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 Jun 2010
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 36
Wet season in Costa Rica; current road conditions? Advice/recommendations?

¡Hola!

On the road for awhile now, I just arrived in CR last Saturday from Nica. Currently on the Nicoya Peninsula, I've been getting dumped on everyday since my arrival - and this is supposedly the driest part of the country! From here I plan to go to San Jose and then either head northeast to Puerto Viejo or continue on the Panamericana through Cerro de la Muerte. I've heard amazing things about this section of road, but if the visibility is poor and rain continuous, it may be a better idea to avoid it completely and go straight to the Carribean since my next full stop is Bocas in Panama. If anyone is familiar with roads in CR and/or its current conditions, any advice/recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Also, if y'all know of a good place to rest my head and my ride, before I take on that 10+ hour ride through the mountains, please share that info too.

¡Muchisimas Gracias!
__________________
Victor S Baron

2000 Kawasaki KLR 650
http://www.dondeestavictor.com
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 23 Jun 2010
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 54
A buddy and I rode north through Costa Rica during the rainy season in 2008. We tried to follow the coastline along the Nicoya peninsula from the ferry terminal across from Puntarenas and didn't succeed - but we had a fantastic time trying. Scroll down on this page:

SF to Panama... eventually - Page 21 - ADVrider

If I were back there again with a knobby tire (as opposed to a bald Scorpion) and my (MUCH improved) dirt riding skill, I would probably have braved the deeper water crossings and pushed forward. That road was a mess but it was by far the most fun I had riding in CR.

As far as routing to Panama - I went through the Sixola (eastern) crossing on the way south and through the Panamerican crossing on the way north. The Sixola border is WAY more fun and you'd really miss out if you skipped it. Crossing that rickety old railroad bridge is a hoot. On the other hand, a couple friends of mine (sp4ce & nina, "2up to Ushuaia" on advrider) got stuck for a week in Bocas when the roads on either side washed out. You're headed to Bocas anyways, so take the fun road.

My RR has a variety of recommendations for hotels and hostels up and down Central America if you're willing to wade through it. Nearly a year's worth of material

Can't help you with current conditions though. Good luck!

Jeff
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 23 Jun 2010
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 36
Knobbys a MUST for CR, fortunately the Scorpions are holding up fine, for now...

Exactly... those waters crossings sure do look familiar... ain't rain grand? FYI they are even more 'fun' lugging a surfboard on the back as it functions as additional flotation for the bike

Great RR/pics and thanks for the input! The road along the coast from Jacó to Manuel Antonio and beyond was always in the back of my mind, but if it's anything like the Nicoya Peninsula, I think I'll pass.

You make the Sixaola crossing seem more appealing than ever, but I am still drawn to the mountains. How were they on your way back North? Still rainy?
__________________
Victor S Baron

2000 Kawasaki KLR 650
http://www.dondeestavictor.com
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 24 Jun 2010
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by viktar View Post
Exactly... those waters crossings sure do look familiar... ain't rain grand? FYI they are even more 'fun' lugging a surfboard on the back as it functions as additional flotation for the bike

Great RR/pics and thanks for the input! The road along the coast from Jacó to Manuel Antonio and beyond was always in the back of my mind, but if it's anything like the Nicoya Peninsula, I think I'll pass.

You make the Sixaola crossing seem more appealing than ever, but I am still drawn to the mountains. How were they on your way back North? Still rainy?
Heh, a bulky surfboard would definitely up the adventure level by a few notches.

The west coast road is in pretty good shape and if I recall correctly is paved, certainly as far as Quepos. Nothing all that exciting either way, and even the unpaved parts are gravel. Not fun like Nicoya's coastal roads :-)

Sixola is the eastern border crossing; to get there you must go over the CR mountains, so I'm not sure why that's an either or thing. You can take the road that goes across through Turrialba. I ended up trying to take a dirt road that didn't go through and got stuck up against the actual volcano... I have some great pics of my bike being rescued in an ox-cart, but in retrospect I probably could have gotten it running by draining the carb. Sigh.

Jeff
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 25 Jun 2010
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 12
I spent end of April/start of May riding around Costa Rica (weather was lovely, but I guess these things change). There is a brand new highway from the west coast to San Jose. I think it starts in Puntararenas but I stumbled upon it near Caldera. It's a toll highway and so smooth you could rollar skate on it! It's so new that signage sucks and it's not on any maps.

The highway down the west coast is newly paved almost the whole way (Caldera to Palmar Norte). I'd recommend Quepos (Jaco is a bit of a dive). Dominical is also nice.

You can also head from Palmar Norte up to the mountains and cross into Panama via San Vito.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 25 Jun 2010
Scrabblebiker's Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Victoria, BC, Canada
Posts: 222
I went through Costa Rica in early May 2010.


The road from Near Puntarenas down to Palmar is entirely paved. The pavement looks fairly new and I've been told that it was recently all dirt/gravel. Watch for cops on weekends on that road. They're all over the place. That road is pretty flat, relatively straight, very hot and kinda boring. But the beaches along the way are nice.

Once in Palmar the road meets back up with the Pan American.

Option 1:
Turn right (south) and you end up at the major crossing of Paso Canoas into Panama. Shortly before the border you can head left (east) to head into the cooler mountains to San Vito.

Option 2:
Turn left (northeast) and you arrive in Paso Real where you can either head north on the Pan American to backtrack if you're interested in Sixaloa. The Pan American north from here, to San Jose is up in the mountains, nice and cool, and very twisty and winding.

Otherwise turn right (south) and head into the cooler hills to San Vito. It's a nice little paved road, albeit a bit narrow and bumpy in spots.


From San Vito you can continue to Sabalito on a paved road. Here the pavement ends and it's about 10km's to the Panamanian border at Rio Sereno. Open 8am to 4:00pm? 7 days a week. It was my favourite crossing, with very friendly people and not a single helper or money changer in sight. The road on the Panama side is beautifully paved, very pretty, winding and one of my faves.

You could cross here (if Panama is part of your plans) and come back via Sixaloa across the Panama Highlands, which are very beautiful.

The road was bumpy dirt/gravel and it had been raining quite a bit before I arrived. Even though there was no rain when I went through, it was in pretty good shape and easily passable. Mini buses go along that route and there were no old truck ruts to be seen, leading me to believe that it wouldn't get too soft and muddy in the rain.

There is no signage to the border from Sabalito. When you arrive in town (from San Vito) there's a gas station on your left. Keep going straight a very short distance and the main road makes a 90 degree turn to the right. Just keep going straight onto the gravel road. Follow it until it comes to a T intersection and then turn left. Once you enter a little town (Rio Sereno) there will be a 90 turn to the right. Shortly before that turn is Costa Rica Immigration on your left. Panama Immigration and Customs is straight ahead into the fenced compound just where the road turns to the right. If you accidentally miss the compound (as I did) you'll just drive into Panama illegally and not even realize it ...like I did.

If you're crossing the country further north for Sixaloa, I'd suggest heading up to Arenal. The road is paved and in good condition. It's narrow and twisting and the scenery might as well be somewhere in Switzerland. From there you can drop down to San Jose and pick up the road to the Carribean side ...or do it on the way back.


...Michelle
www.scrabblebiker.com
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 25 Jun 2010
Super Moderator
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: bellingham, WA, USA
Posts: 1,990
Good description from Scrabblebiker about Rio Sereno. When I went, however, their dialup computer connection was down, and I couldn't enter Panama there. This made for a mad scramble in torrential rains to get down to the main crossing before dark....so leave sufficient time just in case.

I've also heard, probably here on HU, that there's no place to buy Costa Rican insurance coming in the other direction (from Panama to C.R.), so if you haven't got it, you need to use the Paso Canoas crossing (which was one of the more irritating ones on my trip south).

Enjoy!

Mark

(from Cartagena, on the northern verge of the southern world)
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 26 Jun 2010
Scrabblebiker's Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Victoria, BC, Canada
Posts: 222
Quote:
Originally Posted by markharf View Post

I've also heard, probably here on HU, that there's no place to buy Costa Rican insurance coming in the other direction (from Panama to C.R.), so if you haven't got it, you need to use the Paso Canoas crossing (which was one of the more irritating ones on my trip south).

That's probably correct since there's no Costa Rica Customs here, only immigration. No customs equals no vehicle import. So no market for anyone to sell insurance there either. But if you still have your insurance and vehicle import permit for Costa Rica, hang on to them when you leave and they'll let you back in through that same border even though there's no customs.

This came straight from the very friendly Costa Rica Immigration offcer when I left the country. Of course, don't be too surprised if a different officer tells you otherwise :-)
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 1 Jul 2010
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Montreal Via B.C.
Posts: 14
Take your time in Costa Rica, I wish I had spent more time there... I loved the Lake Arenal area (watch the wind in the mountains!) and found a good hostel waaay up with a volcano view. I think it was called Essence Arenal.

It was soaking with rain during the dry season, I can't imagine it now!
__________________
Learn Motorcycle Travel Photography! www.motojournalism.com
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
Current advice for Turkmenistan? todderz Northern Asia 5 21 Jan 2009 21:11
Anybody in Costa Rica Rica? lpascal Travellers Seeking Travellers 0 11 Oct 2008 17:03
Advice on road conditions? chunkylover Europe 6 19 Jan 2007 23:07
Current road conditions in South Island NZ The Big J Australia / New Zealand 2 15 Dec 2006 11:49

 
 
 

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!


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.


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 08:01.