreigners, but well worth a visit. it's a sister town of Antigua in Guatemala, and its atmosphere is similar (minus the tourist infrastructure you'll find in Antigua).
San Juan / Intibucá
Hotelito Crus Callejas
N 14°24.287'
L100 small semi-concreted parking lot of a hotel at northern end of town, fenced and secure, quiet over night, but buses start to honk their horns at 5:30...
use of clean (shared) toilet and cold shower, cool place at over 1,200 mts elevation.
Finca "Bavaria"
N 14°35.479'
L50 large property at the edge of town, part coffee plantation, part guesthouse, ask to open the rear gate, which is still a little narrow, and the access has a few low hanging (soft) branches. room for maybe two smaller campers. very quiet over night [unfortunately the second night was spoilt by the absent owner's dog barking and whining] and walking distance into town. some shade, nighttime temperatures are o.k.
they opened a room for us to use the bathroom (toilet & cold shower), if we would have taken a sunny spot we might have been able to run an extension cord to this room. not so clean water is available.
N 14°33.536'
not used second option: Agua Termale = around 5 kms out of town are some hot springs where people reportedly have stayed overnight. the access road was rather rough (late rain season - keep left at the Y) and the driveway is very steep. once there you'll be hard pressed to find a level area. we wouldn't recommend this place for any vehicle larger than ours.
Highway CA04 between Santa Rosa
and El Salvador border
N 14°18.905'
L30 tip to guard DIPPSA Petrol Station near La Labor: large station with a huge level parking lot behind, hard packed clay which turned very muddy in the rain. relatively cool and quiet (away from hwy) overnight, but truck traffic got noisy at 5:00
use of (for a gas station surprisingly!) clean toilets and a cold shower.
Hotel Gualiqueme
on CA1/CA3 near Puente Choluteca
N 13°18.847'
US$20 !! we knew about this place in advance, and were aware that it's expensive, but we were really exhausted after driving all day through rain and a very tedious border crossing from El Salvador...
large, rather up-market hotel (rooms are US$80) with a big paved level parking lot, lovely garden with 2 pools, small bar and snack bar, etc. probably a little noisy from heavy vehicles, during our stay it rained too heavily to notice much.
staff are very accommodating: power from outlets in front of the rooms, water taps along drive way, free WiFi in reception and pool pavillion, and they even handed us the key to an unused room (leaking ceiling) to use the facilities.

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5. El Salvador

  [$ = Prices in US Dollars - current September/October 2007]
Town / Camp Site GPS Price p. Night Description / Our Impression
La Palma
Hotel La Palma
N 14°18.905'
$14 very nice looking hotel with pool and restaurant, and most importantly a level parking lot and wide gate! friendly staff and owner, whose family fled to Australia (and still lives in Melbourne). despite some truck traffic o/n we slept well here and stayed for 2 nights.
we offered to pay for 1 habitacion (1 bed = $14) to get use of a room with private bathroom and electric shower. use of power point outside the rooms and water to fill, also good free WiFi (chance to ring home).
"El Mangal de Suchitlan"
Piscina & Restaurante
N 13°56.733'
$6 balneario right by the lake, follow the signs to the "Ferry" and Centro Turistico San Juan, unfortunately long uphill walk into town, but there's a bus service for $0.30 p.p.. very quiet overnight, camping on grass lot (a little dirty) with no shade, not easy to get level and get the breeze. room for 5 or more large rigs
use of clean pools, o.k. bathrooms with cold shower, and cheap food and beer at restaurant.
there is a 50 AMP powerpoint w. 50 AMP breaker (!!) at the bathroom block, as well as several 15 AMP powerpoints, but you'll need a very long extension cord...
San Salvador N 13°41.578'
ZETAGAS address from phone book, turned out to be only an office: Calle Las Palmas 129, Col. San Benito. very helpful: they had a full US-American bottle to swap for our empty, and very cheap.
on road to Joya de Cerén N 13°47.759'
TROPIGAS after our ordeal in San Salvador we passed this TROPIGAS plant, about 2 kms off the CA 1. we didn't stop to use it.
near San Juan Opico
"Manantial Los Bajios"
on route to Ciudad Arce
N 13°52.309'
$5 5:50 pm: this little run-down balneario presented itself as the only option near San Juan Opico (we were refused to stay at the ruins of Joya de Cerén). large pool filled with murky river water, camping next to it, on sandy dirt, under an enormous mango tree. very quiet overnight.
use of semi-functioning toilets, outside cold showers (if you wish). security guards. power point near juke box.
near La Libertad
"Roots Surf Camp"
CA2 @ km42 in El Tunco
N 13°29.621'
$3 p.person pebbled side street (w. sign) to the beach. grassy sand lot under cocos palms. part campground (mostly tents), part restaurant and bar, part party place - Saturday nights are noisy with dance music... Sunday night was quiet.
use of basic bathrooms with clean toilets and cold salty showers. power from kitchen. friendly owner speaks fluent English.
Turicentro "Ichanmichen"
N 13°52.309'
$4 + tip at the western intersection on the CA2 don't turn north into town, but turn south instead. 43 hectares of park with mature trees, 3 huge pools, day-use cabañas, parking, picnic shelters, playground, and more... not really set up for overnight camping, but they went out of their way to give us permission to stay in the office compound under some trees. driveway gate is a little low - we got through fine.
toilets only accessable during opening hours [7-5], power from office building.
Restaurante "Cartagena"
N 13°30.637'
free 1) follow the signs from near the plaza; road is steep, and driveway is a little narrow, but once there you'll find a large level parking lot. this is a large property at the edge of town, part tropical nursery, part guesthouse, and a nice, though little pricey, restaurant with views "to die for". well worth a visit!
dry-camped and only used their toilet once in the morning (no other facilities). cabañas are $50/night! very quiet and, at 1.100 mts. cool over night.
1) the next day they came up and suddenly asked for $30, which we refused to pay... there might have been some confusion, partly based on the fact that we don't eat meat: when we first enquired we let them know that we intended to eat at the restaurant, but also asked specifically if they had fish or vegetarian dishes - yes, they had fish. later, when we sat down, another waiter told us they were out of fish, so we left rather unhappy (since we actually didn't feel like cooking).
N 13°29.648'
+ entry fee
second option: Laguna de Alegria = around 2 kms out of town, up a steep and roughly pebbled road, you'll find the laguna, our reason to come to this town. it's a beautiful clear green lagoon with slightly sulphurous water, an old volcano crater, surrounded by lush forest.
$12 was for an overnight security guard (even though we felt no need for it). in the right weather a nice spot to dry camp. turn-off is at the edge of town: N 13°31.530'  W088°29.182' (no sign)!
off CA1 west of San Miguel N 13°31.530'
TROPIGAS we only noticed the sign (GPS reading taken near turn-off), but didn't go in.
San Miguel
Turicentro "Altos de la Cueva"
N 13°30.037'
  $10 to camp 2)
+$2.29 entry
2) they actually rang their head office in San Salvador to find out the possibiliy and rate to pay for camping.
since we only stayed the night they didn't charge us the $2.29 entry fee.

quieter part of town, called "Riverside" (in good Spanish - follow the signs). parking near office, under large fig trees, well away from the road. steel bar across gate is fairly low!
power from office, use of so-so bathrooms with cold showers, several pools, which looked nice, but it was raining heavily, so we didn't go in. taps and hoses to fill water.
Museo de la Revolucion
Parking Lot
N 13°57.525'
tip the guards up the hill from town center, a small level parking lot, dirt, which was very muddy (late rain season). quiet over night. no facilities, but very friendly people.
there's another large grassed parqueo across the road where one could stay, but some tree branches are rather low.

PLEASE NOTE: all government run TURICENTROS in El Salvador close at 5:00 in the afternoon. If you're planning to camp in one it would be best to arrive before 4:30 and arrange your stay.
In case their gate proves to be too low for your rig an early arrival would give you some time to find an alternative place.

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6. Nicaragua

  [C$ = Prices in Cordoba - current October 2007]
Town / Camp Site GPS Price p. Night Description / Our Impression
Cotton Factory
N 12°26.810'
free we were too late and too tired to check for other options - we relied on some helpful neighbours (who intruced Yasha as their Aunty) - not sure if this would be an option for other travellers!
parking lot of a factory, o.k. for a night, no facilities, we were woken before 6:00 am and asked to leave...
By-pass of León
km 91½ Carretera Circunvalación
N 12°26.288'
TROPIGAS right next to the hotel mentioned below
procedure to fill propane bottles here turns out to be really bureaucratic: first you need the exact amount to pay plus their account details, with these you go/drive to Bancentro (in the center of town), stand in line for ages at the bank to pay the Tropigas bill, and then return with the pay slip to get your bottles filled. I also had to show the guys how to prime the US bottles because they wouldn't fill properly.
Hotel San Cristóbal
N 12°26.253'
(took a room) it rained a lot, travel was impossible due to floods, I had a bad flu, and we didn't want to camp...
hotel is on busy main road, parking lot is large and shaded, but noisy. rooms are a little quieter.
not sure if they would allow RVs to camp!
Park by the Lake
N 11°55.262'
C$30 entry
+ tip f.night guard
entry fee only during day hours, gate opened later, too. at the ferry pier turn right and drive through the tall arch into the park. play grounds, lake beach, and a number of restaurants, all a bit neglected.
no facilties, but level parking, morning shade, quiet weeknights, noisy on weekends
N 11°55.759'
not used! second option: Cruz Roja [Red Coss] on road from town to the ferry terminal (a little closer to town). we know of several people who have used this place in the past...
it didn't feel right to us, sorta combination of a school, homeless shelter, parking lot (buses and trucks = early starters), and a wrecking yard. some level parking, power (w. extension) could be available.
at both locations we wouldn't want to leave our vehicle for long.
parking spot in town
N 11°55.754'
free since the park by the lake turned out to be too busy on Friday night we thought to try boondocking in town (and take in some of the late evening atmosphere...) - no hassles!
we stood right between the cathedral and the bishop's residence, a spot w/o any traffic, but noise from a near-by nightclub...
San Juan Del Sur
Bahia Majagua
N 11°17'56"
didn't get there! this place was recommended by several people: a beachfront eco resort with the option to camp. it's about 12 km north-west of the town (which we didn't like very much), turn-off is outside town near school. a very rough (and during our visit muddy!) dirt road which follows a derelict railway track: narrow cuts through hillsides and equally narrow bridges. after the turn-off to the left (not sign-posted) you have to cross a creek, which was a small river during our visit, then always keep right (we were told). despite 4WD we had to give up on the last 1½ kms, because the already bumpy road turned into knee-deep wet mud. we stayed instead at the near-by (closed) Hotel "Playa Marsella" = our most expensive cold shower (NOT recommended)...
we don't know what the conditions are at this place, or what the road will be like during the dry season, but we wouldn't recommend going there with normal RVs; small campers and vans might be o.k.

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7. Costa Rica

  [¢ = Prices in Colones, some in US$s - current November 2007 - January 2008]
once you have reached Costa Rica you're in camper's heaven: it's safe and all beaches (you can get to) are public land = free to camp!
Town / Camp Site GPS Price p. Night Description / Our Impression
outside La Cruz
on road to Peñas Blancas
Hotel "Calinas Del Norte"
N 11°06.555'
US$10 late, raining and foggy, already dark, this hotel parking lot presented itself as an option away from the highway. it turned out to be the o/n stop for buses running from San José to the border; the last one pulled in at 0:30, the first left just after 3:30...
muddy parking lot, large tree, difficult to get level, no facilities except use of a clean toilet.
Bahia De Salinas
beach camping
N 11°02.588'
free from the parque in La Cruz a little up the hill, first tar downhill, then a mostly good dirt road (follow the signs to Bolaños Bay, or for most of the way to Ecoplaya = better sign posting), the beach is down a track right after Bolaños Bay Resort: a small cove, just large enough to park the camper (and may be 3 other cars), almost all the time to ourselves. the last bit of access is a little rough - walk in to check conditions! there are a few other beaches along this way...
nice sandy beach with some rocks for character, lots of shells, gentle calm waves, good breeze, heaven!
NO facilities, but location, location, location! only morning shade, yet mostly very quiet and relaxing.
near San José
suburb Heredia
Belén Trailer Park [now closed!]
N 09°58.741'
pay 6, stay 7
ATTENTION: this trailer park has sold out to Walmart! There are rumours they might open across the road, where they own another block of land, but with value of land going up quickly I guess chances are low...
On the outskirts of the capital, a real trailer park, wedged between two main roads, and near the airport. it comes with all the things you'd expect: water, power [15 + 50 Amp], sewer hook-ups, hot showers, toilets, washing machine (¢700, no dryer!), clothes lines, fast free WiFi, traffic noise, airplanes overhead - what's missing is a major railway line (feeling a bit sarcastic today)...
very friendly and helpful american owner, camping under some mature trees on grass (which we messed up, sorry, too muddy), traffic is less o/n and on weekends.
Coyol near Alajuala and San José N 09°59.113'
TROPIGAS exit near the "Dos Pinos" factory off the Panamerican Highway north towards Puntarenas. the plant is well off the main road, if you're lucky (like us) you can follow a Tropigas truck right to the gate.
Samara on Nicoya peninsular
Camping "Los Cocos"
N 09°52.876'
¢8,000/day ! camping on sand right by the beach. at the entrance you have to lift a few wires, and it's tight to turn and fit between the cocos palms (a few centimeters wider than our camper and you won't fit)! apart from a few dogs and roosters quiet o/n. some shade, good breeze from ocean during day, o/n some breeze off the land.
use of o.k. toilets and cold showers, water seems to be not salty (so you could fill tanks), (weak) power from a light fitting near campsite. we tried to bargain, expensive for what it is - tents pay ½!
Marbella on Nicoya peninsular
Marbella Beach
N 10°05.268'
free camping on a sandy driveway onto the beach. the road from Marbella to the beach is a bit narrow in places w. some low-hanging branches, and along the beach aren't many spots to turn a larger vehicle! good surf - not so safe to swim.
not much day time shade where we camped (you can find better spots with a smaller vehicle). very quiet o/n, though the surf was very strong and came almost too close to our campsite.
Junquillal on Nicoya peninsular
N 10°09.435'
¢4,000/day yard across the road from the beach, no shade for camper (would be for tents), rather dusty and hot during day (a hedge cuts some of the ocean breeze).
use of toilet, primitive shower, good water to fill, power w. extension from house.
near Nicoya on road from Santa Cruz
Restaurant "Jusavi"
N 10°10.235'
free behind Hotel "El Regalo", away from main road. the very friendly owner made us feel welcome and didn't want to charge anything. he offered us the use of the restaurant bathrooms (opened all night), and he didn't even expect us to eat at his restaurant (which we did anyhow)!
parking lot doesn't offer much shade, there's a lovely pool with jacuzzi (just the right temperature)! we were a little disturbed o/n by noises from a near-by "Dos Pinos" factory.
Tambor on Nicoya peninsular
in an empty sub-division
N 09°43.352'
free when the ferry arrived the sun was already down - so this came up as the first option in the dark: a large sub-division, curbed roads with street lighting - and no houses, but plenty of beautiful trees and some wild life (anteaters and howler monkeys - our first since Guatemala)...
we felt secure and slept well, just far enough from the main road.
Tambor on Nicoya peninsular
at main beach
N 09°42.985'
free boondocking at the beach. the dirt track is narrow and lined with low trees; not many options to get off the track. where we camped wasn't very level, and close by is a bar (closed on this Monday, but their sign advertises "The coldest Beer in Costa Rica" and karaoke for Friday & Saturday nights).
close to surf, on some dune vegetation (which one shouldn't do), quiet when we stayed there, full sun in the morning.
near Montezuma on Nicoya peninsular
beach on way to Cabuya
N 09°38.035'
free the road from Montezuma to Cabuya is a bit narrow in places and badly pot-holed = not recommended if you don't have the clearance! to reach this spot turn off on a hilltop, down a bumpy lane to a few houses, continue past them and you'll reach this camping site, which is under trees right by the beach. nice breeze and always cool. good fishing from the rocks, the beach, which you reach crossing a small creek, is rather mediocre (spoiled Australians that we are).
this was truly one of our nicer camping spots, even though there were a few Tico families around on the weekend it was quiet over night. the site is well off the main road to Cabuya, so all you hear is the ocean.
near Sarchi on road to Bajos De Toro
on road side
N 10°10.102'
free there is supposed to be a campground (with trout farm and cabinas) in this area; it's called "Nené" - we never found it! it was getting dark, the road was narrow and steep, the going was slow, so we pulled off onto the first level bit after over 10 kilometers.
cool at 1,850 meters, quiet night with hardly any traffic, and a gorgeous view to wake up to...
km 70 Panamerican Hwy.
south of San José
"Paraiso del Quetzal"
N 09°38.648'
please read description follow the dirt driveway to "Finca Eddie Serano" (one low wire!), this property right before it is owned by his son - you can stay at either place and rent cabañas. you are almost guaranteed to see quetzales!
payment: the deal we were offered: camping including dinner, cooked breakfast, and guide to see the quetzales in the morning: $US31 for the 2 of us. the food was simple but tasty, and we got to see 5 (or maybe 7 - don't know if some were the same) quetzales. plus many "colibris" (hummingbirds) around their feeders. we found this a good deal!
very cool over night at over 2,680 meters, quiet, but we didn't sleep very well (due to elevation or temperature). parking either next to the restaurant (not very level) or in front of cabañas (level). only use of toilets in restaurant, probably could have got power and water (we didn't ask).
San Gerardo De Dota
Hotel "Savegre"
N 09°33.076'
please read description turn off the Panamericana at km 80 (south of San José), 10 kms of steep dirt road in decent condition (for Costa Rica). it's a nice drive down into the valley. this is a beautiful hotel in gorgeous surrounds, which was recommended by several people; it caters mostly to full board US tourists.
payment: this place used to have camping, the rate we found on another website was $US20/night, which we already found expensive - imagine our shock when we were quoted two options: either pay US$50 to camp, or eat all meals at our restaurant (lunch + dinner $US15 each, breakfast $US8, which we skipped)... it's not really worth this much! there is another campground just up the road ("El Rancho") which appeared to be closed (no electricity), other options in this narrow valley are limited.
only two level parking spots next to their work yard. no facilities except restaurant toilet, no way to get power. internet computer for $US2/hour.
beach camping
N 09°15.077'
free one of our best finds: right at the edge of this small town with everything within walking distance. a small narrow parking spot under trees right at the beach. well shaded all day and good breeze keeps temperature down. friends in a larger rig stayed just a bit further down the beach.
level spot, quiet o/n. no services, but camping "El Coco" 100 meter walk towards main beach offers cold showers for ¢200. frequently policed.
"La Purruja Lodge"
N 08°36.188'
¢2,000 property on hill outside town, narrow and steep concreted driveway w. one narrow bridge (just wide enough for us!). friendly swiss-costarican owners. there's a "proper" camping area, moreso for tents. past the main house, we weren't sure if one wire and a tree were too low to reach it (rain stopped us from investigating)...
camped next to main house on almost level parking lot, power from kitchen next to us, use of simple clean shower and toilets at the camping area (fair walk). slept o.k., some dogs barking and traffic.
near beach
N 09°35.828'
free almost all Costa Rica maps, we looked at, showed a road connecting Gandoca with Manzanillo, so (coming from Panama) we took the turn to this small village by the ocean... it turned out that the track connecting Gandoca with Manzanillo is not much more than a mule track = not suitable for anything but a dirt bike or maybe a light small 4WD vehicle!
narrow gravel road from hwy to Gandoca crosses some small old bridges (though trucks get through), first passing through banana plantations w. some semi-trailer traffic. road can easily flood during rain!
the beach is fenced off to protect turtle nesting sites, parking lot was very muddy in rain, so we camped on an adjoining grassed area - a grumpy man claimed this was his private land (only 20 meters from beach = not legal in CR). not much breeze, no shopping facilities in Gandoca (there is a restaurant/bar), no services.
between Cocles
and Manzanillo
beach camping at Punta Uva
N 09°38.552'
free the coastal road is in pretty bad condition: not much bitumen left, mostly pot-holed dirt. left and right of the road is more development than we have seen elsewhere in Costa Rica, blocking a lot of the beach access. you have to turn off the main road after Cocles to get to this location. it was busy between Christmas and Newyear, mostly with Ticos and young western backpackers...
nice level spot with only some morning sun, shaded for most of the day, good breeze, very close to water (some salt spray).
quiet o/n, very busy during day, but rough ocean muffled the sounds from all the day visitors...
near San Clemente
"Painted Palms"
N 09°50.354'
free on coastal road towards Puerto Limón, wide black sand beach with colourful painted cocos palms. across the road is the bright purple "comida rapida" of Ron and Dina, a very helpful American couple... rough surf when we visited, security seems to be an issue, so look after your belongings.
almost level, the black sand sticks to everything. you can fill with clean water at Ron and Dina's place and use (during opening hours) their toilet and cold shower. some noise from road.
between Puerto Limón
and Liverpool
no reading TROPIGAS right on the main road towards San José is this Tropigas plant - very friendly staff.
outside Ciudad Quesada / San Carlos
on road to Fortuna
no reading ZETAGAS outside this town with two names, on the road towards Fortuna, we noticed a blue Zetagas plant - no time/space to take a GPS reading...
"Pura Vida" camping
on road to waterfall
N 10°27.527'
¢3,000 p.person small, well looked-after camping ground, away from main road, better suited for tent camping, although there is little shade! beautiful garden sloping towards river.
not quite level, soft gravel parking lot, small kitchen shelter with tables and chairs, one ensuite-style bathroom with cold shower. weak power from light fitting at (flower-)well, water only away from parking lot (impossible to reach w. our hose). quiet o/n.

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8. Panama

  [$ = Prices in Balboas - 1B fixed 1 US Dollar - current December 2007 - January 2008]
Town / Camp Site GPS Price p. Night Description / Our Impression
Parking lot "Mall Chiriqui"
N 08°25.897'
free north end of town on the Panamerican Hwy., in the back of the lot away from traffic. careful: one side gets noise from a near-by nightclub. concrete parking lot w. no shade, slightly sloping, deserted (and locked) over night (there is a cinema, but even on a Saturday, our second visit, it wasn't busy).
no services as such, but o.k. toilets near food court, and water to fill near some lamp posts. fairly quiet.
near David N 08°24.044'
TROPIGAS approximate reading - Tropigas filling station right on the Panamericana.
Santa Clara
Balneario at the beach
N 08°22.445'
  $3 p.person
+$3 f.power
turn off the Panamericana to the beach (opposite the XS Memories, see below), take the right fork and go past the boom gate at the police station: at the end of the road is this beach balneario with security. camping on sand, not very level, no shade, but breeze from beach. relatively quiet o/n (the guard turned on a stereo at around 3:00) - better than near Panamericana...
use of outside showers (no privacy - you'll need bathers) and o.k. toilets, power was a bit iffy.
Santa Clara
XS Memories RV Park
N 08°23.325'
$15 why is it that trailer parks are always near noisy main roads? this is a nice setting with a small pool and a beautiful palapa (rancho they call them here). grassy site is a bit muddy after rain. not much shade, but (still) plenty of rain - grrr... when we wanted to leave we got bogged for the first time on our trip and had to be towed out by the owner's truck - we heard that this happens a lot during rain!
fairly level, despite soft under foot, full hook-ups (power, water, waste), only one toilet, cold outdoor showers w. no privacy, free WiFi. restaurant food looks good...
upon second visit: it looked like toilet hadn't been cleaned since our first stay (3 weeks prior), and WiFi wasn't working (the only reason to come).
Panama City
Parking lot in Amador
N 08°56.382'
free cross the "Puente de las Americas" into Panama City, take the first exit towards Balboa, but then keep left (instead of right towards Balboa), after a good kilometer you'll see the signposted entry to this parking lot on your right. the lot is huge, so take your pick of any site. in the early evening there are quite a few couples hanging around in their cars, but later it's almost deserted (though frequently policed). lights go off after 11:00. Taxi into town (e.g. to Barwil) between $3.50 and $5 max., you'll have to bargain.
mostly relatively level, not much shade, some rubbish in parts (not too bad), and for a city location reasonably quiet once everybody has left. we felt safe here. you could use the drains to dump your waste water. we filled fresh water at a parking lot on the last island down the causeway.
A little north in the same area is the "Balboa Yacht Club" (GPS N 08°56.394' / W079°22.267'), a prominent meeting point for travellers who are shipping to South America. free WiFi (not locked) at the Yacht Club and the Country Inn Amador Hotel (more stable WiFi) / TGI Fridays Restaurant even a bit further north.
on hwy. from Panama City to Colón no reading TROPIGAS there's a Tropigas plant on the main road from Panama City to Colón - no GPS reading because our Garmin was packed away at the time... the plant is probably about a third of the way coming from Panama City, on the left (next to a rather big "Hotel Camping", where we wouldn't want to camp because of its location right next to busy highway...).
this information might be important for people who ship from Columbia to Panama and need to refill their bottles (no full bottles allowed on vessel, though nobody checked in our case). information might be outdated once the new autopista is finished - we don't know its route!
in a side street at the end of the road along the Panama Canal
N 09°07.177'
free small spot along a side road which didn't have a single car come through. level area on some grass and road buiding material. fairly dark due to large trees around. quiet except for container trains running from Balboa to Colón (we had only three come past o/n - it will be difficult to get away from the train line anywhere along the canal).
no services.
near El Roble N 08°09.282'
TROPIGAS Tropigas filling station right on the Panamericana, again close to a PANAGAS (same as in David).
butane/propane is cheaper in Panama compared to Costa Rica.
Las Lajas
beach cabañas
N 08°10.349'
$5 there are several options along this beach, we chose this one because it looked nice and we met up with some fellow travellers. drive the pot-holed bitumen road from the Panamerican to its end, turn right and follow a dirt track, through the gate, for about a kilometer. clean grassy lot with simple cabañas ($10) right along the beach, camped on level ground under (harvested) cocos palms.
level, some shade, good breeze, busy during christmas day, quiet o/n. use of run-down toilets and out-side cold showers w. privacy curtains - both were cleaned daily. we probably could have had power from one of the cabañas - it was busy, so we didn't ask.
outside Boquete
gravel lot by bridge
N 08°48.247'
free almost level gravel lot a little away from road with some large pine trees (a bit further down is an access to the river where one could be a little less visible). road is fairly busy until around 9:00, then it's quiet until 5:30 the next morning - traffic going across the near-by steel bridge creates a lot of noise... quiet over night, and cool at 1,315 meters.
no services.

second option: the tourist information on the way into town offered that we could use their parking lot - it's close to the main road and a T junction, so we were not too keen...
Punta Róbalo
gravel lot in village
N 09°02.288'
free there are not many spots to get off the coastal road along Panama's Atlantic coast, so we took the turn-off to this sleepy little coastal village. good bitumen road ends at boat pier; on the left it is this large (almost level) lot. locals, we asked if we could stay, were friendly and welcoming.
some breeze, quiet o/n apart from generator until 9:00 and the normal rooster wake-up-call in the morning... no services.

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