Ride report Costa Rica / Panama on-/offroad (englisch version)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Idnug, Apr 10, 2012.

  1. Idnug

    Idnug Adventurer

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    Hi at all,

    unfortunately, I can make this report currently only in German language.
    We (Gundi and Wusti) hope that information is included, which can be for travel arrangements to Panama or even for "Transamerica driver " useful.
    The german version of this report you can find here
    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=780588
    The translation into English of the report is currently under construction and will (hopefully) soon be also available online.
    Please excuse my very bad English ...

    Greetings Gundi :)
    #1
  2. Idnug

    Idnug Adventurer

    Joined:
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    It's finally here! The first part of the translation is available.
    Special thanks to Lara

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    and Maximilian,

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    each the "short" people back on it ;o)

    We hope that the translation is of course and wish that you enjoy reading :norton
    #2
  3. Idnug

    Idnug Adventurer

    Joined:
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    We apologize for the long break for the translation... the translation proved more difficult than expected for Lara and Maxi.
    Therefore, I begin today with the review, special thanks to the support of Evelyn.

    Foreword
    After our last year’s journey in Costa Rica – with rented motorbikes from “Wild Rider in San Jose” (infos under http://www.wild-rider.com), there was an absolutely moral offer:
    For proves leasers of motorbikes at “Wild Rider” the owners Thomas and Thorsten offered us to arrange the departure for the rented motorbikes to Nicaragua or Panama.
    We found out that you can rent cars and motorbikes in Panama, but no Enduro motorbikes.
    Later an indigenous confirmes us that it isn't possible to rent this sort of motorbikes in Panama.
    So that’s the opportunity to travel Panama on- and off-road by motorbike.
    The costs for the departure of the motorbikes including the documents - all done by “Wild Rider” - are 60 US-$ per Motorbike, the caution money at departure from Costa Rica is 1200 US-$ instead of 700 US-$.
    We decide to depart for Panama.
    This time we fly with condor and leave Frankfurt on December 30th 2009, via Domenicanische Republic directly to San Jose/Costa Rica. The time for the flight is acceptable: Departure in Frankfurt 23.55 p.m. about 10 hours flight to Santo Domingo, waiting time about one hour, 2,5 hours flight to San Jose. Arrival 6.55 a.m. local time:
    -7 hours to MEZ.
    With an official airport-taxi we go to our hotel, the Cacts.
    Infos Hotel Cacts under http://www.hotelcacts.com/pagina/menu gr.html.
    The taxi was 22 US-$. Sylvester we celebrate two times on the hotelterrasse.
    The first time at 5 p.m. with our beloved at home, the second time at midnight local Costa Rica time.

    Continuation follow as soon as possible :norton
    #3
  4. sallydog

    sallydog 80 miles a day for 41 months

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    more please..

    mehr bitte...
    #4
  5. Idnug

    Idnug Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Ride report

    On 1st January 2010 we start early to take over the two Hondas XR 250 at „Wild Rider“. Time of departure 9.30 a.m.
    Today our destination is the caribean side of Costa Rica.
    From San Jose we take the road no. 32, leading through a mountainous area, via Guariles.
    There it´s quite cold and rainy.

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    It goes on the road no. 36 to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, where we stay with Kathy and Olaf, as we did the year before.
    Infos under http://vistaverdehospedaje.weebly.com

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    With a good drink we pour „Swabians on the motorbikes“ our reunion with the two and spent the rest of the day with good talks and ceviche (different sorts of raw fish, pickled with limette juice, with red onions and very hot vegetable similar to red pepper).
    Driven Kilometres of today about 230.


    2nd January we sleep out. It’s rainy and so it’s not possible to go into the sea. Therefore we used the time to repair holes in our cross-clothes,

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    changed little things at the bikes, joined playing a native throw-game, go shopping for the planned barbecue evening and to prepare salad.
    Today we are invited by neighbour Hans, called Hank, a swabian too, his wife Ingrid, Kathy and Olaf, to have a rich barbecue.
    There are chicken, cutlets, Tzaziki prepared by Kathy and Olaf, potato gratin prepared by Hank and mixed salad prepared by me.

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    On 3rd January 2010 we leave Puerto Viejo de Talamanca around 9 a.m.
    We take a short out, a small track after the second bridge right from Puerto Viejo via Mananillo, to reach the main street to Sixola, the frontier town to Panama.
    We know that we need a "tug" to cross the border. Without such a person the officials wouldn’t work on our papers.
    "You don’t have to find the tug by yourself, he’ll find you."
    But time and place where you’ll be found can vary.
    A type on the Costa Rica side show us to which stations we have to go and while Wusti is organising copies and other things between frontier building and other buildings I play the “Pitbull”, to have attention on the motorbikes. I’m quite good at that ;)

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    The type is not the „tug“. We give him 1000 Costa Rica Colon for his support and after about 1 hour everything is done.
    The departure out of Costa Rica is done and we can cross the bridge to Panama.

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    Everybody have to cross this bridge from or to Sixola, no matter if pedestrian, biker, wheel-barrow or huge truck.
    By the way, when there is a truck on the bridge, there is absolutly no room for anybody or anything else - and the truckers don’t stop once they have started.

    We have luck. It’s Sunday and only two trucks cross as long as we are at the frontier house.
    We arrive on the Panama side.

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    I play again the “Pitbull”, by the motorbikes.

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    Now we are really found by a tug. He and Wusti start to make the needed copies and sign an insurance for 15 US-$, which is needed to enter Panama. For me it feels like endless hours but in the end everything (papers and stamps) to bring the motorbikes from Costa Rica to Panama is done after 2,5 hours.
    Another 20 US-$ we have to pay to the tug, who tell us that he have to hand out the money to the officials. We can give him an extra money, he tell us. So we do - 5 US-$. A short time later we notice him handing out the 20 US-$ to the officials.
    Time difference between Costa Rica and Panama is +1 Hour. About 13.30 p.m. we can drive on. Our way leads us via Changuinola, Almirante on the road no. 11 up to Rambala. It’s a very well improved, bended road and good to drive.

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    Often you have wonderful sights on the sea and very beautiful landscape. We pass isolated houses and very simple accommodations. On our way, within a village, we can’t find our way with the help of our map. So we have to ask. Today there are children on their bikes they us help to go on. As it is very hot an an icecold Fresco Fruta is a welcomed refreshment.

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    Our tank is nearly empty, but the petrol station we find don´t have “super” petrol.
    We need this kind of petrol for the Hondas. A passing police-car stops and as they realize our problem they lead us to another petrol station, that sells petrol with 95 Oktan. Four policemen are in the car and they ask us where we are from, about the type of our motorbikes etc. They are very friendly and wave bye-bye.
    We wanted to stay the night in Chiriqui but as the place looks very unfriendly, dirty, rotten houses, bars etc.
    We go on.
    It’s quite late already and we have to drive more than 70 kms across the Cordillera Central.
    We take the road no. 4. As higher we come as colder it gets and we come into the clouds. Light rain is falling.

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    We need our rain jacket until we are in the plain again.

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    Via Gualaca we drive on to David. There we find the "Residencial Avenida" Hotel, where we arrive at about 7 p.m.
    Double room with air-condition 19 US-$.
    They also have a safe parking place for the motorbikes. After buying something to drink we spend the evening on our hotel balcony.
    Today we drove about 300 kms.


    Continuation follow as soon as possible :norton
    #5
  6. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv.

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    Idnug,

    Looks very nice, thank you for taking the time to translate & post. I also rented a bike from Wild Rider this year and had a wonderful time exploring Costa Rica.

    Best to All,
    #6
  7. Idnug

    Idnug Adventurer

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    Hi Poolman,
    nice to see you in this report.
    Yes in Costa Rica there also is very much to discover.
    #7
  8. Idnug

    Idnug Adventurer

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    At about 9 a.m. on January 4th 2010 we start, after a breakfast in a next door restaurant.
    On road no. 43 it goes via Bajo Boquete to the ascent of the volcano Barú.
    Our plan was to climb up the volcan.
    The track takes you over 15 kms to a height of 3000 meters.

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    After a short distance, in the lower part of the climb, we stop. The steep rise, type and condition of the track, already below promised no easy trip to the summit ...

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    The track is presented with a loose surface, deep-washed wells, peppered with larger rocks and boulders. We believe that we have for this claim to inexperienced driving skills ...
    So we go in the shallower region of the "Volcán Barú Nationalpark" about Jaramillo Arriba,

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    Bajo Boquete up to a „swimming place“ at the Rio Majagua, south of Los Algarrobes.
    This place is very popular with the native people at the weekends and in the evenings.
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    After a refreshing water passage it goes back to David in the hotel.
    There is enough time left to go for a walk trough the area around the hotel and to have a snack.
    By the way, "Old Milwaukee" beer tastes really shitty.
    Driven kilometers today about 120.

    Continuation follow as soon as possible :norton
    #8
  9. Idnug

    Idnug Adventurer

    Joined:
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    The 5th January 2010 begins with packing, having breakfast

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    and drive on the Panamericana, via Santiago to Penonomé.
    On the highway we see a serious accident. By the gradient of a curve a truck fell down the embankment. Presumably, the brakes have failed ... that happens with the trucks in this country often, I think.
    Also the required premium gasoline with 95 octane is not available at any gas station on the highway, we must move to several.
    Today we have the first "hot" police check on the Panamericana. The highway is closed off to the entire width, with a "police bridge", staffed by a whole pack of officials.
    We have crossed the border with a whole bundle of papers, for driving with the motorbikes from Costa Rica here. All the stuff no one wants to see, always they was except the one paper, that was issued by the officials at the border in Panama, for that we have need the "tug". Exactly THIS paper the guys want to see, for having their consent to go. To drive on now and here is only possible with consent of the police.

    In Pnenonomé we checked in, in the guest house Los Pinos, situated directly along the highway. The room are simple, at the backside of the house smaller than in front.
    We decide to have a room in the back, because it is more privat and not to be looked in from the highway.
    Price for doubleroom with AC+bathroom 16,50 US-$.
    In the village we find a baker and a self-service-restaurant, ideal for breakfast and supper.
    We buy something to drink in the supermarket to spend the evening outside our guesthouse with a Cabernet Sauvignon and absolutely drinkable "Balboa" beer.

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    Well ... mmmmh ... so I had read somewhere that in Central America cheap accommodations are very often used as "hour-hotel" ...
    So that night we were the only visitors to the inn, which spend the evening outside the building. Amused we see the "coming and going" in the rooms backside ;)
    Mileage today about 300 kms.


    The 6th January we want to spend exploring the surroundings or Penonomé. After lots of sweet things and coffee at the baker’s we start via La Pintada through the fog- and rainforest to in the Omar Torrijos Nationalpark.

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    From La Venta the track is well and fast to drive.

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    It goes direction Coclectio, through small villages,

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    Passing several river parts.

    There is a round course over Coclectio on our map, that looks quite good for driving.
    This track is after several kilometres closed for “official traffic”, only authorised cars are allowed to pass the guarded gate. So we turn round and look for an alternative course, where a branch runs through the river San Juan. The river looks deep and wide. The people here cross the river by boat or on foot. The water enough the guys up to the hip, probably too deep to drive through on a motorcycle.

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    The people give us to understand, that there is a footpath on the other side of the river, that isn’t possible to drive by car or motorbike.
    We stay a bit and watch the people.

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    After a refreshing bath in the clean water of the river we start our way back.

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    on the well completed track.

    The return journey is again via same track. Sometimes there are smaller vans come as oncoming traffic. A clear "roadway", for the left or right side of the track, is generally not exist on this kind of ways. Here also the 4-wheeldrive transporter are looking for the best driveable line, no matter on which side of the track.

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    So it happens that I find myself, by "dash forward", according to a knoll, surprisingly eye to eye with a driver of an oncoming vehicle. I, in my view, far right. He, in his view, far left.
    Mmmmh ... bad thing ... on the right side of me is a steep slope down. I'm Much too fast for "beat hooks" on the left side, on the loose underground. So close the gas, as much as possible, and use the break, as gently as necessary, for give the oncoming time required, to vacate the driving line ... Phew, that was close...
    On the way back befalls us a new police check, within a town.

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    This time it's a single cop, who stops us with a stern look. He quickly realized that we are not locals and asks, as many other well, where we come from.
    "Alemania" we reply, and he becomes friendly.
    He wants to see any paper for the motorbikes, because he didn't noticed that the motorbikes are from Costa Rica.
    Wusti takes out all the papers we have, but the policeman don't want to see them anymore and waves us a friendly bye-bye.
    On our way back we have a stop at the second bakery of Penonomé, where they have very tasty "Chichas", ice cold a real treat.
    Chichas is fruit juice, prepared with water, milk or joghurt, often very sweet.

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    Supper we have in the self-service restaurant, then we buy some drinks in the supermarket.
    The rest of the evening we spend on the terrasse of our room.
    Today we drove about 180 kms.

    Continuation follow as soon as possible :norton
    #9
  10. Idnug

    Idnug Adventurer

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    On January 7th 2010 a delicious breakfast at the baker´s again, before we start via Panamericana to Panama City.
    We want to see the Panama channel.


    Am 07.01.2010 gibt’s wieder lecker Frühstück beim Bäcker, bevor wir uns über den Panamericana aufmachen nach Panama City. Today we want to see the Panama Canal.
    We cross the channel on the bridge of the Pacific side of Panama City.

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    On our map is an observation point. From here the lock-activities schould be seen.
    We start rather early because between 9 and 10 a.m. the possibility to see the lock working are the best. A little bit disorientated, how to find this observation point, we drive a bit around Panama City a bit, back over the bridge over which we came.
    Then along the channel, because on our map there is another bridge. There we are sent back, because for us ist this bridge forbidden, it's only a "working area"... Maybe it is, because there running work to widen the channel.
    Well, back again to Panama City an then looking for the observation pont on the other side of the channel. We don't find it.
    Anyway the first bridge i a gigantic building.
    After the fourth crossing over the Panama Channel near Paraiso we start going back to Penonomé on te Panamericana Highway.
    On the way back we have a break at a beach about 50 kms from Pneonomé, to take bath in the Pacific.

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    Back in Pneonomé we have a meal in the self-service restaurant (they already know us and are very friendly. They let us taste everything we never had eaten up to then).

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    Refill some drinks in the supermarket again, end of the day in the "Los Pinos", with Cabernet Sauvignon an absolutly drinkable “Atlas” beer.
    Today driven kilometres about 340.


    On January 8th 2010 it goes 8.30 a.m., after breakfast, from Penonomé again over the Panamericana (nearly the only general connection in Panama) to Divisa.
    There we turn off to the peninsula Azuero via Chitré.

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    to Guare.
    In Guare we turn off

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    to Las Trancas. According to our map there is a way from Las Trancas to Las Tablas. We choose this route, also for looking for a waterfall about we had read.
    In Las Trancas we ask for the way to the river where the waterfall should be.
    The people point us in that direction where the track goes on. It’s great to driving offside the asphalt again.

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    On our way we meet a family. We are unsure if this is the right direction, so we ask again for the way.
    “Las Tablas?” we ask and point in the direction the track is going on.
    The father looks sceptically and tells that it is the direction to Las Tablas, but that it isn’t possible to drive by motorbike.
    The oldest Daughter looks at us and grins. She looks as if she is thinking, that who drove the track up to this place will be able to do the rest as well. Grinning she nods her head and points into the direction of Las Tablas.
    We will try our luck.
    In the beginning the track is quite mercifully and peaceful, the passages are good to drive.
    After crossing a river that changes.
    Today we are venturesome and take warlike the first steep passage, directly behind the river. This passage is partly deep-washed, in the hollows the underground is lose. But on the “path” totally right side it should be possible to make.
    I accelerate and try. On about the middle of the steep rising part I’m not able to hold the track and come into one of the hollows with lose underground. Frightened I go down from the gas with the result, that I am caught on next turnover. Only the two of us manage it to bring back the motorbike onto the drivable groove.
    The terrain is much steeper than it looks in the pictures.

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    We make this stage. Totally sweated, it continues with increasing difficulty.
    Again and again we have to stop, to have a close look for the upcoming track section, and to find the driveable groove. These sections always drives only one of us, while the other waits until it's done, then the other of us ist starting. Only then a deadlocked machine on steep terrain to escape. Many sections are so steep that the machine with locked wheels (gear in it, engine off) on the loose ground downward slide. On descent, it is often difficult to secure to stand on your feet, you will slide off while standing in many places.
    Many passages of bad there are no pictures, we had no hand to take pictures freely.

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    With 28°-32°degrees (unter the protectors for women it feels like 52,4° degrees) sweat ist running. With all this physical struggle and the scouting marches ahead of the steep panages and the manovering of the machines each part of our body leegs for mercy. My sensible blood circulation start going down.

    At 28°-32°degrees (unter the protectors for women it feels like 52,4° degrees) sweat ist running. With all this physical struggle and the scouting marches ahead of the steep passages and the manovering of the machines each part of our body begging for mercy. My sensible circulatory start to collapse..

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    We can't find the waterfall, but we make a break at a small stream and go into the water..

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    The route, that we have made till here, i don't will drive back. We think that we have the "worst" behind us, we hope that it will be easier to the take the rest of the way to Las Tablas ... it should be come more worse!

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    Besides the break at the stream it took us about 1.5 hours for the 15 kms from Las Trancas to Las Tablas. Totally finished we arrive in Las Tablas. In the first bar we get an icecold chichas and it’s possible to relax a bit.

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    The passers-by are looking to us curiously, friendly and greet.
    One of them tells to us and points in the direction we came from. Because we don’t know any Spanish. We suppose he asks something like “Did you come from this direction?”
    Silently we nod. His grinning gets wider and honouring he nods at us. Up to today this track is the hardest, that we hobby-Enduro-drivers have ever driven on.
    Would have someone told me weeks ago to drive there up or down, I surely would have answered “No, that’s not possible for me.”
    In Las Tablas we check-in in the hotel “Piamonte”.
    This hotel is situated on both sides of the “Ave Belisario Porras”.
    In the outbuilding, opposite the main building, cheap rooms can be rented. We decide to a small double-room with ventilator for 15,40 US-$.
    Supper we have in a restaurant a few metres off the hotel. Finish of the evening on the hotel balcony, where we are allowed to smoke, with Seco (a Wodka-like drink, produced in Panama) with orange juice.

    Today we drove about 180 kms.

    Continuation follow as soon as possible :norton
    #10
  11. Idnug

    Idnug Adventurer

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    January 9th, 2010:
    We start more relaxed. My muscle ache and the calluses on my hands are enormous.
    Somehow it’s very quiet on the street today. Maybe it’s like this on Saturdays always here…
    After doing washing – yes I really did it - , we start after a fine breakfast at the baker’s. Via Porci we drive to the costal area to the beach of La Concepiòn.
    The beach is deserted, it is very windy and somehow inviting, for a bit of nonsense…

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    On the beach is also traffic.

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    We drive on about Pedasi, Los Asientos, Los Pozos to Playa Venado, dominated by surfers.

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    At the end of the bay, after another drive on the beach,we find a quiet place with less waves as in the middle of the bay.

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    We return on the same road we took to come here.
    Then a quick shopping and to purchase some drinks in the supermarket. But today It’s strange – everywhere, where the alcoholic drinks stand, the parts are blockes with adhesive tapes. We habe fisch in the hotel restaurant – really delicious. Again we finish the evening on the hotel balcony – with seco and orange juice. There we meet Pedro (Peter) from Switzerland and Yolanda from Cuba, speaking Spanish perfectly. She explaines to us why no alcohol is sold.
    In Panama, 9th January is a public holiday – not to find in our travel guide.
    In connection with a dispute about occurs flag in 1964, under U.S. administration, at the Panama Canal Zone, it cames to serious clashes, which has several people dead and many injured are demanding.
    This memorial day is for the students that died as martyrs because they intended to set the flag of Panama at the Panama channel. So today it’s forbidden to sell or consume alcohol.
    Those caught in the sale or consume of alcohol can be punished with fines of up to 1000 US-$. ...

    Driven kilometres today about 180.


    10th January 2010
    We leave Las Tablas

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    via Las Trancas.
    Again we are looking for a waterfall we read about. After Yolanda had talked with a native, she marked the place of the waterfall on our map. From Las Trancas we drive on a track, without finding the waterfall. According to our map it should be possible to reach Macaracas on a track. From there we want to go to Tonosi.
    First the track is good, leading through several rivers.

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    There are no road signs but instead a lot of tracks in all directions. At several of them we go wrong and have to go back, because there is no coming through.

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    After asking again and again we think we might be right. The track turns into a very bad 4WD-way, then into a footpath or animal track. It’s getting more and more difficult to drive, it’s steep, rocks of all sizes and deep clefts because of erosion.

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    At the next intersection we decide to turn left upwards.

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    Having reached the top we stop to orientate because there is a intersection again.
    Two young men coming up to us and we tell them what we intend to do – drive to Macaracas.
    They tell us we are wrong. They seriously tell us that it is impossible to drive on this track further on, because there are rocks and erosion – danger for life.
    They are really convincing. Not happy we take the track back.
    It would only have been about 10 km to Macaracas ...
    With "critters" of all kinds you have to expect.

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    Back in Las Tablas we are totally sweaty.

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    After a snack and some drinks we drive via Valle Rica to Tonosi.

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    Today is Sunday and somehow all have a friendly / inquisitive, fat grin on his face.
    We think maybe because of too much alcohol.
    We check-in in the hotel Valle Tropical, opposite the hospital.
    Double-Room with AC 20 US-$.
    The room is very well cared for and big with three bed and a cupboard. Daily room-cleaning and fresh towels.
    We are allowed to park our motorbikes in a room downstairs and in the hall down there.

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    We eat in the hotel restaurant and finish the evening again with seco and orange juice.

    Driven kilometres today about 180, of which about 80 km offroad.

    Continuation follow as soon as possible :norton
    #11
  12. Idnug

    Idnug Adventurer

    Joined:
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    After much coffee we drive from Tonosi via Avemaria to the Playa Abajo on 11th January 2010.
    A wonderful beach, during the week deserted. There is a restaurant, run by a Frenchman.

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    We have a second coffee stop there, and then we want to explore the beach.

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    After an 8 kms drive we find a beautiful place to rest and take a bath in the sea.
    Nobody is to be seen.

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    Only two times somebody comes: once from the sea,

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    the other from the beach.

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    You greet by waving your hand. Later we go back to the Frenchman to eat fish. We where told it’s good there.

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    While eating we watch the locals with their horses makes water gymnastics.

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    One of the horses always escapes. It seems to be really tired.

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    Then Wustis lobster and my fish is served.

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    And imagine. No joke. A seagull wanted to steal the fish from my plate!

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    …I scared her away!


    The meal was good but for Panama not really cheap.
    Lobster 11 US-$, with the fisch and drinks about 20 US-$.
    Back to Tonosi, to get a “Liquado de Fruta natural con Aqua” in the restaurant at the end of the place.

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    It’s made of fresh fruit, f. e. pineapple, banana, mango, melone… with sugar and ice, in a mixer. Often there is a spray of finned milk and vanilla sirup in.
    In the end it’s creamy, icecold, drinkable mass. It is very delicious and refreshing with the high temperatures.
    Shopping in the supermarket.

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    After back to the „Valle Tropical“. Because today the electricity dropped out there is some disturbance in the hotel.
    We finish the evening nearly in complete darkness in the restaurant with salad and Chardonnay.

    We go back to the „Valle Tropical“. Because today the electricity dropped out there is some disturbance in the hotel.
    We finish the evening nearly in complete darkness in the restaurant with salad and Chardonnay.

    I want to tell a bit about Tonosi and the people living in the area.
    The people here are a bit different. Maybe it’s because of Tonosi’s history. In former times it was a refuge for outlaws who had solved their conflicts with force and then came here to escape punishment. So here people have a special mentality and music.
    They behave somehow cooler and calmer. Here there is a little wild-west-flair.

    Driven kilometres: about 60

    Continuation follow as soon as possible :norton
    #12
  13. Idnug

    Idnug Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    54
    Location:
    Germany
    12th January 2010 we have a look at the centre of Tonosi.

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    Then there's a decent breakfast, as is usual here, by the girls in the restaurant, at the exit direction Corocita.

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    Today we want to a waterfall in the mountainous region near Altos de Güera. The street is a ... you might say "asphalt track". Formerly asphalted, now partially complete without asphalt, the rest of the road is partially addressed in a very modest state.

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    After many unmarked crossings and often asking for the waterfall “La Angostura”, we find the path leading to the waterfall.

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    You can reach it on foot. Because we don’t want to leave our motorbikes we go back via Tonosi to Cambutal.

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    Cambutal is the southernmost place in Panama that you can reach on roads.
    After the place there is an track leading along the coast. Here we explore the area a little bit.

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    The midday heat makes us loss on taking a refreshing bath in the sea.
    The beach isn’t really nice and there is no shade at all. So we go back to the Playe Guanico Abajo, back to the lovely place we found yesterday to refresh in the sea.
    In the evening, back in the “Valle Tropical”, we have fish, chicken and “Patacone” (baked bananas).

    Driven kilometres today: about 160


    13th January 2010:
    In the end we find the local baker for breakfast.

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    We had overlooked him all the time in the street ...

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    One last time to Playa Guanico Abajo to explore the beach completely to find out out how far we can drive there.

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    After 11 km the beach ride's over.

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    We go back to spend the day at the place we like so much ...

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    The high tide is coming in and we want to wait for the low tide because we don’t want to to back the 8 kilometres through the deep sand.
    We don’t know why, but the sea doesn’t go back as fast as on the last days.
    So we start going back on the beach nearly at high tide.
    Sometimes a salty wave hits us.
    The salt must down from the motorbikes. On the return to Tonosi we are still looking for a river, for cleaning and "desalination" the motorcycles.

    [​IMG]

    A last time back to Tonosi and again to the girls in the restaurant at the end of the place, Via Corocita. A farewell -„Liquado de Fruta natural con Aqua“ an the end in the “Valle Tropical” with fish, chips, salad, …
    The quiet last days were very good for my condition.

    Mileage today about 62, of which 22 km on the beach.


    14th January 2010:
    We leave Tonosi after a last breakfast with a lot of sweet things at the baker’s.
    We take the asphalt track via Macaracas, Los Pozos, Las Minas, Ocú to the Panamericana. On our way there we often lose our way.

    [​IMG]

    On the highway we go to San Felix via Santiago. Again we come into a "very strong police control” – at the same place than last time. This time the policemen find out that our papers for Panama, for the two different motorbikes, are issued for the same number plate. After some protest of the policemen they let us ride on. In San Felix we look for the accommodation “Cholo”. Ininsidertipp from Yolanda and Pedro. There is no sign so you can only find it when you know about it.
    From the highway the road leads to San Felix. At the beginning of the village the hospital is on the left. Tight afterwards the first depart on the left. Then you find the “Cholo” in the third house on the right side.
    We take a double-room with air condition for 15 US-$.
    The rooms are simple, roomy, with three beds. During our stay no cleaning or fresh towels… It is still early and we explore the area around San Felix inwards. Here the Indios are dominant.

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    At the river San Felix near a bridge we discover, after a detour off the road, a place to swim with a small waterfall.

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    Along the river plenty is going. Here the Indios do everything possible: doing the washing, cleaning their cars, taking a bath, washing themselves with soap, they take water back home in canisters. This is because in most parts of the country with Indio population there is one water-pipeline to supply them all. After a refreshing bath we go back to San Felix.

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    In the Internet Café near the „Chollo“ we get a “Liquado de Fruta“.
    The end of the day we have with a cool drink on a terrassed balcony.

    Driven kilometres today: about 320.

    Continuation follow as soon as possible :norton
    #13
  14. Cal

    Cal Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,846
    Location:
    Calgary
    Pulled out my Panama map and looked at the places you were travelling in, I have been to Panama but not this area.
    Thanks for the report it is an area I would love to visit on my next trip.
    #14
  15. auldublinr

    auldublinr Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2009
    Oddometer:
    86
    Location:
    Denver
    Thanks for taking the time and effort to post your report in two languages.loved all those photos especially the water crossings .You also got a hell of a girl there to take on all that dirt and challenges.best of luck.
    #15
  16. Idnug

    Idnug Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    54
    Location:
    Germany
    Thank you very much.
    I am very happy if you like it to read this report and hope that it contains informations which may be useful ... :1drink
    #16
  17. Idnug

    Idnug Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    54
    Location:
    Germany
    15th January 2010:
    We want to explore the costal area around Las Lajas.
    After a solid breakfast it goes over Las Lajas to the beach Las Lajas.
    Arrive there it is tatal low tide, a good occasion to ride along the complete beach.

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    Passable part there are 6 kms between the two rivers running into the ocean.
    Both are too wide and deep to pass.
    So we go back via Las Lajas and Santa Crus.
    Off road up to a bay surrounded by mangrove forests. Here the track ends.

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    On our map there is a track between the two rivers, leading to the Playa Las Lajas. We start searching this track. I think we tried all possible departs through the wooded country around Las Lajas. But each track ends up somewhere in nowhere land or the gate of a Hacienda or pastures…

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    Close to midday we give up. Asking natives also doesn’t help us. So back to the Playa to enjoy beach and sea between the two rivers.

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    So get out of our clothes and into the sea.
    Today there is no wind.
    Small mosquitos, much smaller as the sand mosquitos always bite. They have the size of a little sandcorn and Yolanda calls them “chitras”. In the beginning the bites look harmless but after one day they turn into bit itching stings. Mine first heal back home. So when you see such animals leave immediately!
    On our way back we need petrol - and for get the 95 petrol we have to go to the highway, also for getting new drinks.
    Later a visit in the internetcafe – has a surprising meeting again with Yolanda and Pedro.
    They also lodge in the “Chollo” today.
    We celebrate our meeting at Gladis’, in the "Pandeira" just round the corner. Gladis has the best “Liquado de Frutas” here and a lot of self baked and cooked things. After our meal together we spend the rest of the evening with excited conversations and cool drinks – together with Yolanda and Pedro.

    Driven kilometres today: about 110.


    16th January 2010:
    We want to explore the mountainous region, the direction to "Cerro Santiago". This area is inhabited only by Indios.
    There are several drivable Loop trails and branch roads in the mountainous region around San Felix. This area is truly a paradise for off-road excursions.
    Our plan today is: to drive as far as possible up. The impasse upwards passes Las Matas

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    to Hato Chami, on a track that gets more and more exacting the higher we come – up to 1400 metres.

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    Here something very stupid is happening. The second battery of our camera doesn’t work anymore. So there are no more photos…
    The rise is getting more and more increasingly strenuous and sweaty. The view from up here is absolutely amazing. Nearly all the nature is wild. On a very steep and difficult rise something happens to my motorbike.
    I'm just give gas on the very small part of the track to climb the slope. Left the trail is a steep rockface.
    I tried to keep the pace, so that the machine does not get the nasty rocks and boulders beneath the wheels. Despite gas we do not get more thrust, a terrible cracking of the chain can be heard. By the lack of speed it's impossible to hold the planned "straight line".
    The left elbow protector comes, by intercept the "haphazard" line, fully used. Slip the clutch, let more gas because somehow high, not just stop .... We come with heavy jumping chain and cracked left mirror on the top.
    On a flatter part, when we have less rising terrain under wheels and feet, we stop. The chain tensioner on the drive side is demolished, the chain slack. We are almost at the top. Over a rocky section we build with stones a ramp under the motorcycle frame, that the rear wheel is free, to dismantling it.
    Back wheel out, install the intact chain tensioner on the drive side, back wheel in, tighten all the screws extremely well and hope it holds.
    On our way back we look for the lost tensioner for the chain and luckily find it. We take the same track with a stop at the Rio San Felix to swim. Dinner we have at Gladis’.
    Today she exlusively cooking for us. Because the restaurant is full we are allowed to have our meal in Gladis’ living-room. The last evening in San Felix we spend together with Yolanda and Pedro in “Chollo”.

    Driven kilometres today: 75 kms, 44 of them offroad.

    Continuation follow as soon as possible :norton
    #17
  18. Idnug

    Idnug Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    54
    Location:
    Germany
    Forgive the late response.
    mmmhh ... No it's not the hell. I think who chooses this way to travel must have fun about this kind of traveling...
    I want to speak only for myself: I love it. Accept challenges, includes physical limits and driving skills to achieve :)
    Alone I would however waive to travel on this way ... :norton
    #18
  19. Idnug

    Idnug Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    54
    Location:
    Germany
    The departure from San Felix is on 17.01.2010. About the Panamericana it's about David to the border crossing to Costa Rica, in Paso Canoas.
    A boy offers help soon after arrival at the border. Wusti accepts his offer and can be accompanied by the boy to the different stations of the border.
    The procedures expire as follows:

    - Going to the counter for "vehicles" for sign out the vehicles from the passports. Here is the paper, which was issued at the entry of the border officials in Panama, withheld.
    - There must be a "brand" to be bought, Price 1 US $, which is needed at the counter for "persons" for the departure.
    - Now visit the counter für "people" and let "people exit" sign in the passport, there is the previously purchased brand glued into the passport.
    - Visit the counter for vehicle disinfection, there we habe to go through a passage "disinfection gate" and obtain a confirmation paper about 2,50 US $ per vehicle. This gate looks like a car wash. Motorcycles are sprayed with disinfectant, cars and trucks get a full wash.
    The confirmation paper disinfection vehicle occasionally is required to enter Costa Rica. We have not been asked.

    - At the frontier crossing of Costa Rica the entry of persons has to be registered.
    - We pay the boy that helped us.
    Time for the border crossing is about an hour. By the time difference in Costa Rica -1 h for us arrival at Panama's border 10 °° o'clock Panama time, arrival Costa Rica 10 °° o'clock Costa Rica time.
    Continue via the Panamericana to Palmar Norte, then turn left on road No. 34 to Uvita.
    As the year before, we stay in the Cabinas Los Laureles, which is very beautiful and integrated in the jungle.
    The access road to the site is as follows:

    [​IMG]

    Information at http:/www.cabinasloslaureles.com
    Last year, the price of the accommodation in a bungalow was 30 US $, this year 40 US $, reflecting a brief impression of the development of the price level in tourist areas of Costa Rica.
    It's still early enough for a trip to the waterfall about 6 km away.

    [​IMG]

    Dinner in Cambutal, in the largest soda on the left side, with entrance from the main street, in the middle of town. This soda has a large selection is good and relatively inexpensive.
    After filling up the drinks we end the evening, in the "jungle setting" at the bungalow.
    Driven kilometres today: about 320


    On 18.01.2010, we want to explore the slopes of Uvita, about Soccrro, to San Rafael. We start about 8:30 o'cklock, to pass "our waterfall", then climb to the highest point at 700 meters. The climb is difficult. The higher we get the more difficult it becomes. Often we have to stop to check the "driveable groove".
    The sea has low tide and our way offers fantastic views of the coast with the brilliant sight of the offshore sand bank in the form of a whale's fin. This presents itself in all its splendor, more beautiful and more impressive than the photo:
    http://www.southerncostarica.biz/spanish/photos/p122n1.jpg
    The slope is increasingly characterized by extremely steep sections with loose surfaces and erosion. The climb is strenuous and difficult. Often our motorbikes get stuck and the machines need to maneuver using muscle power back on passable underground. After about 10 km and an hour travel time we arrived nearly the highest point, totally done and completely drenched in sweat. The extreme slope in the final meters of the increase caused me to stop at the nearest possible location. Steepness and condition of the track here is on a few meters ... well ... let's say "heavy metal extreme". We see traces of a motorcycle that have happened recently, this piece. In addition to the tire tracks footprints can be seen. Also we appreciate this section is not driveable to the top. Granted, through the rigors of kilometers, felt again all the muscle fibers pleading. Pushing, with the support of the motor drive, it would certainly be possible to overcome this part of track. Knowing that there is a beautiful, idyllic waterfall with a pool when we repent, we soon decide to reverse.
    The descent is much faster, the steep downhill sections also have their pitfalls.

    A short episode between:
    While Wusti on steep inclines with clutch and brake goes to reduce speed when the engine brake is not enough, I've got used to manageable peaces of the track only with engine brake ... Well, so one time I was coming down as a "steamroller" in brutally pace remove the lower part of a steep slope behind a curve, Wusti ahead of me, without any chance to reduce pace ...
    I just simply realized that if Wusti not disappear from my "airline", it's inevitable to have a crash into him. A fall or collision at this speed in this area would be devastating. Panic is spreading. Wusti has not even likely notice what begins to take shape behind him ... I hear myself yell: "Wusti GIVE GAS! RIDE!! GET OUT! "
    I noticed that he heard me and realized the situation ... He give gas ... :D

    The rest of the day we spend at the waterfall. Later with a dinner in a Soda in the village.
    The end of the evening we spend at our bungalow in this beautiful jungle flair.
    Kilometres today: about 20 offroad


    The 19.01.2010 is our last full day with the motorbikes. The efforts of the previous day not remain without consequences.
    Sore muscles in the arms and upper body, like the calluses on his hands today are extremely noticeable. One last day at the sea, on the beach of Cambutal stands on the plan. A good plan, because today it is extremely hot. Before returning to Uvita we are looking again at the Soda Camutal on to dinner. We spend the evening with the Canadians we have already met here in Uvita last year.
    Driven kilometres today: about 40


    On 20.01.2010 we have to return the motorcycles in San Jose.
    We leave Uvita via Dominical, Baru, to San Isidro. The distance between Dominica and Baru has a bit of character-Pyrenees, in typical Costa Rican vegetation. Very attractive and curvy. Then continue on the Panamericana (Interamericana) to the highest point between Alaska and Tierra del Fuego, arround "Cerro de la Muerte", at about 3.300 meters.
    Along the way we need the rain jackets, due to increasing cold in the higher elevations.

    [​IMG]

    The weather is well today and the view is very impressive, similar to last year.

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    In the higher region, to the Interamerican Highway, there are a few trails which depart from the highway. We explore the area a bit to enjoy the view. On the way to San Jose, we encounter another 2 police checkpoints. A radar control via laser gun and a pretty sharp vehicle control. Here even the chassis numbers of the two XR were controlled.
    The last part to San Jose we are accompanied by a local motorcyclist who shows us the way to the quater Paseo Colon to "Wild Rider".
    Before returning the motorbikes we unload our luggage at the hotel Cacts, where we are heartly welcomed. They open the door without explanations or questions and the room keys are handed.
    Filled up we return the Motorbikes to Wildrider and exchange our experience.
    We made about 3.400 emotional and eventful kilometres with a lot of new impressions.
    We heartly say goodbye to Thomas and Thorsten, we will meet again for sure ...

    The last day in Costa Rica, we can finish quietly on the roof terrace of the Cacts and packing for tomorrow's trip. We order at the front desk wake-up call for tomorrow morning 5°° o'clock and a taxi to the airport for the 6°° o'clock.
    Driven kilometres today: about 200


    On 21/01/2010 by 5°° o'cklock rings the phone in our hotel room and a friendly voice announces itself "buenos dias".
    Another cup of coffee before we at 6.°°o'clock climb into the taxi for driving to the airport. At the airport, the formalities have to be completed: Tax payable to a separate counter in the amount of $ 26, fill out the form with personal information, give up baggage for Condor.
    Before baggage giving up at Condor Company there is today a special control. The luggage will be opened and the contents checked. The officer takes our luggage, first the largest bag that we have here. It's the bag of "dirty, smelly cross-clothes", used 3 weeks ago.
    Horrified I hold my hand in front of my face and hear myself saying: "do not do it" ... He opens the zipper of the bag nevertheless. After a short, superficial looking into it, the officer concludes the bag hastily. Almost simultaneously, our other luggage he pushed aside unopened and we are, by wave of his hand, delegated to go :rofl

    Summary informations will follow as soon as possible :norton
    #19
  20. Idnug

    Idnug Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    54
    Location:
    Germany
    Summary

    Motorcycle Rental in Costa Rica/departure to Panama
    For "good repeat offender" for rent motorcycles by "Wild Rider" in San Jose / Costa Rica (info at http://www.wild-rider.com), optionally, there is an offer, a leaving for the rental vehicle to Nicaragua or Panama to lead in the way.
    Our investigation about motorbike rental in Panama have revealed that in Panama can rent cars and motorcycles, but not enduro bikes. Later we will confirmed by locals that this type of motorcycles in Panama is not for rent.
    The cost of the vehicle and completion of paperwork by Wildrider amount to US $ 60 per vehicle, which is Guarantee deposit on departure from Costa Rica are 1200 instead of US $ 700.

    Flight to Costa Rica
    This time we fly with Condor from Frankfurt, via Domenicanische Republic, directly to San Jose / Costa Rica.
    Time difference in Costa Rica to CET-7h.
    With an official "Airport Taxi" we go to the hotel Cacts, taxi costs US $ 22.
    Info Hotel Cacts under http://www.hotelcacts.com/, accommodation reservation was prompted by Wildrider.

    Accommodation in Costa Rica

    Puerto Viejo / Costa Rica:
    At Kathy and Olaf in Vista Verde, information at http://vistaverdehospedaje.weebly.com/
    mail vista_verde@racsa.co.cr
    Great room with shared shower and toilet, designed very friendly and clean. Towels are available. Free use of the community kitchen and the lounges. With tables and chairs in nice open layout of the garden
    Price see homepage.

    Uvita / Costa Rica:
    Cabinas Los Laureles
    Information at http://www.cabinasloslaureles.com
    Alternative, less expensive accommodations are available.

    Accommodation in Panama:
    In Panama is in favorable accommodations, only cold water in the rooms available. In the showers, there is no shower head, then there's just a big "Manneken Piss-ray" from the wall, also goes well.

    David / Panama:
    Residencial Avenida
    Avenida 3ra, Este
    Calle D Norte
    mail residencialavenida@hotmail.com
    The rooms are simple and clean. During our stay, no intermediate cleaning, no fresh towels.
    Double room with bath / TV, table and cabinet, smoking is possible on the hotel balcony.
    Secure Parking available.
    Price with AC 19 US $.
    Price with fan 14.50 US $.

    Penonomé / Panama:
    Pensión Los Pinos, directly at the Interamerican Highway, across from the arts and crafts market.
    The rooms are basic but clean, smaller on the back of the building than on the front. Daily room cleaning and fresh towels.
    Double room with bath / TV and AC, there is no cabinet, but 2 chairs and a table.
    Parking directly in front of the room.
    Price double room with bath / TV and AC 16.50 US $.

    Las Tablas / Panama:
    Hotel "Piamonte" on both sides of the Ave. Belisario Porras resident. In the next building, across from the main building rooms are cheaper to hire.
    The rooms are simple and clean. During our stay, no intermediate cleaning, no fresh towels.
    Hotel restaurant was very good.
    We were allowed to park in the hallway of the EC.
    Price for small d with fan 15.40 US $.
    Price for larger DZ (3 beds) with AC 25 US $.

    Tonosi / Panama:
    Hotel "Tropical Valley, opposite the Hospital.
    Rooms are well maintained, clean and spacious, with 3 beds and a wardrobe. Daily room cleaning and fresh towels. Hotel restaurant is simple but good.
    We were allowed to park in one room and in the hallway of the EC.
    Price double room with AC 20 US $.

    San Felix / Panama:
    Accommodation "Cholo"
    There is no sign at the Cholo not just to find if you know it. From Highway road going to San Felix. At the entrance of the village the hospital is on the left. First exit left, after the hospital, the Cholo is the 3rd driveway on the right side.
    We take a double room with AC. Rooms are simple, spacious, with 3 beds.
    During our stay, no intermediate cleaning, no fresh towels.
    Parking in the yard of the building.
    Price for a double room with fan 10 US $.
    Price for a double room with AC 15 US $.

    San Felix recommendation Panderia / restaurant
    Coming at Gladis in Panderia, first left after the police station on the main road from the highway. Gladis has the best "Liquado de Frutas" locally and abundant, delicious baked and also cooked.

    Entry and exit Costa Rica / Panama
    It is important that the formalities are for exit and entry into the country, handled correctly. Missing registration papers, insurance certificates and entries in the passport can lead to huge problems. To / from Costa Rica, the border crossing is possible in Sixola and Paso Canoas.

    Procedure border station people leaving Costa Rica:
    -Maybe copy of the return air ticket. As proof that you return to Costa Rica moves back and emigrating from there
    -Delivery copy of the passport.
    -Exit of the person from Costa Rica is to let register in the passport.

    Procedure border station vehicle departure from Costa Rica:
    -Delivery copy of the registration papers.
    -Delivery copy exit permit vehicle owners, for leaving the vehicle, (authorization by Car rental / notarization that the vehicle owner has no objection to the departure of the vehicle and the vehicles are "clean", for example, not registred for stolen, etc.,).
    External assistance is for departure from Costa Rica not required. You can bring the required copies. Making copies is possible in addition to offices at the border station for paid.
    Copies required, 1 each:
    -Maybe copy of the return air ticket.
    -Passport
    -Vehicle documents
    -Exit permit vehicle owners

    Procedure border station people travel to Panama:
    -Maybe levy copy of the return air ticket. As proof that you return to Costa Rica moves back and emigrating from there
    -Delivery copy of the passport.
    -Entry of the person to Panama is to let register in the passport.

    Procedure border station vehicle entry to Panama:
    -Instruct a "tug" (You have to find the tug not the tug you will find, sometimes even at / before leaving Costa Rica).
    -Completing a vehicle insurance for, in a separate office. Price, including a copy of the insurance policy, 15 US $.
    IMPORTANT: The original of the insurance policy is to take with and must present on request.
    -Delivery copy of the policy / Panama for the vehicle (complete the insurance is only possible in Panama).
    -Delivery copy of the registration papers of the vehicle.
    -Delivery copy exit permit vehicle owners, for leaving the vehicle, (authorization by Car rental / notarization that the vehicle owner has no objection to the departure of the vehicle and the vehicles are "clean", for example, not registred for stolen, etc.,).
    -Entry of the vehicle to Panama is to let register in the passport.
    -You have to take with the "Panama-registration papers", issued by the border guards, (which person goes with which vehicle ...), as a legitimation that the vehicle may be driven in Panama.
    NOTE: These documents must be kept and presented on request.
    -Reward the "tug" with 20 US $.
    Outside help (a tug) is required for entry into Panama. It is allowed to bring the required copies, to the border station. To let make copies of missing documents und completion of the insurrance for the vehicle is not possible without the "tug". The "tug" is also required to ensure that the border official issuing the necessary paperwork for the vehicle and the entries in the passport carries.

    Copies required, 1 each, for each border station:
    -Maybe copy of the return air ticket.
    -Passport
    -Policy of the Panama-insurance for the vehicle.
    -Vehicle documents
    -Exit permit of the vehicle owners
    Duration about 3 hours.

    Procedure border station vehicle leaving Panama:
    -Visit the counter for "vehicle". Let sign out the registry the vehicle from the passport can. Here the paper is drafted, which was issued on entry by border officials in Panama.
    -After sign out the vehicle und sign in the exit of the person in the passport, you have to visit the counter for vehicle disinfection.
    -You need the give of the confirmation form over payment 2,50 US $, for desinfection the vehicle.
    -Visit the "disinfection gate" for disinfect the vehicle.

    Procedure border station people leaving Panama:
    -A "brand" must be purchased, price 1 US $, which is needed at the counter for "persons" for the departure.
    -After let registered in your passport that you leave Panama, therefor you need the previously purchased brand that is glued into the passport.

    Procedure border station people travel to Costa Rica:
    -Visit border station with counter of Costa Rica.
    -Let registered in your passport that you enter in Costa Rica.

    Procedure border station vehicle entry to Costa Rica:
    -The confirmation form of the vehicle disinfection is required to travel into Costa Rica. We have not been asked.
    -If there is a person for helping supportive you please pay them appropriate.
    Duration 1 hour.

    Flora and fauna in Panama
    Unlike Costa Rica, Panama has not far from the lush vegetation of Costa Rica. Outside the mountain areas the landscape is dominated of grazing land and plantations. On the east side are banana and pineapple plantations, found on the west side more sugarcane fields.

    Streets and connections
    The main highway in Panama is the Panamerican Highway, the route between Pacific and Atlantic, also between Panama City and Colón, and David and Chirqui Grande, that goes on the atlantic side to the border town Sixola further. There are countless smaller roads and tracks in the various regions . A lot of them go into impassable regions and end as impasse. In the impassable regions are the tracks for enduro and cross driver, an almost inexhaustible, some very demanding terrain.

    Road and traffic rules
    Panama has its own rules on the road. Like in Costa Rica, here is the law of the "strongest." However, here are actions like overtaking, reeving, etc. announced by a short honk by horn. The horn is then, however the ultimately signal. Another signal, or termination of the initiated action will not occur. Speed controls are very common on the Panamericana, via laser measurement. The penalties are draconian, and can range up to the two-week detention or confiscation of the vehicle in Panama City. Negotiate always worth. Thus, an "official" punishment in the amount of approximately by 500 US $, not infrequently can converted in a transfer of 10-20 US $, paid directly to the officials.

    Charm and quirks of Panama
    The infrastructure of Panama has nowhere near the density of Costa Rica. Gas stations, banks and accommodations often can found only in larger town. In densely populated areas you can find accommodation in different categories to for each claim.
    It is advantageous spending several nights in an accommodation in order from a starting point "cloverleaf", in several-day or half-day trips to explore the area. Outside the tourist centers, the situation is very simple.
    The existing "facilities" exist primarily for daily use of the locals. This applies to bars and restaurants as well as hotels and accommodations. We find it very pleasant and enjoyable not to feel as like tourists but as guests.

    Food and drink
    Bars and restaurants are everywhere. Outside the tourist areas often very simple. But what on to boiled and of drinks is served always tasty and digestible. Panama is definitely not a culinary journey. The offer of fresh fish is in the coastal regions pretty good. The food culture is meanwhile "Americanized", increasingly meat and fresh fish is unfortunately is served deep-fried.
    We didnt take care of rules, concerning food and drink. Also, fresh salads and water, which is served open, could not harm us.

    People
    The friendliness, openness and curiosity of the people here is for us almost disconcerting. We are very often greeted and asked whether one likes Panama. It's an incredible natural friendliness, not influenced by other interests or business sense. This kind of friendliness we experience anytime, anywhere. I have these people a bit closed to the heart ...

    Crime
    Outside of Panama City and Colón, there is little crime. Hardly houses and land are fenced or enclosed by walls and barbed wire. In rural areas, you have the feeling that there is no crime. We discover that we are increasingly careless for the look about our things and to watch ...

    Language
    The official language is Spanish. With a little luck you can sometimes replace in English, which is not often the case.

    Others
    Smoking is not in Panama altogether welcome. In enclosed buildings or restaurants and bars is banned smoking almost always. Often smoking is also outdoors, banned in public places with a high volume of people. But with tourists is generally turned a blind eye ...

    Currency
    Panamanian balboa is the native currency. 1 balboa = 100 centavos. The exchange rate to the U.S. dollar Balboa enshrined 1:1. The balboa and centavos only exist as coins. The U.S. dollar, for cash payments, is a reasonable alternative.

    Prices
    Panama is priced, after Belize and Costa Rica, about 3rd place in Central America. The price level, for simple accommodation and food, is about 30-40% lower than in Costa Rica. Simple, budget accommodation can also be found in Costa Rica.

    Travelguide
    We had the "travel expertise Panama", ISBN 978-3-8317-1664-7. Our constant companion and reference guide in finding lodging, general and regional information.

    Maps
    1:300 000, International Travel Maps ISBN 978-5-5341-3585
    1:550 000, "travel know-how" in Costa Rica / Panama ISBN 978-3-8317-7136-3, which, despite the smaller scale, is much more accurate than the 1:300 000 map.

    Highlights
    On our route are the highlights for enduro driving:
    -Penonomé the region towards El Copé.
    -Azuero Peninsula: The track-braiding inland between Las Tablas and Macaracas.
    -Azuero Peninsula: the coastal and beach area south and west of Tonosi and the track-braiding between El Caco and Pocri, that we couldn't travel extensively, because the lack of time.
    -San Felix, the region toward Cerro Santiago.
    -David, the region to / around the Volcan Baru.
    If our map is right, only halfway, there is very much more to discover in Panama ...

    Conclusion
    Panama is an absolute recommendation. A paradise for enduro riders and an incredibly friendly environment. In some regions, people are more reserved, as well as in the Indian territories.
    Three weeks are just too short.
    Wish we could stay just a little bit longer ...

    And then there was the panama-hat, the thing with the electricity, armed and parked horses, the panambus, the guy who always wanted to sell to us a pair of sunglasses, the trucks for transporting horses, the kids ...

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    End :norton
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