We had booked a cabin at the island Boas del Toro (Panama) for the next week, but before even getting to the ferry we had to make it across the border from Costa Rica to Panama.
Instead of taking the Pan-American highway from Costa Rica to Panama we decided to drive north from San Jose to Limón by the Caribbean sea. Again we hit a lot f traffic, or all the cars and trucks were just sitting still in a huge line. Nothing was happening. As always the motorcycles can just go past all the cars and trucks! That’s what I love about riding my motorcycle, what I don’t like is that it was already raining.
We finally got t the front of the line were a big landslide had covered almost both lanes. After passing the landslide we followed one of the locals riding his motorcycles… totally playing badass and having a good time while listing to music!
Limón is the biggest city on the Caribbean cost in Costa Rica and it was the birthplace of United Fruit Company. It is a hardworking port city!
Loads of fruit with coconuts and bananas comes from the huge plantations in the area in Costa Rica and runs beyond the border in Panama.
Getting to the border and exiting Costa Rica only took us 40 minutes, and we could drive across the bridge to the border in Panama. Getting to the border in Panama we had to stand in line for fumigation, even though there was nobody in the fumigation area.
The new bridge stands in big contrast to the old railroad bridge. The new bridge looks temporary and there was a plan to built a newer and bigger bridge, but as far as we could see, that work hasn’t even started.
BUT the waiting got worse… The paperwork for the motorcycles at the Aduana office in Panama took forever, one employee to fill out all the papers and one employee to stamp all the papers. Yes, she was only allowed to stamp papers. We also had the feeling, that the employee, who filled out the papers were filling out all the papers for the locals before even looking at our papers. We spend 3,5 hour before our the papers for the motorcycles were done. This border crossing was also expensive! Spending 17 USD to get out of Costa Rica and in Panama we paid 2 UDS for fumigation, 50 USD for insurance, 28 USD for a municipal fee (I think it was some kind of toll for driving in Panama), just for 2 weeks in Panama on our 2 motorcycles.
While waiting for the papers I decided to make lunch. Keeping an eye out for the dogs, because I was afraid of, that they would steal our lunch
Finally we were back on the road heading for Almirante. From Almirante we would take the ferry to Bocas del Toro the next day. Bocas del Toro is the provincial capital of Isla Colón. Bocas del Toro was built by the United Fruit Company in the early 20th century. We got to the ferry late afternoon and had to wait until the next morning, where the ferry would depart at 7:00 am. We asked around and where allowed to park the motorcycles on the ferry and sleep in the TV room. The next morning the ferry got packed with big trucks…
Leaving the port in Almirante reminded us one more time of the huge fruit industry, this time passing a Chiquita banana container ship. The Chiquita is the successor to the United Fruit Company, and operates in 70 countries and employs approximately 20,000 people as of 2014. In Denmark there is a good change that the imported bananas is from Costa Rica or Panama. The water was calm and I didn’t suffer from seasickness on the way to Bocas del Toro.
When we cane to Bocas del Toro it was raining AGAIN! We met up with our host from Airbnb, who took us to the cabin, where we would be staying the next week. The cabin is self sufficient, which means that electricity is solar powered, all the water is rainwater and a propane stove.
Why did we decide to stay a week here – this is here our turtle adventure begins!