Where I can watch her waltz for free ’Neath her Panamanian moon….

Nine months on the road, over 8000 miles and we have arrived in Panama city. The ride through Panama didn´t look like it was going to be too hard but with headwinds, heat and hills, it was quite tough! However we had so much encouragement from the passing traffic, it really helped us. We rode into the city on a sunday which worked out well as there was hardly any traffic and we were able to ride over Puente de las Americas, the bridge over the entrance to the canal. We had read that a lot of cyclists are stopped and escorted over so it was a great way to enter the city. With our ride through North America and Central America complete we are looking forward to new adventures in South America.

Panama city, a very happy Lorely!

Arriving in Jaco, Costa Rica we found it hard to find a place to stay, when a lady invited us to camp in her garden, these flowers were right by the tent.

Cycling along the coast in Costa Rica we had to dodge these crabs on their suicide missions across the highway! 

We rode past huge palm tree plantations and every so often there were these picture perfect villages, set around a football pitch!

“Her passport shows a face from another time and place”. We often have lyrics and songs going in our heads as we cycle along, and we are usually singing about the towns and countries we pass through.

Quepos, Costa Rica. We really enjoyed Costa Rica, although it is a lot more developed than the other Central American countries. You get to see so much wildlife, just cycling along we were able to see lots of birds including Scarlett Macaws and on our last day Toucans, we saw electric green Lizards and Iguanas as big as small dogs. Everything had so much colour.

 Husbands for rent?

Panama, new country, new beers to try!

Sardines galore!

Panama hats.

Cycling into the financial district of Panama city.

Casco Viejo, the old city of Panama, this is where we are staying, there is so much character here and it is a fun place to wander around.

You can watch her Waltz……..

Casco Veijo.

The view from our hotel rooftop, there is such a contrast between the two sides of the city. 

Casco Veijo.

Sunrise over Panama, we are going to spend a few more days here exploring the city and having a look at the locks of the canal. Then we will begin our journey of South America. Although Panama and Columbia are connected by land there is no way through the Darien gap by road. So a flight to Cartagena on Friday and we will begin our next stage.

…long and dusty road

We are back on the road again after a lovely time relaxing on the beach with Hugh and Steph, and it was definitely needed after our adventure down the Nicoya peninsula. We now have just a few more days cycling down the coast before we cross into Panama.

The beach at Samara, we had a good time here, our campsite was right on the beach, so each day started with an early morning swim….

..and an attempted surf by Rusty.

A few morning bench presses on the jungle gym!

Beach front accommodation.

We decided to take a little adventure and cycle the coast road. We had been warned of gravel and river crossings. This was the start of a long day.

The first of a few river crossings. It was quite refreshing in the heat, then cycling with soggy shoes!

“How many more hills?”

This was a great bit of the ride, the end of the hills, we just had to wait for low tide!

Coyote beach, Nicoya.

It was a tough ride down the coast, but the rewards were great, beaches to ourselves!

San Miguel beach, Nicoya.

Lucky this was a dead one!

Cool swimming waterfalls at Montezuma.

Hermit crabs at work.

Mondy and the Cat, Casa Zen.

Lorely’s brother Hugh and his wife Steph safely arrived bringing all the bike supplies that were needed.

Gekko monster.

Golden sunset over Santa Teresa.

On the way to Jaco, luckily we saw these crocs after our river crossings!

Nicoya Peninsula.

 

 

 

 

Volcanic Nicaragua..

 

Not only are the volcanoes hot in this part of the world, cycling in the midday sun can be one hot sweaty experience. However early starts and some rest days off has made a good balance and  given us plenty of time to relax and explore. We have made it down to Costa Rica and head to the Nicoya peninsula where we meet up with Lorely´s brother.

Welcome to Nicaragua.

Iglesia de La Recoleccion, Leon.

‘The Bike Yard’ in Leon for all your cycle touring needs!!

Leon, we really enjoyed it here. It is a great colonial town that grew on us over the 4 days we spent wandering around and exploring. With lovely cheap eateries and good people watching in the shady square. We also met the Spanish cyclists that we were originally told about back in Washington USA, 6 months ago.

Laguna de Apoyo, very tempting for a swim but the very steep cycle back up put us off.

You are never far away from fresh fruit in Central America.

A view over the tiled roofs of Granada, Nicaragua.

The colourful market of Granada.

Iglesia de Guadalupe, more church pictures, however they are such a big feature here, from the beautiful ones in the cities to the little simple ones in the villages. Cycling on Sundays we always see people dressed up for church, then it seems the afternoons are spent in the bar!

Sunset over the city.

Off to the island of Ometepe, a little bit windy, so a little bit choppy!

Volcano Conception, smoking away on the  Ometepe island which is made up of two volcanos.

Making our way through island traffic.

Enjoying the sunset at the lookout tower on Finca Zopilote, an organic farm where we camped for a few days.

Russ happy to be slack lining for the first time in months.

The Comedor Santa Cruz, a really good restaurant with plenty of entertainment, chickens and pigs running around, kittens curling up in your lap and even….

a monkey jumping onto our table!

The pizza oven at Zopilote. We also had lovely fresh bread here with homemade jams, peanut butter and Nutella!

The island has such a lovely laid back feel to it, when you see these signs it really brings it home to you that you are right below a powerful force of nature.

Volcano Concepcion, Nicaragua.

Santo Domingo beach, Ometepe Island.

Crossing borders…..

We left the cooler hills of El Salvador and headed for the hot hot coast, where even the sea is warm! However with early starts and afternoons hiding in the shade we were soon crossing the border into Honduras, our border crossing into El Salvador had been very straight forward and we were through in minutes, entering and  leaving Honduras was a bit more chaotic, (mainly due to the lack of any signs of where to go) arriving at 7am we were surprised to see a long queue but it moved fast and we crossed over, paid our fee for Honduras and after a friendly chat with the police about the countries we have visited we were on our way again.

Ahuachapan, El Salvador.

Watching the football! We can always tell when a game is on, anywhere with a TV has a crowd.

Juayua, El Salvador.

We were in Juayua for the weekly food fair, with Iguana, guinea pig and frogs on the menu, we went for this veggie option of riguas con queso, a corn dough cooked in banana leaves and delicious elotes locos (crazy corn), corn on the cob covered in cheese and mustard.

The Salvadorian way of transporting logs, its funny when you are going downhill and a go-kart of logs goes whizzing by!

Sonsonate, El Salvador.

A day of punctures, this was the first of three!

Playa El Zonte, El Salvador.

Playa El Zonte. We had a lovely few days here playing in the waves.

Hot hot days, on the way to Honduras.

Volcano San Miguel, El Salvador.

Our morning alarm call, pretty much everywhere we stay!

Wonderful shade and a sea breeze.

Crossing borders, the road to Honduras.

Times change slowly here, we pass loads of ox and horse draw carriages carrying wood, people and pretty much anything.

Typical home in Honduras, although we only spent two days riding through Honduras, we went past lots of little villages with friendly waves and smiles as we cycled by.

Our first day riding in Nicaragua, cycling past a smoking volcano, with great tailwinds, it doesn’t get much better.

More ant pictures, Nicaragua.

Cathedral bells in Leon, Nicaragua.

The view across Leon, from the cathedral roof.

Shadow cycling.

Some say the heart is just like a wheel, once you bend it you can’t mend it!?!

After cycling 7 months and passing through just 3 countries the US, Canada and Mexico we now plan to cycle around 2 months and pass through 7 countries, which feels funny and very exciting. We had a few rest days in Flores when we first arrived into Guatemala. Where we swam in the lake,drank in the coffee shops and visited the ruins of Tikal.

The colourful houses of Flores made wandering around even more enjoyable.

View of the grand plaza, Tikal.

Looking out over the jungle of Tikal.

A sunset swim.

We found the leaf cutter ants almost as fascinating as the ruins themselves.

Flores, Guatemala.

Cleaning the bikes and checking Russ’ wheel which for a month now has been starting to bulge. When two spokes broke on the way into Guatemala we decided to check out the rim and discovered it had cracked around some of the eyelets. With a visit to’ Chilly Willy’ bike shop in Flores and a change of spokes we had our fingers crossed it would last till Costa Rica where Lorely’s brother is bringing out a new rim.

The view from our tent of Lago de Izabal in Rio Dulce. A hot and busily town but with a cool breeze from the lake it made a good place to stay.

Good veggie burgers at the Sundog cafe, Rio Dulce.

Sunrise, Rio Dulce.

Fresh Pineapples a new road side favourite.

What we were hoping would last 6 weeks lasted 3 days! so a whirlwind 20 minutes of a ride in a cattle truck, a visit to the local welders and the bike shop. We soon found ourselves on the way to Guatemala city.

Flying along in the back of the cattle truck. The guys were so helpful taking us everywhere to try to sort out the wheel.

Graffiti in Guatemala city. Although most of the time was spent searching for bike shops it was fun to spend some time in the capital. We got to see the volcanoes on the way in and out, great veggie food in zona 1 and randomly meeting an old travel friend that we originally met in Mongolia. So I guess some things do happen for a reason.

Back out on the road with the wheel fixed, thanks to the helpful guys at Euro Bikes, we headed to the border of El Salvador .

Running from the gangs of money changers, we crossed the border and headed up the hill.

Apaneca, in the heart of coffee country. Riding along the Ruta de las Flores.

Antique shop, Juayua, El Salvador.

Rolling on a river.

We made it to Guatemala, a little bit later than we expected, as we all got sick and had to spend 5 days recovering in the small town of  Ocosingo. As we entered the Chiapas region of Mexico both the people and the scenery changed. The  tiny villages we passed through were friendly and the people wore more traditional clothing, the landscape really became jungly as we headed towards Palenque.

The morning as we left San Cristobal.

Having both left our towels back in the hostel in San Cristobal, Russ had to hitch hike back. It gave me chance to wonder and take  pictures of the epiphytes while we waited for him.

With Chiapas being the center of the Zapatista rebellion, many villages have signs in support of the left-wing movement which fights for indigenous rights in Chiapas.

Morning mist over the mountains.

Ejercito Zapatista de Liberacion Nacional.

Our first day cycling in the rain since mid October. Even after all that time without rain a rainy day is still a rainy day!!

The water falls of Agua Azul.

Cascadas Misol-Ha.

There was a great walk that passed behind the waterfall. A good way to cool off.

Beer o´clock?

Looking out over the Palenque ruins. Even with the wet weather it was lovely here. With the clouds hanging in the forest and the howler monkeys in the trees, it was very atmospheric.

Palenque.

Climbing all the steps was tough on tried cycling legs but well worth it.

“evidently chicken town”

Feeling the strain of the 170 km ride from Palenque to the border town of Frontera Corozal. With the over cast day it made cycling a little easier. We weren’t sure of places to stay along this road but for other cyclists coming this way there were hotels at around Km65 and Km72 and lots of friendly villages to camp.

Crossing the river to Guatemala and the border town of Bethal. After a little cycle around to find the tiny immigration office, getting the visas was very straight forward and we were soon on our way.

Our first road in Guatemala, 60km of bad gravel!!

One of our favorite roadside snacks, Spongys!

Lago Peten Itza, Flores, Guatemala.

Off to Central America………..

Only have a few more days cycling left in Mexico before we cross over the border to Guatemala, we have had a brilliant time here, although our spanish is not good enough for us to understand the conversations, the smiling faces are easy to translate and we have felt really welcome, but we are excited about the next stage, off to Central America!

San Cristobal de las Casas, a fantastic little town, having a few days here, getting ready!

San Cristobel, we didn′t stay down on the levels for long, and were soon climbing back up into the mountains, but it was worth it.

Panam Riders!

Cooling off!

Back up to the mountains.

Cycling in really strong cross winds, when I stopped to take this photo is was hard to hold the bike up!

Canon del Sumidero at Chiapa de Corzo

Chiapa de Corzo

Coconut stall, yummy!

Its always hard cycling in the mountains but the views make up for it.

Early morning colours.

The market in San Cristobel, you can get lost here for hours.

Everything has its own section in the market, this is the candle section.

Candles ,candles and more candles.

Fruit and fresh veg is the thing we miss the most when we are cycling, so its great when we see this!

Now we are in basket street!

Not the vegetarians favorite part. ‟The sun ain′t yellow it′s chicken!‟

One of my favorite images from Mexico, Virgin de Guadalupe, you can see her everywhere.