Bike Tour To Panama City: The Journey Continues

September 29, 2013 | By | 2 Replies More

I’m cycling to Panama City solo! I got the answers to some questions I had which gave me the confidence to continue on. After taking care of a few things in San Jose these past few weeks, I bused it to Jaco to position myself to resume the bike tour.

Just in case you’re tuning into the blog recently, this trip started out with a friend and took a different direction. If you’d like to get up to speed with the adventure, here are the series of posts leading up to this moment:

It’s been easier to update my progress on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter quicker so be sure to follow along. Yesterday, I hit the road again!

Jaco, Costa Rica

Jaco, Costa Rica

The goal for the first day back on the saddle was to get to Quepos which is about a 70 km ride from Jaco. The weather was fine. Not too hot or humid, just cloudy at the start of the ride.

53 km to Quepos

53 km to Quepos

Most of the terrain from Jaco to Quepos was flat with a few hills. I’m using a Suunto Vector watch to monitor elevations which fluctuated between 110 to 150 feet above sea level along the route.

There is a small shoulder on the road, but the cars have been good about giving space to cyclists. Cycling is actually a popular sport in Costa Rica.

View along the Pacific coast

View along the Pacific coast

The road right out of Jaco runs near the ocean where you can see the waves. While it was cloudy during my ride, it was still beautiful to be near the water.

Parrita, Costa Rica

Parrita, Costa Rica

The rain started to come down, but still manageable to cycle through. It took me about 3 hours to get to Parrita which is the halfway point because I stopped for a 30 – 40 minute lunch. When I got into town, I bought a power drink and some fruit to fuel up.

Mountain range views along the Pacific coast of Costa Rica

Mountain range views along the Pacific coast of Costa Rica

Eventually the rain stopped and it was cool during the ride.

The hills to Manuel Antonio are tough

The hills to Manuel Antonio are tough

After the town of Quepos heading towards Manuel Antonio, there are a lot of steep hills and mountainous climbs. They were huge! It was difficult to walk the bike fully loaded up hill after cycling for several hours.

Prior to riding, I had asked a few taxi cab drivers in Jaco if there were any mountains along the route and they did advise me that it would be difficult on the last leg. I underestimated how hard it would be.

View from the hotel balcony

View from the hotel balcony

The sun was about to set and I was in search for a hostel still. I powered up my HostelWorld app on my iPhone as I usually do, but this time I couldn’t tell on the map which were in the area. I spotted a couple places to stay on the mountainous road, but I wanted to see all the options so I kept climbing.

The mountains had defeated me so I pulled into the first hotel after climbing the last hill I passed. It was out of my budget for the trip, but the after seeing the room and view of the ocean with the possibility to spot whales, I decided to splurge for a night.

70 km Jaco to Manuel Antonio

70 km Jaco to Manuel Antonio

I was only planning to bike to Quepos, but decided to go the extra distance to Manuel Antonio. It took me about 6 hours to cycle about 70 km with the lunch break.

Lessons learned

  • The ride is enjoyable along the Pacific coast. Beautiful mountain ranges and ocean views. Terrain from Jaco to Quepos is flat.
  • The last 7 km stretch from Quepos to Manuel Antonio is difficult because of the hills and mountainous terrain. If you want to save energy, put your bike on a taxi.
  • There are hostels, hotels, restaurants, and stores to buy power drinks, fruits, and food along the route between Jaco and Manuel Antonio.

Track my location

Track my progress to to Panama City.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Amy says:

    Great to see you’re back on the road again Mig! Sounds like a beautiful but tough journey – interested to hear more about the whales!
    Amy recently posted…Batad: The Toughest TrekMy Profile

    • Mig says:

      Thanks Amy! Traveling solo on bicycle opens up so much more opportunities for interaction with locals now than if I would have done it with someone else. It’s definitely a challenge and I’m more vulnerable on the road, but it’s a growth experience since I have to rely on myself to survive on the road.

      The whales in Costa Rica were beautiful to see. We only saw a few since its the tail end of the season. The best months for viewing are in August and September. The specie we saw was the humpback whale.

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