Bike Costa Rica, Panama, then sail to Colombia

July 8, 2013 | By | 12 Replies More

biking journey

Hola amigos! I’ve been on the road for almost three months now without using guidebooks or advance planning. I’ve been flying by the seat of my pants asking other travelers about their experiences and volunteer projects, then figuring out where to go next. It’s worked out quite smoothly so far. Everyday has been a new adventure.

We’ll this journey is about to get more interesting. I decided to add a bike tour to my round-the-world trip.

I’m biking from Costa Rica to Panama, then sailing to Colombia!

When I was in the dreaming stages of this trip, I stumbled across this BBC documentary on Mark Beaumont’s journey, “Cycling The Americas – The Man Who Cycled the Americas” and read the Family On Bikes blog and was inspired to do the same.

Heck, I thought if they did it, I can do this too!

I’m totally not Tour de France fit for such a feat, but I’ll take it easy and build up my stamina along the way.

Since I’ve been on this journey, I’ve met several others who have cycled down Central America and picked their brains for pointers. Meeting these cyclists and hearing their stories got me even more excited about this new challenge.

I asked several of them, “what is one piece of advice you’d share with an inexperienced biker like myself?”

A guy from Canada who spent the last nine months biking down to Guatemala said, “make your bike look as crappy as possible to reduce the chances of it getting stolen.” Another guy from France I met on a ferry crossing the Gulf of Nicoya put a rod with a handkerchief to keep distance with cars. A guy from Northern California, said “wear underwear, under your cycling pants, it’ll make it easier to wash” One girl from Switzerland said, “believe in yourself.”

These are words of wisdom from those who got on a bike and rode. There’s not much to think about other than just doing it. I’ll continue to figure things out as I go and deal with the problems when they happen. I got travel insurance to be on the safe side.

I shared my story with a 50 year old man I met, and he said “If I was your age, I’d bike Costa Rica too. When you get to my age, you never know what problems will arrise with your body. That’s good you’re doin’ it while you can.”

Part of this challenge is that I don’t have any of the gear yet. I will take a break from traveling and spend the next month assembling what I need.

Would you like to bike too?

I shared this dream with a new friend whom I met volunteering in Guatemala. Now he is taking a sabbatical from work to join the adventure. We’re making up our plans as we go and co-creating the experience.

The rough idea is to explore the beautiful landscapes of Costa Rica, see some turtles lay eggs in Tortuguero, then eventually bike to Panama City. The terrain will be mountainous and flat along the Pan-American Highway. It’s rainy season, so we’ll have to plan accordingly to the weather. We’ll be camping to keep the costs low. A big part of this journey is to interact with the locals we meet and learn about about the cultures along the way.

As far as sailing goes, the goal is to make it to Panama, then figure out which skipper will head to Cartagena and when. Along this route, we can visit the San Blas Islands. We’ll interview captains to see who we feel comfortable sailing with. After all, it’s five days at sea and the water can be rough!

If you share the same dream, come meet up with us on the road for adventure, laughter, and fun!

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Comments (12)

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  1. Jeff says:

    Best of luck Mig! Have fun!

  2. Samantha says:

    Sounds like fun!! Always wanted to bike around central america but havent had the time yet. Ive been looking into boats to colombia too since im in panama city and you can look on hostel mamallena website, they have ferries and all the info is there. Too bad i just got back from san blas on a separate trip or eles i wouldve done that! Good luck ! :) cant wait to read updates
    Samantha recently posted…Tastes of PanamaMy Profile

  3. Samantha says:

    We will have a post about it soon, we went with panama1trip, a company for 3 days camping. Its about a two hr drive and 40 min boat ride. hostel mamallena also does san blas tours and all tour groups cost about 70-85 dollars a day so i found out its actually a tad cheaper if you go on your own and pay separately. But the ferry from Colon to Colombia will pass by San Blas for two days on the way and thats about 450-550 per person. So you have a few options :)

  4. Andrew says:

    This sounds awesome, I’ve read both of Mark Beaumont’s books; where he cycled the Americas and Around the World, they’re very inspiring! I remember he said the truckers in Australia, USA and Canada were the worst for a cyclist, he had some pretty hairy moments.
    I would love to do something like that, I suppose it would save on our travel costs too! Although I’m not sure I could persuade Amy to do it.
    I miss the cycling I did in London. I may get a chance to do some in Europe next summer, we’ll see.
    Andrew recently posted…This is Not a Holiday…My Profile

    • Mig says:

      I’ll have to check out his books. The Swiss girl I met said that she only spent $700 a month because she was biking! Maybe we can meet up somewhere in the world and cycle together!

  5. Wow. Sounds fun. I can’t remember the last time I had a bike ride.
    Christopher James recently posted…Nubri.comMy Profile

  6. Jessica says:

    Hey Mig, hope this message finds you well buddy. I followed in your footsteps (ok not exactly) and quit the corporate gig. Searching for happiness and fufillment as I reconnect with my heritage and Aztec roots in Mexico with my children. I’m happy to hear you’re travels are ever changing and filled with adventure. Take care good friend, vaya con Dios!

    • Mig says:

      Thank you Jessica! Miss ya! That’s exciting to learn about your new journey. Congrats on eating the red pill (Matrix movie reference). It’s different thinking when crossing over to the other side. We’ll have to catch up offline. I hope our paths cross again soon!

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