December 28th. Cahuita, Costa rica to Bocas Del Toros in Panama.

Woke up on the Caribbean coast to a nice view.

My breakfast view. Nice cup of coffee and some great fresh fruit.

Stayed here for $25. USD. Since traveling on my own through Central America my costs have gone up. The single rooms are more, and Costa Rica is more than other Central America countries. But in all less than it was costing me in the US and Canada. Still Ok on my budget as I continue.

A collection of things from the sea.

As i ride the last 30 miles through Costa Rica to Sixoala and my last Central American border crossing it seems strange to be out here riding. Just enjoying the scenery and riding the area.

Lots of Banana plantations along the way.

Then I come to Sixoala and the border. Looks like so many others with lots of trucks parked before they get all the paperwork done. Of course on a Moto I ride up past them. No helpers, no fuss. Not sure exactly where to start…. But I ask and am told the office up ahead on the right. Lock up my bike and walk up …..

past this gate and to the right.

Get in line here for passport stamping. and Aduana is right next to this…. Cannot see my bike, so I ask for someone to hold my place in line, I walk back and ask if I can move my bike right up to customs. Si Senor! Great!!

I get back in line and in 15 minutes or so I am stamped out of Costa Rica personally. Then onto Aduana (customs) for the bike. I show my passport and they ask for paperwork. I had a moment of panic as I did not see any paperwork from entering Costa Rica. I have a zip up plastic case for all my copies, documents etc. I tell them I think that I did not get one…… So I start sorting through some of the old paperwork with receipts from Nicaragua, Honduras…. Then he spots the paperwork. Wow I was nervous ….. But all is Ok. He takes the paper and looks at my passport. Ok Finshed. Adios!

Jump on my bike…. Pass the guard who waves me through after asking if I got my passport stamped. Si Gracias!!

Here is the bridge to Panama. Took the left side as Xavier had warned me that there were boards missing on the right side

Only one way over, and had t wait for some people to be out of the way before riding across.

I had “talked” with two Panamaian Police who were on the Costa Rica side and one was carrying a large rear moto tire for his bike back to Panama. The shook my hand, looked at my bike. Very Friendly !!

When I got across the bridge they waved me to park near there bikes.

Then the same drill. Get in passport line. Waited awhile to get this done. I stepped out of line to get a photo back toward Costa Rica, and two french guys stepped in front of me, as they did not know I was in line

Cost me a few extra minutes. Oh well.

Once I get stamped into Panama I needed to get Insurance. I had been watching a couple other people who had vehicles and asked what next. Had to walk a bit up the road, down some stairs then to the 2nd floor Entrada (green sign near the stairs) and to the Sugoros. She did the paperwork 1 copy for me one for Aduana. Paid my 15USD and was ready for the next step. Asked about changing money from Colones and they did it right in the business 15 steps away. Great one more thing done.

Back up to Aduana. They were helpful. Filled out the paperwork, gave them the $3 USD tax, and he walked me to the window and said to give them the paperwork and return once I had there work done. All is spanish of course. Although there was a guy with a “El Gringo” hat on that was directing tourists to pay the tax, and change money with one of the guys…. Anyway. I waited quite awhile as there was a crowd waiting to hand in there paperwork ahead of me. Patience, smiles, greetings. A few of the Costa Ricians complained it was really slow. I smiled and said. El Salvador into Honduras was much much worse!!

It took a total of about 2 hours, but I got my paperwork, and the Customs guys stamped paperwork. and another guy checked my passport after he held it up to some kind of wanted poster that was a bald guy with goatee same? NO senor with a smile. He was having a bit of fun. Then “Welcome to Panama!!”.

Off I rode out of town and headed for Almirante- and then the island of Bocas del Toro. Not much signage (surprise) so I had to ask a bunch to make sure I was on the right road. One town was busy with some traffic otherwise it was a clear good road….

Panama seems a bit more developed along the way compared to other countries in Central America. Nice cars, some nicer houses.

Got to Almirante and rode right to the area of Water Taxi’s fortunately I had called and found out I could securely park in a gated parking lot near the water taxi stop for $3.00 day. Think it is Lizas. She was rather full but I told her Stacy had sent me and she had her guy move a few cars so I could park along the fence!

Unloaded my gear, changed into shorts and she stored my riding gear in her house. Then walked the block to the water taxi. Lots of guys wanting to help direct and carry my bags. No Gracias. Got it!

The taxi headed out through the canal. These are some of the caribbean local residences. Fairly typical along these coastal areas.

Then across the bay about 30 minutes. To Bocas del Toro. A group of Island with lots of tourist activities. I had not booked a room, as many places were booked up because to the Holidays. Had spoken with one hostel and they told me to come by, I could leave gear while I searched.

Knee was really bothering me again as I walked the main street and checked various hostels and hotels. Really booked. Found a couple of places for a night but not the second night. I wanted to relax and not hassle. Finally found a place for two night but it was rather upscale. So I splurged and did it. Is the nices places that I had stayed in the past 3-4 months. Was also the most expensive. Oh well. As I have gotten older, life is short and this felt like the right place to spend a few extra dollars!!

Sat out on the deck and had dinner and relaxed. Felt great!!

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