When Nate adopted a dog in Mexico, he had big plans for the two of them. He named him Sol, the word for “sun” in Spanish, because his hair shined bright, and brought him home to Vancouver, Canada.
From Canada, they packed up their Toyota 4runner and traveled down the US West Coast, driving through Washington, Oregon and on to California.
There, they crossed into Mexico and stayed in LaPaz for a month, volunteering with Baja dogs LaPaz, the dog rescue where Nate had found Sol. Then they were on to mainland Mexico, down through Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and finally, into Costa Rica.
They traveled over 11,500km, and passed through over 20 cities, visiting deserts, beaches, jungles and mountains. Their journey lasted three whole months.
Here, Nate tells us how he and his 2.5 year old Mexican mutt (who is a possible mix of Collie and Chow Chow) made it through Central America, what the hardest part was, and why traveling with a dog will change your journey for the better.
What inspired you to travel with your dog?
I have always wanted to travel with him. He is my family and adventure buddy, and it was such a joy to have him with us. He took us on a journey that we would have never experienced without him.
How did you prepare your dog for the journey?
Lots of vet visits, research and planning. The Facebook group “animal travelers” is really helpful.
What is the hardest part about traveling with your dog?
Probably crossing borders. Particularly through Central America, it took sometimes up to four hours to cross, and a lot of it was waiting.
What’s the best part about traveling with a dog?
Apart from being with your best friend and seeing the world together, they take you on a journey unique to your relationship. It’s truly special.
How did your style of travel change, now that your dog is with you?
We go on a lot more hikes, park walks and outdoor activities. Sometimes we had to find restaurants that allowed dogs to sit with us, which was really great. You get to see the best in humanity and some truly unique places.
How are you finding accommodation on your journey?
Mostly Airbnb. Lots of places allow dogs and we’ve stayed in some really amazing places, including a farm in the middle of the city in Guatemala!
What were some essential items that you packed for your dog?
A portable water dish is probably the most important. And a dog bed, since a lot of places didn’t allow him to sleep on the bed or couches.
What surprised you the most about traveling with dogs?
How dogs can bring out so much in people, and help connect you to people that you never would have met.
Name a trip highlight.
So many! What made me the happiest was seeing Sol meet and play with farm or stray dogs, as well as other people’s pets (he loves cats too!) But the biggest highlight was climbing Acatenango to watch Volcan de Fuego erupting all night, then watching the sunrise the next day. It was truly spectacular.
What advice do you have for people who want to travel with their dog, but are nervous to do so?
Do it, but do your research! And know that there are many things you won’t be able to do since you have a dog, but they will take you on a whole different and maybe even better journey!
Thank you so much to Nate and Sol!
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