So I head off to the final frontier of Panama. I had read on here that the Rio Sereno border crossing up in the mountains was the tranquil place to cross. So I headed back up into the mountains following the lovely back country roads to the border. As I neared the border past Sabalito there were no signs, so I stopped at a store a mile past town and found out the turn was there. Then the road took a Y at a school and the kids said to take the gravel road to the left. A few miles down a rough gravel road you get to the actual border. The guy at Costa Rica immigration was totally kicked back. He said if I returned back to Rio Sereno on the return trip I could just keep my bike papers open. So no charge to stamp my passport out. All I needed was a photocopy of my passport which I got from the grocery store around the corner. Panama immigration was across from the store. There were no guards or gates like at more formal borders. It was totally casual. In fact I was the only person there until Jacques from France showed up. He had just walked 500 miles from Yaviza the length of Panama. He was a bright eyed middle aged Frenchman who liked to walk. He was heading to Mexico.
There was no cost to enter Panama. But I had to get mandatory insurance from a lady around the corner for 15.00, Oh yes, they had to spray the bike for 1.00. Which they never did since I asked them not to. But I paid the dollar. And they use American money in Panama. So no money changer hassles. It was the easiest border crossing yet.
So I hop on the bike and head down a FABULOUS road toward Volcan. This road is nothing but curves winding around the lush mountains with fresh pavement.
So I head down the road. It is bliss. Best road in Panama yet. Wait. I just crossed the border. What do I know. So I get down to Volcan and a police truck coming towards me motions me to pull over and I keep riding. But they whip a u-turn and chase me down. Turns out the border had radioed them that they forgot to give me back an important document and I need to come back and get it. Mind you, I haven't been stopped once yet and this breaks my record. I just look like a local on a little bike and have been waved through every checkpoint so far. Oh well. The record is broken. But at least they weren't stopping me to give me a ticket or something. So I head back to the border and get this important document that noone ever looked at the whole time I was in Panama. It is my temporary import paper for the bike. So now I had it. They appologized for the inconvenience. Nice folks, really. Just doing their job. So I head back down the best road in Panama. But it is still rainy season in southern Costa Rica and eastern Panama. And it starts POURING down rain. I pull under the cover of a bus shelter to let it pass.
It is normally dry season in March, but this year is an El Nino year, so its still raining in the afternoon. So I wait until the rain eases a bit and take off down the hill to the Panam highway at David (daveed) and head down the road before calling it a night at Santiago, Panama.