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Old 02-23-2014, 09:55 AM   #16
italiano
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Location: South of the border
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The most important thing in tropic is wind protection, too much and there is no good jacket around, to little and you will be eathing mosquitos all day long. We usally ride with two jacked, one is all mesh with protections, and the other one is a tree layer jacket with air zippers. As they said you can go from 6 degrre celcius in the mornig in the middle of the sierra madre, to 43 degree in the coastal area. We usually have a bag over the top case just to storage the jackets (for my wife and myself), as for a normal ride for instance between mexico city and acapulco, a 5 hours 400 km ride you will stop several time to take off layers and then change the jacket.
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Old 03-03-2014, 07:20 PM   #17
canoeguy OP
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Just an update...

Motoport just got a big chunk of change from me. It took me a while to work up to the price, but I did it.

Thanks for the advice guys!
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Old 03-17-2014, 08:05 AM   #18
Solohobo
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April to May is not really an issue, as its the advent of rainy season, and things start greening up nicely in April, and planting season begins. Overall, its going to still be very hot and humid on the coastal sections, lowlands and arid caribe plains. The caribe side does get more rain in some countries (Costa Rica/Panama) but overall, the main roads and routes are down the Pacific side of each country anyway, so not really a worry until you get to San Jose and head down Rt 32 to Limon, for going to Panama Bocas del Toro, via Sixoala border.

Usually the rains will be later afternoon storms, you will see them building up in the sky, especially higher elevations and around the Volcano chains.

Keep in mind Costa Rica now has a mandatory Reflective Vest/Bright jacket requirement, but the police usually wont hassle a foreign plated moto rider as they know you are passing thru, but just so you know.

There is also a new "Exit Tax" for Costa Rica, this debuted in Nov but was suspended when the law was enforced, but there was nowhere to pay at border, as they wont take cash for the new Tax, (corruption) and travelers were having to go back to Limon on caribe side to pay tax and get receipt at bank. The main Pan Am side is not an issue as there are banks all over the busy hub at the border, but the Sixoala crossing is just a old train tressle and and pinnapple farms and a few supply stores, and chinese cafe...

For going north from CR to Nica, people were being turned away and having to go back to Liberia, to pay tax. (2 hours bus ride).

But now the bank that has the concession to collect the tax, has installed ATM style machines, that only take CC or Debit Cards, and prints receipts, but if the electricity is out, or internet down, or runs out of paper to print, or your card is not working, your screwed. So ask around in CR before heading to a border, its a mess, classic latin america makes no sense but just shrug shoulders and deal with it.

Panama: Proof of Onward Travel- Not sure how this applies to foreigners with thier own transport, but you cant take a bus into Panama, or a flight, without proving you have a flight out of Panama....

I highly recommmend spending time in Guatemala, Antigua, Lake Atitlan areas, Xela and the highlands is gorgeous country, and also spend some time in Nicaragua, Granada and Ometepe. The Costa Rican roads are in better shape than ever, some great new roads is from SJ to Paos 162 to Pt Viejo Sarapiqui, and also the old Pan Am from Buenos Aires to San Vito, and over to La Amistad lowlands, Rio Sirieno (sp).

The coastal road from Jaco to Quepos is nice too, and is really pretty and little traffic from Quepos to Palmar Sur. The southern zone or Osa, os gorgeous, in Palmar Sur, you can cut up to San Vito too, and do a loop, this high mountains and huge valleys...

Let me know if you need anything in CR...

Downtown San Jose has everything you need for a motorcycle repair, and even Liberia, San Isidro de General.

In Liberia, Google "Pizza Pronto" and stop in for a beer and great brick oven pizza, Percy the owner is a KTM guy and knows the areas roads well, super nice guy from Peru.

Here are some tips for CA:

I suggest you get a mace for the GF, a knife in a market in Mexico, and both take self defense classes. Police and justice dont exist in Latin America, period.

Here is my Central America on a motorcycle list, or car for that matter.

You need to read up on Central America, get a guidebook like Shoestring or Roughguide, MOON or LP.

1- Crime and petty theft is a major issue in Central America, I have been going there for over decade. I have hiked and traveled much of Guatemala, Dove in Honduras, and poked around Nicaragua. I go to Costa Rica for weeks at a time... You need to park the bike in a secure, guarded area at night, in a home or hotel hallways is best, you dont park on the street or left unattended. You cant leave anything unattended on the bike. Period.

2 Camping, its not something that is recommended overall, its not safe, and gringos are targets for theft of belongings, you cant leave anything unattended.

3- The main Pan Am Hwy is all 2 lane, thru mountians, no shoulders, and cargo trucks and nutty drivers, its nothing like the USA, and average speed is about 40MPH, 80KPH...the roads are often pot hole strewn and have washouts, landslides in rainy season.

4- Rainy season is May to Dec, Hurricane season is from Aug to Nov, the peak rainy season is Oct, the Yucatan to Panama on the caribe side is a hit n miss. Costa Rica/Panama in Oct early Nov best avoided, its daily heavy rains, key parks are closed, and many beach towns shutter for the month of Oct/

5- You need the title to the bike in your name, which needs to match your Passport. You also need to hit borders in early AM, as you need to que up to get out of one country, and then que up again and go thru processes taht can take 2-6 hours of paperwork, import fees, insurance and copies of copies of copies to 4 different office on the border...The bike will go in your Passport, you cant leave the country without it...or else pay import fees and taxes, usually more than 100% of the value of the vehicle, which they determine the value, not you, and its not in your favor. have 12 clear pages in Passport for CA.

6-You cant enter Panama without a "Proof of Onward Travel" as of late via bus or flight, meaning you need a flight, so check into that, as you have a vehicle.

7- Capitals are best avoided, though the main Pan Am connects them all. They are polluted, congested, crime ridden not a good place to get lost as a gringo on a nice bike.

8- Budget, a backpacker can go thru CA staying at hostels, eating local food (rice/beans) for $25 day, $40 day private room/cabina/bath, $60 day for nice, and $100 day to eat and stay in gringo level places.

9- Best camping options are in National Parks with ranger stations, Costa Rica has the most options, great hiking, super scenic roads and varying climates and eco systems.

10- Do you plan to take spanish immersion? This would help the trip huge, and also open many more doors for staying with locals and pitching a tent on private property. Tent camping in hot, humid, rains for hours on end is no fun, promise, I am a huge camper, fishing and hiking person.

11- Dengue Fever is a issue in rainy season, cover up. Get Typhoid, Dyptheria and Hep A-B (Hep B is sexually active) and a Tetanus booster

12- You should buy mace and a good knife once in CA, have a smoked face shield, and dont take routes you dont know if its not safe, drug traffickers and gangs are a issue, you need to know where not to go, they usually dont mees with a foreigner, but if they do, your most likely good as dead..

13-ATM Debit Card with No Foreign Transaction fee and a low Non Netrwork Fee.

14- Medical Insurance that covers a motorcycle, and also has evacuation insurance, the majority of CA is rural, and hours to a decent hospital, otherwise it is crude clinics that have old xray equipment (if lucky) few english speaking medical personnel, and access to a MRI or Cat Scan will only be in the capitals, and you have to pay first. If serious trauma (motorcycle accidents usually are) then you need to get to Houston/Dallas, Miami, on a MedVac plane, commercial flights wont allow sick people to fly. Thats $50K.

15- Dont plan to rider more than 4-5 hours a day, the sun is intense in CA, roads are small and you need to be alert, on defense, its fatiguing and stressful in a car, muchless a moto....

16- Wear full protection, full face helmet (tons of bugs and gravel on roads in tropics) back protector, waterproof riding suit, not a rain suit, these will be like a sauna in 95 degree and 100% humidity. Riding pants and boots, not shoes. Stay hydrated too, major heat and sweating is non stop.

17- Get a good GPS, waterproof, signs and roads are not well marked and not easy to figure out.

18- You will share the road with farm animals, farm equipement, people, children as there is no where else for them to walk to town, school, home, bus stops...

19- Many countries have new motorcycle laws, you need to wear a bright vest in Costa Rica now. Helmet laws are enforced with vigor.

20- Read the "Driving the Americas" website and forum.

21- If you take your time and kick back, know some spanish, its a epic journey with rich culture, beautiful vistas, amazing scenery, nature and wildlife, ecu systems, warm hearted and salt of the earth locals.

22- 99% of tourist/travelers visit CA and have a great time no issue, so have some street smarts, know where not to go, and be careful at night, as its when most shit happens.

23- *******Dont travel at night, ever, ever ever**********get to where you need to be by 3pm, it gets dark 530-6pm.
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Solohobo screwed with this post 03-17-2014 at 08:41 AM
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