to Volcan

There’s been chat among riders about the Rio Sereno crossing into Panama and how great it is. It’s in the mountains, is tiny, approached on a rocky road and not travelled much. Great for the ride and great for being quiet.

It’s not a very long ride from Jiminez through the border to Volcan but I decide be conservative and set-up for the crossing at Cuidad Neily. If the border takes a couple of hours or more I don’t want to be riding to Volcan in the afternoon downpour. And I want time to enjoy the ride back off the peninsula, which turns out to be a wise choice. Good.

But first, the two day track. The border is the dark grey line that passes through Paso De Canoa
Screen Shot 2013-06-15 at 9.01.57 PM

Reversing the route, great views of the gulf
P1070461

The road turns paved
P1070458

And sometimes not
P1070456

And we’re back in civilization. Through a typical town
P1070464

Crash in Cuidad Neily
P1070472

On with the PacSafe for the border
P1070471

Then up into the mountains! The view back down to Neily
P1070476

Up through perfect twisties onto a ridge
P1070481

Lucinda and I love it when you can see the twisties you’ve been riding beside you on a parallel ridge. This is pavement riding at its best
P1070490

Oh no, here comes the rain
P1070484

Into the clouds
P1070482

A reprieve and it gets no worse. When it clears a bit we see high altitude farmland
P1070497

And beside the road at one point we see this. Take a guess. Yup, you got it the first time: Calystegia sepium, only not sepium, something very close, and blue. If in doubt look at the leaf shape and tendril about dead center. I could only laugh. A horticultural disaster equivalent to smallpox and they have it here, in paradise. Oh well
P1070499

Then, after a nearly perfect ride, the road turns to a kind of sharp fused rock for a few miles which takes a bit of riding-thought to get just right. Speed as usual seems to work best.

Then the border.
P1070508
This is a very remote place and the border town is tiny. This is the street you get your photocopies at. It’s steep, wet, the rock loose and generally pretty interesting riding.
P1070521

The Costa Rica Immigration and Aduana (customs) are in the same building, and super cute, like a postcard. Holy smokes, this is different. Usually Central American borders are laid out specifically to fuck with your head
P1070510

And just as the picture suggests, we whistle through in about 20 minutes. Incredible. But exiting is easy compared to entry. Next off to Panama Immigration, then Aduana, then Fumigation, then Seguro (insurance), then Aduana again and finally Policia.

So, immigration. He’s gone to lunch. I wait
P1070511

Then customs. You can see it’s customs, if you’re brilliantly observant by the ‘aduana’ painted on the bottom door sill. I love it that they do this to us gringos
P1070528

The customs girl was a sweetheart but threw me for a loop by insisting I got insurance first. Shit. I asked where, she said around the corner and sure enough, Seguro. But it was locked up. I waited about a half hour. Small border, no rules, except THE rules.
P1070523

Then I got into my get-the-job-done mood and put the camera away and was done, all-up, in about 2 1/2 hours. Which is not great, but fine elsewhere. Part of the problem was three sets of photocopies. When Policia asked for another full set at the end, much to my surprise, that was another 30 minutes off into town and back. So Rio Sereno is a cute and interesting crossing but today, not a particularly fast one. At least not for me today

And here’s my first pic of Panama
P1070532

There’s been some press among long-distance riders recently about the quality of the ride from Rio Sereno to Volcan in the mountains and it’s true. Perfect twisties for miles and miles, through to-die-for country
P1070535

Then my luck ran out. The skies opened, it turned torrential, visibility dropped to less than 100 feet, I had few nice slides, but eventually arrived at Volcan.

Here’s a section of the track into Volcan. Excuse the GPS error at about the 75% mark
Screen Shot 2013-06-14 at 5.39.12 PM

Goodbye Costa Rica. Next time
Image 3

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.