Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Regional Forums > Central America and Mexico

Central America and Mexico Topics specific to Central America and Mexico only.
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 22 Mar 2006
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Posts: 27
Los Angeles to Panama in Spring 2007

Hi -

I am in the earliest research phase of planning a trip from Los Angeles to my Dad's birthplace in the Panama Canal Zone. A friend and I have purchased KLR650s (US $3500), and been getting our off road and camping skills honed over the last year. I obviously have MONTHS worth of reading to do on HU, but I wanted to ask a few basic question before I head off with an unreasonable plan.

1) We can get at most 4 weeks off from work. Is this enough time to make the trip without too many punishing days, including time out for repairs, border crossings, and sightseeing?

2) What are the cost-to-benefit ratios of :

a) Air freighting the bikes back to Los Angeles

b) Selling the bikes in Panama (to a dealer or fellow traveller) and paying whatever taxes are involved.

c) Dumping the bikes in the Canal (or otherwise "losing" them) and paying the carnet penalties.

3) Very broadly, what are the daily expenses like? Gas, lodging, meals, fees, and parts. We plan to camp 2 nights, then 1 in a hotel to freshen up.

Thanks for pointing me in the right direction (South! )
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 22 Mar 2006
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 998
You're looking at about 8-10 days down just as a bonsai run.

No Carnet is needed.

I can not speculate on what you feel the cost trade-off would be for shipping either way.

If you're willing to incur the cost of shipping, maybe send the bikes to Panama and do a great ride back north.

A month's ride back could be nice.

As you said, there's a lot of time to plan.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 22 Mar 2006
Grant Johnson's Avatar
HU Founder
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Dec 1997
Location: Vancouver BC Canada
Posts: 4,556
Quote:
Originally posted by Lone Rider:

No Carnet is needed.

If you're willing to incur the cost of shipping, maybe send the bikes to Panama and do a great ride back north.
NO CARNET for the Americas.

Border costs are minimal, and not terribly time-consuming - lots of info on the Trip Planning / Borders pages.

Ship the bikes BACK not down - shipping can be problematic, and security a poential problem - arriving there ready to go and the bikes have gone missing, delayed, stolen, bits missing whatever and you have a big problem, whereas it's no big deal in the opposite direction, you can easily sort it out at leisure at home.

Also if you find you ride much slower than you thought, or are delayed for some reason, you can always ship from somewhere en route.

have a great ride!

------------------
Grant Johnson

Seek, and ye shall find.

------------------------

One world, Two wheels.
www.HorizonsUnlimited.com
__________________
Grant Johnson

Seek, and ye shall find.

------------------------

Inspiring, Informing and Connecting travellers since 1997!
www.HorizonsUnlimited.com
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 22 Mar 2006
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Stewart(S-Central) Minnesota USA
Posts: 115
Friends and I have done two trips Laredo to Panama and back in a months time for each trip. We moved daily but were not really rushed per our standards. Both times was about 11000 Km. with side trips to Belize...ruins...canal etc. Border crossing in/out of Honduras was a pain but nothing that should prohibit anyone from seeing CA. I ran my bike down to Texas(I'm from Minnesota)in our summer and stored it there, then when we went to Panama...I flew to Texas and took off from there.

------------------
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 24 Mar 2006
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Posts: 27
I plotted a route on Goggle Earth that is 3600 miles, and hits all nine countries (US-Panama). If we can average 45mph for 6 hours a day (good lunch, see some sights, stop early for camp), that's 270 miles per day, for 13.5 days of "easy" travel.
If every third day is an "off day", for trouble or sights/relaxing, that's 20 days. Add two days to handle return shipping and a flight home, and we're at 22.
If we left on a Saturday, we'd miss 14 work (week) days.

Wildly guessing on $75 a day, that's only $1650. (Gas, food, lodging, fees....?)
Return shipping sounds to be between $1500-2000.
Continental flies from PTY to LAX via Houston for about $700.
Copa Air flies direct for $760
Roughly $4000 for the whole trip

Other expenses -
baja ferry
shots
medical and evac insurance?
parts

It's starrting to sound like a feasible trip!
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 24 Mar 2006
MoroCycler's Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
Posts: 164
QUOTE: "If we can average 45mph for 6 hours a day (good lunch, see some sights, stop early for camp), that's 270 miles per day, for 13.5 days of "easy" travel."·


I have been travelling all around Mexico and some countries in central America, roads are not that bad,they are fair and some pretty good, but you should consider:

I have records of all my trips taken from my GPS info and I can say that it is very very hard to get more than 46 miles per hour "Moving Time Average" in our roads (mostly on twisties), even when I speed up to more than 100 miles per hour on some toll roads I can barely pass the 46 miles per hour moving average for a day of 6 to 10 hours of ridding.

Plus, you will have to stop and eat, refuel, etc. so the Overall Average will drop some more.
Also consider that maybe the first couple of days you could make 650 or more miles but the next days your performance will be affected and you will feel comfortable only with much less miles per day than that, I mean, maybe 250 or so, per day.

Also consider that riding our latin american roads involves more fun but it also takes a bit (or much!) more of concentration, like being aware of suicide dogs, truck drivers, kids, F%&@ing TOPES, and TOPES, and More Topes! So probably you will have enough riding earlier a day than what you plan.

I am not discouraging you trip, MAKE IT! You will enjoy it very much but consider your time limits.

And as Grant advices, "If you don´t have enough time, do not go faster, visit less places, enjoy more"

Good Luck guys, if you pass by Guadalajara in Mexico, send me an e-mail, maybe I could join you for some miles, chat, or share some , you are allways welcome.

Nice trip
Humberto Moro

www.morocycler.smugmug.com
__________________
THE Motorcycle JOURNEY is making known the unknown.
http://www.morocycler.smugmug.com
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 24 Mar 2006
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 998
Quote:
..........
It's starrting to sound like a feasible trip![/B]
It sounds like you didn't hatch from the egg yesterday...
Good research.
Have a blast!
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 24 Mar 2006
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Posts: 27
Gracias for the actual measurements, Humberto! It's rare to get more than someones opinion. So, would 40mph be a resonable number? I have NO plans to go 100mph on a loaded KLR! But I can certainly ride more hours when I have to. I used six hours of RIDING to calculate, so there should be another 3-4 hours for eating, gas, etc. My big worry is getting stuck for more than a few hours at each border crossing. If each one takes a whole day, I'd need 9 more days for the trip! My one unchangeable goal for the trip is to make it to Panama. I'm willing to bypass some sights or countries (Belize, El Salvador?) to make that happen.

[This message has been edited by irlsanders (edited 24 March 2006).]

[This message has been edited by irlsanders (edited 24 March 2006).]
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 24 Mar 2006
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Belgium , Wi. USA
Posts: 30
Do the tourist crossings, like LA Mesilla into Guatemala and Copan Ruinas into Honduras and its unlikely you will spend more then 30 minutes each. They may be a little more out of the way, depending on your route, but very scenic. Can't comment on any other countries,thats as far south as I got. Being at any crossing early, with all your paperwork and copies will speed things up. I think you would have to really screw-up or get real unlucky to spend a day at a crossing.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 25 Mar 2006
Ride Far's Avatar
Gold Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 197
You'll find virtually no camping facilities on your ride. No places with running water, a picnic table, and an outhouse.

Camping would mean pitching a tent in a concealed area off the side of the road. Not the greatest for security or comfort.

You will find $10-$15-$20 hotels in every town on your route thru MX & Central America. You can always manage secure parking, sometimes by riding you bike right up into the hotel lobby. Lonely Planet and other guides list some of the good cheap deals.

Enjoy!
__________________
http://ridefar.typepad.com
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 25 Mar 2006
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Posts: 27
Well, I do like the quietude of camping, but perhaps I'll get enough isolation while riding! I guess paring down the camp gear to just emergency status would lighten up the bike, and we'd get back the time lost to setting and striking camp. Does seem weird that such a wild place would have limited camping opportunities...is it that risky to stay in the wilderness overnight?

I just ordered these to start my trip library :

99 Days to Panama: An Exploration of Central America by Motorhome
Lonely Planet Central America on a Shoestring
Lonely Planet Healthy Travel: Central & South America
Footprint Central America and Mexico 2005
and an IMTB map

Guess I'll tack on and HU membership while I'm at it. I joined the L.A. Community...

[This message has been edited by irlsanders (edited 24 March 2006).]
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 25 Mar 2006
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Mexico City
Posts: 436
Sounds like a great trip. As said elsewhere camping is not a big thing in Mexico but there are places especially along the coasts. If you have an idea of where you will stop I can look into it for you. Saying that cheap hotels are everywhere and it reduces what you have to carry.
If you come through Mex City we will happily put you up and show you around. Mex City is a great place and the pyramids are a must see but take a complete day.
Whatever you do have a great trip.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 25 Mar 2006
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Posts: 27
Hola Garry. Thanks for the offer of hospitality. The pyramids are on the "to see" list. I've camped on the beach in Baja Norte, which was easy and enjoyable, and I thought it would be the same all the way down. Carry less gear is fine with me, though.

I also am starting to learn to hablar español, so I can viejo sin incidentes by this time next year.

Hasta luego, compañero. (Too informal for someone I have yet to meet?)
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 25 Mar 2006
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Mexico City
Posts: 436
Hasta luego compañero sounds fine it´s the viejo part which is wrong as you wanted to say travel which is viajo and you said old- viejo but you are obviously on the right track. Send me an email closer to the date when you expect to get into Mex City and we can set something up.
Planning the trip is a big part of the fun so you should have a lot of fun between now and next year.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 29 Mar 2006
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Norwich,Ontario,Canada
Posts: 790
to Irlsanders: yes, do take a light tent and sleeping bag along for the event you find a truly nice place to camp or an emergency ,but otherwise it is less trouble to get a room at the inexpensive small local hotels. Consider also that tropical nights are around 11 hours of total darkness, and you are not going to ride at night. This means you will have to start hunting for a campground in midafternoon. Finding a spot out in the wild is not as easy as it sounds, there are people living everywhere, then if you do find a spot you have to keep pretty quiet, no campfires lest you attract the wrong kind of attention or set the country ablaze. Then you have to sweat it out for the looooooong night.
For less money than a tent site at a US campground you can have a roof over your head, a toilet and shower at your disposal and a secure place to park the bike and you can then spend your evening enjoying the local food and meet or just watch the locals around the plaza. In the morning go for a leisurly stroll through town for breakfast knowing that your bike is safely parked at the hotel, the room is yours till noon or 1pm.
I just got back from, a two-month ride around Mexico , Belize and Guatemala. The only times I used the camping stuff was on the return leg through the USA.
Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


 
 
 

NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

Next HU Eventscalendar

See all events

 

HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.



Scottoiler automatic chain oilers. The most important accessory for your next motorcycle adventure!


Renedian Adventures


Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!


What turns you on to motorcycle travel?


Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!


New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.


Books & DVDs

amazon

All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.


Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!




All times are GMT +1. The time now is 12:31.