7 – 9 April Panama City to La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Good Friday was spent in Panama City.

I had just about as much luck finding somewhere to eat as I did in Ushuaia at Christmas. You may remember I ended up with a cold Irish Srtew for  my Christmas Lunch

I had received and email from the Canadian Ladies, Charlene and Jan telling me they are in Panama City (I met them in Arica and again in Ariquiba)

We met for dinner that evening. Doerty the young German girl came with us.

Well…everywhere was closed for Good Friday. It looked like a choice between “Dunkin Donuts” or “McDonalds”…Luckily (actually not really “luckily” )…. we found a dump that was open. Bright florescent  lights in a grubby barn of a place.(got the picture?)

Charlene,Jan and Doerty

To make matters worse they don’t serve drink on Good Friday. So, we had a totally forgettable dinner with Orange Juice! Still , we had a good chat and it was great to catch up. I hope Merry and I can visit them in Canada one day.

The next day I headed North.

Nothing dries here!

I had done my washing in Panama City to get rid of the salt from the boat. After two days on the line it was still soaking so I strapped it all on the bike….. socks, knickers, shirts, jeans…. I must have looked like the “Beverly Hillbillies” (sorry, I’m showing my age)

It was a sunny day and by by the time I was  three Kms from las Lajas (my destination, about 350 kms North of Panama City) everything was beautifully dry….. then heavens opened and everything got soaked again! ….UGH!

I had decided I would treat myself to a nice Hotel. I felt I needed some comforts….after the boat, Archie and Hostels etc…. so I had booked this place in the internet

The Hotel was really an up-market B & B and was very nice. it is run by Germans.

Fancy B & B in Las Lajas

it was so nice to have a big room with all the trappings….all for $50.00!

Lovely Breakfast on my terrace...I'm enjoying this!

Easter Sunday didn’t bring me any eggs!… Very sad! …So, Off I went again. The nice Germans had dried my clothes in their drier and it was a sunny day.

Police are everywhere in Panama and they park their cars by the roadside and use radar guns every few kilometers.

I was stopped  (I couldn’t just ignore him this time, as he stood in the road!)

Apparently I had gone through a school zone at 90K (mind you it was Easter Sunday and there was no-one at school!…..He demanded $75.00

I stood my ground and looked sad ! He reduced it to $50. I gestured that was way too much.

Eventually I  thought I would have to pay something so I offered him $5.00…… Amazingly he said OK and quickly pocketed the $5.00. He then shook my hands in that Spanish way that shows we are friends for life….and off I went! …

…..I must admit I’m rather proud of this!

Next I had to negotiate the Costa Rica/Panama Border. I HATE border crossings with a passion. It took three hours this time. There was ONE window servicing about 150 frustrated tourists!

Anyway…eventually I was off again but now the weather had changed.

It rained CATS  and Dogs…VERY LARGE CATS AND DOGS! It simply didn’t stop…I thought tropical rains didn’t last long? Well they do in  Costa Rica!

I got drenched. My boots were full of water and the rain had completely bypassed my so called wet weather gear!

I reached a place called San Isidro (about 150 Kms from San Jose) and found a Hotel and crashed for the night. Not one of my best days!

Easter Monday and I’m off again. I was pleased to wake up and see blue sky!

Pretty scenery in Costa Rica (when it's not raining cats and dogs)

It was a lovely drive to La Fortuna where I stayed in a lovely Motel with cabins that have the most wonderful view of a huge Volcano called ARENAL. The countryside is very hilly and pretty. It is also high! The road to San Jose climbs to 3500 metres.

Arenal Volcano from La Fortuna

Arty Photo! Arenal Volcano from my "Cabana"

I’m also pleased to say all my clothes are dry again…at least for now!




14 thoughts on “7 – 9 April Panama City to La Fortuna, Costa Rica

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  4. Hi Geoff,
    A perfect autumn day here in Beaumaris…am glad you are having better weather now. Would love to have seen you zooming along the highway with all your washing flapping around! Merry is right….it would have been a classic photo opportunity!!
    Hope you are starting to feel better…not ideal to be having long days of travel when you are not well. No doubt you would be in need of a medicinal drink at the end of each day!!!

  5. Hi Geoff, the weather sounds horrible! I’ll rub my good weather fairy wings and hope that helps out. Loving the Blog it makes good breakfast reading. All is well here, your favorite pile of wood near the shed has almost disappeared into the woodshed ready for cold winter nights. Looking forward to your return.
    Love, Jenny L

    • Hi Jenny
      Good to heat the wood pile by the shed is nearly gone. it always annoyed me!
      Your good weather fairy wings have worked as the last two days have been lovely and I am dry again!
      I’m looking forward to getting the chain saw in my hands again! I’m sure Bruce has left me something to cut down!
      Missing you all
      love Geoff

  6. Hi Geoff
    I have always admired your negotiating skills over many years – but I didn’t realise they were that good! Hope the Manzanillo option works out – but I’m sure you won’t want to travel with the bike. I wonder how much quicker it will clear customs in Melbourne compared to your experience in BA!!

    Your experience at Border Crossings is no fun at all – especially if you have to wait in the rain. Is it that the country you’re leaving doesn’t want to let tourists go, or the country you’re entering doesn’t want to accept them? With labour costs so low it really doesn’t make sense! That’s obviously why they need to supplement their income from rogue fines.

    Hope it stops raining soon!! All the best. Alan

    • Hi Alan
      Yes I was proud with my performance with the Panamanian Policeman. Glad I haven’t totally lost my touch!
      These border crossings make no sense. It is usually both sides that are equally bad. As you say with the cost of labour why don’t they just put on more staff. It only takes a few seconds when you get to the front of the queue. It’s just that there are always about 150 people ahead of you!
      I’ve got six to go excluding USA, that’s about 18 hours of hanging about getting irritable!

  7. Of course it was raining – Easter weekend! It has stopped raining here (UK), the sun is bright and there is a lovely blue sky, all indicating that the holiday is over and I am stuck back in the office. But the day can start with reading your blog. You do produce some wonderful verbal pictures. Feet in plastic bags, knickers flying in the wind. Wonderful! Pity you are not a cartoonist.

  8. You must admit, you missed a photo opportunity with your “Beverly Hillbillies” ride, but it sounds as though you might get more chances yet to fly your undies with all the rain you are getting.
    I’m unsure how you are managing to dry your boots. I’m sure your hosts wouldnt have put those smelly wet things in their dryer!
    Do they have those very large orange garden garbage bags over there? Perhaps you could hop inside one when its raining and it would be a very visible colour for safety as well while you are riding!!! Once again, I know why I’m not traveling with you!
    Lots of love, Merry

    • Hi Merry
      Funny! … Today I put my feet in plastic bags and into the wet boots. After a days riding in the sun the boots were dry inside and out! Magic!
      By the way….they are NOT smelly, as I washed them a few weeks ago.!
      You are right though… You would not enjoy this trip
      i’ll take a photo if It rains gain!
      love Geoff

  9. Dear Wet Geoff,

    the vision of your bike flying your undies etc made me laugh! Needs must. Would have worked well except perhaps the taking them off when dry before the next rain bit 🙂

    The scenery is wonderful – I know very little about Costa Rica. Seems it Costa $5. But impressed by your bargaining skills.

    John and I were talking about it this morning and not sure how you will make your flight – seems a little tight on time and it would be a shame to rush the last bit. What else am I going to read and enjoy as armchair travel? I’ve really loved this blog.

    nothing to report here. Tis raining quite a lot and I’m happy about that but then my undies aren’t outside.
    love, Shirley and John

    • Hii Shirley
      The shipping agent got back to me and suggested Manzanillo in Mexico . It is a big Port and has direct links to Melbourne . It might be a good option. He is checking it out.
      Yes I don’t want to rush but I dont want to extend if I can avoid it. this sounds like a good option


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