Ride To Darien Gap Panama - Número Tres!

Part Of The "Bad As You Want To Be" Series

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Ride Planning ( GPX File )                 The Gear                 Spotwalla Tracking              Weather

We Did It April 2022 & September 2023 - Time For Número Tres!


Mike and I rode to the Panama Canal in April of 2022 and we had a great ride, great time and a great experiences. In September of 2023 we made an attempt to ride to the Darien Gap but was turned around at the Costa Rica border due to paper work issues where our vehicle permits ( TIP ) were denied! We still had a great ride and a great time. Enough so we want to do it again!

Now we think we have resolved those paper work issues and we are ready to do it again!


This time we will be taking a different route starting in Laredo, TX and attempt to ride to the Darien Gap ( Yaviza, Panama ). WE are currently planning to start our ride on November 30, 2024 and hope to be back in Laredo, TX by December 10, 2024. Just like last years ride this will be a "quick" ride to the end of the road in Yaviza, Panama. If you want to know more about our past rides to Mexico, Central America and Panama and upcoming attempt to the Darien Gap check out this webpage as it has everything you need to know about each country and some great information, photos and videos from our last ride.


There is a LOT of information here about the last two rides to Central America and the ride coming up later this year.

If you are planning a ride to Central America and Panama take your time to review all of the information as it will help make your ride go smoother.


To find out more about riding in Mexico and Central America go to my YouTube Channel and checkout some of the 100+ videos I recorded of the 2022 and 2023 rides to Central America. I have videos entering and exiting most of the countries borders along with many military, police and other "types" checkpoints. Also the road to the Darien Gap and just some good riding through the countries.


Links To Our Spotwalla Satellite Tracking:  Mike Bobbitt's Spotwalla Tracking     Greg Rice's Spotwalla Tracking


 

That's us after arriving back in the USA September 17, 2023

On our ride in April 2022 it took us 9 days round trip to ride from Eagle Pass, TX to the Panama Canal and back. We had some issues like the flat tire I had in Guatemala on the ride down and on the ride back we was delayed 12 hours trying to enter Nicaragua. Nicaragua closed the border crossing early and we had to sleep over night in no-mans land between Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Also on the ride down we stopped early in David, Panama because it was raining cats and dogs and we spent the night there. We are hoping that those issues will not happen this time and we can save one day of riding. I am still thinking it could take up to 9 days to do the ride though because we are riding farther south to the Darien Gap. Here are the times of our ride last year based on Spotwalla tracking. We rode an extra 150 miles trying to ride to the Darien Gap ( rain, bad road and running short on time forced us to turn around ) which took 4 hours.

Time We Left Eagle Pass 10:48 AM April 14, 2022 102 Hours
Time We Arrived Panama City 5:24 PM April 18, 2022
Time We Stayed In Panama City 6:00 PM 6:00 AM 12 Hours
Time We Left Panama City 10:16 AM April 19, 2022 108 Hours
Time We Arrived Eagle Pass 10:05 PM April 23, 2022

Ride Timing From April 2022 Ride To The Panama Canal


On our ride in September 2023 it took us 7 days round trip to ride from Eagle Pass, TX to Costa Rica and back. On the ride back to the US we kind of took our time stopping at the best hotel in Central America, InterContinental Managua at Metrocentro Mall, and staying late the next morning to catch up on some much needed rest and have a nice big buffet breakfast.

Time We Left Eagle Pass 11:30 AM September 10, 2023 76 Hours
Time We Arrived Costa Rica 3:40 PM September 13, 2023
Time We Stayed In Costa Rica 8:40 PM September 13, 2023 5 Hours
Time We Left Panama City 8:40 PM September 13, 2023 86 Hours
Time We Arrived Eagle Pass 10:00 AM September 17, 2023

Ride Timing From September 2023 Ride To Costa Rica


After our success in April 2022 we planned to ride to the Darien Gap in September 2023. Well things did not go as planned because when we arrived at the Costa Rica border they would not give us a vehicle import permit, TIP. This was due to them being hacked in April 2022 and many of their records were lost so there was no proof that we turned our TIP in 2022. They said if we could prove we entered Nicaragua that day they would give us a TIP. At the time we did not have any proof on us so we decided to end the ride to the Darien Gap and turn around and head back to the US.

I have started planning and preparing for my third ride to Panama and hopefully make it as far as the Darien Gap. My goal for this years ride is the same as the ride in September 2023 which is the town of Yaviza which is at the end of the road and the start of the Darien Gap on the Panama side. Just like the 2022 ride we will not have a lot of time to do this ride because of life and work ( someday I may retire ) so we do not really have any plans on sightseeing during this ride. Mike and I did see a lot of cools things and had some crazy experiences on our rides in 2022 and 2023. I am sure we will see and experience even more new things on this ride since we will have a little bit of a different route.

On this webpage you can read about some of our experiences and see some photos and videos as I provide information on what it takes to complete this ride. It is not meant to be a ride report but show some of our experiences so you better understand how to do this ride. There are a lot of good photos and videos of us entering and exiting some of the countries along with a couple videos of the road to the Darien Gap.


 

This sign is still our goal for the 2024 year ride!


The optimal time for this years long distance endurance ride is three and a half days riding each way ( 2,775 miles - That is an overall average of 31 MPH ) with two nights in Panama to rest up for the ride back. That is basically what Mike and I did in April 2022 as we spent two nights in hotels in Panama. It took us 79 hours to reach the Panama border from Eagle Pass, TX. For this ride we are planning to take four days each way which should give us a little more time to rest. As last years ride I will be treating it like a IBA endurance ride / rally ( that is who I am ) and I am hoping to complete a couple IBA rides including another Mexico Border 2 Border and a Panama Express ride as Mike and I did during the April 2022 year ride.

If you are thinking of doing this ride with Mike and me you have to be ready ride hard! This ride WILL include 30+ hours riding depending on how long it takes to get through border crossings. For the April 2022 ride when we left Texas and entered Mexico, our first day of riding was 29 hours as we did a Mexico Border 2 Border in less than 24 hours ( 1,408 miles ). Then after entering Guatemala I had a flat that added 3 hours to make it to the first town that had a hotel and tire repair shop which was La Libertad, Guatemala.


 

The start of our September 2023 ride to Panama


Here are a couple photos of the flat and what caused it ( file ) that I had on the rear tire in Guatemala on the ride south.

Tire repair shop in La Libertad, Guatemala

Once we located a tire repair shop I removed the rear wheel and they had a tire machine and removed the tire and patched it on the inside with a large truck size tire patch. They did a great job and it only cost $20. I also gave them a $20 tip for getting it done quickly. The patch worked and I rode the rest of the ride to Panama and back home to Fort Lauderdale on that tire which was over 6,000 more miles.


 

We stayed at the Hotel Monja Blanca in La Libertad, Gatemala on both the April 2022 and September 2023 rides in both directions. It was a nice clean hotel where they close the gates and lock them in the evenings.


The next day we rode nineteen and a half hours riding through Honduras and Nicaragua to get to the Nicaragua / Costa Rica border where we arrived at 4:30 AM. We waited three hours ( rested on the ground in a parking lot ) for the border to open and then one hour to complete the exit process and turn in our TIP so we could enter Costa Rica. After completing immigration and getting our TIP we continued to ride until we reached David, Panama. The process at the Panama border was going great until we had to purchase temporary vehicle insurance ( $20 ) and the person who sells the insurance was away at church, it was Easter Sunday. It did not come back for two hours so it took two and a half hours to complete the process to enter Panama. It was a thirty-seven hour day with a three hour rest break at the Nicaragua border.

On the April 2022 ride once we entered Panama it started raining like crazy and we started looking for a hotel. The closest big city was David so we found a hotel there and I called to book rooms on the way.

A couple short videos of the rain we encountered on our ride during the April 2022 ride, one video heading south after entering Panama and the other on our ride north in the Costa Rica rainforest.


During the ride we stayed at two hotels on the ride south and two hotels on the ride north and couple times we slept on the ground to get some much needed rest. I mention this because I want others riders who may want to ride with me understand what it will take to do this ride with me.

On the April 2022 ride we treated ourselves to a nice hotel in David, Panama, Hampton by Hilton. We got our own rooms and relaxed. We had to dry out our riding gear and get some real food. I ordered so much food from room service I ended up only eating half of it. The room service bill was bigger than the hotel bill which was $60.

On the April 2022 ride back north we stayed at a in Hotel Choluteca, Honduras. It was called Hotel Boutique Casa D' Luna and was a nice hotel and cost $40 for a room with two beds.


Fun times in San Pedro Sula, Honduras on the return where we meet a nice rider, José Rolan Talbott Muñoz, at this Burger King.


This is a short video ( turn up the volume ) of the Howler monkeys closing in on us while we was asleep in no man's land between Costa Rica and the Nicaragua border on our ride back north. This was around 3:00 AM and we was asleep on the ground and thought we heard monsters attacking. The monkeys kept getting closer and more and more of them. The Costa Rica National Guard started shining bright lights up into the trees around us and eventually the monkeys started to move away. Of course we did not go back to sleep after that.


So based on what you just read you saw that we did a lot of night riding on our ride down to Panama and back. We had no issues and easily found gas stations open along our route with plenty of places to eat. We had no problems and no one messed with us. We stayed out of the towns and on the roads on our route which we knew was going to be pretty safe.

Another nice thing about riding in Mexico and Central America was that the gas does not contain ethanol and our miles per tank range went way up.

Here is some of the things you should do if you are looking to do this ride as a long distance endurance ride to help make it more successful. First is to be prepared as best you can to solve most any issues that could happen during the ride. One main thing is to have a good tire repair kit and air compressor. On my ride last year I had two air compressors and three tire repair kits and it turned out that was a great idea as I had a flat in Guatemala that we had to plug three times before we made it tot he next town and could get the tire patched. I also carried three tire spoons and a seventeen inch tube that I could put in the tire if it could not be plugged. I also carry a tow rope to tow me or the other rider if the engine stops. There are may places along the route that there may be no help for many miles.

Another good idea is to carry multiple portable battery packs ( see link below ) to keep your headset charged during the ride. Most headsets last around ten hours on a charge so having the portable charger is a great way to keep it charged. I also have multiple USB ports connected to my motorcycle that I could also use to charge my headset and cell phone. You need to have multiple flashlights in the event you have an issue at night and need light to resolve the issue. I carry replacement cables for all of my devices as it may be hard to find them.

I carry two first aid kits that I combine into one to be sure I have the ability to provide some medical attention if needed.


To find out more about riding in Mexico and Central America go to my YouTube Channel and checkout some of the 100+ videos I recorded of the ride last year. I have videos entering and exiting some of the countries, many military, police and other checkpoints and just some good riding through the countries.  Greg Rice - YouTube Channel


Here are Mike's and my Spotwalla tracking links from our ride last year.

Greg Rice - 2022 Panama Spotwalla Tracking Link

Mike Bobbitt - 2022 Panama Spotwalla Tracking Link


On the April 2022 ride I had a GoPro Hero 9 mounted on my GSA and I made over 100 videos during our ride to Panama. Here is the first video of us crossing into Mexico from Eagle Pass, TX. I have all of the videos on my YouTube Channel. Greg Rice - YouTube Channel.

Video of us entering Mexico from the Eagle Pass International Bridge I April 2022


We are planning on a little different route on this ride as Eagle Pass, TX is getting a little crazy and very hard to get a hotel there. We will be starting in Laredo, TX on this ride. You can do this ride on any motorcycle and a ADV motorcycle is not required. I will be riding my BMW RT and I am sure it will do just fine. The hardest part of last years ride was heavy rain in northern Panama on the ride down and in the Costa Rica rain forest on the ride back. We just rode slow and took our time. The other hard part is seeing the topes ( speed bumps ), these can really wake you up if you did not see them at 40+ MPH. Topes are mostly entering and exiting towns and some in the middle of town. They can be big and potentially damage your wheel. Once you ride over a few you get the hang of how best to ride over them.


Darien Gap Ride Planning

One of the toughest things I had to do over the years was to convince my wife that my idea to ride to the Panama Canal would be safe and that everything will be ok. It did take some convincing but I was able to prove that I could do this ride safely. For this years ride to the Darien Gap it was a little easier to convince the wife but it still took some work to make her feel comfortable. 

Now that I have the experience from last years ride ( 2022 ) I have found some ways to improve on the timing of the ride south. Our ride planning for this ride has us starting a little later in the day at Eagle Pass, TX so we arrive at a good time at the Guatemala border crossing. The goal is to reduce the amount of down time we had in last years ride. We had a total of 41 hours of stopped time including the flat I had, time waiting for borders to open and hotel stops. We only wasted a few hours in Mexico and there is not much we can improve on for the Mexico part of the ride south. Our hotel stops were longer than normal due to a couple things. The first hotel stop was because of my flat and needing to find a tire repair shop. We were a total of 17 hours in La Libertad and I hope to reduce that to 10 hours. The hotel stop in David, Panama was 14 hours and mostly because we stopped early after dealing with a 3 hour delay at the Panama border crossing waiting on the vehicle insurance office to open. It was Easter and the person who worked at the insurance office was at church playing the piano and we had to wait for them to return as it was the only place to buy the required insurance. We also was riding in heavy rain once we left the Panama border crossing so we started looking for a hotel to get a brake. We stopped at David and checked in to a hotel there around 9:30 PM and did not leave until 12 noon the next day. We needed that rest because of the time spent waiting at border crossings. I am hoping to improve on the time we spent at hotels and improve on the timing of border crossing to reduce the stopped time.

I think it is possible to reduce the stopped time from 43 hours to 28 hours for border crossings and hotel stops and hopefully no flats or other issues.


Here is a link to a ZIP file that contains a GPX file of our route. Ride To The Darien Gap


This is the Sunrise and Sunset times along the route. All times are local time.

Location Sunrise Time Sunset Time Border
Laredo, Texas     Mexico Border
Veracruz, Mexico    
El Ceibo, Guatemala     Guatemala Border
La Libertad, Guatemala    
Corinto, Honduras     Honduras Border
Choluteca, Honduras    
Guasaule, Nicaragua     Nicaragua Border
Peñas Blancas, Costa Rica     Costa Rica Border
Aserrío, Panama  ( Paso Canoas )     Panama Border
David, Panama    
Panama City, Panama    
Yaviza, Panama     Darien Gap


 

This is a image from Basecamp of POI's and routes along our route to the Darien Gap


Here is a link to a ZIP file that contains a GPX file of our route. Ride To The Darien Gap


My Documents Packages For Each Country With Multiple Copies Of The Required Documents


I have updated this webpage with information I learned from the last ride so it is a little more accurate. I will be continually updating this information.


COVID is less of an issue now and Nicaragua no longer requires a COVID test if you have a vaccine card with at least two COVID vaccines.


This is important information. You do need to have a copy of your registration and title for each border crossing. You do NOT have to have a clear title and it can have a lien ( loan ) you just have to have the title. The original or a color copy will do. Mike had a black and white copy of his title ( it had a lien ) and he had a couple issues in a couple of the country border crossings because it was not a color copy. It worked out but a color copy would have been better. I made two copies of each document for every border crossing.


This is important information. You must register a couple days to enter Honduras and Nicaragua. There are links below that will take you to the webpages so you can register.

Mexico requires a bond on your motorcycle that you get back once you check out of Mexico. It is around $400 and can be done before going to Mexico ( see information below ) or at the entry point in Banjército Allende/Piedras Negras. You will get the bond back and can use a credit card to pay it.

I spent around $1,400 on my ride back in 2022 and and about $1,200 on the 2023 ride. It should cost around the same for this ride. I went to my bank and a local currency exchange to get currency for each of the countries we were going to be ridding in and that really helped. Most gas stations took our credit cards with no issues.

You need to have some local currency for each country except Costa Rica and Panama as they take dollars. You need about $300 in Mexican currency to pay the tolls and other costs for the ride down and back. I had $100 dollars in local currency for each of the other countries.

We had NO issues with anyone on the ride last year ( 2022 ), and everyone was very nice. We did pass through many checkpoints some being police, military and others.

There are some things that needed to be completed before the ride like the requirement to register with Nicaragua ( link below ) 7 days before arriving at the border and to complete the Honduras Precheck ( link below ) three days prior to entering Honduras. I documented this below for future reference for others who may want to ride south. There is a lot of detailed information below with my plans and country specific routes and requirements.

Keep checking back here as I will be continuing to add more information about my ride to the Darien Gap Panama as it gets closer.


I will be starting this ride from my home in Fort Lauderdale, FL and it will be around 4,506 mile ride to the Darien Gap, Panama following my current planned route. So round trip from my house in North Carolina makes it 9,012 miles. The ride from Eagle Pass to the Darien Gap is 3,006 miles riding in some difficult areas and conditions. So that makes it 6,012 miles in Mexico and Central America.

Mike will be starting from his home in Denver, CO and it is 930 miles to Eagle Pass, TX and another 3,006 to the Darien Gap. Mike's round trip ride will be 7,785 miles.

Most of the route is planned around roads that have lots of traffic including commercial traffic and trucks. These roads are better maintained and border crossings are usually quicker because they have to be more organized to handle the amount of traffic they have. Many others look for the opposite types of roads but for this ride I think the more the merrier.

We will be riding on some of the Pan American Highway ( PAH ). We will be riding the Pan American Highway through most of Mexico and then we will ride east on highway 150D and 145D ( toll roads ) and ride other highways into Guatemala and Honduras. We will pick up the Pan America Highway again in Nicaragua.

The route will take us through 6 countries not counting US which are Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. It WILL be a very interesting ride. This may increase to 8 countries adding Belize and El Salvador if time permits.

Central America border crossings are a challenge and will require some patience's lots of copies of documents. Guatemala and Nicaragua took the most time to complete the paper work. Guatemala took time just because they was slow and the person had a typewriter. Nicaragua took time because they had many windows we had to visit to enter. It should be faster now that a COVID test is not required. The other countries each took less than an hour to do the immigration and vehicle temporary import ( TIP ) paperwork.

Now that I have some experience doing this ride and what to expect at border crossings I am working on fine tuning the timing of the route. Guatemala border crossing is only open 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM so arriving early helps. Nicaragua can close the border crossing early so arriving before 11:00 PM ( closes at 12 midnight ) in both directions is a good idea.

The weather on this ride will probably be dry, wet, hot and cold. Pretty much the whole gambit except snow. I expect to see temperatures as low as 55 degrees and as high has 90 degrees. I am sure on a ride this long there will be rain and maybe even some hard rain in places like Costa Rica and Panama.

As on the last ride to Panama I am planning on staying in hotels along my route but I will be prepared to sleep on the ground as we did a couple times on the last ride. We may have to do that again on this ride so be prepared. I have a tarp and a sleeping pad that I bought from Amazon that work well.

Tarp: REDCAMP Waterproof Camping Tent Tarp

Sleeping Pad: POWERLIX Sleeping Pad


We did register with the US State Department Smart Traveler Enrollment Program ( STEP ) on the last ride and will be doing so again on this ride. This program allows you to register your trip with the US State Department so that they can notify you of important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, helping you make informed decisions about your travel plans. Help the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency. Help family and friends get in touch with you in an emergency.

We both have a medical transport insurance called MedJet Assist that provides hospital to hospital transportation on an air ambulance or other means. We also both have the motorcycle shipping option that will handle shipping my motorcycle back home if I am transported by MedJet. For this ride to the Darien Gap Panama I will again use a MedJet service called MedJet Horizon and with the upgrade to Horizon I get the following additional services (  travel security and crisis response services benefits powered by corporate security experts FocusPoint International ) that at least make my wife and me feel a little more secure knowing I will have some additional help if I need it.

The entry requirements for each country we will be riding through is a little different like Nicaragua requires you to pre-register at least 7 business days in advance. Honduras has a health pass form you need to complete and there may be other requirements for my ride. I have more about these requirements below in each countries section.

COVID Update: As of May 2023 no COVID test for any of the countries was required if you have a vaccine card.


This is our current planned cities along our route of course things can change depending on fuel range, border crossings and other types of incidents. An interactive Google map of my route is below is below.

  • Fort Lauderdale, FL - My Start Location

  • Denver, CO - Mike's Start Location

  • Laredo, TX

  • Tampico - Mexico

  • El Ceibo - Enter Guatemala

  • Corinto - Enter Honduras

  • Guasaule - Enter Nicaragua

  • Peñas Blancas - Enter Costa Rica

  • Paso Canoas - Enter Panama

  • David, Panama

  • Santiago, Panama

  • Panama City, Panama

  • Yaviza, Panama

  • And BACK

If we are able to ride into Belize and El Salvador we will also ride into these cities. Also if we ahve the time we will reide to the end of the Panama American Highway at Yaviza, Panama where the Darien Gap starts.

  • Melchor de Mencos - Enter Belize

  • El Amatillo - Enter El Salvador

  • Yaviza, Panama - Darien Gap


During our ride planning we have been trying to figure out what we will need to take with us on the ride and I have been building this list that is still growing. Here is a list of items we will be carrying that I feel is about the minimum needed to be able to get us back on the road.


Photos Of Bad As You Want To Be Riders


The Motorcycle and Gear

On last years I ride I rode my 2019 BMW GSA and it is a great choice with its all around capabilities. On this years ride I am riding my 2023 BMW R1250 RT and I am sure it will also be a great choice based on my experience from last year and the roads we road on.

I have done a few modifications that help me be a ride farther, longer and more comfortable. The changes I made to the RT help make it a better long distance riding motorcycle. Many of the modifications listed below will come in handy on this ride to the Darien Gap Panama and will give me a better chance of completing the ride.

My motorcycle is well prepared for rides like this so I do not expect any issues related to my motorcycle. I performed a full maintenance including valve check and the drive shaft spline check prior to the ride.

Tires

I am going to be running Dunlop Mutant tires that gets good mileage and works well on the roads that we will be riding on. First I looked at using a run-flat car tire that would give me a lot of miles but I am not sure I could remove a car tire on the side of the road for repair so I decided against that. I used a car tire back in 2018 on my Gold Wing when I rode to Mexico and it was fine as I was near services all the time so it was not as big a concern for me. I am going to mount a set of Dunlop Mutant tires on the front and rear. I used these tires in the 2021 Senior Butt Rally and they worked great. I am going to run an oversized rear tire, 190/55R17, to get a little more ground clearance. On the front I normally get 12,000+ miles out of any tire I use so I should be good there.

 

Electronics

Mike and I have a lot of electronics on our motorcycles that help us keep informed and headed in the right direction. This includes multiple GPS, weather and weather radar, radar detectors along with other electronics. It takes a elaborate audio mixer system to get all of this information into my helmet so I do not want to take my eyes off the road when I can hear information in my helmet.

I have multiple Garmin GPS's  ( Garmin Zumo XT and RV 890 ) mounted on the handlebar and the cross bar behind the windscreen. My Garmin GPS's are loaded with 2023 North America Maps that includes all of Mexico including POI's for Mexico. For the Central American countries I am using OpenMapChest maps that are Garmin compatible. The maps are available for Basecamp and Garmin GPS's from a website that allows you to select what maps you need and download maps to use in Basecamp and on your GPS. For a small donation of $20 I was able to download a installation file for Basecamp and a map file ( gmapsupp.img ) to load on my Garmin GPS's ( Zumo XT and RV890 ). They work great and have many POI's for gas stations, hotels and other places you may be looking for. They are also routable and blend in with the maps I already have installed on my GPS. I used these maps during last years ride and they worked great.

Here is a link to the Central America map website. https://www.openmapchest.org/maps/central-america/

Once you download the map from OpenMapChest for use on Garmin GPS's ( gmapsupp.img, around 297 megabytes ) it goes in this folder on your GPS. "GPS/Internal Storage/Garmin/Map".


Once you have the map downloaded and installed on your GPS this is what it will look like on the GPS. Be sure to go to settings / mymaps and check the box for the OpenMapChest map, see the red box in the image below.

Here are a couple images of the Central American maps from OpenMapChest installed on my GPS


I will running Google maps and Waze maps on my 5 inch CarPlay device mounted on the left handlebar. I also have a backup phone that is a Google Fi phone with service in Central America. With Google maps and my two Garmin GPS's I should hopefully not get lost.

I am going to be using a GoPro Hero 11 camera to take video of as much of this ride as possible as I did on the last ride. I got some good video of the border crossings and the roads and towns we passed through on last years ride. I also want to try and get more videos of the border crossings to share for future riders making the trip.

Communication

During our April 2022 ride our AT&T and Verizon cell phones worked 80% of the ride and Nicaragua had the least amount of cell phone coverage. Much of the coverage was only 3G but there was some 4G LTE around the bigger cities. We never felt like we was out of communication. Many places we stopped also had Wi-Fi and we was able to send and receive large files as needed.

We will be using Cardo Edge bluetooth headsets to communicate with each other. They work great and give us a good half mile range.

I also had a SPOT GEN4 and a SPOT X satellite tracking devices that worked great in sending our locations and providing tracking for others who were following us during our ride. On this years ride I am adding a SPOT X as it has two way message capabilities and a built-in compass that can navigate to programed waypoints. Mike has a Garmin inReach that also has the ability to send two way messages Our tracking devices will show our tracking location every 5 minutes ( see Spotwalla map link below ) and when we stop for border crossings, hotels or gas stops we will mark the locations with a SPOT OK message. Both the SPOT X and SPOT GEN4 can be hired wired for power and that will keep them working without new batteries for the whole ride.

AUX Lights and AUX Tank

I have installed Erica lights from Clearwater Lights and R7's from Ruby Moto, Mike has D7's and D4's from Denali that will light up the night when ever we are riding through the night. The Clearwater Lights worked great last time and I am sure they will do the same on this ride. They also add a lot of conspicuity to be seen in the day time.

I have a 4.4 gallon AUX tank mounted over the passenger seat that will give me a total of 11 gallons of gas that should provide me a 400+ mile fuel range. On last years ride we had no problem finding gas. I have also identified gas stations in all of the countries I will be riding through. There also is gas stations near most of the border crossings and I have stopped at some of them.

Mike has a 5 gallon AUX tank on his GSA so he has 12 gallons of fuel available and has a 500+ mile fuel range.

Other Gear

I have Aerostich tank panniers that are mounted on the left passenger foot peg that I have tools and supplies stored in. On the right passenger foot peg I have a 1 gallon jug for water mounted with a Garauld hydration system mount. The 1 gallon jug usually last me about 20 hours and keeps the water cold for about the same 20 hours. This is a nice way to carry things low on the motorcycle to keep the center of gravity low.

I have a large tankbag by SW-Motech that I can carry things I need to get to while riding including snacks to keep me going. I also store some electronics in a box in the SW-Motech tankbag. I have a pretty elaborate audio mixer setup in the tank bag to mix the audio from multiple devices like my Garmin RV890 GPS and my radar detector.

I am carrying two First Aid kits with different items in each to be sure I can take care of pretty much any thing that comes up.

Riding Gear

The first thing I put on before anything else is my LDComfort underwear / base layer as this is what keeps me comfortable in all types of weather from damn hot to freezing cold. LDComfort really does a great job of transferring the moisture away and keeping me dry. I have been wearing LDComfort gear for over 15 years and I can't find anything better.

I wear Aerostich Darien Hi-Viz jacket and Aerostich AD1 pants that will keep me safe and dry throughout the ride. This setup works well and is comfortable enough that I may not take them off for 3 days at a time. I also wear TCX Gore-Tex boots that keep my feet dry and well protected.

I will be wearing a new boot from TCX called TCX-Clima-2-Surround-Gore-Tex with some new Gore-Tex technology that should keep my feet dry.

Mike wears Klim Badlands PRO jacket and pants and they provide him great protection from all of the elements.


Before you decide to head south to Panama you should review the US State Department Travel Advisories, here is the link.Travel Advisories (state.gov)


List Of Minimum REQUIRED Items

  • Passport - Valid for more than 6 months minimum

  • COVID Vaccine Card

  • Drivers License

  • Vehicle Registration

  • Vehicle Title - Some Countries

  • Fire Extinguisher - Some Countries

  • Reflective Safety Road Hazard Triangle - Some Countries

  • Local Currency ( Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua )

All of the countries have some fees you have to pay to enter the country. They are not expensive but they do add up. I think the most expensive is Mexico when you add up all of the fees because Mexico has an expensive vehicle insurance cost around $100. The fees in the rest of the countries are less but expect something around $20 to $40 total for each country. Some are less but I think it is better to be prepared so I can shorten the time it takes to complete a border crossing.

It is a good idea to get local currency before you do this ride because this is a long distance endurance ride you don't want to take time stopping to exchange currency. It is pretty easy to get most of the countries currency fro your bank or local currency exchange. Here is how much local currency I recommend based on my ride last year. Mexico will be the most because of the tolls, there are a lot of them and some are not cheap. The dollar is used in Costa Rica and Panama so you don't need to get those currencies. Almost everywhere take credit cards but having local money for the border crossing fees really helps. Below is the amount in US dollars that you should exchange into the local currencies.

  • Mexico - $300

  • Guatemala - $100

  • Honduras - $75

  • Nicaragua - $75

Most of the Central American countries require you to obtain a temporary vehicle import permit ( TVIP / TIP ) and normally they require you to cancel the TVIP when you exit the country. I have been looking into the possibility of keeping my TVIP open and cancel it on my return ride. This would save me some time at each of the borders on the ride south to the Darien Gap Panama. Right now it looks like Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Costa Rica will let me keep the TVIP until I return on my ride back north. At each border crossing you may have to ask and or insist that you want to keep the TVIP open until you return. It may turn out to be just the luck of the draw if they agree to allow you to keep the TVIP open. I am going to have my wife write a letter in Spanish explaining why I want to do this and maybe that will help.

I am going to arrange to have local currency for each country so I can pay the fees at border crossings. Many banks will do this for you if you give them about a weeks notice. Also there are some online companies that sell foreign currency and mail it to your house.

Mike and I did NOT use any border helpers on last years ride. We did give a child at the Nicaragua border a few dollars to watch our motorcycles but mostly just to be nice.

My ride from Topton, NC to Eagle Pass, TX is about 1,200 miles and I should be able to do that in one day. I will be staying at a hotel there in Eagle Pass before starting my ride into Mexico. The route through Mexico is 1,408 miles and should take one day if we can do another Mexico B2B otherwise it will take less than two days. The route through Guatemala to the Darien Gap Panama is 1,597 miles and also should take around two days if everything goes well.

If we decide to ride into Belize and El Salvador it will add 90 miles to our route. If we also decide to ride to the end of the Pan American Highway / end of the road at the Darien Gap it will add another 180 miles.

Here are the current border crossings I plan to use and the times they are open. I need to plan my ride to arrive at each border when they are open. I do not want to be hanging around for long periods of time while waiting for the border to open.

From To Border Name Times
USA Mexico Piedras Negras 24 Hours
Mexico Guatemala El Ceibo 9 AM To 6 PM
Guatemala Honduras Corinto 5 AM To 10 PM
Honduras Nicaragua El Guasaule 6 AM To 12 PM
Nicaragua Costa Rica Peñas Blancas 6 AM To 12 PM
Costa Rica Panama Paso Canoas 24 Hours


Here are photos and a video of us starting starting our ride to the Panama Canal last April 2022. We was really exicted and could not wait to get across the border and into

Mike and I at the start of our ride to Panama - Eagle Pass, TX


Mike's photo of me entering Mexico


Traffic Cam picture of us entering Mexico at Eagle Pass, TX


Below is some specific information for each country. Each country has there own specific requirements and they may change at any time.


Mexico

What you need at a minimum to cross into Mexico.

Route in Mexico Is In Central Time Zone - The Mexican government has voted to eliminate daylight saving time in 2023.

COVID-19 Requirements: If fully Vaccinated no test required.

Below is some specific information I found for each country. Each country has there own specific requirements and they may change at any time.

Requirements: If fully Vaccinated no test required.

Border Operations - Banjército Allende/Piedras Negras: 24 Hours

Google Map Link To Mexico Customs:Banjército Allende/Piedras Negras KM. 53.4 - Google Maps

Keep TVIP / TIP Open: No - We tried

  • Passport - Valid For More Than 6 Months Minimum

  • COVID Vaccine Card

  • Drivers License

  • Vehicle Registration

  • Vehicle Title In Your Name

  • The Leasing / Loan Contract - if you're leasing our have a loan on the car with a letter saying you have permission to drive to Mexico

  • A Major Credit Card In Your Name

  • Tourist Card - Obtained Prior Or At The Border

  • Vehicle Insurance - Obtained Prior Or At The Border


San Luis Potosi Weather


Villahermosa Weather


I have ridden into Mexico a few times over the years while attempting IBA certified rides and I have always wanted to ride farther south but never had the opportunity. Last years ride was no different, we mostly rode the toll roads and we did ride at night with no issues. Crossing the border paper work in Mexico is done 40 miles south of the border at Banjército Allende/Piedras Negras. It is opened 24 hours and was pretty easy to get the paper work completed.

 

Photo of the Banjército Allende/Piedras Negras

Mike and I at the Allende, Mexico Aduana ( Customs )

"Hotel" in Mexico on the ride back north

Based on our ride last year, 2022, I found my planned route is good and efficient. There was plenty of 24 hour gas stations and places to get food. I had many people, including members from IBA Mexico, also review our route before last years ride and they offered advice which some I took and some I took into advisement. I am not changing the route through Mexico for this ride. This has a lot of tolls and you need to have money available to get to quickly. I kept my toll money in my left vest pocket of my Aerostich Darien jacket and we took turns paying the tolls for both of us. This was a good efficient way to get through the toll booths quickly.

We entered Mexico at Piedras Negras just across the border from Eagle Pass, TX and rode south towards Saltillo on highway 57 and 57D which is a Mexican toll road. I have been told by many including people living in Mexico that those are the safest roads to use and you can ride on them after dark. I do not plan to ride into Saltillo but around the town staying on highway 57D south. All of these are toll roads and one of the nice things is the tolls you pay include a free service like AAA. There is a 800 number you can dial for help on the toll receipts and on signs along the highway. Mexico has a lot of toll roads and a lot of toll booths so be prepared. We made sure that we had plenty of Mexican currency to pay the tolls.

Here is some good information if you are riding to Mexico. There are websites that allow you to pre-register you and your motorcycle so that you can just show the information at the border and speed up the process. You must do the pre-registration for yourself first as there is a number ( Electronic pre-authorization number ) that is provided that you will need when you pre-register your motorcycle.

You can pre-register yourselves on this website: https://www.inm.gob.mx/sae/publico/en/pre-autorizacion.html

You can pre-register your vehicle on this website: https://www.banjercito.com.mx/registroVehiculos/

Mexico requires vehicle insurance for the time your vehicle is in Mexico and your US based insurance coverage is not acceptable. You can buy the insurance for just a few days or up to a annual plan. There are companies that you can use to buy the required insurance for Mexico prior to arriving at the border. I used a company called MexPro and they have been around for a while and are reputable. There are many other companies that you can use also. The one I used was recommended to me by people in Mexico and some friends who have been to Mexico many times and used them. You can buy the minimum liability insurance or purchase full coverage like you would have in the US.

You can purchase the required Mexican vehicle insurance on this website: https://www.mexpro.com/

There are police and military checkpoints through out Mexico and they did ask us to show our Passports and some asked for our drivers license and vehicle insurance. No one asked us for a bribe. On my ride in Mexico in 2018 no one asked for a bribe either at any time including the checkpoints I rode through.

Where we entered Mexico at Piedras Negras you ride about 40 miles south to Banjército Allende / Piedras Negras to get our passport stamped and Mexico Tourist Card. It was quick and efficient this time but back in 2018 and it was a long line of vehicles and took over an hour. There is a photo above of us parked at the building.

The route through Mexico is 1,400 miles and it took us 23 hours last year and I am expecting it to take the same on this ride. Many others take less than two days to ride through Mexico. I now have some good experience from ridding in Mexico and using the toll roads.

Roads In Mexico On My Route

  • HWY 57 / 57D

  • HWY M40D

  • HWY 150D

  • HWY 145D

  • HWY 180D / 180

  • HWY 186

  • HWY 203

  • Carr Ceibo - El Ceibo

  • El Ceibo Border Port

Mexico Border Crossing Fees

  • Entry Fee = Mexico Tourist Card = $18.00

  • Vehicle Insurance = Depends on what coverage you want and how many days coverage. - $50 and up.

  • Vehicle Import Fee = $44.00

  • Vehicle Deposit = Depends on value of Vehicle - Mine was $400.00, Yes, it is returned when exiting Mexico.

  • Vehicle Fumigation = N/A

  • Exit Fee = N/A


Guatemala

What you need at a minimum to cross into Guatemala.

Guatemala uses Central Standard Time (UTC−06:00) all year-round and currently does not observe daylight saving time.

COVID-19 Requirements: Currently No Requirements. Updated 5-2-2023.

Border Operations - Aduana El Ceibo: 8:00 AM To 5:00 PM

Google Map Link To Guatemala Customs:Aduana El Ceibo - Google Maps

Keep TVIP / TIP Open: Maybe

  • Passport - Valid For More Than 6 Months Minimum

  • COVID Vaccine Card

  • Drivers License

  • Vehicle Registration

  • Vehicle Title In Your Name

  • The Leasing / Loan Contract - if you're leasing our have a loan on the car with a letter saying you have permission to drive to Mexico

  • A Major Credit Card In Your Name

  • Tourist Card - Obtained At The Border

  • Vehicle Insurance - Obtained At The Border

  • Fire Extinguisher

  • Two Reflective Safety Road Hazard Triangles


La Libertad Weather


We entered Guatemala at El Ceibo around 9:00 AM and they had just opened the border and we was the only ones there. We went to immigration and it only took 5 minutes to get our passport stamped. But it took an hour and a half for them to process our paper work for our TIP. We had to walk into town to pay the TIP fee. Once we were done with that we rode off on highway PET-13 which turned into highway CA13.

I had a flat on PET-13 on the way to La Libertad ( see above photos ) and we had to stop and plug the hole three times before the plugs held. We stopped in La Libertad which was the first real town on our route in Guatemala to find a hotel and a tire repair shop. We found both and nice hotel and a tire repair shop where they did a great job patching the hole from the inside of the tire with a truck tire patch.

We stayed in La Libertad for the rest of the day and had a good night sleeping after riding for 30 hours. We did not leave to early and by the time we did leave we had been in La Libertad for 17 hours. This put us behind on our timeline.

When we reached the town of Morales, Guatemala we turned on to highway CA-9 which turns back into CA-13 and took us all the way to the Honduras border. The roads were all paved roads but some are in need of repair and on one bridge crossing a river there was a big hole and you could see the river below.

Getting ready to leave our hotel in La Libertad, Guatemala heading south after having the rear tire fixed.

Photo of the El Ceibo, Guatemala border crossing - Google Street View

Us At The Guatemala Aduana ( Customs ) in El Ceibo - Heading South

Our bikes entering El Ceibo, Guatemala and getting our TIP - Heading South


Video of first miles riding in Guatemala after entering at El Ceibo


That's me entering Guatemala at Corinto  - Heading north ( Mike's photo )

Me at Guatemala Border exiting at El Ceibo - Heading north to Mexico

The ride through Guatemala starts at El Ceibo and it exits Guatemala at Cinchado on highway CA-13. The route is 280 miles so I do not expect to be in Guatemala very long. But as can happen expectations don't always turn out to be what you expect. I had a flat by running over a file in the road that we had to plug 3 times to make it to the next city 30 miles away. We ended up spending the rest of the day in La Libertad, Guatemala getting the tire repaired and spending the night in a hotel.

I will not be passing through any major cities while riding through Guatemala so I do not expect any major issues with traffic. I have found a few 24 hour gas stations along my route in Guatemala that I will be able to buy gas and water if needed. Gas was very easy to find along our route.

There was a couple Police checkpoints and they are NOT very common in Guatemala, they only asked to see our Passport and the temporary import permit ( TIP )  that I was issued at the border.

The route is 280 miles so I do not expect to be in Guatemala very long, maybe 7 hours.

Roads In Guatemala On My Route

  • Carr. al Ceibo

  • PET - 13

  • PET - 11

  • Road To San Francisco, Guatemala

  • CA - 13

  • CA - 9 / CA - 13

Guatemala Border Crossing Fees

  • Entry = $0.00

  • Vehicle Import Fee - $20.00

  • Vehicle Insurance 30 Days= $30.00 - Road insurance is not mandatory in Guatemala

  • Vehicle Fumigation = $5.00

  • Exit Fee = $0


Belize

What you need at a minimum to cross into Belize.

COVID Vaccine Card

COVID-19 Requirements: If fully Vaccinated no test required. Updated 3-18-2022.

Border Operations - Belize Western Border Station - Melchor de Mencos: 24 Hours

Google Map Link To Belize Western Border Station: Melchor de Mencos - Google Maps

We may decide to cross the border into Belize to get a receipt showing that we was in Belize. Entering Belize will be a "game time" decision.


Benque Viejo Del Carmen Weather


Honduras

What you need at a minimum to cross into Honduras.

Honduras uses Central Standard Time (UTC−06:00) all year-round and currently does not observe daylight saving time.

COVID-19 Requirements: Effective March 22, 2023: Travelers are no longer required to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or negative test results for a PCR, Antingen, or ELISA test prior to entry in to Honduras. If fully Vaccinated no test required.

Honduras Health Precheck: INM - Prechequeo Migratorio (There are 2 parts to the form. After finishing the first part (immigration info) and back at the home page, the link to the second part (health info) is in fine print at the top )

Border Operations - Honduras-Guatemala Border:  6:00 AM To 6:00 PM

Google Map Link To Honduras Customs: Honduras-Guatemala Border - Google Maps

Keep TVIP / TIP Open: Yes

  • Health Precheck ( see link above )

  • Passport - Valid For More Than 3 Months Minimum

  • COVID Vaccine Card

  • Drivers License

  • Vehicle Registration

  • Vehicle Title In Your Name

  • The Leasing / Loan Contract - if you're leasing our have a loan on the car with a letter saying you have permission to drive to Mexico

  • Fire Extinguisher

  • Two Reflective Safety Road Hazard Triangles

  • A Major Credit Card In Your Name

  • Tourist Card - Obtained At The Border

  • Vehicle Insurance - Obtained At The Border


Tegucigalpa Weather


I will be entering Honduras at the town of Corinto and I will stay on highway CA-13 until the town of El Progreso where I will turn on to highway RN-21 and take that all the way to the town of Santa Rita. At Santa Rita I will take highway RN-23 to highway RN-43. I will stay on highway until I reach the town of Talanga where I will turn on to highway RN-15 for a few miles and then turn on to highway RN-37 to the town of Ojo de Agua. There I will turn on to highway CA-6 which I will ride all the way to the Nicaragua border. The roads in Honduras were mostly in good shape and it was pretty easy riding.


Video exiting Guatemala and entering Honduras at Corinto - Heading south


Video exiting Honduras at Guasaule - Headed south


At Honduras Border Crossing at Corinto - Heading south

Mike at Corinto ,Honduras getting TIP - Heading south

Entering Honduras at Guasaule - Heading north

Inside the Guasaule, Honduras Immigration - Heading north

Honduras rest and food break - Heading north

We had no issues in Honduras heading south but it did take a long time for them to process our TIP. We did not have any one ask us for money and no issues at checkpoints. We did not ride on the Pan Americain Highway in Honduras.

When we arrived at the Honduras border after exiting Nicaragua heading north it was a shit show! There was a lot of buses that had many migrants trying to enter Honduras for their trip north to the US border. It took a couple hours to get immigration and TIP processed to exit the country.

Exiting Honduras and entering Guatemala heading north took only 12 minutes, the fastest border crossing on the whole ride.

The route through Honduras is 320 mile which should be around 8 or 9 hours.

Roads In Honduras On My Route

  • CA 13

  • CA 5

  • RN 112

  • CA 1

  • CA 3

Honduras Border Crossing Fees

  • Entry Fee = $3.00

  • Vehicle Import Fee - $35.00

  • Vehicle Insurance = Not Required

  • Vehicle Fumigation = $2.00

  • Exit Fee = $0


El Salvador

What you need at a minimum to cross into El Salvador.

COVID Vaccine Card

COVID-19 Requirements: If fully Vaccinated no test required.

Border Operations - El Amatillo : 24 Hours

Google Map Link To El Amatillo: El Amatillo - Google Maps

We may decide to cross the border into El Salvador to get a receipt. Entering El Salvador will be a "game time" decision.


San Miguel Weather


Nicaragua

What you need at a minimum to cross into Nicaragua.

Nicaragua uses Central Standard Time (UTC−06:00) all year-round and currently does not observe daylight saving time.

COVID-19 Requirements: If fully Vaccinated no test required. Updated 5-2-2023.

Nicaragua no longer requires a COVID test if you have a vaccine card showing at least two vaccines.

Drones are NOT allowed in Nicaragua. They will search your luggage and if they find a drone you won't be happy so do not bring one!

Vaccines accepted by the country All vaccines approved by the World Health Organization, WHO, and the Government of Nicaragua: Sputnik V, Sputnik Light, Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Covishield, Soberana 02, Abdala, Janssen/Johnson & Johnson, Sinopharm and Coviran.

Mike and I thought that if we was vaccinated when we rode last year we would be good. Well that was wrong and even though we had vaccine cards showing three vaccines they still wanted a COVID test that was done within 72 hours. On the way south we found a way to convince them that we was okay to enter and on the return ride we had to get very creative to obtain a COVID test.

Border Operations - Custom Guasaule: Closes At Midnight

Google Map Link To Nicaragua Customs: Custom Guasaule - Google Maps

Link to map of all Nicaragua border crossings: Border Posts – General Directorate of Migration and Aliens (migob.gob.ni)

Keep TVIP / TIP Open: No

  • Pre-Register 7 business days in advance with Nicaragua´s Interior Department - Information Below.

  • Passport - Valid For More Than 6 Months Minimum

  • COVID Vaccine Card

  • Drivers License

  • Vehicle Registration

  • Vehicle Title In Your Name

  • The Leasing / Loan Contract - if you're leasing our have a loan on the car with a letter saying you have permission to drive to Mexico

  • A Major Credit Card In Your Name

  • Tourist Card - Obtained At The Border

  • Vehicle Insurance - Obtained At The Border


Managua Weather


Important Nicaragua Land Entry Process - Currently Required

All travelers before visiting Nicaragua by land transportation must notify to the corresponding authorities about their upcoming trip at least 7 business days in advance. All trip details must be listed in the required forms and sent via e-mail to Nicaragua´s Interior Department  ( solicitudes@migob.gob.ni  with a copy to preyes@migob.gob.ni  ) and the Embassies of Nicaragua in their respective countries. Here is a link to the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería (migob.gob.ni).

Here is a link to the Nicaragua immigration website, you can translate to English if you use a browser that has that capability like Microsoft Edge.

Directorate-General for Migration and Aliens (migob.gob.ni)

The e-mail must have the following documentation attached: Entry list to Nicaragua Form

Application form Letter addressed to the Government Department including the following information: number of travelers on the trip,  reason for the trip, name and address of the hotel or place of accommodation, list of places to be visited, general information of the driver, vehicle, the name of the border where they intend to enter, etc.  If the reason is only to transit through Nicaragua, travelers must and are still expected to provide all the above information to the corresponding authorities. The e-mail must only contain the 3 requirements mentioned above. In case of not carrying out the previous process, the Nicaraguan authorities can refuse or deny entry to travelers. It is important to clarify that this process applies only for trips made by land and not for air travel.

We entered Nicaragua at the town of Guasaule on highway 3 / 24 and will stayed on highway 3 / 24 until I reach the town of Las Mercedes where we turned on highway NN 252. We changed our route in Nicaragua because we came up on a dirt road in our route that may have been more than 20 miles long. We ended up crossing the border at Peñas Blancas. This routed us through the capital, Managua. It was around 2:30 AM so it was pretty easy riding. We took Highway 1 ( Pan American Highway ) from Managua to the Costa Rica border.

We Entered Nicaragua around 11:00 PM and rode straight through to the Nicaragua / Costa Rica border and arrived around 4:30 AM a few hours before it opened. We got a little rest in the parking lot while waiting.

Us waiting to exit Nicaragua and enter Costa Rica at Peñas Blancas. We arrived at the border a few hours before it opened at 6 AM

Entering Guasaule, Nicaragua - Imagration and Aduana - Heading South

Guasaule, Nicaragua Immigration - 11:30 PM - Heading south

Nicaragua Immigration Officers - We were the last to cross the Guasaule, Nicragua Border - 11:30 PM - Entering heading south

Vehicle Fumigation at Guasaule, Nicaragua border crossing - Heading south


Video Exiting Guasaule, Nicaragua - Heading south and waiting for border crossing to open


There was military and police checkpoints not far past the border and no one tried to shake us down only a vehicle check.

We found a lot of 24 hour gas stations along our route in Nicaragua and we was able buy gas and water as needed.

Just like Honduras we had no issues in Nicaragua and did not see that many Police checkpoints.

My route through Nicaragua is 195 miles and I ride near by the capital, Managua. I am hoping to get through Nicaragua in around 5 hours.

Roads In Nicaragua On My Route

  • CA 3

  • NN 252

  • HWY 26

  • Hwy 70A

  • HWY 1

  • HWY 7

  • HWY 25

  • HWY 25B

Nicaragua Border Crossing Fees

  • Entry Fee = $15.00

  • Vehicle Insurance = $12.00

  • Vehicle Fumigation = $3.00

  • Exit Fee = $3.00


Costa Rica

What you need at a minimum to cross into Costa Rica.

Costa Rica uses Central Standard Time (UTC−06:00) all year-round and currently does not observe daylight saving time.

COVID-19 Requirements: No Requirements.Updated 5-2-2023.

No Longer Required - Costa Rica Health Pass Form: Pase de Salud Costa Rica

Border Operations - Directorate General of Immigration and Nationality: 6:00 AM To 12:00 PM

Google Map Link To Costa Rica Customs: Costa Rica Customs - Google Maps

Keep TVIP / TIP Open: Yes

  • Passport - Valid For More Than 3 Months Minimum

  • COVID Vaccine Card

  • Drivers License

  • Vehicle Registration

  • Vehicle Title In Your Name

  • The Leasing / Loan Contract - if you're leasing our have a loan on the car with a letter saying you have permission to drive to Mexico

  • A Major Credit Card In Your Name

  • Tourist Card - Obtained At The Border

  • Vehicle Insurance - Obtained At The Border


Quepos Weather


On the way south we changed our route in Nicaragua because we came up on a dirt road in our route that may have been more than 20 miles long. We ended up crossing the border at Peñas Blancas instead of Los Chiles. This changed our route in Costa Rica also so the plan now is to enter Costa Rica at Peñas Blancas and ride highway 1 ( The Pan American Highway ) to highway  to highway 34 along the coast of Costa Rica to bypass the capital, San Jose, and all of its traffic. I pick up the Pan American Highway ( now called highway 2 ) in southern Costa Rica in a town called Palmar Norte and ride it the rest of the way to Panama.

Peñas Blancas, Costa Rica border crossing - Heading south - Just checked out of Nicaragua


Video entering Peñas Blancas, Costa Rica - Heading south


Our "Hotel" in No-Mans Land at Peñas Blancas, Costa Rica Border Crossing - Heading north

We had no police checkpoints in Costa Rica and no one bothered us. It was a nice ride once we got over on the Pacific coast. On the ride back north it rained like crazy for about 60 miles. It was very slow riding until we got out of the rain forest.

The route through Costa Rica is 325 miles and should take around 10 hours. I will be picking up the Pan American Highway in southern Costa Rica where it is also called Highway 2. I am not going to follow the Pan American Highway all the way though as it goes through San Jose the capital and I want to avoid that traffic.

Roads In Costa Rica On My Route

  • HWY 768 / 35

  • HWY 141

  • HWY Carrt. Bajo Rodríguez / Route 702

  • HWY 713

  • HWY 3

  • HWY 34 - Along the Pacific Coast

  • HWY 1 / 2 / Pan American

Costa Rica Border Crossing Fees

  • Entry Fee = $0

  • Vehicle Entry Fee = $25.00

  • Vehicle Insurance = $15.00

  • Vehicle Fumigation =

  • Exit Fee = $9.00


Panama

What you need at a minimum to cross into Panama.

Panama uses Eastern Standard Time (UTC−06:00) all year-round and currently does not observe daylight saving time.

COVID-19 Requirements: If fully vaccinated no test required.

Border Operations - Paso Canoas Border: 6:00 AM To 10:00 PM and 8:00 PM Sat & Sun

Google Map Link To Panama Customs:Aduanas Paso Canoas - Google Maps

  • Passport - Valid For More Than 3 Months

  • COVID Vaccine Card

  • Drivers License

  • Vehicle Registration

  • Vehicle Title In Your Name

  • The Leasing / Loan Contract - if you're leasing our have a loan on the car with a letter saying you have permission to drive to Mexico

  • Proof of Solvency: Either $500 USD In Cash, Traveler checks, or Credit Card

  • Tourist Card - Obtained At The Border

  • Vehicle Insurance - Obtained At The Border


David Weather


Panama City, Panama Weather


We entered Panama at Paso Canoas on the Pan American Highway where the highway name changes to Highway 1. We rode Highway 1 all the way to Panama City stopping in the town of David and spent the night at a nice Hamptoon Inn. We stopped early because it was raiing like crazy.

 

Photo of the Paso Canoas, Panama border crossing - Photo by Mike Bobbitt


Video of us entering Paso Canoas, Panama - Heading south


We saw a lot of police running radar on the highway in Panama on the Pan American Highway and we found out the the people in Panama use Waze to mark the location so we also used Waze.

The route through Panama is 486 miles and it takes around 10 hours. It is all on the Panama American highway all the way to the Darien Gap Panama. I believe this should be the easiest country I ride through.

Right now my idea is to stay at the Panama Marriott hotel in downtown Panama City for 1 or 2 nights depending on how well my ride to Panama City went. I may change this based on arrival timing, weather and if I find a better location.

Roads In Panama On My Route

  • HWY 1 / Pan American

Panama Border Crossing Fees

  • Entry Fee = $3.00

  • Vehicle Insurance = $25.00

  • Vehicle Fumigation = $1.00

  • Exit Fee = $3.00

 

Me at the Panama Canal

My main goal of last years ride was to get a photo of the Panama Canal with my motorcycle and me in the photo. I had been scanning Google maps street view looking for the best location for the photo and I think I have found this location near our hotel, Holiday Inn Panama Canal, that allowed me to have my motorcycle in the photo.


The other goal we had was to try and ride to the end of the road at the Darien Gap at Yaviza, Panama on highway 1. We was able to ride half way to the Darien Gap from Panama City but rain, bad roads and time got in the way and we decided to turn back and start riding north back to the US. This next ride to Panama I will focus more and making it to the end of the road and get a picture of me and my bike under the Darien Gap sign above.


Video of the road to the Darin Gap


Video of the road to the Darin Gap - Heading north


 

Interactive Maps Below

Below are three interactive maps Google route map, Spotwalla tracking map and weather map.

Route Map

The Google route map and the Spotwalla tracking map allow you to zoom in and out using the + and - buttons in the bottom right of the maps and you can drag the map with a mouse. You can also zoom in and out of the maps with a mouse that has a wheel. They show my planned route ( Google Map ) and below that map is a map of my current location with the use of a SPOT satellite tracking device and Spotwalla.com ( thanks Jason Jonas ).


Weather Map

Here is a link to my ride to the Darien Gap Panama weather webpage with weather for 30 cities along the route and 15 different weather maps. This is a great way for me to see what weather lies ahead on my route. There is a nice interactive weather view at the bottom of the weather webpage.

Weather Webpage Link:  Darien Gap Panama Ride Weather


Spotwalla Tracking

Here is my direct Spotwalla tracking links that will open in a new browser window. Also below is my embedded Spotwalla tracking map. I have two SPOT satellite tracking devices and I transmit my location every 5 minutes with both SPOT devices.

Spotwalla Tracking Link: Trip: Greg Rice - Travel Man (spotwalla.com)


Interactive Route Map Eagle Pass, TX To Yaviza, Panama Route And Darien Gap

Greg Rice's Spotwalla.Com Tracking - Ride To The Darien Gap

Mike Bobbitt's Spotwalla.Com Tracking - Ride To The Darien Gap

Interactive Current Mexico And Central America Weather Map

You can check out my website for more information. http://www.gregrice.com/

Copyright Greg Rice 2023