CA-4 safety.

Discussion in 'Latin America' started by ans3, Jun 11, 2013.

  1. ans3

    ans3 Adventurer

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    Hello all.

    I'm flying into Guatemala and plan on buying a cheap bike there and ride around Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and possibly Nicaragua.
    There has been alot of disturbing news recently about this area, especially about an increase in drug trafficking and cartel wars.

    Some sites dedicated to travel advise paint a pretty dark picture about the safety of travellers in these countries. Suggesting that it is only safe to go on guided tours and pay alot of money for secure buses and such.

    Since I plan on riding a motorcycle there I am wandering about what ADV thinks about safe travel in these countries. Are there any special precautions needed to be taken for travelling on a motorcycle.

    I have done some travelling in South America. I've been to Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia, so I'm not a complete noob when it comes to Latin America.

    Still I would like to hear from more seasoned traveller and perhaps locals what their take is on the situation in these contries.

    All the best and thanks in advance.

    ans3
    #1
  2. GuateRider

    GuateRider Long timer

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    All you need is common sense,respect for the locals and forget about all the bullshit you read in the papers or see on TV .

    If you do so , you will have a great time riding around Central America :freaky
    #2
  3. Two Moto Kiwis

    Two Moto Kiwis Homeless Somewhere

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    ...From Iceland..... beautiful, we loved the place and will be back.

    OK, firstly take Guateriders good advice.

    Secondly we probably fit into the seasoned traveller thing as does Guaterider.

    We are currently in Guatemala, heading to El Salvador and south then SA, thus far from the US border south we have not felt threatened once.

    Just use common sense that you have gained from your SA travel and come and enjoy the area.

    We love it so much we decided to have a crash and break some ribs so we can stay longer :eek1 :rofl, we will now be spending more time in Central America and not only we don't feel it is the short straw but we are looking forward to it.
    #3
  4. AndyT

    AndyT Been here awhile

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    I would equate the CA4 countries, more or less, to Bolivia in that they have a high percentage of indigenous population, and similar economic circumstances. There does seem to be more gang activity in Central America, but it has never directly affected me, and I have traveled quite a bit by motorcycle in CA.
    #4
  5. TeeVee

    TeeVee His mudda was a mudda!

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    "secure buses???" that's a laugh right there. in guatemala and honduras, badits have been known to stop tour buses with automatic weapons and rob everyone on the bus. once the gun is pointed at you, you're sol. reach for your own gun and you're dead.

    can't really speak to the rest of central america from personal experience but nicaragua is safe as long as you use your head. don't ride after dark. stay out of barrios--easily identified by houses being right next to each other or sharing common walls. don't stop for anyone or anything not wearing a uniform, unless of course they're pointing a gun at you, in which case give them everything and live to buy it all over again, or die a lonely death on the side of the road in central america.

    be smart and you'll enjoy yourself immensely.
    #5
  6. ans3

    ans3 Adventurer

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    Wow...thank you all for the info.:clap

    This was generally what I thought. I just wanted to make sure by getting information from people with more experience and knowledge about the area.

    I guess the media tends to exaggerate a bit.
    #6
  7. GuateRider

    GuateRider Long timer

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    The media exaggerate a lot , and so do some inmates with their horror stories :shoot:gun1:gun2:defend
    #7
  8. OK Lucinda

    OK Lucinda n00b

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    After a few months in CA I'm most afraid of the cops. Have to agree with GuateRider. But don't go north in Salvador to Perquin, on the Honduras border nearly, before it ends in basically a pissed-off armed camp. Whoa. Otherwise almost no problems anywhere.
    #8
  9. markharf

    markharf Been here awhile

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    Hmm. I really liked the Perquin area--scenery, riding, people, history, powerful stories, politics. So what's going on up there that you didn't like?
    #9
  10. OK Lucinda

    OK Lucinda n00b

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    Actually I agree with you. The ride in was terrific, great scenery, history, etc. But the massive steel-doored compounds and the remnants of the FMNL stronghold gave the place an interesting edge.

    My greatest anxiety attack in El Salvador was leaving my computer cable in El Tunco and hoping it would be there when I returned.
    #10
  11. Two Moto Kiwis

    Two Moto Kiwis Homeless Somewhere

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    Sounds good, not far off that area .... bar the politics got any good pointers for El Salvnoobs?

    Will finally leave Julio to look after Guatemala :rofl
    #11
  12. AviatorTroy

    AviatorTroy Long timer

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    Fuck that. You paint such a welcoming picture. There's plenty of places in the civilized world I haven't seen yet, thanks.
    #12
  13. TeeVee

    TeeVee His mudda was a mudda!

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    not about welcoming or not welcoming, it's reality. if you're smart you'll be fine. if not...well.
    #13
  14. GuateRider

    GuateRider Long timer

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    You call this is reality ??? :rofl:rofl:rofl This is just plain :topes

    And not stopping for anyone would just take the experience away of meeting locals, who don't robb you and who don't shoot you to let you die lonley on the side of the road .

    I've never felt less safe anywhere in Central America then in the wrong neighborhood in Miami .
    There have been more tourists killed in Miami just in one year (1993) then in all of Central America over the last 20 years :deal
    #14
  15. TeeVee

    TeeVee His mudda was a mudda!

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    come again?

    "Since 1995, 113 U.S. citizens have been reported murdered in Honduras; of these, just 29 cases have been resolved. Nine U.S. citizens were reported murdered in Honduras in 2012." http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1135.html#safety

    " Since December 2008, 31 murders of U.S. citizens have been reported in Guatemala, including six in 2011. In 2012, six U.S. citizens were the victims of murder or attempted murder, three of which occurred in November and December" http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1129.html#victim

    "At least 12 U.S. citizens have been murdered in Costa Rica since January 2011." http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1093.html#safety

    oh yeah, in 1993, 9 foreigners were killed in all of Florida not miami. an exceptionally violent year. since 2008 in Guate alone more than 3 times as many gringos were killed. i guess my math must be way off...
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  16. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    Dont listen to all the BS. I wonder how many of those US citizens killed were part of the drug trade or trying to make some drug deals?

    Just use your head, be respectful of people, dont try to buy drugs, dont get completely shit faced in a local bar, keep your guard up for anything that's not quite right, and chances are that you will never have one even slightly negative experience. Standard solo travel rules apply, nothing more. Its not rocket science and youre not going to a war zone.
    #16
  17. TeeVee

    TeeVee His mudda was a mudda!

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    funny, this is what i said to begin with...
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  18. TeeVee

    TeeVee His mudda was a mudda!

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    i somehow doubt that drug dealers would be added to the list considering the lists are travel advisories not "how to's" for drug runners. however, the numbers are not broken down so who knows.

    bottom line is that honduras is the most dangerous and guatemala is fairly high up on the list among the most dangerous countries in the world. sure, most of the violence is against other locals, but that is no guarantee that a solo tourist isn't gonna be targeted.
    #18
  19. BikeMex

    BikeMex Been here awhile

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    If you are travelling with a motorbike nobody can see from far away if you are a foreigner or a local guy. That's an advantage.

    For my opinion, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are more dangerous than Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. I know all the countries and I am living in Nicaragua since last year.
    Most of the killings are between the drug cartels, but not all. Our neighbours family lives in Honduras. Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula are pretty dangerous. I wouldn't go to this places. And there is nothing special to see there. The same for Guatemala City.

    As many told before, local people in rural areas are mostly very friendly.

    If you go out in the night for drinking, check out where you go and take a (safe) taxi in bigger cities. In bigger cities it is like in many countries in the world. It depends much on the area (barrio) where you are. Ask the locals. They will tell you. But sometimes they tell you some "horrorstories" :evil

    Good luck and enjoy your trip. If you come to Nicaragua, visit us in León.

    saludos Jürgen
    #19
  20. OK Lucinda

    OK Lucinda n00b

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    A good determinant of the future is the past.

    Any biker related incidents in the last couple of years? I've been in CA for 5 months and haven't heard a single thing.
    #20