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.

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