Rio Sereno border crossing / Panama into Costa Rica

Discussion in 'Latin America' started by Secret Agent Man, Feb 2, 2010.

  1. Secret Agent Man

    Secret Agent Man Globe Trotter

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    My guide book (Footprint, 2009) said that the Panama border crossing at Rio Sereno did not have the ability to process vehicles so I started asking some locals and they all agreed that there is an Aduana at the Rio Sereno crossing.
    This morning my wife and I crossed at this border into Costa Roca without a hitch, spending about an hour to check ourselves and our moto out of Panama and check ourselves and the bike into C.R.
    I'm not sure if this has been reported in the past but I thought I would chime in.
    I had heard that the Paso Canoas border crossing was a zoo and, given that were spent a night in Boquete, Rio Sereno seemed like a natural way to go.

    There is a brand new road you can take from Dolega (south of Boquete) that takes you through some really outstanding farm land over to the highway just south of Volcan. This road makes you think you are in Switzerland or New Zealand with it's twists and turns and tidy farm houses....really a world class ride....no vehicles, perfect black top...WOW!! Then there is the road from Volcan to the Rio Sereno border...it just keeps getting better and better! You are at about 4,000 ft and the air is cool and crisp.
    Anyone wanting to exit Panama or enter Panama from Costa Rica really needs to consider this crossing and it's fantastic mountain scenery!
    #1
  2. Secret Agent Man

    Secret Agent Man Globe Trotter

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    Further to my post above, I was just on Horizon's Unlimited "Hubb" forum and saw that six riders used the Rio Sereno crossing from Panama into C.R. several months back but five of the six were held back while one was allowed to ride into San Vito, Cost Rica, to get the bikes insured.
    It was pointed out that this crossing is not set up for insurance which is manditory in Costa Rica.
    This didn't effect my entry into C.R. as we already had been in Costa Rica ten days earlier and had the required insurance from that visit (it's good for 30 or 90 days, can't remember).
    Good info to know...only use this crossing if you already have C.R. insurance.
    #2
  3. Bajarider2000

    Bajarider2000 Been here awhile

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    Thanks for updating, I was thinking about crossing there next week.
    #3
  4. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    Good Info. I'll check it out asap. I'll stop in Volcan or Boquette for some more Johnsons Farm Coffee. I've been waking up to it for a while but I'm almost out.
    #4
  5. Rogue Agent

    Rogue Agent Adventurer

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    I was planning on using that crossing FROM Costa Rica. Anticipate any issues?

    Thanks.
    #5
  6. Secret Agent Man

    Secret Agent Man Globe Trotter

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    The only thing I can advise you on is be prepared for some outstanding mountain scenery:clap !!
    Enjoy your ride!
    #6
  7. Rogue Agent

    Rogue Agent Adventurer

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    Excellent. I'll be there tomorrow morning.
    #7
  8. Rogue Agent

    Rogue Agent Adventurer

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    Outstanding ride today folks! Everyone was right. Rio Sereno border crossing was downright pleasant and the roads up the mountain from Ciudad Nielly, through San Vito, across the border, and into Volcan rivaled anything in New Zealand, Tail of the Dragon, etc. In fact, I think it's better than Tail of the Dragon because it's longer, the road is in better shape, and there isn't any traffic. The new road across from Cuesta de Piedra to Potrerillos is about 99% done--totally ride-able, even if you were on a Harley. Spending tonight in Boquete, where there's a constant cool breeze, light mist, and birds chirping, unless the sun is setting, in which case, the tree toads are croaking. Outstanding day!
    #8
  9. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    :thumb Good to know. Thats now on my list of crossings in the coming weeks.
    #9
  10. Nata Harli

    Nata Harli Accidental Tourista

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    To bring to ALARR III, I'm sure. :super
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  11. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    I just did this crossing (C.R. to Panamá) and it was a breeze. Checked out of C.R. in about 3 minutes, but it was lunch time in Panamá. No problem though, the Migracion and Aduana folks actually checked me in during their lunch break. I simply handed them all of my paperwork, then went across the street to a tienda and bought everyone some refreshments while they took care of my passport and vehicle permit.

    I was the only person using this crossing when I was there. Everyone was super friendly and helpful. I highly recommend this crossing!:thumb But like mentioned before, there is no insurance availible if you are crossing into Costa Rica at this location (you can however buy Panamá insurance when crossing into Panamá)

    Talk about a sleepy little border crossing. By far the most tranquilo crossing I have done yet. The ride to and from the border is awesome as well, twisty, scenic and cool.

    Its a little difficult to find as its on a dirt road with no signage, but there are plenty of people around that will point you in the right direction if you simply stop and ask.
    #11
  12. Bajarider2000

    Bajarider2000 Been here awhile

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    Crashmaster-

    What's your plan while in Panama?

    I have an ice cold beer waiting for you in San Carlos if you need it.
    #12
  13. DaveCR

    DaveCR Been here awhile

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    Hey !

    So what was your route to get to this pass? how's the road? I did crossed to Panama but thru Paso Canoas.. on Semana Santa.. a nightmare !

    Regards,
    #13
  14. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    Sorry I missed you amigo. I didnt see you post until a month and half later. :rofl Unfortunately, my Panama experience was mostly about wondering if Dengue Fever was going to kill me........


    Not sure about what you mean by a route. Just go to Rio Sereno, the border is there, you cant miss it, its a small town. Also, of note if you are going from Panama to Costa Rica, they are not able to sell you the mandatory insurance for Costa Rica at this crossing. So if you still have Costa Rica insurance, you will be good to go, otherwise you will need to go to one of the other crossings....
    #14
  15. DaveCR

    DaveCR Been here awhile

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    Got it!

    I'm actually from CR and I did not hear about this crossing.. I knew about Sixaola and Paso Canoas; got to tell you it sounds good.. At least to go on a Sunday and make some "road recognition" hehe

    Thanks for the info !
    #15
  16. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    DaveCR, here is some more info, hope it helps you out.


    I like this crossing, it is the easiest I have done yet. I went from Uvita to Rio Sereno. The road is good all the way, there is about 4 miles of smooth, well graded dirt from near the gas station in Sabalito. Just stop there and ask how to get to Panama. The dirt portion is good road..........

    [​IMG]


    The actual crossing itself looks like this coming from Costa Rica to Panama........... :thumb Beautiful ride on either side of the border, good elevation, comfortable temps. Leaving the crossing into Panama it is very nice twisty, scenic, pavement.

    [​IMG]

    I havent been to Puto Canoas, but I think this crossing might be just a little less busy. :rofl
    #16
  17. Kamuk

    Kamuk lost in the ozone again

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    This certainly is a slick crossing and I´ve done it in the past keeping the Visa thing up to date. Its my favorite way to get that done, and there is a place near Cerro Punta named Lodge de la Quetzals that has a pretty good place and price to hang out and explore the edges of the Parque Int´l de la Amistad should you like to stay off the beaten path.

    The only thing that slowed me down once was an inability to get photocopies of my passport, registation, etc at the little super on the border as there was a problem with their machine. Make extras to have with you just in case and make sure you remember your Natl Registry paperwork if the bike is CR plated... otherwise there is a law office in San Vito next to one of the Ferreterias that can hook you up.

    Enjoy Man! And be careful if you are tempted to start knee dragging on the twisties toward Nuevo California... the dairy farms cross their cattle in some interesting sections.
    #17
  18. DaveCR

    DaveCR Been here awhile

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    Well, I think I have all the info I need !!

    Will share with my friends to organize a little trip "down" there ..

    Thanks Crashmaster and Kamuk .. I promise to take some pics to share later ..

    Pura Vida ! :beer
    #18
  19. CRStromer

    CRStromer GUS C.

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    DaveCR.. jeje.. búsquese la ruta y nos vamos!! yo la verdad ni idea de por donde llegar... voy a travesear el GPS a ver que...

    Greetings my friend!!! :freaky
    #19
  20. chmac

    chmac total n00b

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    I've been living in Costa Rica the last 4/5 months and passed through that border. Here's how I understand it.

    You can leave Costa Rica through Rio Sereno. If you do that, you can return from Panama on the same vehicle permit & insurance. However, you CANNOT enter Costa Rica for the first time through Rio Sereno. There is no customs office on the CR side, so you can't bring a bike into the country for the first time, as I understand it.

    Also, as an aside, if you have a vehicle in Costa Rica for 90 days, the vehicle has to stay out for 90 days before returning. Nightmare. My bike is today parked at Paso Canoas because they wouldn't let her back in. My buddy's in the same position. Serious pain in the ass.
    #20