We spent our final days in Central America, aka Panama, on a boat to Colombia. The days beforehand had been stressful, so seasickness, warm turquois Caribbean water, and islands like those you see on catalogues were a very welcome distraction.
Our cycling through Panama began with some beautiful days in the mountains, followed by sick days and then a few very long days on the highway to get to our boat on time. It was definitely cheaper than Costa Rica but still pricier than most other countries in Central America. Our average expenses on food were $14. We mainly stayed in churches and fire stations, but we were forced to check into a hotel for three nights due to food poisoning #2, costing us $25/night, but the standard was a lot higher than what you’d get for the same price in Costa Rica.
Just before our destination for the day, Dan got a mean puncture on the highway. Not a great spot to fix a bike!
Sleeping in the attic of a fire station
We thought about flying (around $130pp plus $100pbike) but other costs (packing material, taxis…) would have added up and all in all, taking a boat seemed a lot less stressful to us and like we were actually getting a hopefully good experience for our money ($550pp on the Luka).
Two days before our boat’s departure, Dan did some reading online and realized that, if we continued at this pace we would hit Peru (ie the mountains) at the beginning of November, which is when the rainy season there starts, lasting until March. We figured that we should delay our trip in some way for six months to be able to cycle on dirt roads in the Andes, otherwise many of them might be flooded and even closed. After lots of thinking we decided to leave our bikes with a contact in Bogota, go home to work to make up the money spent on flights and new gear (amongst others a new tent as ours might not stand the winds and rains in the Andes) and to save up some more, and return to continue our fatcycling in February.
So here we are, having left Central America behind us, in Colombia.
Dan enjoying time off the rocky boat on a San Blas island