The Lost Road to Bluefields, Nicaragua....

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by brecchi, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. brecchi

    brecchi Been here awhile

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    Hi guys. After 10 years of lurking, posting and going on several extended motorcycle trips throughout North and Central America, I am now here posting my first Ride Report. I've been especially inspired by all the big/long super- popular RR's from the likes of Salcar and Crashmaster and more recently 2TouringtheWorld's various global escapades, Jammin, Lightcycle and Neda, and the intense guy riding around the country on a Ducati Panigale. That dude is kind of a badass.

    This RR will be about my attempt to ride a supposed new unpaved road from El Rama, Nicaragua to the city of Bluefields on the Caribbean coast.I'm still in the process of figuring out how to load pics but I'll try to get this report up in a timely fashion, as I'm heading back to Nicaragua next week for a couple of months. I ended up losing some photos on the trip (a cautionary tale will follow), but I think I can manage to piece something good together. In the meantime.....

    This is me in Guatemala a couple of years ago on a 1984 CB700SC I rode from NYC:

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    And one in Nicaragua from about a month ago, in the middle of the trip I'm gonna write about:

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    Stay tuned!

    -Ben
    #1
  2. Habibi Rocks

    Habibi Rocks Banned

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    :freaky :lurk
    #2
  3. pdedse

    pdedse paraelamigosincero

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    I've always wanted to visit Bluefields...looking forward to your RR.
    #3
  4. brecchi

    brecchi Been here awhile

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    Ok - so on October 22nd I flew down to Nicaragua with a return ticket for the 18th of December. The plan was to continue my Spanish studies, do some volunteering with kids, spend some time at the beach and learn more about coffee culture up in the highlands of Matagalpa. Oh yeah, and also to get a hold of a dirt bike down here and ride over to the Caribbean coast, which I had not visited in any of my previous trips. I rode down here before in 2011 and went back to Leon, where I had spent a good deal of time a year ago in a 1 month break in the middle of a 9 month long bike trip from NYC to Panama.

    Here are a few shots of Leon from my previous visit, as I lost a bunch of photos on this trip:

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    So after 3 weeks here doing Spanish immersion and a little volunteering, I headed to Matagalpa. More studying Spanish and volunteering, and learning about coffe production. Fast forward 3 more weeks to when I finally rent a bike for 2 weeks from a little garage on the outskirts of town.

    Meet the Yumbo 200.

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    #4
  5. brecchi

    brecchi Been here awhile

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    And some shots from my time in Matagalpa

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    Coffee Museum (some of the best coffee in the world is grown here)

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  6. Roaddawg

    Roaddawg MotoLoco

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    Alright!!! I look forward to your report. I want to do a similar ride. I want to emulate Salcar and travel around Nicaragua. Can you expand and your rental arrangement? Are you seeing any more of these types of businesses popping up in Nicaragua? I was thinking about riding down or if the price is decent either buying a dual sport or renting one down there. Thanks! Best of luck. Subscribed!
    #6
  7. brecchi

    brecchi Been here awhile

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    I actually got lucky and had a local friend hook me up with a local garage for about $170 for 2 weeks of unlimited use. It was pretty informal, but they did agree to take an outdated passport of mine, and there was some paperwork and an insurance/registration card given to me which came in handy. However, the roads of Nicaragua conspired at one point to rattle some useful items off the bike and into oblivion (exhaust, kickstarter, taillights) which caused some friction when I returned the bike as to how much I really owed. We came to a fair agreement, I'll get into more detail at the end of the RR.

    I did communicate with Salcar and I would highly recommend him even though I didn't end up using one of his bikes. It was easier for me to get a bike where I was at, in Matagalpa. He is located in Managua. The bikes look to be in tip-top shape and he quoted me a very reasonable price. Very prompt with answers and willing to work with me. I felt guilty after renting from another place after all the emailing I was doing with him. There are some bike rental places on the beach at San Juan del Sur, but very expensive daily rates. There is also a small rental place that was just started by an ex-pat in Matagalpa but I dont know much about it. So I would say that Salcar's outfit is the most established and best game in town by a long shot. You could always take your chances and rent a crappy bike locally by word of mouth like I did, which did end up biting me in the ass a bit.
    #7
  8. brecchi

    brecchi Been here awhile

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    A ride to the Castillo de Cacao. Who doesn't like a chocolate castle?!

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    #8
  9. brecchi

    brecchi Been here awhile

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    Some pics of the school/park I volunteered at:

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    Some kids were putting together these effigies which get sold for 5 bucks and burned in a parade:

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    #9
  10. Roaddawg

    Roaddawg MotoLoco

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    Flor De Caña as a Chocolate Ingredient? Too Funny!
    #10
  11. Habibi Rocks

    Habibi Rocks Banned

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    Nice report ! :clap :lurk
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  12. XDragRacer

    XDragRacer Long timer

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    From my introduction to Flor De Caña many decades ago, seemed like it was then consumed for its effect, rather than its taste!

    Most enjoyable ride report; appreciate the stroll down Memory Lane.
    #12
  13. brecchi

    brecchi Been here awhile

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    They told me it was a seasonal thing that they did, a small batch of chocolate with the Flor de Cana. Not available at the time though :(:
    #13
  14. brecchi

    brecchi Been here awhile

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    [QUOTE

    Most enjoyable ride report; appreciate the stroll down Memory Lane.[/QUOTE]

    Thanks - I'll get to some motorcycle stuff eventually!
    #14
  15. brecchi

    brecchi Been here awhile

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    A few more pics of Matagalpa

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  16. brecchi

    brecchi Been here awhile

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    OK, so I left Matagalpa and rode from the central highlands to the Pacific coast. My buddy has a small hotel right on a secluded beach called Playa Majagual about 12 miles down a dirt road right before you enter the big tourist beach town of San Juan del Sur. The 200cc Yumbo held its own at a steady 45 mph and 6 hours later I was there. I was supposed to only be there about 3 days but between breezy secluded beaches, snorkeling, spearfishing, old and new friends, good food and drink and of course, friendly girls in bikinis - I ended up staying for 8 days. :freaky
    Again, I lost a bunch of pics so not too much bike stuff - a lot more actual bike/traveling shots in the second half of this report, I promise.

    Playa Majagual:

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    #16
  17. brecchi

    brecchi Been here awhile

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    A 20 mile ride 2 up down a horrible dirt road led to Playa del Coco, a really beautiful white sandy beach with almost no people:

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  18. conchscooter

    conchscooter Long timer

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    I hope to hear more on this one. I too a panga down the river to the castillo but I'd love to see the "road" to Bluefields!
    #18
  19. Rabble

    Rabble mountain boy

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    Hi Brecchi,
    Very curious to hear how your ride from El Rama to Bluefields works out. I'm thinking you'll wait till the beginning of the dry season, since that's coastal rain forest with swampy sections no doubt.

    I can't remember just when the (rather short) dry season starts. End of March? I spent 10 months in Nicaragua in '89 working on housing projects. Last 3 months were in Bluefields starting a project after Hurricane Joan had levelled the place and the rainforest too. I remember the annual rainfall there is 4.5 to 6 meters a year. That's right, meters! There was a track on the map heading for Rama back then, but everyone said it wasn't passable... There was a total of 15 km of roads around Bluefields, everything else moved by boat.

    If you can time things to take in the Mayo Ya festival (in May) it's cool.
    Staying tuned.
    #19
  20. EvanADV

    EvanADV Big Bearded Boy

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    I lived in Chichigalpa, near Chinandega, for about 6 months working with a non-profit in the sugar cane communities. One of my best friends lives there. Been about 8 times since '07. Got friends in Matagalpa, Leon, Granada, etc. Wanna ride down some day. I've never been out to blue fields, heard you could only get there by plane....will be following this RR.
    #20