Cañon de Somoto

September 14, 2015

It was a sleepless night. My room is nice enough, but between all of the events of yesterday’s Honduran border scams, and riding the last 20km in the dark, I was still wired. So when my alarm went off this morning, I was not ready to get up. I was just starting to relax.

Nonetheless, it was time to see the canyon. Six of us piled into a very tired Honda Civic, and drove 10km back toward the Honduran border to Cañon de Somoto. Ricardo, our tour guide, took us first to his house, where we were provided life jackets, then back into the Civic for the hike to the entrance to the canyon.

At Ricardo’s house. His wife is a seamstress, and there were two young girls there trying on their new dresses. Adorable.


The trek through the canyon is about five miles total. Much of it involves swimming through sections. Another large part is climbing over rocks and hiking between sections. And then there is about 1km in a rowboat. The scenery is very nice. The extremely slick moss-covered river stones, less so.

Hiking to the river: First row: Nicaraguan tour guide speaking Spanish with Swiss tourist. Second row: German tourist speaking Spanish with Nicaraguan tourist. Third row: German tourist speaking English with me. I gotta work on my Spanish.



Interesting large spider.

Once again, some people jump off of tall canyon walls into the water. SOME people.

The rowboats take people back and forth at the lower part of the canyon. Much easier access than hiking and swimming the longer route that we did. We took the rowboat about 1km downstream.


At the lower portion of the canyon, guides act like mules and pull these long tube trains of tourists up the canyon. I’m sure these people were looking at us as we swam by in the opposite direction and thinking “Those poor people can’t afford tubes”.


Looking back at the river on our hike back up to Ricardo’s house at the end of our tour. Canon de Somoto is upstream to the left of the photo.

Somoto to Jinotega, The Back Way, and on to Leon.

September 15, 2015

I had breakfast at the hotel in Somoto before packing up the bike and moving on.

The kitchen at the hotel in Somoto. Great people. Great food.

With some time to kill before moving south toward Panama, I decided to slow down a bit and stay in the mountains of Nicaragua. The day was spent riding dirt roads between Somoto and Jinotega. Garmin got a bit confused, as usual, but eventually the right dirt road off the highway was located and some beautiful scenery presented itself along the way.



Um, yeah…..the water’s not THAT deep. I’ll just ride through the creek…

Monday was Independence Day in Nicaragua, and Tuesday was also a holiday, so there were a lot of parades in the small towns. While stopping for a slice of pizza in Jinotega (all of the comedors were closed for the day), a parade formed in the street next to the bike, and I found myself suddenly needing to get out of town.

About 15 kilometers up the road was another steep dirt road turnoff to La Bastilla Ecolodge. This place is absolutely beautiful, with lots of natural foliage, coffee plantation, and more. It is run as a foundation with the intention of teaching local farmers sustainable responsible environmental farming.

Cool table. Those are coffee beans filling in the routered name in the table.

The lodge offers cabanas, dormitories, and wooden platforms for tent camping. The elevation made for much cooler weather, and an afternoon rainstorm cooled things off even more.

View from the tent deck at La Bastille.

The next day was spent on pavement again, riding from Jinotega to Leon. The first part of the ride between Jinotega and Matagalpa is beautiful. Lush, green scenery everywhere and a first-class paved twisty highway with not a single pothole. Nothing but great fun.

After Matagalpa, the road flattens out and the heat returns. It was warm the rest of the way into Leon. Unfortunately, about three miles before entering Leon, my Garmin’s screen froze. Removing it from the cradle, pushing the power button, nothing would turn it off. And somehow I managed not to pack the 2.5mm allen wrench necessary to remove the battery. So without GPS (and it gets worse….my phone was dead and the power outlet on the bike had just failed also), I rode around Leon for a half hour until I stumbled on the hostel.

Lesson learned: I now have a 2.5mm allen wrench from the local hardware store in Leon, and although I have yet to fix the power outlet on the bike (on my list for a couple of days from now), I will be sure to charge my phone each night.

Tomorrow;s agenda: Volcano Boarding. What’s that, you ask? Stay tuned…

Volcano Boarding: Not exactly what you think….

September 17, 2015

Up early for breakfast, and then across the street to the other hostel: Bigfoot, which offers volcano boarding down the side of Cerro Negro, a local active volcano. As usual, I’m “the old guy” among the twenty-something backpacker crowd, and Heath, our Aussie tour guide, has taken to calling me “Legend” (it sounds better than just calling the client “old man”).

There are eleven of us this morning along with two guides and a few porters who will haul your board to the top of the volcano for an extra $5. At first that sounds like an extra expense that I can avoid. Then I see the volcano an realize the hike up is enough without a 25 pound awkward toboggan in my hands.

We pile into the back of a large Mercedes truck for the one hour drive to the volcano.

Our transportation to the volcano.

Fitting slogan on the side door.

Just outside of Leon we turn down a one-lane dirt road to Cerro Negro National Park. As we get closer, the volcano comes into view.


Look closely and you can see a few people running/sliding down the hill.

As with anything involving gravity, you have to go up before you can go down. The hike up the volcano is not that long, but it is loose and somewhat steep in places.

First leg of the hike up.


Second leg: a little bigger rocks, a little steeper.


Looking out from the final rest stop on the way up.


Looking into the crater.


Suited up and ready to go.


And away we go….



We are on purpose-built toboggan-style sleds, for good reason. They have a metal bottom, with a slick formica surface to help slide. They were originally developed by a guy who came here trying to set a speed record on a snowboard, after Eric Barone set a speed record down this same volcano on a bicycle (I should mention that at the point where Barone hit 176 kph, his bicycle broke in half, and he spent quite a while in the hospital in Leon. He later went on to set a record of 220 kph on a bicycle down a glacier).

There was one guy that wanted to try using a snowboard rather than the sled. It turns out volcanic rock doesn’t behave like snow. He tumbled hard a few times, and by the time he got to the bottom he had a black eye and a bloody nose and said his head really hurt. This is what he looked like as he walked away from the hill:


And again as we returned to the hostel:


Various shots of sledding down an active volcano at speeds of around 50kmh:



Overall, it was a lot of fun and I’d do it again. There’s definitely a lot more to it than just sliding down the hill. The ride out, the hike up, the interaction with the volcano, and then after the slide down, the ride back, the scenery, and the bar stories afterwards all add up to a fun day.

At the end of the day, I met Stan. He is one of the owners of the ViaVia Hostel in Leon where I stayed. Stan came here from a civil engineering job in Belgium several years ago, and seems very happy with the lifestyle change.

I highly recommend this place to anyone riding a motorcycle through Nicaragua. They are very supportive of motorcyclists, and made room in the main atrium area to park the bikes. Sure you have to ride through the lobby and the restaurant, but that just adds to the fun of staying here.

Leon to Granada

September 18, 2015

Leon is a big city. Too big for my tastes. So I decided to pack up and head for Granada, a smaller town on the shore of Lake Nicaragua.

Heading out of Leon, this caught my attention. My mind immediately went to Monty Python and the Holy Grail: “Bring out your dead!”

In an attempt to make the ride between Leon and Granada a bit more interesting, rather than the short straight ride that it is, I headed to the coast first. The ride from Puerto Sandino down to El Transito was short but interesting. For most of it you would never know you were parallel to and just off of the Pacific Ocean.

If you look closely, you can see the ocean in the background. Notice that this is Nicaraguan Highway 52.

From El Transito, I took Highway 40 (another dirt road) back to Highway 12 and continued south towards San Marcos and eventually on into Granada.

Granada is a nice colonial town that has become quite a tourist spot. There are a lot of hostels here, and like many other places I’ve stopped recently, a lot of German backpackers. The town itself is fairly small, and easy to walk around. This morning I walked down to the lakeshore. It’s warm (more humid than hot really) so I chose not to take a boat to Las Isletas. There are a lot of tiny islands in the lake and a number of local boat operators that will take you there.

Cathedral in Granada

The Malecon along the lakeshore.

Heading back from the lakeshore I saw these three little pigs napping in a cart.


Guadalupe Church

Just next to the Guadalupe Church is La Calzada, a nice if touristy pedestrian street filled with restaurants. The prices are very touristy also, so I ducked into a brick-oven bread shop and bought some great focaccia bread for lunch, and saved my money for dinner on La Calzada.

Walking back from dinner I ran across this guy. I’m still not sure if he was stuck, or this was his normal method of viewing the action on the street. He seemed content.

Isla Ometepe, Monkies Island, and Breadcrumbs Along the Gringo Trail

September 20, 2015

At the hostel in Granada, I meet a German woman who is taking a one year sabbatical from teaching and traveling. She is wearing the same Volcano Boarding tank top that I have. It crosses my mind that this is a brilliant marketing tool by the Bigfoot Hostel in Leon. The shirt is included with the tour, and it’s great advertising all up and down the Gringo Trail. 

This t-shirt is a frequent sighting along the Gringo Trail.

It’s a short 45 minutes from Granada to San Jorge where the ferry will take me to Isla Ometepe. This island in Lake Nicaragua is actually two volcanoes joined by a small isthmus. The ferry is running a bit late, and although I have a booking on the 10:30am ferry, it doesn’t actually depart until around noon. When the ferry arrives in San Jorge, two young women backpackers get off the ferry, one wearing a Bigfoot Hostel Volcano Boarding tank top. Now I begin to think of this as the new way of leaving breadcrumbs up and down the Gringo Trail. 

As I’m lining the bike up against the side rail of the ferry so the workers can tie it to the rail with ropes, two guys from Vancouver ride on. They are on matching KLR650s, and are headed south as well, with the intent of selling the bikes and flying home once they get as far as they can go in the next three months.

Ometepe Ferry

Bikes lined up on the ferry.

The ferry ride is about an hour and a half, and it docks on the island at Moyogalpa (which literally means “place of the mosquitos”). Off the ferry and heading south, the first stop is food. There’s a great vegetarian restaurant on the water at the isthmus between the volcanoes, and the herb spaghetti here is one of the best meals I’ve had so far on the trip. 

Natural Food Restaurant on Ometepe


Some great spaghetti. I was hungry. Very hungry.

Continuing on, the road turns to dirt. It has been interlocking pavers for about six miles. I suppose it’s easier and cheaper than getting concrete or asphalt to the island, but the labor is incredible. Another five miles or so and the sign comes into view: Monkies Island. Yes, it’s supposed to be Monkey Island, but the Spanglish just adds to the character. This small family-run hostel has probably seen better days, but the price is right, and it has its’ own private beach down a short trail. 

Monkies Island Beach

Unfortunately, while the beach has a nice breeze to help cool things down a bit, it also has a tremendous cloud of sand flies. At times it’s hard to even breath without ingesting flies. So back to the hostel for an early night. 

In the morning, it’s time to finish the loop around the south island…

 then continue the dirt road around the north island and back to the ferry landing at Moyogalpa. It turns out that there is a boat leaving within minutes (not the ferry, but a smaller boat that can’t take cars but will take motorcycles), but the ferry will not arrive for four hours. The boat hands have the gate open on the second level for me to drive onto the boat, but they are shaking their heads and yelling that my bike is too wide to fit through the gate. I disagree. It turns out that if you remove the blue paint from the gate rails, the bike just fits. And my aluminum panniers are perfect paint removers. 

Volcano Concepcion with the airstrip to the right. The main road on the island crosses the middle of the airstrip.

On the mainland side, I’m nicer and not in a rush, so I remove one of my panniers and let the dock hands roll the bike off the boat. They still act like it’s a big hassle (I think they wanted a tip), but if I could ride it on, it shouldn’t be that hard to push it off minus one box. 

After watching my paint removal technique applied to their boat in Moyogalpa, the crew insisted on offloading the bike for me.

Then it’s off to San Juan Del Sur and Playa Maderas.

Playa Maderas

September 21, 2015

It’s another short ride from the ferry dock at San Jorge, Nicaragua to San Juan Del Sur on the Pacific Coast. San Juan is just north of the Costa Rica border, and it is catching the overflow of ex-pats that perhaps got in late on the Costa Rica beach life. 

The hills facing the beach in San Juan Del Sur look like Malibu, with million dollar homes built in a California-looking style. The stark contrast between these mansions and high-end condos, and the typical Nica house is startling. Going from sitting at a table at a restaurant in Granada and having young children approach me, point at my food or water, then point to their mouths, to seeing the excesses just a couple of hours away but in the same country, is also a bit disturbing. 

I’m not staying in San Juan Del Sur. It’s not in my price range. About 11 km up a dirt road is Playa Maderas, a small beach with a serious surf attraction. The waves here are not large, but they are consistent, and smooth, and perfect for learning and or just enjoying. The surf hostel is right on the beach, and in fact, aside from the Tacos Loco restaurant next door, is the only thing here. I walked up the beach a bit less than a kilometer to the next beach, and Camping Matilda. I considered staying here, but it’s a bit hard to reach due to the closing of the coast road north of Playa Maderas to suit some new homeowners. 

View from my room at the surf hostel.


Playa Maderas


The beach is so nice I’d like to stay here several nights, but it’s on the edge of my budget and I have to keep moving towards Costa Rica and Panama.

Costa Rica: Is It Finally Really Rainy Season??

September 22, 2015

From Playa Maderas, it was only about an hour to the Costa Rica border crossing. The border crossing was a relatively straightforward affair, aside from the rain and a certain customs official who was apparently having a bad day. Total time spent at both the Nicaraguan and Costa Rican immigration and customs offices: approximately two and half to three hours. With all of the rain, I’ve been taking very few photos.

Not far from the border in Costa Rica is Santa Rosa National Park. Once again, the plan was to camp here, and try to amortize my lodging budget. The sign at the entrance to the park said the entry fee was $10 and the camping fee was another $2. That put it well within my budget. But better yet, it’s the off-season and mid-week here, so there was nobody present and no way to pay the fees. I figured perhaps on the way out in the morning I would meet the park ranger and pay, but again there was nobody, aside from one couple camping and a classroom of grade school students and their teacher that showed up early in the morning. 

Early in the evening of my first day in Costa Rica, I had two thoughts:

  1. Where does a snake that big go at night? and
  2. How does a frog that large hide under the rim of the toilet bowl until you flush it?

It rained a bit during the night so I had to put the rain fly on the tent, making it a bit more humid. By morning it had stopped and cooled off a bit, but remained very cloudy. After breakfast and packing up, I headed towards Lake Arenal and Volcan Arenal. Highway 142 goes around the east side of the lake, and provides some great views and a fun ride. 

Lake Arenal, Costa Rica. The low clouds and rain prevented a clear view of Volcano Arenal, but even the rain couldn’t keep me from smiling at the great road and scenery.

The abundance of ex-pats is obvious as all of the signs are in english, from real estate signs to store signs. 

Unfortunately, the rain continued and the clouds stayed just above the lake, shrouding the volcano and making photos difficult.

The rain stopped for about ten minutes in Nuevo Arenal, so I decided to stop for groceries. Just coming into town I met another loaded bike heading in the opposite direction. Ignacio, from Chile, has been traveling for a year on his Suzuki DR650, and is headed to Alaska. 

Ignacio, Chilean adventurer.

While in town for just a few minutes, I also met a Canadian who has lived here for ten years, another gentleman from Europe who clearly has been here quite a while, and a couple from North Carolina who spend six months a year here and mentioned they have several neighbors here from Texas. The area around the lake is gorgeous. I can understand why so many people would move here. 

Just past the dam at the entrance to the Volcan Arenal National Park the road splits. The road along the other side of the lake is dirt. Fortunately it’s fairly well maintained, so the rain wasn’t too much of a problem. A little further down the dirt road is the small village of El Castillo. It was getting late, so I stopped at Cabinas Orquidias for the night. On the way up the hill to El Castillo I had to stop and gawk at the dozens of howler monkeys in a few trees at one turn on the road. 

Bad photo, but that is a howler monkey sitting on top of the utility pole.

The family at Cabinas Orquidias was incredibly nice. Besides renting me a beautiful, brand new one bedroom house with covered carport and one of the nicest bathrooms I’ve seen in a month for $30, they brought me a coffee maker and coffee from their house, offered me bread and even offered to let me come use their computer in their house since they didn’t have wi-fi in the rental yet. I politely declined. Sometimes the lack of internet access can be a very peaceful thing. 

The kids were in school when I left in the morning, but Mom and Dad were happy to pose for me before heading out. This place is worth the stop, and I would recommend a couple of days here to explore the area. So much to see.

In the one-street town of El Castillo is the Eco-Zoo, which is really more of a snake farm with frogs and turtles and a few other local critters thrown in. I probably should have passed, but the hour long tour was extremely informative and will no doubt make it hard to camp from now on. Or at least I’ll think twice before stepping out of the tent in the dark.

I can’t remember the names of all the different snakes I saw at the eco-zoo in El Castillo. About half of them were venemous, and some were very large. This was one of the smaller examples.


Much larger examples. The albino python on the left was climbing up the window. The other python in the lower right is actually larger than the albino. These two were huge.


We were allowed to hold these red-eyed tree frogs.


Large selection of lizards at the zoo also.


These are the biggest butterflies I’ve ever seen. Just huge.


Blue jeans poison dart frog. Very small. Very cool looking.

Of course it was raining the entire time I was looking at the critters. I think maybe I finally found the rain in Central America’s rainy season. They’ve been in drought conditions, but around Lake Arenal, it seems to be less so. This was day two of real rain.

Ruta 32: The Panama Canal of Highways

September 24, 2015

Another day of rain. It is rainy season here, after all.

This being the third straight day of rain, I decided to change my plan. I had originally intended to head west to the Nicoya Peninsula, as there is a small dirt road/trail that I’d heard about that I really wanted to ride. Unfortunately I had also read that the Nicoya Peninsula can become impassable during September and October due to heavy rains. It seemed like a waste to ride all the way over there just to find out I couldn’t do the 60 miles I really wanted to do.

So, instead, I heard that the Caribbean coast was much drier and had some good snorkeling reefs around Cahuita, which is about 30 miles north of the Panama border. I spent another couple of hours riding in the rain, but eventually broke out into nice weather. And the weather was the best I could say about most of today’s ride.

It turns out Highway 32, or Ruta 32 as it’s called here, is the main highway to and from the huge shipping port of Limon. The road is only two lanes, and winds up and down hills and through small villages. This creates some very long bottlenecks of 18-wheelers heading to and from the port. There are huge banana plantations all around this area, mostly operated by Del Monte and Chiquita, and this adds to the truck traffic as well. I had to think for a while, but I’m fairly certain that Ruta 32 in Costa Rica is the first road I have ridden on this trip that I would recommend people NOT take.

So as not to infect my next very positive post with this negative one. I’ll stop whining here.


September 25, 2015

Just south of the major port city of Limon, Costa Rica, and just north of the Panama border is the sleepy Caribbean village of Cahuita. All along this coast you can see, hear, and feel the Caribbean influence. The people here are more Jamaican than Hispanic. They tend to speak Spanish but otherwise the place feels more like the other side of the Caribbean. And of course there is Reggae music and Bob Marley posters everywhere.

The Cahuita National Park is a 2700 acre preserve on a peninsula. It is mostly dense jungle, with some wetlands and a couple of rivers. It also includes a 600 acre coral reef. It is also the only National Park in Costa Rica that does not charge an admission fee.

The beach inside Cahuita National Park. The jungle comes right down to the beach.


At one point you have to wade across this small river to continue up the trail. Caimans live here — somewhat smaller cousins of the alligator.

Despite the snake education I received a couple of days ago in El Castillo, I walked from the hostel into the village and then down the trail through the jungle alongside the beach this morning. I was captivated by all of the wildlife. It only takes standing still for a few moments to see something new moving in the jungle.

Love this shack on the beach on the way to the park.


On the way through Cahuita, this fisherman was returning home for the day, with his supplies from his boat, including the motor, in his cart.


Three-toed sloth, moving very slowly through the trees.


White faced Capuchin monkey with baby on her back.


Howler monkey.


These guys were hunting crabs on the beach.


These lizards were everywhere. They would walk down the trail in front of me like a dog on a leash.


Leaf cutter ants. It was fun to watch the long trails of leaves walking through the forest.


A Basiliicus, also commonly called a Jesus lizard. These guys can run really fast on their back legs, across water.



This guy was about four feet long, including his tail. He was calmly sitting in a plant, eating. Check out the spikes on his back.


Gratuitous advert….


There are a lot of species in the Cahuita area. Two of them that are in no danger of extinction are German and American tourists. There seems to be a large population of German ex-pats here as well. I heard more German than English or Spanish over the last couple of days. But then again, I spent a lot of time in the jungle listening to nothing. That was the best sound. On several occasions, I had flashes of thought: “Where am I?” “How did I get here?”

It’s still hard to grasp sometimes.

Panama: Plans Change (Again), or “Don’t Believe Everything You Read on the Internet”

September 26, 2015

Obvious statement in the title of this post, but today was an example of how using the internet to plan can get you in trouble. Fortunately, I hadn’t made many plans.

Last night in Cahuita, Costa Rica, I decided to cross into Panama this morning and try to get to Isla Bastimentos in Bocas del Toro. This requires crossing the border, taking a ferry to Isla Colón, finding a place to store the bike on that island, then arranging a boat to Isla Bastimentos and getting there before dark. I intended to just “wing” most of this. The one thing I had to plan for was the ferry crossing.

According to the ferry’s website, they sail twice a day between Almirante and Isla Colón: at 7am and at 12:30pm. It’s about an hour and a half ride from Cahuita to Almirante, and another two hours dealing with border paperwork. So it was clear I wasn’t going to make the 7am ferry. I felt I definitely had a shot at the 12:30pm ferry though, so that was the plan.

Judith (from Switzerland) and I teamed up again for the border crossing. This crossing at Sixaola is a very small crossing and an easy one. So easy and slow that there are no “helpers” hanging out here. The only problem is there is a regular shuttle service between Costa Rica and Bocas del Toro for the backpacker crowd, and as luck would have it, two shuttles full of Australian backpackers showed up just as we arrived at Immigration. The backpackers don’t have to do the vehicle paperwork, but we all have to go through Immigration first, both leaving Costa Rica and entering Panama. So this slowed us down a bit. Still, it was nice to have one person watching the bikes while the other person did the paperwork.

The old “Banana Bridge” at the Costa Rica – Panama border crossing at Sixaola. It’s now been replaced with a new one-lane bridge.



Through the border and back on the road. Still looks like we can make it. A few blocks south of the border, the real highway jogs a couple of blocks to the east. My GPS was telling me to go straight ahead, and it showed the road we were on meeting back up with the highway in a couple of miles. So, as usual, I followed the GPS. The two lane paved road turned to gravel. Then it turned to dirt. Then it turned to an overgrown two-track with tall weeds dragging the panniers. Then came the first wooden bridge, with wood planks on each side for car tires. No problem.

Judith crossing the first bridge. It’s hard to tell from this angle that there is a drop into a creek there. It’s also hard to tell why Garmin routed me down this instead of the highway. But hey, that’s why it’s called an adventure…

Shortly after that, the second wooden bridge: missing a few planks, a few loose boards, but still not bad. Another 300 meters or so, the third bridge: big holes where there used to be planks, very loose boards, no side rails. Things were definitely getting interesting. I was beginning to think this road was going to end before we got to the highway. But sure enough, a mile later, we were back on the main road heading towards Almirante.

Just a few kilometers later, we ran into our first military checkpoint. This was the first time in the past two months that I was stopped and asked for paperwork. First, my driver’s license. Then my passport. Then the vehicle import papers. Then my vehicle title.

As all of this was beginning, the military official who spoke a little English asked Judith, “Where are you from?”

“Switzerland”, she replied.

“Switzerland! Oh, it’s beautiful there!” the officer said. Then he looked at me: “Where are you from?”

“United States”, I answered.

Crickets. Total silence. Not even a hint of a smile. Hmmmm. Okay. I’ll just keep my mouth shut rather than offer a snappy retort about how beautiful my country is also.

Of course everything checked out fine and we were free to go. According to the GPS, it looked like I might make it to the 12:30 ferry by a few minutes after noon. That should give me time to buy a ticket and get the bike on board.

Pulling into Almirante, it was clear this was not a luxury resort by the sea. This was a shipping port. Scrappy, dirty, with no hotels, restaurants, or other amenities for the tourist.

I pulled up to the ferry. No cars. No tourists. No one else going to Isla Colón. A couple of workers looked back at me. I looked at the sign painted on the back of the ferry: “Almirante – Isla Colón, Tuesday – Sunday, 7am”. Not a mention of a 12:30pm ferry. Because there isn’t one. Regardless of what their website says, there is only one ferry a day, and it was five hours before I got there. I was very thankful that I had decided to “wing it” and not book a hotel on the island for tonight.

I pondered my options. I could try to find some place to stay in Almirante, though it didn’t have a nice, safe vibe to it. I could go somewhere else and come back in the morning, but I couldn’t go far because the ferry leaves at 7am.

I finally decided that I was going to spend three days in the San Blas islands in two weeks, so there was no real need to spend all of the time, money and effort required to get to Isla Bastimentos. Looking at the map, I was still a few hours away from Boquete, but there wasn’t much between here and there, and I knew Boquete was in the highlands and would be cool and a good place to relax for a few days. So on I went.

The road between Almirante and Boquete is a bit rough with potholes and sections that have been repaired with gravel but not yet paved. But the scenery is great, including views of the Caribbean and multiple waterfalls as you climb higher.

Climbing into the hills just after the rains. Low clouds, lots of green.


Lots of these waterfalls along the road.


Heading to Boquete

Just past El Letrero I turned off of Highway 10 onto a small side road that looked like a shortcut over to the David-Boquete highway. This turned out to be a great road, with beautiful views and several bridges over a nice river. It had rained very recently and the clouds were low on the hills.

Pulling into Boquete I ran into the same two Canadians on KLR650s that I had met on the ferry to Ometepe. It sounds like they might be on the same boat to Colombia that I’m booked on.

The temperatures here are in the 60s at night and 70s in the daytime. I’m nearly a week ahead of schedule. So I’m planning to enjoy the cool weather, change the oil and adjust the valves on the bike, give it a wash and get ready for Panama (City).