When leaving Costa Rica we have a bit of a challenge finding the immigration office. Turns out we already passed it the day before. So we have to go back a little. At the office we are told that we need to pay the exit tax first before we can get our stamps. The two times $8 tax needs to be paid at the office on the other side of the road.
We go back to the immigration office and get stamped out. We’re finally ready to go to the Panama boarder. The immigration office is on the boarder here so that’s easy. We get our fingerprints scanned and our picture taken. Only Arjan gets a few questions, we get stamps and off we go again. An easy and smooth boarder crossing.
Imigrations Panama. Country number 11 on this cycling trip 🙂
Straight after the border crossing this guy jumps in and also wants on the picture. After the picture is taken he thanks us and walks away... Without his picture. Welcome in Panama!!!
Since we haven’t had breakfast we decide to get some at the bakery. This bread and cookies are really delicious! We decide to take some more for the road.
First thing to do in a new country: Taste the local food. This bakery has pretty good stuff. We love Panama already.
The riding today is pretty easy. It is a little hilly but not too much. We get some sugar drinks from a guy who is selling it on the street. He asks us where we are going. We tell him we go to David today. “There is all kinds of festivities today.” “Have you seen all the trucks with horses passing you today?” Yes, we indeed saw a lot of them already. They are also all going to David for the festival,” he says.
From the border we cycle in one day to the city of David. In David we will take a bus ride to Boquete. An adventures town high up in the mountains from were you can do loads of trekking and other outdoor things in the National Park around the Baru Volcano.
When we arrive there we see it’s all through town. We have to do a detour to go to the other side of town to go to the hostel we found on iOverlander.
Almost there we decide different. Maybe we can checkout the bus station and see if it’s possible to go up to the National Park of Boquete today. It’s still pretty early in the day. We need to know if it’s possible to take our bicycles with us.Otherwise we stick to our first plan go to a hostel in David and leave the bicycles there for the time we go up to Boquete by bus.
At the bus station it’s easy to find the Boquete bus. There is two man standing in front of the bus. They are shouting; ”¡Boquete! ¡Boquete!" We ask them about the bus. They say it’s leaving in 10 minutes. We ask if it’s possible to take our bicycles with us. “¡Si, no problemo!” Thats nice! We quickly pack our bicycles and panniers in the luggage room underneath the bus. One of the men who was standing in front of the bus is helping us loading. We hop into the bus and off we go. It seams that the other guy who was standing in front of the bus is our bus driver.
Because our plane from Panama City to Colombia is already going in a few day we have to hurry up. We hate taking busses but sometimes they can be the solution to tight schedules.
The road to Boquete National Park is about 41km almost only going up. So this is an easy ride for us by bus! And since we have our bikes with us now we can go 41km downhill when we leave again. Sweet!
When we’re in the bus we find out we crossed a time zone. Arjans watch is telling a different time than our phones are. The watch is a hour behind. It is already 5.30 pm.
It seems the time already changed when we crossed the border from Costa Rica into Panama. We didn’t notice until now.
We arrive in Boquete at around 6.10pm. We say goodbye to the bus driver and his helping man. And also take some photos of it all.
Hero of today.
Thumbs up. Thanks for taking us.
Okay next thing is to find ourselves a place to sleep! We find hostel Topaz on the iOverlander app. There seems to be a campground as well. We go there and check in.
The next day we want to hike the three lost waterfalls. But before we can start hiking we have to cycle up 1000m in 12,5km.
We pass extraordinary rocks.
We pass old bridges over stunning rivers.
We are coming close. Have to go left.
More rivers and a hangingbridge to one of the houses along the way.
The first waterfall of the day... This is not one of the three lost waterfalls but just one along the road while cycling up.
When you cycle up you go slow and if you go slow you have a lot of time to look around.
Kim did spot these 20cm big flowers.
Finaly there at the start of the hiking trail. We lock our bikes to the bridge and start walking up.
The view from the bridge is a good thing to start with.
From the bridge the dence jungle starts nearly straight away.
At some points we can look over the valley and see dark clouds coming up.
The whole park is private property. At this house we have to pay a small fee to go further up.
The guy is very friendly and shows us the map to the three lost waterfalls and which waterfall to visit first. He tells us the whole hike will take us about two hours.
We move on and enter the misty jungle. At some point it starts to rain a little but we don't care.
Slippery and muddy track.
Waterfall number one is the waterfall to be visited as last we have been told so we pass by and continue to number two.
Yes, found number two...
Pictures, pictures, more pictures.
On the edge...
On the edge the views are always the best.
We continue hiking further up.
Waterfall number three is coming up we guess.
The jungle is still misty and a litte rainy. We hardly see other people which makes is even better.
Large insects crossing out path.
It's not hard to find our way to waterfall number one. Just follow the stream down.
Stunning views over jungle covered in clouds.
Look what I found, another waterfall.
Waterfall number one is the highest and most impressive waterfall of the three lost waterfalls.
Have a break, have a....
Time to go down again.
On our way down we look into the valley and see the workers on the coffee plantations.
The ride 1000m down over 12,5km goes in not even 15 minutes. To fast for taking pictures. Anyway we end up in a brewery. Not in a bar, not in a restaurant... a brewery. (Nice text btw 🙂 )
As the sign mentioned they play hard music in the weekends. It's wednesday and even then they play hard music. We like it 🙂
Back at our hostel with campground.
Old vs New tires. Kim's parents did bring us new ones from Holland while they visited us in Costa Rica so we hopefully can finish the trip by the end of the year without changing tires again.
Say goodbye to our new friends from Thailand (cyclist for a few years aready around the globe) and from Taiwan (Backpacker with new bussines plans in Central America) They are both real coffee junkies and maybe want to start something new in the future that has to do with coffee.
Leaving Boquete to David on a bike is awesome. It's downhill straight away all the way.
Passing the lighthouse of Ameland. You can see the valley where David is in the far distance.
Halfway down Arjan discovers he fotgot the GPS tracker at the campground. Dahm this means going back again. He takes a local bus up and a taxi down and is back within a hour.
At the David bus terminal we take the bus to Panama City. Our plane is going in three days and we want to see the capital plus the Panama Canal as well.
After a long bus ride of seven hours we arrive in Panama City. We found a nice small hostel in town. Opposite the hostel is a food truck selling Soul Food. A style from the southern states in the U.S. We eat a Gumbo and a Sloppy Joe. Jummy!!!
Dessert comes for free from the house. It's a special one we can tell.
The day after we go into Panama City hunting for some bicycle boxes to put our bikes in while flying to Colombia. When lucky you can find them for free in bicycle shops. If unlucky you have to call half the city to get some of these. (In Rome, Italy a few years ago for example it was a big hassle to get some boxes arranged)
The old and the new close together. We are wondering for how long these old building will be still here. The new buildings are coming up very fast. They are building everywhere in the city.
Giant boxes found in the first bicycle show we asked. Hope the boxes are giant enough to fit our Surly Bikes.
Question: What things do you really miss from home?
Answer: Real chocolate. Since we left the States we only find crapy chocolate with fillings, you can't even call it chocolate.
Today in a supermarket we found these 🙂 Happy Day 🙂
When you think about Panama you think about the Panama Canal.
The Canal is close by the capital so we made a visit in the weekend.
This is so typical not European but you see it all over Central America: Non Residents pay four times more entrance fee then Residents.
Why can't we do this in Holland as well? Over here they have the theory "If you have the money to travel to another country you have the money to pay extra as well"
An empty Panama Canal.
In a far, far distance we see some big boys coming our way.
The view on the Panama Canal seen from the ship.
There are six big locks in a row to cover the different water levels between the Pacific ocean and the Caribbean ocean. The ships in the distance are coming from the Caribbean going to the Pacific.
The Pacific side.
The left one in coming closer. Towed by smaller boats.
Once it is in the lock, trains taking over the towing. Six of them tow this ship in.
The trains look like little dinky toys but are big diesel locos.
Another ship is coming up. Visitors are waiting on the right side to see it all happen.
In the meanwhile the first ship went down in the lock.
The locos start to tow again to get the ship out of the lock again.
The next ship seems to be a passenger cruise.
And indeed it is. Passengers looking at the visitors and visitors looking at the passengers.
Hi grandma, how is your cruise going?
Waving goodbye and taking pictures is what everybody is doing. On the cruise ship as well as on the mainland.
In the other lock a big cargo ship passes by as well.
Cargo, al lot of cargo!
Back in our Hostel Kim does some homework.
The day of departure we say goodbye to Charley our hostel host and start cycling to the airport. A 22km ride straight through the big city.
It's early in the morning. At the moment the traffic is easy.
Not to see on the pictures: We folded up the bike boxes and bound them on bikes to take them with us to the airport.
After a two hour ride through rush hour we made it to the airport.
After a lot of tape our bicycle boxes look like boxes again. The bikes fit in very tight but they fit 🙂
Ready to take off.
Thanks for reading again and see you in the next part of our trip: South America.
Colombia here we come!!!