Canada2Argentina - Going outside to play for 6 months!

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by marcoue, Jul 8, 2016.

  1. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    I know, but it's there and I won't throw it away!!!

    I've been to Cartagena a few time, can't wait to be there again. I'll stay there for 4 days as we arrive on a Friday, and the bikes don't get released until the next Monday.

    It would be great to meet. Keep me posted!
  2. Flying_Celt

    Flying_Celt Been here awhile

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    Great photo's they show a Mexico that you would hardly knew existed. Where are all the drug gangs, criminals and rapists?
    My experience in Mexico was a lot motor pleasant than what you'd get in the media. Beautiful country - great food - lovely people. Enjoy.
    Azteca Descent likes this.
  3. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    It does exist. 11 people were killed a couple of days where I crossed the border!

    But the reality is that it also exists on the States, and other countries, but the everyday life of 99% of the people is just as normal as ours (different, but normal)!
    Anand7 likes this.
  4. Azteca Descent

    Azteca Descent Adventurer

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    I live in the Windy City and thank god I've never encountered any of the murderers ,rapist or thieves and also I have never felt uneasy anywhere in the city, except in some of the neighborhoods that are already known to be violent



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  5. Pete_Tallahassee

    Pete_Tallahassee Grampy Supporter

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    I'm still booked for the November 14th Crossing. I'm currently in Acaycan,Veracruz. I plan to be in Panajachel, Guatemala in the next 3 or 4 days. Since you won't be on the same boat crossing as me maybe we'll meet up in Colombia. I plan to stay in Panajachel for a week and start my ride report from there.
    marcoue likes this.
  6. Anser

    Anser Adventurer

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    Wow

    Enviado desde mi SM-G530M mediante Tapatalk
  7. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    2016-10-04 – Day 23 – San Cristobal de las Casa, CH to Antigua, Guatemala (483 km – 9:00 hrs)
    2016-10-05 – Day 24 – Antigua, Guatemala
    2016-10-06 – Day 25 – Antigua, Guatemala
    2016-10-07 – Day 26 – Antigua, Guatemala (271 km – 5:30 hrs)


    It is with great enthusiasm that I leave San Cristobal de las Casas towards an important step of my journey, which is to enter Central America.

    I never visited Guatemala and although I expect many similarities with the Latin America countries that I know, this is a major page that is turned.

    I leave North America towards an unknown land that will be, I’m sure, exciting, but that will also represent a logistical challenge and require some adaptation.

    I leave promptly and it takes me 3 hours to reach the Guatemalan border. It’s funny how I didn’t see this time pass. The excitement and trepidation of a border crossing with complex reputation certainly have something to do with it!

    I decide to refuel just before the border. I make sure to ask the person if it is possible to pay with my credit card because the day before, I had changed my pesos to Quetzals, as I knew, I had some fee to pay for entering Guatemala.

    I try to pay with my 2 Visa cards without success… The machine stopped working! I ask the young man what we can do? He offers no solution, it just stays with there with me without saying anything. I then asked him i could pay in US dollars. It does not seem too enthusiastic about it except that the alternatives are kind of rare!

    The few litres swallowed my bike came up to 115 pesos. I pull out my iPhone and showed the attendant the US exchange rate which gives $6. Suddenly, he wakes up and asks me for $20!

    Oops … No señor, no voy a darte el doble (sorry my friend, I will not pay double! What a joy to be able to respond in Spanish!).

    After a few minutes, I finally add $1, wish him a good day and left without further formalities.

    It would be lying to you to pretend that I did not have a few apprehensions 5 minutes later at a police and army checkpoint! But hey, they just waved me to continue. Phew! What exit from Mexico, I hope this is the end of my problems for the day!

    The border between Canada and the United States is relatively simple. Despite some American customs agents that are… Sometimes a bit too strict, the procedure is relatively simple and I have done it hundreds of times. We cross the Canadian border without having to stop, we continue to the United States where this time, we have to stop for a quick interrogation (and sometimes a search, described as random, but very rarely). The return procedure to Canada is similar, with the difference that our custom agents are trying, so badly, to make us pass for great thieves if we dare to enter the country with 3 bottles of wine instead of the permitted maximum of 2!

    The process is greatly different in Latin America.

    Step 1, obtain tourist visa, for which he must sometimes pay fees, which varies from country to country. For Mexico it was about $25. Then you have, unlike the crossings between Canada and the US, to go through a temporary importation procedure for vehicles, if, as it is in my case, you enter the country on a motorcycle. For Mexico, I had the procedure done on the internet and paid the fees and left a $500 deposit to secure the exit of my motorcycle from the country.

    So I had to stop on the Mexican side at the immigration desk to cancel my tourist visa. No fee because I had paid at the entrance and I had in my possession the receipts.

    Then I have to go through customs where the company that deals with the temporary importation of vehicles is called El Banjercito.

    I’m lucky, in each case, no wait, I’m the only one getting out or exiting Mexico.

    The procedure is simple, but still takes 30 minutes. The manager must make countless entries in his system, make photocopies, and finally get out to take pictures of La Gorda (this is the unofficial name for my bike for trips, which in Spanish means, the big [girl] – the fat one!).

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    Then I head to the physical border which is 4 km further south. It is not well posted and you have to keep the left at the fork. Suddenly, chaos begins.

    What a show! It’s a total mess! The road narrows to become almost a single lane and dozens or hundreds of small shops are lined up to sell I do not know what, to I do not know who.

    I found pictures on the internet identifying the immigration and customs controls. Before I can get to them, I’m stopped by a person to fumigate my bike. 11 quetzals and an invoice provided to present to immigration.

    10 metres south on the right side of the street (too small to be called a road!), is the immigration offices. The procedure is quick, however I have to pay 10 quetzals to a young man who is there, for no reasons that I’m aware of. I ask him a receipt without success. He replies that it’s because this is my first visit, no receipt needed. Whatever! But hey, a little bribe of $2, if it can make him happy, this is not the end of the world.

    I then take the bike and go another 10 metres south for the importation process.

    Uniformed officers wave me in, so you cannot miss the place.

    I go to the window and starts the procedure. Officers are relaxed, friendly and the procedure takes 45 minutes, only because the one who takes care of my file is new and asks several questions to his colleagues.

    Required documents: passport, registration of the motorcycle, driving licence, proof of cancellation of temporary import permit from Mexico, receipt for fumigation. He gives me a form and asked me to validate the information, such as serial numbers, plate, and then direct me to pay a fee of 160 quetzals in the small office that is left.

    I then returned to the window and they give me a sticker that I have to put on my windscreen.

    And it’s done, La Gorda and Myself are now imported in Guatemala!

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    During the procedure, I discussed my possible destination for the evening with the agents and they tell me that Antigua, a city that I have dreamed of visiting for years, is easily reachable in 4 or 5 hours.

    I had other options north, but I wanted to begin this visit with a dream location and, above all, I wanted to do a mountain trek, which always requires a few days of planning, I therefore aim towards Antigua (I do not know why, but I love the name of this city!).

    Entering Guatemala is impressive and there are 2 initial observations. First, there is clearly a natural border between the two countries, which is actually a range of impressive mountains, visible several kilometres to the north. Then the density of the population is much higher. The houses (read: cabins) are everywhere and it is very rare to drive one kilometre without people (read: sometimes animals!) being present.

    The road is full of curves, pedestrians, animals, buses (here called ‘chicken buses’) more colourful one after the other (read: more polluting one after the other!), holes, topes, making driving a challenge.

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    I must say that I had as much fun as a kid and the 5-hour drive was a real pleasure! This is exactly why I am here on a motorcycle! I sneaked between all these obstacles and as a bonus, after the city Los Encuentros, the country road became a 4 wide lane highway with a perfect tarmac and countless curves in the mountains. A paradise for La Gorda and this humble driver.

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    I arrived in Antigua at 15:00, having benefited from a time zone change in my favour.

    The former capital of Guatemala is impressive by its series of relatively low buildings, mostly old and sometimes ancient and historical.

    The streets are no exception to this. They are made of uneven stones and are very bumpy. Frankly, the motorcycle starting choosing more than me where it wanted to go!

    I began my search for a hotel but prices are very high versus quality. I visit a few places and after an hour, I resolved myself to go to La Posada San Vicente. Nothing too fancy, a little too expensive for my taste, but well located near the town centre and they allowed me to enter my bike in the courtyard. The only problem is that when I tried to enter La Gorda, it does not pass through the door!

    The bike is perched between the street and the door on the thin sidewalk, which is very high compared to the street. So I am no longer able to back out! I have to remove my backpack and two side boxes in order to sneak into the door and the long hallway to the courtyard, all this while car honk at me, pedestrians give me the annoyed look, a beautiful 31 degrees Celsius. Fun!

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    But I keep smiling because it’s part of the adventure and such situations eventually become good and funny memories.

    I spend the evening wandering through the streets to discover the city that is small in size but which offers a nice dynamic feel due to the large presence of tourists from all over the world.

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    I try to find an affordable restaurant, but the prices here are much higher than in Mexico. A shock!

    I finally found a small restaurant, as its name suggests, perfect for travellers with reasonable prices and a friendly atmosphere, but not very Latin, except for the chef who cooks me a good meal and tells me the story of his life, which ultimately is quite interesting!

    Travel Menu
    6a Calle Poniente, Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala https://goo.gl/maps/6hs2iBwmYeG2

    The next day starts with a nice run, initially planned for 10 km, but ended with almost double! I found a small dirt road that led me to villages on the outskirts of Antigua and made me see more authentic locations.

    This run was really enjoyable and for all the trouble of dragging running shoes may be, that kind of morning makes me really appreciate the effort (in addition to limiting the damage of a somewhat sloppy food intake since my departure!).

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    I then spent part of the day trying to plan a 2-day trek in order to climb a volcano.

    I finally found a company and reserved my place with a group for a departure the next day.

    Thursday, we leave to the base of Acatenango volcano, located in the small village of La Soledad.

    The peculiarity of this trek is that it allows to approach a live nearby volcano, Fuego, which is still very active.

    The climb is interesting, but somewhat slowed down by certain members of the group who are slow. The scenery varies quite a lot as we go through farmland, pine forest, rainforest and high mountain areas, all within 5 hours.

    I was also able to use my tent for the first time. What happiness!

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    The most impressive thing of this day will come once the campsite is set. The place is always covered by clouds in the afternoon, which prevents us from seeing, but hearing took over nicely.

    The Fuego, which lies directly in front, literally explodes repeatedly, emitting an impressive roar, a sort of very serious explosion. But then the noise of large rocks falling to the ground constantly, emitting vibrations almost as strong as the initial boom is quite impressive!

    And this continued throughout the evening and also the night, with the only difference that it was possible, because the sky had cleared, to see the larva flows and flames coming out of the volcano.

    Spectacular.

    But the sight that awaited me the next morning would be just as majestic.

    The reason why this trek is done in 2 days is that, as previously mentioned, the place is usually covered in the early hours of the afternoon. It is therefore only possible to see the fantastic scene around us in early morning.

    And early (read: very, very, very early) in the morning, around 3:45, we began the ascent of the last portion of the volcano to be at the top for sunrise.

    I’ll let the next pictures describe the scene …

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    I have only scraped the surface of Guatemala and it was pleasant. It’s not because I have a bit of a lack of inspiration to visit the country more in depth that it does not have a lot to offer. The presence of many young tourists is proof!

    However, I have a date to respect for the Panama – Columbia sail and tomorrow, I will continue my progression south and will cross another border that of Salvador.

    To be continued!
  8. CanuckCharlie

    CanuckCharlie Been here awhile

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    I'm surprised that Guatemala is more expensive than Mexico...what other differences have you noticed?

    That's view on top of the mountain is amazing!
  9. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    I would not say Guatemala is more expensive, but Antigua certainly was.

    Différences: extreme poverty is even more visible, roads are in very bad condition in some places even when the road is important (lots of traffic), everything is green, a lot less dry lands and rivers!
  10. goodcat

    goodcat Changing latitudes, altitudes and attitudes

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    Sorry but I must correct you if your talking about Mexico. 99% of daily life is not even close to our N American daily lives.
    And Guatemala has an incredible amount of beautiful offerings.
    But each will experience and see things differently.

    Nice pics though
  11. triallaw

    triallaw n00b

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    Nice! Did you receive my message about possible arrival days in Colombia?


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  12. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    Hi! I'm afraid I didn't. Where did you send the message? My apologies!
  13. triallaw

    triallaw n00b

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    I sent a direct message, let me post here.


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  14. triallaw

    triallaw n00b

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    Hola! I arrive in Medellin on October 28th, I have to do Halloween with our adopted children on the 31st (they may opt for Sunday the 30th like in the states but not sure). We will be ready to roll after and will touch base with you. My wife and I will be together and can meet you on the way or somewhere in between or we can come to Cartagena (2 day ride from Medellin) if you still don't have your bike. If you get it sooner, you can head to Medellin and we can take you South to Jardín, Manizales, Salento and Armenia
    marcoue likes this.
  15. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    This is great! I'm hoping for my girlfriend to meet me in Cartagena on Oct. 28th, and she would leave 10 days later from Bogota. I really want to take here to Baricharra! I'll get my bike on the 30th, so no worries about transportation.

    I'm looking for a place to stop between Baricharra and Cartagena, as the ride is too long for her, any suggestions?
  16. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    Days 26 to 30 – Salvador – Honduras – Nicaragua – Migracion, Adouana, Adouana, Migracion (bis)!

    2016-10-09 – Day 23 – Antigua, Guatemala El Tunco, El Salvador (271 km – 5:30 hrs)
    2016-10-10 – Day 24 – El Tunco, El Salvador to Leon, Nicaragua (495 km – 9:30 hrs)
    2016-10-11 – Day 25 – Leon, Nicaragua Granada, Nicaragua (140 km – 3:00 hrs)
    2016-10-12 – Day 26 – Granada, Nicaragua San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua (99 km – 1:45 hrs)


    The objective of October 9th was to cross the border between Guatemala and El Salvador to get to the small town of El Tunco, located close to the middle of the country, on the ocean.

    The road to the city of the Hachadura, Salvator, where the border crossing I want to go thru is located, is correct with mostly country portions and a little bit of a highway.

    What strikes me most is a difference between a large part of the roads I have travelled in the US and Mexico. Here, everything is green! No drought problems and rivers are full of water, in contrast to several places where I’ve crossed bridges on top of completely dry river beds.

    Guatemala’s exit procedure is relatively simple and worked even if I did it in reverse! In fact, I went to immigration to get stamped out and get a small document to present to the Salvadorian officials but I had to pass through customs first to cancel my import documents for the bike. The office was hard to find, because you must pass thru a small hallway and go into the opposite lane (the one for incoming traffic) to locate the place. I did not wait. I provided a copy of the documents that I had along with an additional photocopy of my driver’s licence, my registration and my passport.

    The lady came to see my bike and everything was done quickly, with a nice smile and a few pleasantries!

    Some people in the street tried to help me or offered to exchange money, but we’re not too pushy.

    I then crossed a bridge and passed some trucks waiting in line. Officers asked me to show documents from Guatemala directly on the street and told me the next place to go was for my bike (adouana). They immediately took care of me, but a computer system issue delayed the proceedings. After an hour of waiting, I could move on. No charge for this crossing.

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    The road Salvator is badly damaged with huge potholes that require constant concentration. Shaded portions by tree branches are not obvious, because it becomes difficult to detect them.

    The small town of El Tunco greets me with a makeshift toll booth, but two bikers previously passed on the road arrive and start asking me lots of questions. One of them pays for the toll and here we go!

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    They quickly leave, so I don’t really have the time to thank them properly, but I see them an hour later taking a beer in the village. They ride motorcycles similar to mine and are very intrigued by my trip. They are clearly passionate motorcycle riders and participate in many kinds of roads and enduro motorcycle meetings.

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    They start by offering me a beer, then 2, then 3, then 4 (you get the picture where this is going!). We also go for lunch and I’m completely drunk even before the 4:00 p.m. bells ring (and when it rang, it resonated quite strong in my head)!

    We talked motorcycles, travelling and, of course, what I should see and do going south. Unfortunately, they are not very enthusiastic about their country and recommended I go directly to Nicaragua ..

    We left around 4:00 p.m. and I am unfortunately not good enough to start over again at 21:00 (they invited me to dinner) so I quietly prepare my ride for tomorrow and go to bed after taking a small and simple meal in the popular (and very cheap) restaurant of the village.

    Here is my little house for the evening at hotel Mopelia.

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    The 10th in the morning (Sunday), I wake up at 5:30 in order to have the road to myself to quickly get to Honduras with the objective to cross the entire country in 3 hours and the go to Leon in Nicaragua. A difficult task as it’a a minimum of 8 hours of driving, plus the time to cross 2 borders, with a somewhat bad reputation.

    I arrived around 9:00 am at the first border, the one between El Salvator and Honduras.

    The procedure is relatively simple and takes about an hour. I am stopped at a small hut by agents who deal with Customs documentation and quickly, my temporary import permit is cancelled. This occurs about 4 km north of the actual border, and immigration offices! So it’s important not to miss this spot.

    No charge to leave the country, but US $ 40 to enter the bike in Honduras and US $ 11 for myself.

    On entering the country, the building is impossible to miss and I enter what looks like a prison and process with my tourist permit and then, the import of the motorcycle. I’m a bit surprised at how thing when smoothly and quite rapidly. I can leave in 30 minutes. Except that the policeman in charge of validating my documentation, located 2 km north, notices an error. Indeed, the officer failed to sign a document for the bike import, so I have to go back and have it corrected.

    It is unbelievable the trouble that these countries give themselves with all the paperwork that officers must go thru. How to make things complicated? If you do not have the answer to this, just go to Central America!

    But wait just a minute… The next crossing was 10 times worse than what I had just survived!

    After a little more than 2 hours of driving in a miserably poor country, with roads just as bad as expected, I arrive in Wild, Wild West!

    First, there is a line up of trucks, longer than 5 km before getting to the actual border. They are completely stopped. I take advantage of being on a bike and pass them on the opposite line to finally get to the building where the immigration and customs offices are.

    It is 37 degrees Celsius outside.

    I open the door and I feel a hot flash off air in my face. Inside, there is a high suspended ceiling that has not been cleaned for 20 years and four large air-conditioning units that no longer work and for probably as long if I you judge from the dirt that has accumulated for years, many years.

    I’m sure the temperature was around 40 and there was a lineup of about 75 people in front of me who sweat like crazy. These people are mostly dressed in shorts, skirts and t-shirt, but are sweating they their clothes. You can easily imagine how this small Canadian, wearing an insulated motorcycle suit feels! It was so hot and uncomfortable.

    Immigration and customs procedures takes about 90 minutes and I can finally try to go towards Nicaragua with my pile of papers and forms.

    I leave south and another line of trucks appears before me and I have to work quite hard between them to get to the Nicaraguan border building, which, believe it or not, is even worse than the last! The procedure here is a series of queues and unnecessary documents filling that take forever.

    First, I’m getting intercept before the building by 2 customs officers. I need to show the Honduras documents to one, and my passport to the other. Then I’m asked a series of more or less formal questions like where you are going, where you come from, how long do you plan to stay here… Fortunately, I can communicate in their language because they do not speak a word of English! I always try to put a little humour in my answers and it always works pretty well.

    These people are human and their work is not easy. A small Canadian who makes them laugh with unexpected answers is unconventional and is a small break from their daily routine, and mine!

    After successfully responded to all their questions, I feel liberated and think I’ done, but life is not so in Nicaragua. In fact, this was a pre-verification! They tell me to go in the actual offices located a few hundred metres away, in a lot made of dirt and mud, surrounded by makeshift wooden huts selling all kinds of junk.

    First step, get in line to have my tourist permit. The same questions again, multiple input into the computer and filling of paper form.

    Then, they gave me a form to fill myself. I did not have a pen with me. Well, nobody seems to have a pen to lend me and I have to give a dollar to a young kid that had been following me from the moment I got here.

    I fill out the form and go back to the counter where I have to wait 30 minutes to be told by the friendly and cheerful young man who greets me that I have to previously have my bike inspected an attendant who is outside. Great! I go looking for him and found him on the other side of the lot trying to having a good time with the street vendors!

    He looks at the bike without much interest, signs the form and tells me to go back inside where I have to go thru the lineup again to see my friend smiling!

    After 15 minutes of waiting again in the line, my smiling friend examines the documents and gives them to his partner, sitting on his left, in front of whom, you’ll have guessed, there is another queue!

    After a 20 minutes wait, he takes care of me and begins a series of scanning, copying, completion of forms, entries in its computer system, all while people are interrupting him for any sorts of reasons! This is until I take a physically position in front of the small opening in the glass and suggested to everyone, with a certain firmness in my tone, to let the guy finish with my case before disturbing him again! Another opportunity to interact with locals and to practise my Spanish!

    Finally, while the file seriously begins to get longer behind me, which always comes with people who grumble a bit, but above all, have the nice habit to get closer to you, a few centimetres every minute, as if it was going to speed things up! I have to finally ask the person behind me to back off a little, because it is warm enough as it is, and I certainly do not need his breath warming up my neck even more!

    Well, now you have to pay two fees. First, 10 US $. Easy! I give him a 10$ bill. Then, I have to pay a 20 cordoba fee, the local currency of Nicaragua, which corresponds more or less to 2 US $, but I have none of that currency! I simply offer to pay with the 2 US dollars that I have in my hands, but not, it seems to be impossible, even if I make the previous payment in US a few seconds before!

    I’m left with asking my new best friend (read: lapdog) who’s been following me like from the beginning procedures, to go and get me 20 cordoba! He returned a few minutes later and I give him a nice extra $ for his efforts. He is happy as a king and I see a few minutes later, showing off to his friends outside of the building!

    Well, at least I’m done and I feel liberated again as I look forward to getting back on the bike to get some wind in my sweaty face! It is so hot!

    But not so fast Canadian boy! I’m told you also need insurance!

    I finally found the two girls in charge of selling this insurance. They are literally sleeping on a table set up outside, a few metres from the exit. I sit quietly beside them and ask, with my most serious voice possible, if the place to get insurance is here, in my best serious Spanish! They made the jump!

    We laughed a lot and they actually asked many questions about my trip and they were very happy that I answered that the most beautiful country visited since my departure was, with no hesitation, Nicaragua!

    I had to pay $12 for a 30-day insurance. Would you be surprised if I told you that they had no change for my $20 bill! Again, my young friend runs off to look for changes. Another $ tip for the young sprinter!

    I then have to sneak in the opposite direction to the exit the parking lot, because the road is completely blocked by hundreds of trucks. I’m intercepted a kilometre south to validate the documents and I can finally hit the road.

    But no, that would be too easy! I’m intercepted again, a bit further, by the police as they must validate my insurance!

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    Finally, and this time it’s true, I can start driving towards Leon.

    First observation, the road is much nicer and very different from the last two countries. Indeed, it is much larger and houses are usually a little farther from the road itself. On each side, there is grass occupied by pedestrians, but most importantly, horses and cows. involved in the mowing the lawn!

    I am surprised by a fairly large storm, but I continue driving, slowing down a bit.

    I arrived in Léon around 4. Unfortunately it is not the surprise I was hoping for. The lead-in streets to the cathedral and the central square are in a sorry state and buildings are similar.

    The centre is OK, but has nothing to do with the colonial cities visited in recent weeks.

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    I stay in a hotel (should rather be considered a guesthouse or B & B) called Pinita y Leo. Very simple, very small rooms, but for $ 15, not so bad, and the owner is very friendly, welcoming and always offers to help to make your stay as pleasant as possible.

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    Parking, however, is not very safe looking, but the bike was in one piece the next morning!

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    On October 10th, I slowly make my way to Cordoba, which is less than 2 hours away. I start a small detour towards Managua, the capital of the country, but quickly changed my mind because of the traffic, too crazy for my relaxed state of mind for this day!

    Rural roads here are a little different as I mentioned earlier, but I find out that the main roads are gradually rebuilt with concrete, which is a good long-term investment for the country, and which has a very nice feel when driving on them!

    I also notice that drivers, outside of the cities, drive much slower, are more patients, and seem to respect the speed limits and other regulations. So I‘m often honked at when I pass on single lines.

    Another finding, people drive with the headlights off, bike included. My super HID front and auxiliary lights attract attention and appear to excite them, because I’m getting headlights calls every 10 minutes, with the hand signs pointing to my headlights!

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    Well, so be it, these poor distracted drivers will have to get used to, because, for security reasons, I will not turn them off! It’s a bit ridiculous to ride motorcycles with the headlight off, and this, even during thunderstorms or in the evening, when it is almost impossible to see the vehicles in the opposite direction!

    I also note that traffic jams here are caused by quite different things than I’m used to! (For Nadine XX)



    Cordoba gives a much better initial impression than Leon. The city is much smaller and in better general condition. Several heritage buildings have been restored and the colonial aspect of several streets is great and visible as soon as I enter the central area.

    After a few tries, I see that the hotel prices here are, again, higher than in Mexico (I’m beginning to miss this country!). I end up finding a nice small place (Hotel de Sonrisas), managed by Sandra, who is from Alberta. it’s very nicely located, with a nice extra clean and refreshing pool, and a quiet inner courtyard (US $ 35).

    The place does not offer parking, but I’m directed to a private location close by, which costs $2 for the night.

    I recommend it without hesitation.

    I spend a quiet afternoon at the pool, because it is just too hot to walk around comfortably, and the evening walking quietly in the tourist area.

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    The next morning is just as relaxed and I wander in the courtyard, the pool and the surrounding streets. I leave for the ocean and the town of San Juan del Mar around 11:00 am.

    I arrived at Hostel Esperanza around 13:00. it’s the only place I’ve found at low cost. I do not need to tell you that I was the patriarch of the place! This is my first night in a youth hostel. This is not really for me, but if I want to respect my budget, there are, in certain occasions, like today, for which I have to make sacrifices.

    I do not regret this decision because to tell you the truth, the city is not so great, so might as well not spend too much money here.

    There is still a large bay with a beach, but it’s far from being a coup de coeur.
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    I had to work hard to climb the 3 levels of the sidewalk but La Gorda is happy to get this view for the night!

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    Tomorrow I leave for Costa Rica, where I hope to find a place to stop for a few days. My friend Francis strongly suggested Monte Verde, but there are plenty of opportunities in this country, which doesn’t make it easy to make up my mind. Also, I must consider the fact that Costa Rica is a bit expensive for long-term travellers.

    I have to go thru another border, but I’m getting used to it and quite frankly, even if this is not a very pleasant thing here, to date I’ve been dealing with people that, for the vast majority, are smiling, helping and doing only their jobs. My attitude is to take it all in with a smile, even if it is a somewhat absurd process.

    But it is part of the adventure so why not laugh about it rather than get depressed!
  17. C.J.

    C.J. Sierra Nevada Rider

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2005
    Oddometer:
    246
    Location:
    Shingle Springs
    Right on. Keep it going Cowboy.
    Hi from Nor California.

    Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk
    marcoue likes this.
  18. dwj - Donnie

    dwj - Donnie Long timer

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2006
    Oddometer:
    19,099
    Location:
    North Carrollton, MS - Traveling on the Moto

    Outside of the tourist areas, Guatemala is less expensive than Mexico. El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua will be less expensive as well.
  19. dwj - Donnie

    dwj - Donnie Long timer

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2006
    Oddometer:
    19,099
    Location:
    North Carrollton, MS - Traveling on the Moto
    Please provide some clarification on this please "Required documents: passport, registration of the motorcycle, driving licence, proof of cancellation of temporary import permit from Mexico, receipt for fumigation. He gives me a form and asked me to validate the information, such as serial numbers, plate, and then direct me to pay a fee of 160 quetzals in the small office that is left."

    I have been to Guatemala many times, but have never had to cancel my Mexico Moto Importation to do so. I do always have to have a Mexico exit stamp in my Passport. I am always returning to Mexico when I go to Guatemala. I am just trying to determine if the rules have changed or they were making sure you closed your Importation because your would not be returning, because I will be headed that way in the near future, but will be returning to Mexico.

    Keep up the good work with the RR!
    offtheback likes this.
  20. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2008
    Oddometer:
    526
    Location:
    Montréal, Québec
    Hello

    I can only confirm that I was asked for it specifically. I didn't inquire if I could leave without it. My apologies if this creates confusion but I can't validate the rule, other than the fact that the form was asked for by the official...
    dwj - Donnie likes this.