Chandler, AZ to La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Discussion in 'Americas' started by azsnow, May 27, 2012.

  1. azsnow

    azsnow n00b

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    I have a cousin that lives in Costa Rica, and I plan to go visit next summer. I am looking at either a 1996 or newer DR650 or 2008 and newer KLR650, havent decided yet, but mostly depending on the cost and availability of the bike. I read EVERY RR about South America, but it seems that most people skip El Salvador and just hit Hondurus...any reason why? Anyone wan't to come along? Any pointers? I don't have a set date, but thinking May/June time frame.
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  2. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi Azsnow,

    I skipped El Salvador on the way down and passed through on the way up. The border crossing at Copan Ruinas from Guatemala to Honduras is mellow. The border crossing on the Pan American highway from El Salvador to Honduras is a pain. Plus, Belize on the Carribean and El Salvador on the Pacific are the two countries you don't absolutely have to go through on the way from Arizona to Costa Rica.

    El Salvador is a small country that uses the US dollar as currency and doesn't charge for a transit visa, so well worth the visit. It is more mountainous with a more prosperous economy than I was imagining with a nice coast road. Well worth a visit.

    Best,
    John Downs
    #2
  3. azsnow

    azsnow n00b

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    #3
  4. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    Youre not going to be spending any time, anywhere, except at border crossings. :lol3

    At a bare minimum its going to take 7 days one way, and there are some mighty big riding days in there. And that's if you use the cuotas in Mexico. The cuotas will cost you a little over $200 USD in tolls. You wont be stopping to see or do anything. Its ride, eat, sleep, repeat, all day, everyday.

    I did a blast from San Cristobal to Tucson in 2.5 days, but that was strictly on the cuotas riding a KTM 990 running in the triple digits a good portion of each day. It was not even remotely fun. I might have done it in 2 days had I not stopped at Nuevo Casas Grandes, but that would have been really, really pushing it. And that's on a 1 liter bike.

    It might be quicker to go through El Salvador but that all depends on how the borders go for you. They can be pretty quick, or they can eat up lots of time. Not just with those borders but any CA border. I can usually get through them pretty quickly, but I've BTDT and know the procedures, what to do, where everything is, and what to look for. Your first time you are going to eat up plenty of time figuring it all out, and its different at every border.

    Mex/Guate: Probably quicker to stay north on the cuotas to Tuxtla and use the La Mesilla crossing. The route on Mex 200 is hot and windy, the Tapachula crossing is a complete zoo.

    Hoduras/Nica: probably quicker to use El Espino on CA-1 then head to Esteli. Its more distance, but the roads are faster. From San Salvador or La Libertad you can make it at least to Esteli or quite a bit further if the crossings go well.

    Also bear in mind that these CA border crossings can take from a couple of hours to most of a day. Computers go down, electricity goes out, on a regular basis.

    Most CA countries have a 60 or 90 day no re-import policy for vehicles. Plan accordingly with your vehicle permits. Bring your reg and your title.

    Given the time you have, it would be way less hassle to fly down and enjoy yourself IMO. If you ride, be sure to let us know how much fun it was. :lol3
    #4
  5. azsnow

    azsnow n00b

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    Well that has me rethinking this whole thing. My main goal is to go enjoy time in Costa Rica...but if I get there just in time to turn around and ride back, or can't ride back thats an issue...
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  6. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    I understand completely that you would like to ride it but IMO you just dont have enough time to make it an enjoyable experience. Heck, you might not even have enough time to make it, period. :D

    I'm not saying it cant be done, of course it can be done, but if your main goal is to enjoy yourself in Costa Rica, I think its best to fly down and have a blast while youre there.
    #6
  7. azsnow

    azsnow n00b

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    Yeah kind of thinking the same thing I could get a roundtrip flight for around $750...I would spend that much on gas alone. I have done several Bun Burners, and a 3000 mile in 3 day ride, but that was in the US...I guess I didn't really take into account all of the issues that come with a CA country! Perhaps I will fly down, and do some other riding just around Mexico here and there! Thanks for the input and great advice, I love to hear and learn from those that have done it!
    #7
  8. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    The Mexican cuotas are fast, very fast, but once you get onto the regular highways, its nothing like in the states. Lost of great mountian twisties, little interesting villages choked with traffic, horses, cattle, chickens in the streets, etc. CA is more of the same. 300 miles can be a pretty big day down there. Throw in a border crossing that doesnt go smoothly and 100 miles could be a big day.

    You can hop on that 650 and explore Mexico at a leisurely pace for months and never get bored with it. Stop for anything you want to, so much to see, do, and experience. Besides that, youre only half a day ride to the Douglas crossing, less to Nogales, you can pretty much ride Mexico anytime you want, no matter how little time you have. :D
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  9. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi Azsnow,

    SeƱor Crash is spot on. Your route shows you heading through Mexico on the toll freeways. While they are fast, they are expensive. Around ten cents a mile or so.

    I have ridden from Oregon to Guatemala and back in two weeks back when I had to get back to work, but it was a rip snortin' high speed sun up till sundown ride like hell kind of trip. While I used to enjoy my scenery blurry and was into the riding more than the destination, it is a totally different kind of trip than tootling down the backroads that I enjoy now. 500 miles a day on libre roads is a Latin America ironbutt.

    Take Vince's advice and fly down and enjoy yourself. I flew down to Costa Rica for two weeks and rented a bike. It was really fun. Round trip air of 750 plus bike rental of 50 bucks a day for a Honda 250 Tornado when rented for two weeks at the weekly rate from wildriders.com in San Jose CR (or similar) for another 700 or so and 30 bucks a day or less for food and gas if you have a place to stay for another 400 bucks would give you a fun vacation for under 2 grand.

    It cost me that much to ride down and back from Arizona a couple years ago and took way longer than a couple weeks with gas, oil, new rear tire, food, lodging, insurance, border crossing fees, etc.

    And if you fly down you have plenty of time to explore and avoid the afternoon rains during the summer rainy season. Seems like a good way to go for your limited time.

    Have fun!

    Kindest regards,
    John Downs
    #9
  10. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    +1 Bring down some riding gear and strap a backpack to a Honda 250. You can cruise all over the backroads and little pueblos of CR on that 250 and you will have an absolute blast.
    #10
  11. Shibby!

    Shibby! Long timer

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    Just skimmed over this. 2 weeks is not enough time.

    It's no fun to push in Mexico. I spent 2 months bombing around, doing back-roads, enjoying small towns, beaches, etc. I would NEVER want to do in 2 weeks.

    For 2 weeks, rip across the border to Baja or Copper Canyon. If you still want to do C.R., fly.
    #11