November 13, 2009 GMT
Columbia to Costa Rica

My entry in to Columbia was easy but took over an hour as a group of students studying English were there to practice. I had a great time with them and had them help me with my Spanish.
019Students.jpg
Students and Teacher

The views were just spectacular as I road into Columbia. I forgot where I stopped but it was somewhere before Cali as I wanted to go into the city when I had time to find the Hostel Casa Blaca. It was evident that the general economic conditions were quite good compared to much of South America. There was also an obvious military presence along the road. Was not sure if that should make one feel comfortable because they are there or uncomfortable because why are they there.
019ViewHills.jpg

022DeepValley.jpg
The view was good but you don't want to miss a turn.

I had a GPS coordinates for Casa Blaca Hostel in Cali but it only got me close and after going in circles for half an hour I parked the bike and started walking. Only then did I figure out how the address worked. It was Ave. 6Bis, Calle 26, made a difference if Ave. was first or second and there were three Ave. 6 s, (6, 6bis, 6a).
Was a great place to stay, there were two other riders there, one from Britain and one from Australia. Mike the owner had been riding around the world when he met Diane in Columbia. She went with him to North America then they returned to Cali and opened the Hostel. He also does tours on motos or quads and will rent motos.

The second day in Cali I was told there would be a group getting together for a ride so off I went. There was seven Motos and we rode 110 miles up a valley to the village of La Union. Where we had a perfect lunch in a small seafood place. From there we rode up to an old colonial church.

033CaliLunch.jpg
Lunch on the ride

037motosChurch.jpg
motos in front of church

039ChurchView.jpg
view from the church which was on a hill

029HarleyDan.jpg
Dan riding a Harley Road King and heading south, I recomended he stay out of Bolivia as the road are caca.

024TollBooth.jpg
Toll booth on road after I left Cali, must of been 20 of these as I crossed Columbia, but motos get to go around most of them.

025Army.jpg
Guard at toll booth. The military would have a check point or station every so often. When they go to be every two K it made me think that the are must be seeing some problems.

015Pasture.jpg
Pastures do not need to be flat because they are never cut, but pastured year round.

007Cattle.jpg

001Coffee.jpg
Found the coffee but Jaun Valdes was not there

As I headed to went to Medellin about 100 K out I decide I can make it all the way. Then the road starts twisting up over a mountain range. There was considerable trafic and the truck would run at 10 mph as it was a steep winding road. By the time I made it to Medellin it was getting dark and I had no idea where I was going. Tried to find a couple of hostels that I had address to but no luck, ended up heading to Historic Center plaza. This has worked to find a hotel many times. I found a hotel but it was not a good part of town. The parking garage was a block away and as I headed to hotel the attended indicated watch out and be careful. After getting to the hotel and eating I walked to plaza, full of ladies of the evening and drug dealers so I scooted back to hotel.

023feetPool.jpg
It was hot and I could see the pool from the road so I spent 65,000 pasos and got a room here for the night. (2000 to $1) was worth it.

The ride from Medellin to Cartagena was very interesting from an agricultural prospective. The high lands (2000 to 2600M) were dominated by dairy farms. Most were in the 20 to 50 cow range and shipped milk in cans. These were very nice looking farms with several milk processing plants along the way.

027HillFarms.jpg
Farm in the hills.

When the road dropped to lower elevation the farms turned to beef cattle. Most were Brahma cross but there were some others. There was a section of very wet ground where they had water buffalo.

029OldTownSt.jpg
Old town in Cartagena not the best part of town but the Hostel was cheep.

031CityView.jpg
This is a view is from an old fort (very big fort) looking back to the old part of the city.

044Cerrio.jpg
This is a Cerrio, made in China, He bought it in Argentina and has rode it for 17500 K. It is totally worn out, the frame has broken for the third time, brake adjustment was striped, many parts were not working or fell off. But for $1200 he went a long way over some very rough roads. He worked on it all one day then left the next morning hoping to get to Bogota but was soon back as brake was hanging up. Plan now to scrape it out and hopes to get $350 (can not sell it as it has Argentine title).

To get to Panama you go by boat or plane as there is no road through. I checked on flights and I could fly moto for $1000 on the 19th or $1800 earlyer. The sail boats charge $370 for the moto and same for person for a five day cruse. Being cheap I went with the boat, was a bit concerned as I do not do well on water. Bought the seasick pills and off we went. Moto, nine backpackers, and myself on a 60ft. sail boat.
We loaded at six in the morning (loaded moto night before) and were off. The seasick pill really put you to sleep so much of the first day and half are a blur but then things got a better.

We spent two days in the San Blas Islands, swimming snorkeling and just doing very little.

049Loading.jpg
Loading moto on to sail boat, in the dark.

056Dolfins.jpg
Dolphins playing

066motoBoat.jpg
Moto tied to boat under tarp

096meOnIsland.jpg
What can I say, was OK

101GoldenEagle.jpg
Golden Eagle

103DinnerIsland.jpg
The Kuna cooked us dinner one night of crab and fish.

120MotoToShore.jpg
To get the bike from sail boat to shore we had to lower into this smaller boat then lift it over the side to beach.

127KunaHut.jpg
This is the Kuna hut that I stayed in for four days in Porta Lindo. When I got the bike off the boat and to hostel I was told that It was best to take the bus to Colon to get paperwork for moto because it was not brought in a port of entry and could be problems if they asked for paper work at check point. They were closed on Sat. so had to wait till Monday to get paper.

Once I had the paper I rode most the way through Panama in one day. Many of the citys were modern and like any you would see in US. including McDonalds and KFC.

130SimRanch.jpg
Simmental cattle for sale in Panama

132OldFort.jpg
Old fort south of Colon Panama

133MorningRoad.jpg
This is my morning view
134Tarde.jpg
This is what it looks like in the afternoon, it is the rainy season here and I am told that I can count on rain most afternoons.
136DelMonte.jpg
Del Monte pineapple farm in Panama.

I am now in San Juan, Costa Rica. Had the bike serviced, changed oil, plugs, and put on new brake pads. Still need a front tire but I have made arrangements to get one in El Salvador.
Staying at a really nice place with a pool 15 feet from my door so I am going to stop now.

Still planning on making it home for Christmas

Posted by Robert Thode at November 13, 2009 09:24 PM GMT
 
 

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.



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!

Story and photos copyright ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

All Rights Reserved.

Contact the author:

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

Hosted by: Horizons Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!