Lifetravelled- Aussie couple hitting the road to Argentina -in Colombia

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by lifetravelled, May 17, 2018.

  1. lifetravelled

    lifetravelled Been here awhile

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    We head south from El Tunco to El Cuco and stayed at the Tortuga Verde hotel on the beach, we stayed for 2 nights, met a Canadian couple camping next door travelling on a Vstrom and KLR, great people and we maybe seeing more of them as we make our way south.

    If you stay at Tortuga Verde I would recommend eating next door, it's just a little outdoor eatery, but the lady working there is so lovely and the food is excellent and reasonable. We had 3 meals there.

    We didn't get up to much just beached most of the day and I tried surfing for the first time in my life, happy to say that I managed to ride a few waves in so was pretty happy.

    That would be the end of our time in El Salvador but we loved it. The people were friendly everywhere we went, the food was good and there is some great stuff to see, wish we had some more time there. Slow down and enjoy it.

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  2. lifetravelled

    lifetravelled Been here awhile

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    We headed for the Honduran border, we had heard the stories of this being the one of the worst crossings, just before we arrived at El Amatillo border, we saw the guy jump at flashing his card, we rode straight past him and sure enough he chased us on his push bike.

    We arrived at the line of trucks and the helpers ran for us, we drove onto the front and the El Salvador Aduana guy was helpful. We got inspected walked up to the little white and blue building and got stamped out, we consistently asked if need help from helpers. We got photocopies and headed further up the road.

    At the fork in the road you take a right for non trucks. El Salvador immigration were easy and were having a great time. Finished there and we head for the bridge, just at the start of the bridge a guy pops out and takes your receipt.

    Onto Honduras. We arrived at the blue and white building were the road forks. Inside is both Aduana and Immigration.

    Immigration was easy, and once we were finished a bus rolled in and lined up but the guard took other moto tourists straight to the front.

    Over to Aduana and it starts to slow down as usual, lots of paper shuffling, sent across the road for photocopies then up the street to the bank. I think it took about an hour for us and the one bike.

    We met Derrick at the border a Canadian guy on KTM 690 heading south, nice guy who we would see more of soon.

    Once we were done we headed to Choluteca were we stayed the night. Road condition was very good and it was quite on the roads until we hit town.

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  3. lifetravelled

    lifetravelled Been here awhile

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    We left for the border at around 730, we arrived at El espina just before 9, the ride was excellent. fFirst job was to check out of Honduras.

    We passed the trucks and arrived at a police check point first, they checked our passports and import permits but honestly seemed more interested in our Australian passports. We arrived at a booth with the road coned off, again plenty of helpers but they took no pretty well. We had to wait for the Aduana guy to return, h checked our papers stamped us and we were off down to the building on the right, first stop was immigration, he was laughing with us and having a good time, he called a guy over to look at our passports but again they just liked the loom of them, saying they are nice looking.

    We went to Aduna and that was easy, off for some photocopies and we were done.

    Down the hill and we were stopped to have the bike fumigated, $3, the guy was funny. We rode down the hill and parked the bikes, people came up straight away and we were like no Gracias, but we actually needed one of them to do our insurance, it was 12 dollars for a month, the guy was actually super helpful showed us around and made sure we did each step.

    We had completed our online permission 2 days before arriving at the border via email, we received a request for further info then received permission that night before we arrived at the border.

    Our travelling companions used the online form and received ticket numbers the day after submitting,

    Stef and I did immigration and it took about 15 mins, first thing they asked for was our permission and then where we were staying the first night. We had booked a place so was all good. Next was to have a bike inspected, a police officer just walked over looked at the bike and that was it, then Aduana, again we had some jokes with him and he was great, from fumigating to finish it took 40 mins for Stef and I and the bike, all in all super easy.

    For some reason the other guys took an hour or so in immigration, it was the same guy that processed us, we are not sure if it was because they used the electronic form or he just took longer. All in they were close to 2 hours, but had to process 2 bikes.

    On a side note Derrick rocked up to the border, had not completed the online permission but took our advise and booked a hotel the night before, he only took an hour end to end with no permission which was amazing, we had friends go through last week who hadn't completed the online paper work and it took 5 hours.

    We rode on to Esteli with Derrick as well.

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    This guy was good FYI would use again. image.jpeg
  4. lifetravelled

    lifetravelled Been here awhile

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    We rode into Esteli and checked into our hotel, our bike parked in the owners garage/wood shop. The main reason for me wanting to visit Esteli was to see me of the Cigar factories, we asked the hotel owner she made a call and it was organised $5 each and is was sorted. We went for walk for some lunch, and then caught the local bus down to the factory, the bus turned just before the factory so the guy working on the bus jumped out and ran us up to the factory while all the locals waited in the bus, great service for about 15 cents each.

    We arrived at the factory and a lady came who spoke excellent English, she took us right through the factory, it was a great tour and we really walked the floors of the factory. She explained that we were the first visitors in over 3 months because of the trouble in Nica, they took more photos of us than we took of the factory.


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  5. lifetravelled

    lifetravelled Been here awhile

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    The factory had over 500 employers working here and 6000 across Central America.
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  6. lifetravelled

    lifetravelled Been here awhile

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    We basically had full access to walk around the place, we watched the ladies roll these cigars, it was pretty cool.

    The company makes cigars for other brands like Romeo & Julieta and we saw a brand called Cuban rounds which looked exactly like Cohibas.



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  7. lifetravelled

    lifetravelled Been here awhile

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    These 2 are the quality control, they smoke 8 cigars a day. They seemed pretty happy... image.jpeg image.jpeg
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  8. 95Monster

    95Monster Been here awhile

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    I can smell the cigars from your photos! Nice shots. I had to skip the cigar tours when I was in Esteli since I'm 5 years off the tobacco and didn't want to risk leaving with a box! If you need a little luxe, Rancho Santana!
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  9. lifetravelled

    lifetravelled Been here awhile

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    We stayed in the same hotel as you in Esteli, sweet lady running the place. Oh I saw photos of Rancho Santana on your RR. I think it might be out of price range haha.
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  10. lifetravelled

    lifetravelled Been here awhile

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    We rode from Eteli to Leon via the Flor de Cana factory, we saw lots of police check points, we were waived into one and then waived out when they saw other motorbikes behind us. The road condition was excellent compared to the other countries of Central America. I think we saw just as many horse/cow drawn carts as cars.

    We arrived at the factory tour, we had just missed the 12 o'clock tour so we had to wait until 2pm, we headed for some lunch, we found a local fried chicken franchise looking shop, it was pretty tasty.


    Not sure what this convey was about but it was about 5 tractors and a few buses and vans of people.
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  11. lifetravelled

    lifetravelled Been here awhile

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    The factory tour was ok, they don't make any of the alcohol there, they just barrel and bottle but the tour guide was very good.

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  12. lifetravelled

    lifetravelled Been here awhile

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    We headed into to Leon, checked into our hotel, again the only guests staying there. We walked up to the square grabbed a drink and met up with some other riders we had met in El Salvador. Then it was my favorite time, street burger time.

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  13. lifetravelled

    lifetravelled Been here awhile

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    The main attraction in Leon for many on the backpackers trail is to sand board the volcano, we looked into doing it ourselves but decided a tour would be best as the roads are bad and a complete maze. We booked a tour through our hotel it was 26 us which included everything, it ended up being the cheapest we seen, it was through Nica time.

    We were the only 4 on the tour, and ended up being the only tour on the volcano, our guide said there was 60 companies running the tours now only 10 left since there was no tourists. Normally there would be over 100 tourists on the volcano at once, we had to ourselves most of the hike until some locals came up.

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  14. lifetravelled

    lifetravelled Been here awhile

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  15. lifetravelled

    lifetravelled Been here awhile

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    The drive took about an hour, the hike was about an hour, it was amazing, we enjoyed it even with my extreme fear of heights kicking in s the wind picked up.

    Less than a minute to come down. Highly reccomended more for the hike than anything.

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  16. caliform

    caliform Been here awhile Supporter

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    Did you have to pick the black sand out of your teeth after? Awesome pics :D
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  17. lifetravelled

    lifetravelled Been here awhile

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    It was not as bad as we had heard, we wore masks and those stupid looking suits, we had a good amount of black sand in our shoes tho.
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  18. danh600

    danh600 Been here awhile

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    ATGATT!!!

    Man, you guys look like you are having a blast on this trip.
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  19. lifetravelled

    lifetravelled Been here awhile

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    Haha, thanks dan, we are enjoying it for sure, Nica is a bit weird with no tourists around but it’s good
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  20. lifetravelled

    lifetravelled Been here awhile

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    The next day we climbed the roof of the church, which was super hot and then it was time to leave Leon for Granada.

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