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  #1  
Old 9 Feb 2008
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Costa Rica to Panama via Guabito?

Greetings All

Has anyone crossed into Panama via the Guabito crossing? Were there any extra hassles?

I´ve unreliably heard that there can be problems getting vehicles through.

Thanks

Ian J
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  #2  
Old 10 Feb 2008
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That's on the Pacific coast, by Sixaola, right?

Never heard of paperwork problems, but you will have to deal with the notorious bridge's missing planks and bike-swallowing holes - always a hoot with tooting wagons behind and unstoppable trains in front. Unnerving, but great when it's over, and certainly not tough enough to put off any confident rider.

Aduana and migracion are (were) exactly where you'd expect them to be, on either side of the bridge. Expect to get disinfected on the Panamian side, and expect hold ups if your arrival coinicides with the Bocas backpacker bus.

Road from the border to Almirante is a tropical belter. Apart from that other dicky bridge...

If you're heading to Bocas, make sure you visit Stephan at Sabor de Pecado on the main street.

Suerte, Dan
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  #3  
Old 11 Feb 2008
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Thanks for the info Dan. It looks like we will be heading that way. I´ve seen a couple of photos of that bridge it looks memorable!

I´ll put a post up to let you know how we go

Regards

Ian J
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  #4  
Old 11 Feb 2008
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Guabito bound

Yes, Dan, Guabito across from Sixaola, but it closer to the Caribbean side, not Pacific. We crossed there most recently in April of 2006.

Great place to stock up on rubber rain boots. But that's about all you find, except your standard border offices, copy shop and a cafe or two.

Know that the guys and gals working the border do tend to wander away from their desks for a snack, lunch, or just to talk to somebody. They can appear official and tough but they are harmless and just bored. Be calm and just go with the flow. The bridge is risky, and you will need to pick and choose your planks carefully, but it is certainly not a show stopper.

Before there existed a road from San Jose to Puertto Limon, I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Puerto Limon for two years. I taught at the Colegio of Limon, and built, with the other teachers and students, the basketball court that (2006) is half there in front of the Colegio. The other half has been eroded and fallen over the cliff.

I was barely 20 years old and fresh out of the university and the second Peace Corps volunteer to serve in Limon. I was also the second youngest person, at that time to have made it through Peace Corps training and become a volunteer.

Although Puerto Limon was/is the principle port for costa Rica, in those days, Puerto Limon was much like the smaller islands around Bocas del Toro, Panama, no automobiles, with sugar cane, cacau and of course the United Fruit companies the only real operations going. If we wanted to go to Panama, we would hop the narrow rail Northern railroad down to Pennhurst, now washed out by the river, cross and ride a mule drawn cart on the railroad tracks to Sixaola and cross into Panama at Guabito. In those days, that bridge was only for carts full of cacau or bananas and foot traffic.

I still speak "Make I tell you English" fluently and still say "May we no longer be strangers" to new friends." examples with standard English translations. this language has been officially classified as Limon English. .

"Me guanna go up college" I am going to school. "See dare one puss?" Do you see the cat? "The wa-ter walk up but the yucca no mash." The water is boiling, but the yucca isn't cooking."

Here is some unsolicited advice, and this goes for Panama too. Stop by and ask for a tour of one of the small banana cooperatives along your route. You will be glad you did, for you will see history before your eyes and you will see the pride of the people, now running their own business. You will learn a lot about bananas too.

Take it slow, put your watch away, and don't expect everyone to speed up just because you are there. You will do fine. The old timers all remembered me, 40 years later! Me and the other volunteers of that time, Larry Popejoy, who just disappeared from the Peace Corps, friends and family. Some say Larry just went native, and is still living there. And Dorla Cantu who died in service to her country as a United States Peace Corps volunteer.

Last edited by xfiltrate; 11 Feb 2008 at 01:48. Reason: faded memories and a few real tears
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  #5  
Old 11 Feb 2008
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Yes - Atlantic (Caribbean), not Pacific coast - I'm getting puddled in my old age.
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  #6  
Old 11 Feb 2008
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WOW, am i impressed....

Dan.....Silvio Rodriguez - La maza WOW, WOW why was this music video included in your post?

Here is a tango I wrote "Tango Wind" , first authentic argentine tango ever...copy written ( derechos a autor) in Argentina with lyrics in English. see credits after music stops. The musicians, vocalists producer etc are all Argentine and world class.

YouTube - Tango Wind or just search Tango Wind on YouTube.com

We filmed it in London and Buenos Aires and "Tango Wind"....first appeared as one of 11 other tangos in "Tango Wind" a spectacular at Cafe Tortoni , Buenos Aires, 2007 I was amazed to see it performed on stage by real talent.

Let me know what you think. Note "gee" is not he or she, so you do not know if the very hot female vocalist is searching for a man or a woman as her soul mate. Tango by nature is melancholy, at least to be accepted by tangueros here , but I figured a way to lend hope to the damning loneliness and unrequited love that characterize most contemporary and classical tangos.

What do you think? sorry Ian for interjecting tango into your thread. please forgive me xfiltrate I should have talked about reggie and Bob Marley, whom I idolize.

Last edited by xfiltrate; 11 Feb 2008 at 17:53. Reason: 11 other tangos, not 12 corrected
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  #7  
Old 11 Feb 2008
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Dang ...! Started the thread on border crossings and ended on tango and bananas. This is why it always takes me at least 1 hour to take a peek at the HUBB. Thanks,
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  #8  
Old 12 Feb 2008
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Never say your sorry?

But, I am sorry. Chasqui, it's just that without different things like tango and banana co operatives, border crossings might not be so interesting.

I will really try to refrain from straying off topic. ... ... ... What specifically are you peeking for? Maybe I can help. xfiltrate

Last edited by xfiltrate; 12 Feb 2008 at 00:13. Reason: ... ... ...
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  #9  
Old 12 Feb 2008
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Guabito crossing

No need to worry about trains knocking you of the bridge from Guabito to Sixaola - there are none. The bridge was built by/for the banana plantations but the trains have long since stopped running across the border there.. In fact from Panama the rails are still on the bridge but when you get to the Costa Rica border barrier you will see that they end right there and you have an asphalt street! Buy motre bananas from Panama and isist they use the profits to rebuid the bridge for road traffic instead of the terrible condition it was last time I used it.
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  #10  
Old 21 Feb 2008
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No worries

Greetings All

As you said, no problems with crossing here, paperwork was easy and the bridge itself makes for a memorable crossing although I thought the other bridge crossing about 20-30km further down the road into Panama is longer and more challenging.

I see what xfiltrate meant about stocking up on rubber boots.

The only slight hassle we had was that they wanted to fumigate the bike using the spray shed on the bridge on the Panama side. They wanted us to take off all the soft luggage as it was "poison". Several trucks went by and they didn't bother ro spray them, I argued the point for a while and in the end they didn't bother to spray the bike, I think they discovered the spray pump was broken, we got out of there before they changed their mind.

Thanks for the info

Regards

Ian J
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  #11  
Old 21 Feb 2008
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To spray or not to spray?

IanJ, thanks for the report. Ticos have been selling rubber boots there since some Inca warrior began trading rubber boots for Nescafe!

HOW NOT TO GET SPRAYED
original creation by xfiltrate circa. 1968

1. Obtain a small spray bottle

2. type a label: XXPY72nx SPECIAL BORDER DECONTAMINATION SPRAY
Do not allow to come in contact with eyes or skin

3. affix lable to bottle

4. Fill small spray bottle with any curious looking liquid available

5. Whip out small spray bottle with curious looking liquid at the first indication your bike is to be sprayed.

6. Explain in broken Spanish that this bottle was provided by the Embajada Ameriana and is much more effective than their spray.

7. Spray your bike, give special attention to both tires, roll bike forward, or backward as required to spray all of each tire. Cough once.

8. Jokingly agree not to charge the border official or spray man and ride on to the next country

KEEP SPRAY BOTTLE HANDY, WORKS FOR AGRICULTURAL INSPECTION STATIONS TOO!

Proven to work...from Arizona to Panama + 5 South American countries, several times . Not one of my bikes have been sprayed since 1968.

Did you visit a banana co-op? xfiltrate

Last edited by xfiltrate; 22 Feb 2008 at 17:51.
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  #12  
Old 22 Feb 2008
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Guabito crossing CR to Panama

Last time I did that crossing was in'05 and if things haven t changed it will be interesting.
Coming from Sixaola CR you will get a surprise because after the Aduana barrier the asphalt disappears into a single track railroad bridge with heavy planks laid lengthwise between. ALL traffic but NO TRAINS , bus, truck car , pedestrian use this ONE WAY at a time Do not start if another vehicle is coming.Board spacing can be iffy for bike tires , especially treacherous when wet. In Guabioto the customs post is on top of the rail embankment.
East of Changuinola a similar bridge is just as bad. By now rail traffic may have ceased as all bananas are containerized. This bridge has a guard rail barrier only on one side and planks are often loose and move around. Watch the railroad t raffic light which indicates a train is coming, then follow the last batch of autos accross. Best to WALK this bridge first to check for missing planks and broken rail ties . Cover any holes and if wet use extreme caution.When I used that bridge the first time I didn't do that and had to stop half way, no way to park the bike and a big gaping hole. A good taxi driver behind me helped by dragging a plank over the gap. MUCHOS GRACIAS!!
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  #13  
Old 2 Apr 2008
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Larry Popejoy & Darla Cantu

Saludos, Xfiltrate - I am in California, on the Mexican Border (Imperial Valley) and chanced to follow-up on something that had been pending -- googling on my PCV brother Larry Popejoy -- when I saw your posting. I was LP's best friend such that PC split us up, sending him to Puerto Limon (Cahuita) and me to an ITCO colony, Bolson y Ortega, near fialdelfia in Guanacaste.

At the end of our term, LP and I (at my urging) purchased a 1932 Ford Victoria in CR; Mike Bresnan flew to Panama, purchased an in-the-box, duty free 1968 Triumph bike, assembled it, met us in San Jose and we drove together all the way back to Van Nuys, LP's home, using our severance to savor all of Central America. A year later, we sold the car and drove his '67 Mustang to CR, where I went on to Panama and he hung out on the proceeds in Cahuita and Limon; years later, I got a letter from a woman who said she was his widow as LP died "in a tragic accident". I was so stunned I never anwered, perhaps hoping it wasn't true. I knew his elderly parents had moved to Oxnard and his sis married a Guatemalteco, but as time passes, connections fade. I have some great pictures of Larry when he visite me in Imperial County and would like for his people to have them, if poss.

Thus my purpose in googling his name, as I have googled others. Perhaps it is better that his essence is still in Limon. Now - re Dorla Cantu, whom I met via LP; I later ran into her circa 1971-73 when I attended UC Berkeley but I never saw her after that. What is the reference to dying "in service to her country, digame, por favor.

As we say in the barrio - ORALE!






Quote:
Originally Posted by xfiltrate View Post
Yes, Dan, Guabito across from Sixaola, but it closer to the Caribbean side, not Pacific. We crossed there most recently in April of 2006.

Great place to stock up on rubber rain boots. But that's about all you find, except your standard border offices, copy shop and a cafe or two.

Know that the guys and gals working the border do tend to wander away from their desks for a snack, lunch, or just to talk to somebody. They can appear official and tough but they are harmless and just bored. Be calm and just go with the flow. The bridge is risky, and you will need to pick and choose your planks carefully, but it is certainly not a show stopper.

Before there existed a road from San Jose to Puertto Limon, I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Puerto Limon for two years. I taught at the Colegio of Limon, and built, with the other teachers and students, the basketball court that (2006) is half there in front of the Colegio. The other half has been eroded and fallen over the cliff.

I was barely 20 years old and fresh out of the university and the second Peace Corps volunteer to serve in Limon. I was also the second youngest person, at that time to have made it through Peace Corps training and become a volunteer.

Although Puerto Limon was/is the principle port for costa Rica, in those days, Puerto Limon was much like the smaller islands around Bocas del Toro, Panama, no automobiles, with sugar cane, cacau and of course the United Fruit companies the only real operations going. If we wanted to go to Panama, we would hop the narrow rail Northern railroad down to Pennhurst, now washed out by the river, cross and ride a mule drawn cart on the railroad tracks to Sixaola and cross into Panama at Guabito. In those days, that bridge was only for carts full of cacau or bananas and foot traffic.

I still speak "Make I tell you English" fluently and still say "May we no longer be strangers" to new friends." examples with standard English translations. this language has been officially classified as Limon English. .

"Me guanna go up college" I am going to school. "See dare one puss?" Do you see the cat? "The wa-ter walk up but the yucca no mash." The water is boiling, but the yucca isn't cooking."

Here is some unsolicited advice, and this goes for Panama too. Stop by and ask for a tour of one of the small banana cooperatives along your route. You will be glad you did, for you will see history before your eyes and you will see the pride of the people, now running their own business. You will learn a lot about bananas too.

Take it slow, put your watch away, and don't expect everyone to speed up just because you are there. You will do fine. The old timers all remembered me, 40 years later! Me and the other volunteers of that time, Larry Popejoy, who just disappeared from the Peace Corps, friends and family. Some say Larry just went native, and is still living there. And Dorla Cantu who died in service to her country as a United States Peace Corps volunteer.
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  #14  
Old 30 Mar 2014
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I think reports of interesting obstacles tend to go something like:
"<something from an H.P. Lovecraft novel>, but it's not that bad, really! You just need confidence."

I kid (and confidence goes a long way). But has anyone done this lately? I was told that the road along the atlantic coast of CR was beautiful. How about the route to Almirante?

Just so that I'm not whining and asking questions, I'll contribute a video of the bridge that some backpacker made:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nj_2mygsM4U

Cheers!
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  #15  
Old 30 Mar 2014
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I have seen pictures of a new bridge there, right next to the old one.

I crossed the old bridge on my bike in 2006, in the rain. A little scary where the chain link fence was missing, don't slip. What you may not know is there is another bridge some distance into Panama (maybe 20-50k) which is about the same only longer. Again, 2006 info, so maybe this one has been upgraded, too.
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