Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Trip to Central America - Mexico & Guatemala

So, I'm planning a trip to Mexico and to Guatemala. Originally, I had planned on going to Southern Mexico and hike across Guatemala. However, some of my "explorer" buddies had strongly suggested that as a rock-climber, I would definitely have to look at Potrero Chico in the state of Nuevo León, and then find my way down south. Mostly, I want to do three things: 1. Do some technical climbing. I had thought of starting out at Potrero Chico, which has over 600 bolted routes, some of them 5'14s. Once that's done, I'd hitch a ride down south to the Sierra Madre range and do some climbing there. 2. Look at some ruins, primarily Olmec, Mayan and Aztec. I had thought of going to Tikal, Uaxactun and Xunantunich. Depending on how these go, I would then ride to Quetzaltenango, and try taking a hike into some of the unexplored parts of the jungles outside with Olmec ruins. 3. Hike a little around the area, scout around the scenery. Mostly, I would be taking my inputs from the Lonely Planet guide, looking at places to go to and if possible, scale some more mountains (non-technical, just hiking). If you are not a U.S. Citizen, you need a visa for entering both Mexico and Guatemala. For the latter, it usually takes a day to process and you need to be physically present. The Guatemalan embassy pages have *some* information (a lot of the links in there are dead links). You are better off just calling them and asking them for it. Mexican visa is almost similar, but takes a little longer. I've prepared a brief list of things that I would be taking, I just might not take some of this stuff. A pair of jeans and tracks, two pairs of shorts, three t-shirts, several pairs of undergarments, socks, a sweatshirt with hoodie, rain jacket, top loading backpack, camelbag, sleeping pad, blanket, sleeping bag, water filter, insect repellant, hiking boots, compass, altimeter, barometer, thermometer (I'm thinking of getting a Casio Pathfinder, instead, with all of these), headlamp, flashlight, whistle, climbing boots, belay equipment, carabiners, screws and bolts, chalk powder, swiss army knife, helmet, ropes, tent, stove and food supplies, toileteries such as toothbrush, shaving stuff, toiletpaper and deodarant, matches, light, flint, sunscreen, sunglasses, chapstick, Lonely Planet guidebooks, maps and a cheap digital camera, with lots of SD cards (or maybe, I'll just buy a couple of Walgreens regular cameras and a whole lot of film). While I have done this sort of stuff before, this would be the first time that I'm doing alone. I did ask some of my "adventure enthusiast" buddies, and basically, they think that this stuff should be enough. If I keep my wits around me that is, of course! Then again, The Cydonian might just join me on this trip, so it might not be solo. So, any other tips and pointers from folks who've done this sort of things before? Any kind of input appreciated!