Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Central America

Dec 23th 2010
So we were in Guatemala this morning. Aldous and I, had to go to El Savador. I am in a tight schedule since I have a sailing boat leaving Panama on the 29th for Colombia. If I thought entering Guatemala was a bit of a pain, El Savoador was much worse. Took about 3hrs. It felt it was much more than that since we climbed a volcano that day,  we got there at 5pm at day light and left at 8pm at dark. We took the 1st hotel we saw, a shit hole, ants everywhere. Put some stuff on the bed, and went back at the border to get food and beers. I saw one of those those fireworks stand, wishing I had that in Canada while I was child. Got back at the garage hotel and drank beer outside with Aldous.
When I got back at the hotel, there were hundreds of ants everywhere on the floor, the walls, the bed, the towels, everywhere. I've set up my tent in the garage and slept there. Left the next morning, 24th, went tru some small town with some traffic. You see many of these small 3 wheels chinese taxis around here.

Stopped at Acajutla for breakfast. Nothing special there. 
 The scenery look like that most of the time while driving.
 After crossing San Salvador we went along the coast for some refresco.

Just after that Aldous and I decided to go different dirrections, I wanted to enter Honduras right away and he wanted to stay around a little longer since we'll probably never come back to El Savador.

Took this picture just after entering Honduras. The border went very well, had 2 helpers, I usually don't use them since they're just there to get money from you and you really don't need them, but I wanted it to be fast, and it was. about 45 minutes later I was across, very good.

I drove in Honduras to Choluteca, a big town, it was dark.  
Bought some beers, went to Wendy's and parked the bike inside the hotel, next to my
 door and the pool.

It's Chrismas and I'm driving my bike to Nicaragua.

Arrived at the border, but I didn't realized it was a border. Almost nobody was there. The road was blocked by 2 guys holding a rope, no one in uniform, no army guys, no police, and they were asking for my passeport and papers. I first tought all of that was fake, but then a police officer showed up and let me enter. 
It was the easiest border crossing that I had so far since I was the only person crossing at the time I was there, It took about 30 minutes total, no lines at all, it was quick!

Had some food at this place since it was the only thing open for Christmas. usually everywhere I drive there are slow trucks on the road, traffic, people, but at Christmas; nobody, not even a truck. It felt like it was the end of the world, almost. Never saw roads so quiet in my whole life.
And please don't rape children in Nicaragua. 

I decided to stop at Jinotepe because I've found an hotel, only $15us, breafast included and it was nice and clean, a bargain. They had internet and I could park inside the hotel were a security guy with a shotgun is keeping the place safe. 
I phoned my family, bought some beer from a closed bar, the lady in the street opended the door just for me. Updated my blog, it was my Christmas. 

Drove by some cone shaped mountain on the 26th (read volcanos).

 And I met Alain at the border to enter to Costa Rica, a great guy. He's from Switzerland and speaks French. He's been on his bicycle for well over 2 years.  

here's his blog:
As we  chat a little many buses entered. 
 The line was huge, can you see the building in the back? Hundreds of persons in line. We were there talking for 3hrs while waiting. It made the wait much more enjoyable. After I had to exit my bike out of the country so he had to go.
It took another 3hrs just to get a stamp for my bike out of the country. Only 20 persons in line but 3 hours just standing there and waiting. It was going crazy. At the end people were pushing, tried to skip line, and then the stamp would take a minute each instead of 30 minutes, somehow. Took only 30 minutes to enter Costa Rica.
Took some picture of a volcan.  
Then I've found an hotel, the first one I've seen in Liberia, Costa Rica then had some food at Pizza Hut, then beers from Costa Rica.  
 December 27th, from Libertad Costa Rica, heading towards Panama.
Had some rain in the morning in the mountains, you can see the clouds where I drove from.  

And I drove, I drove, and I drove. It rained again and it was dark, I could not see anything on the road. Then rain stropped and I gor tired. Had to take an energy drink so I can keep going, I really want to cross that borber. It took 10 minutes to exit Costa Rica, but 3 1/2 hours to enter Panama. Only one guy to stamp passeport, and he was in no hurry even though people were waiting for a ling time. It is BS...

The road condition in Panama are great! Lanes are splitted, lights on the road. Road signs, line markers.
I drove until 2am at Santiago, 800km and a border crossing later. I was tired.

It rained in the morning, the 28th, so I was worth to do some distance.  
I used Internet for making phone call in Spanish to the dealer in Panama City to find out they don't keep any basic maintenance items in stock. On my way to Panama city, I stopped to a mcdo to use their wifi and met Gabriel, the older gentleman, he's from Quebec and drove to Panama with his big RV trailler.
And I also met Marcus, a German motocyclist on a 1200gs also going to south america.

We decide to ride together to Panama city, and he'll also come with me to Portobelo see if he could catch the same boat I'll be taking.

 The Canal

It's actually quite large.
 We looked at a few hotels to come back at the 1st one we saw, and I only drank one beer. I got a cold from ridding 800km including bad weather and a border crossing.  I was so tired I could have slept for days.
The next day we decide to visit Panama city a little bit before heading to Portobelo

Panama City look like a big guetto, but the older part is nicer than the rest.  


Then we took the toll road to Colon, then to Portobello. I haven't taken any picture of Colon because we took the 1st exit to Portobelo. Some ruins in that small town.
I decided to stay at the hostel because it was cheap. I was so tired. A shower, food and a bed are all I needed. 
Stewart at the hostel took good care of me. Gave me food and cold/flu medecine.  
The next morning, December 30th, the boat arrived. This little catamaran would take 5 motorcycles and 14-17 persons. 

Loading the bike was scary as the boat was moving back and forth and the ramp was quite narrow.

Thanks to Chantal and Camille for the pictures! Nice people from the hostel. 

I'll be on that boat for the following week. Update to come shortly!


  1. Nice blog post Simone. Love the pictures too. It is amazing how different each border town is and what it takes to get into another country. I look forward to your next post.

  2. On a toujours hâte de voir tes photos. On a l'impression de voyager avec toi. J'espère que cela ne t'ennuie pas trop.
    Tu vas sûrement aimer le paysage de la Colombie.
    Bon repos à Cartagena.