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 14 Jun 2008
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: VIenna, Austria
Posts: 26
Road to San Blas/Panama

Does anyone has experience with the road from Panama City to San Blas? How is it in shape? paved or not. (Muddy when raining??) We need to ride this road in about 2 weeks to catch the Sailboat to colombia.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 14 Jun 2008
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: England
Posts: 324
Wink

Hi
My partner and i tried to ride this dirt track come road road back in 2004 in the rainy season it was thick mud and had lots of ruts and standing water, there are many small hills and it was like trying to ride up the side of a bar of soap, i think we managed about 7 or 8 kms in two days before we turned back. I think to be fair we were there at the wrong time of the year. In the dry season i think it would be a very good dirt road, with some very nice jungle on both sides. About 5kms in is an old indio woman who has goats and some pigs, she speaks no English but will love it if you take her some AA battery's for her old radio, i would hope she is still alive, If you take this route please put some photos up on the HU site as we never made it to the end and so many locals told us how nice it was, we ended up taking a sail boat from Porto Bella. A word of warning don't sail with an American guy named Captain Denis he "is not safe" Good luck. Hope this is of some help Skip
__________________
Do the best you can with what you have,
A stranger in a strange land now heading North South East West to.....
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 15 Jun 2008
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 16
This road is nuts! Well it's fine and paved (concrete slab type pavement) for the ride between Panama City and Chepo, and a bit beyond Chepo to where the turnoff to the islands is. After that it's about 40km unpaved to the coast. It ends at a river actually, not at the coast. I bicycled it in 1.5 days in Sept. 2007 (see here: A few years in North, Central & South America: Sept. 22, 2007: Chepo to near Llano-Cartí:) and there were signs along the way indicating that the road had recently been improved. It wasn't muddy for me, but I think it could get that way in the wet season. At the very end where you meet the river, the mud is knee-deep or something, and you might have to plow through it somehow to get your bike to a canoe in the river to take you to one of the islands. There might be local guys around to help you carry the bike over the mud. Anyway you can read my story at the above link. Have fun!

Last edited by jkruys; 15 Jun 2008 at 01:35.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 15 Jun 2008
charapashanperu's Avatar
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Bristol, Maine, USA
Posts: 509
Adventure!!

Now that sounds like an adventure! Go for it (in the dry season)!
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 15 Jun 2008
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: England
Posts: 324
Smile

Hi jkruys
I just looked at your photos on your web page there great, yes the road has defintly been improved since i was there, i was told that the river at the end of the road can flood high enough to get a small boat up it, which ferryed locals to the Islands, i don't know if this is true or not. Skip
__________________
Do the best you can with what you have,
A stranger in a strange land now heading North South East West to.....
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 15 Jun 2008
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Denmark - Copenhagen
Posts: 263
I was there in mid feb.

It had rained a bit before we got there and it was pretty nasty. Lots of slips on the extremely slippery surface.

A not to heavely loaded 650 is ok, but two up is a NO-GO and I would not take a heavy 900-1200cc bike. If you can go there with a jeep, then maybe you can get them to take the baggage.

If you are not an experienced mud/clay rider then prepare for meeting the surface! I did some 7 times, and broke my sidestand among other things...



Simon Ds brother Paul


Getting the bikes into the cano was fun as well.


Have fun!!!
__________________
Peter Kongsbak
South East Asia, USA, Central and South America and Scandinavia.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 15 Jun 2008
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Wisconsin and Panama
Posts: 52
You guys are talking about the road from El Llano to Carti.

I did the road in a Landrover Defender in early Feb 2008. Most of it was fairly dry, but there were a few places where it was wet, or slick, or very steep and very rutted. I had to use the low gear range a few times- and if you know anything about the landrover defender, you know that if you need to shift to low, then it's for-real.

I could not do it, even dry, with my 1100GS. I would not even try. A friend did it a few weeks later on a lightly loaded KTM 650 with no real problems.

The real issue is if the road is wet or dry. Either way, you're going to want good knobby tires.

We were able to drive across the river at the end, but it was too deep for any bike.





Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 16 Jun 2008
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Denmark - Copenhagen
Posts: 263
I crossed that exact river on my bike, and with the same debth of water. No worries! Just make sure you dont stall (-:
__________________
Peter Kongsbak
South East Asia, USA, Central and South America and Scandinavia.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 16 Jun 2008
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Australia
Posts: 71
Dec to mid March

I was 1 week later than my bro and Peter (Denmark) and thought that on my way back from Yaviza i would just make a `quick` detour to Carti to see if any boats were about to leave. And it had been raining for 3 days since they went and still was while i was on that road. At about the 40km i was struggling to get up the hills with my undersize worn out rear tyre, and so wondered that if there were no boats in Carti and i had to go back, would i even be able to get back up some of the hills i had just `half slid/half rode` down!? So i turned around. I also rode quite a bit in the Darien area to remote Wounaan villages, and the majority of it is fine when dry but after say 24hrs of rain within a week, can be hard enough just to walk! Dry season is usually from the start of December to mid-March, but it can rain heavy enough as early as the start of Feb to make trails tough so you`ve really only got the Dec and Jan months for a reliable timeframe. Hence the Wounaan and Embera love their boats and canoes.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 23 Jun 2008
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: VIenna, Austria
Posts: 26
Thank you guys!
the road seems to be fun, but maybe not now in the rainy season (thanks for the pictures!)
We think it is maybe better to put the bikes on a boat from Miramar to San Blas. Think, that is cheaper than buying and waiting for a new clutch...
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 24 Jun 2008
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Santa Marta, Colombia, South America
Posts: 356
After haggling, the cost of that lancha from Miramar worked out at $120 for 2 bikes, 2 years ago.
__________________
How much does a man live, after all?
Does he live a thousand days, or one only?
For a week, or several centuries?
How long does a man spend dying?
What does it mean to say “forever”? - Pablo Neruda
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 24 Jun 2008
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Panama
Posts: 133
I live in Panama. A friend of mine, a VERY experienced dirtbiker, tried it last week in his 4x4. This guy will basically do anything on a bike that even looks like a dirt track. He told me that the first 10km or so after the Los Llantos turnoff were fine, but then it turned to a complete mud bog. He finally turned around. He was in a car, but said there was no way that he would even attempt it this time of year on any kind of bike.. FWIW, they are doing a lot of work on the road and hopefully the answer next year will be different

This is the rainy season and we have had some very heavy downpours lately. Would suggest you find an alternative.
__________________
Steve Barnett
Panama City, Panama

Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 25 Jun 2008
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Caracas (VZ) and Santa Marta (CO)
Posts: 75
incredible how the conditions change!! I did that road on a loaded Dakar in June 2007 (took a sailboat from Carti). Road was dry but lots of ruts. ( btw went into the ditch once going a bit too fast in a curve in the longest slope, worst was to get the bike out of it alone). Crossed that same river, a bit high because it had rained the previous night. But I remember well that they were working on the road, machinery, graders etc... one rainy season and all that work lost...
In the end just like here in Venezuela.
Claude
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 5 Jul 2008
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: VIenna, Austria
Posts: 26
Hi from Cartagena! we finally took a boat with food on board from Miramar(they loaded the boat for 3 days and it sank deeper and deeper...but ok!). Took 20U$ for 1person+bike and needed 5 hours....good deal! From that boat the bike came directly on board of the "Steelrat"(perfect boat, we can highly recomend it!) at El Porvenir. Never needed to fear about the bikes.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 13 Jul 2008
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Wisconsin and Panama
Posts: 52
I drove to Carti yesterday, and drove back today.

The first 12 miles from the Panamerican the road is good gravel. Parts of it are almost ready to be paved.

The last 13 miles is very bad mud.

I drove in the low range for 13 miles. I have never driven so far in low range before. It was impossible to go up the hills in high range. Going down was even more dangerous.

It took us 2.5 hours yesterday to go the 25 miles from El Llano to Carti. Today coming back it took 2 hours.

Twice I did not think I would make it up the hills. The ruts were so deep that the defender was bottoming out. The mud was up to the hubs.

We had a winch and two machetes. If the mud had gotten any worse, we could have chopped palm fronds and grasses to provide traction.

The vehicle was a 1997 Landrover Defender with oversized tires and a winch. We did not have to use the winch but twice I thought we would need it.

We saw other trucks with chains on their rear tires.

We saw other trucks with their winch cables looped around the front end- which means they were using them and it was too much hastle to have to keep putting the cable back on the winch.

The river was 1 meter deep and running fast.

I could not do this on any mororcycle.
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


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Panama City, Panama brennan Repair Shops, Central America and Mexico 5 25 May 2014 18:10
Panama, Panama City - Hostal brennan Bike Friendly, Central America and Mexico 3 3 Apr 2011 23:49
Accomodation on the NKC-Ayoun. road , Rue de l'Espoir, Road of Hope ? dathaifrench Sahara Travel Forum 3 4 Feb 2008 14:21
KTM in Panama City, Panama. tam KTM Tech 0 23 Dec 2003 03:55
Shipping to Panama? Clearing Customs in Panama? k7lro South America 2 14 Nov 2003 03:04

 
 


HU DVD Summer Special!

Now that summer is here, get On the Road! Take 30% off the Achievable Dream - On the Road! 2-DVD set until August 31 only. Get On the Road! Learn the tips to staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure!

Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.

"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."

"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"

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


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 12:53.