awesome so far, thanks for posting!!!
awesome so far, thanks for posting!!!
The new LJ http://www.expeditionportal.com/foru...640#post777640
Expedition XJ (Sold)http://www.expeditionportal.com/foru...ad.php?t=39142
This trip report just keeps getting better and better!
Excellent report!!!!!!!!! Love it! I love pretty much all things Latin America. And I not only wish there were more trip reports here, but that I could take my own trip!
I know you were gone longer than I could possibly go, but about how much in total did this trip cost you? (minus vehicle prep)
I had everything sorted out to do a trip to Panama on my motorcycle 3 years ago... Ended up not being able to go because of family reasons, but I guesstimated about 3000-5000. Had 4000 in the bank and bike fully prepped but just couldnt go!!!!! agh.
I don't really want to get into the money end of things yet, perhaps at the end of this trip report. If you really want to know feel free to pm me.
I keep getting questions on YouTube about the accident and paying the girl $500. So to clarify....
We didn't have to pay her. I didn't have to pay any bribes to cops and I didn't have to hand over my cell phone to the customs agent in Belize.
In each instance and situation I was given a choice and I made a decision. My decision may not be the same as you would make. I stand behind my decisions I made though and unless you were in the same situation really anything you might say is just your opinion.
Things happen fast, you may not have time to think about a decision for hours or a day or several days. You have to take into account the fact I was not in the USA when any of these "handing over" situations happened. Also take into account this was my first trip by vehicle into Latin America. The way things are done outside the USA is not the same as it is here.
I survived my trip and enjoyed it completely. The bad experiences fade fairly fast and the good is what you remember about a trip. I didn't get robbed by civillians, I didn't get hurt and my truck made it there and back. The Taco even survived a accident! I met hundreds of awesome and very nice people everywhere I went! It was a GOOD experience!
It was easy to dismiss people before I went that said....you shouldn't, you can't, you need to, don't do it! It is even easier now to dismiss people who say these things since I have gone, done it and returned to tell the tale. I mean for crying out loud one guy on YouTube commenting on the accident video states he has not been to CA or Mexico and bases his opinions on the media and that Latin America is BAD and DANGEROUS! Why someone would post that about a video or in a trip report about driving to Latin America is beyond me!
Look people if you haven't been to Latin America and don't have anything good or positive to say, or something constructive or a question...well just keep your opinions to yourself please. Thanks!
The trip report will continue very soon.....!
February 16th: We get up early and go for a walk on the beach. There is no surf so we get breakfast and pack up. We have breakfast right next to Camping El Hicaco at a little comedor. It was all you can eat for like $3 and it was excellent! We leave Jaco with the plan to get to Santa Catalina, Panama that day. The drive down the coast is beautiful….this was the only section on the trip that I didn’t drive! I just really needed a break and so Jaime drove and I navigated and took a nap! I lost my good hat out the window while I napped, it was on my head, window open and when I woke up it was gone! We hit the border about 1pm. All seems to be going well until we go to clear my dog on the Panama side. It seems the 16th is a holiday, the last day of carnival! So the bank is closed and I can’t make a deposit for my dog documents. The lady in charge in the Agriculture department is very stern and won’t budge about the payment to the bank. The bank is not open until the next day at 1pm! We decide no way to get through the border today so we head back to the Costa Rican side. Nope! We had stamped out of Costa Rica and can not enter back into the country for 3 days! It would seem we are stuck in the free zone….no mans land! Right about this time a guy walks by and overhears us and asks what is the problem. We explain in broken Spanish and he says…no problem I can help you get across right now, today! He says the lady is off duty in about 5mins and then the next guy comes on. The next guy will take a bribe of about $100 and stamp the docs and then we can enter Panama! The porter wants $30 for himself too. So for $130 we can get across. Neither of us like this but neither of us want to spend the night here. We decide to pay the bribe and get to Santa Catalina.
With correct documents in hand we leave the border at about 5pm. We find Guinness at the border in a store for $.65 a can so we stock up! We push on to David and get there not long before dark. We hit an ATM machine, and stock up on food and more beer knowing we can’t get much in Santa Catalina. By the time we are leaving David it is dark. The drive from David to Santa Catalina is long, real long. It is dark and being the last day of carnival there is lots of people in the road on foot….I drive real slow. We finally make it to Santa Catalina at about 12am! The town is partying big time…we find some people who show us where we can camp for $7 a night. We have a beer and set up camp and just crash out for the night.
February 17th- 20th: We hang out in Santa Catalina…surfing, eating, drinking and relaxing. We camp at a lady named Rosie’s property for $7/night for both of us. She is a nice lady, has an outdoor shower you can use and is willing to cook for extra cash, we never tried her cooking though! It was really really hot these few days. Upper 90’s with a strong hot offshore wind all day. We get to know town, a few people and start to really like not only Panama but Santa Catalina too!
video of heading south from Jaco down the coast....
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVzxkeHOgRc"]YouTube- The Ultimate Road Trip - south through Costa Rica[/ame]
video of our border crossing into Panama....including the handing off of the bribe!
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pC8CaFT8oaQ"]YouTube- Ultimate Road Trip - Costa Rica to Panama[/ame]
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbCIGRspr7M"]YouTube- The Ultimate Road Trip - Panama border part 2[/ame]
video of our first few days in Santa Catalina....
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgaZaeqsI1Y"]YouTube- The Ultimate Road Trip - Santa Catalina, Panama[/ame]
at the border.....
camp at Rosie's
Our first walk on the beach!
It was soooo nice to finally be in Santa Catalina. I had logged nearly 10,000 miles by this point, I was road weary and sick of borders. The made dash from Belize while fun was a bit rough. It was super awesome to go surfing mutiple times a day and just lay low, recharge and relax.
Last edited by RMP&O; 06-26-2010 at 03:41 AM.
February 20th: We head out from Santa Catalina early in the morning for Panama City. We dumped a bunch of gear, the Engel and more in our friends shop in Catalina. We are heading to Panama City to pick up Jaime’s guests for the trip he is guiding out to Isla Coiba. It takes us near 6hrs to get to the Tocumen airport. All confused on time of day and flights we think one of the guest has left the airport and is missing! It turns out ok in the end because we were off on the time of day and she shows up. We head back to Panama City to get a hotel. It takes us an hour of driving and a half hour walk to find the place. So many one way streets! It is about 6pm now, we get cleaned up and head out for dinner. About 9pm Jaime heads back to the airport to pick up the other two guests. I go to bed early! The hotel runs us about $65/night for two people. They do have a shuttle to and from the airport though that is free!
February 21st: We all cram into the Taco and drive back to Santa Catalina. Five people and a dog plus all our gear! On the way out of Panama City we want to check out the old town/historic district. After a while we are lost but find some cops in a golf cart who give us an escort through old town. It doesn’t help much though because we get lost again in old town! We ask a guy on the street for directions and he jumps on the side of the truck and says lets go! He is an off duty taxi driver. When we get near some cops he jumps in the truck, now it is 6 people, 4 in the back seat (seats actually not in the back) with the dog! I drive real careful because most of the manhole sin the streets in old town are missing! The taxi driver gets us to the right road and asks for a tip for his coffee, we give him a dollar or two. We get back to Santa Catalina mid to late afternoon. Jaime and myself camp at Oasis Surf Camp and we put the guests up in a cabana. Camping at Oasis runs $5/night per tent. It has decent bathrooms and outdoor shower for campers. Wear shoes around the place, I cut my foot on a sharp piece of PVC pipe sticking out of the ground! The have a kitchen that serves breakfast. It is an ok place expect for two things, noisy cows wandering the property at night, which really isn’t that bad. Except there is a really nasty German Sheppard dog on the property that barks all night long at the cows! The dog is muzzled because it is viscous and a known biter. I hate that dog, it tried to bite me!
video from Panama City including old town and the taxi driver who helped us find our way!
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIN9H6sGhJc"]YouTube- The Ultimate Road Trip - Panama City[/ame]
packing the Taco for the drive back to Santa Catalina...
Last edited by RMP&O; 06-26-2010 at 03:42 AM.
February 22nd: We hang out in Santa Catalina, go surfing, show the guests around and Jaime organizes for the trip out to Isla Coiba. I should mention Santa Catalina has a bunch of pretty good place to eat. Most serve just dinner but you can find lunch and B-fast around town too. Most the food is pretty good and is really cheap in my book. Average meal runs $5-10 for good sized portions. A lot of fresh sea food is available. The pizza joint is pretty good too!
Pictures from around Santa Catalina.....
main street...my kind of town!
We saw a lot of cars get stuck on the beach when it was low tide....we try to push this guy out but no such luck.
The best B-fast in town....
Last edited by RMP&O; 06-19-2010 at 06:51 AM.
February 23rd: Jaime and myself in the afternoon go to Santiago to buy food for the Coiba trip. We give a girl named Angel a ride to Santiago. She is from Florida and drove her 4-runner down here a few years back. She wants to try and pick it up in Santiago. On the way to Santiago we come across a rather large boa in the road that was just hit by a car. It was a bummer and a bit sad, a very beautiful 8ft or bigger boa. It is suffering so Jaime cuts its head off with the machete! Angel's 4-runner turns out to be a no go because her starter is toasted. We worked on the truck for 45mins or so. She goes shopping with us and helps with the groceries. We get what I think is way way to much food but Jaime is the guide so I follow his lead. We bet it will cost $400-500 bucks but it turns out being much less! Food is cheap in Panama!! After shopping we drop Angel off at a hotel and head back to Santa Catalina. We get back pretty late at night, nearly 10pm. Luckily we can get some dinner at the pizza place. We call it a night fairly early.
When Jaime and myself go to Santiago I spot a ton of Nissan Patrols....turns out they are very popular not only in Panama but very much so around Santiago!
brand new Patrol Ute at the dealership!
This one was sweet!!
factory Nissan PTO winch...