Camping in Latin America: Resources for the Overlander

A picture of a child running from a hut on the coast of Mexico.

The author camping, circa 1981.

We can see it now: an idyllic beach with an empty palapa, replete with a full pila full of clean water and good hammock spots. The bay is perfect for swimming, a big tree provides extra shade and a windbreak, and the spot is within an easy walk to a village with a few tiendas. A few other vans are camped down the beach, providing a sense of security and possible entertainment. The fishing is great an there’s not a mosquito in site…

This may be too good to be true, but we’ve found our share of amazing camp spots in Latin America. And so many more that will do in a pinch…Latin America has plenty of legit RV parks, but if you’re on a long overland trip, you’ll inevitably end up in places that don’t have formal camping options. Or, if you’re like us, you may prefer to improvise from time to time. Here’s our expanding list of resources for the adventure camper.

Camping Resources:

People’s Guide Camp Spot Tips

For a complete version of this list, plus our advice on places NOT to camp, check out the 14th edition of The People’s Guide to Mexico.

For specifics on RV parks and campgrounds, check out Mike and Terri Church’s excellent guidebook, Travelers Guide to Mexican Camping: Explore Mexico, Guatemala, or Belize with your RV or Tent. Their website also has some good info.

If you’re heading for Baja, el Codo has some advice on free camping beaches.

On the Road in Mexico provides reputable resources, including a mapping program that shows RV parks and campgrounds in Mexico.

iOverlander.com is a mapping project, also available as an app, that shows campgrounds around the world.

Sam Christiansen (who helped create iOverlander) and Erica Victorson keep a log of their adventure camping, including innovative PG style hijinks like camping in wide spots. At the moment, they  appear to be traveling in Colombia and logging each campsite. They provide essential info on cost, bathrooms, etc. Good stuff. Explore past posts to find info on camping in Mexico.

This BBC article “Camping Throughout Mexico and Central America” contains good general advice and some interesting links.

What’s your favorite camping resource?

3 Responses to “Camping in Latin America: Resources for the Overlander”

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  1. -El Codo- says:

    Alas one person’s paradise may be another person’s pox.

    As a general rule Mexicans will recommend camping “where other tourists go”.

    I explore. When I find a family living reasonably close where I decide to camp. I will introduce myself formally. A sack of tostadas seems to be “A perfect gift” if things work out. If the family seems to be reluctant it may be for reasons of security. I am not shy about letting la senora know I love tamales, empanadas and fresh fish if they want to sell some. Most are ecstatic at the possibility of making some hard to come by pesos. The kids are hired to make palm frond windbreaks, outstructures, garbage pits, and they bounce with glee when their fingers grasp the coins payments. This is a great way to set up a delivery system from the village tienda. This means a lot of friendly eyes will be fixed on your camp.

  2. Lorena says:

    Great palapa picture Churpa.

    As the rainy season being in earnest, here in the Great Northwet, ehr Northwest, memories of beach living get very persistent. Swimming in a warm ocean…. Practicing serious wave watching from a hammock…. Eating yet another shrimp cocktail while visiting with Mosca and Dona Cuca…. Winter doesn’t get much better than this. 😉

  3. churpa says:

    Your killing me, Lorena! Alas I’m afraid it’s going to be a long winter….