Notes from Week 1:
- Costa Rica: Tamarindo, Nicoya, Jaco, Dominical, Uvita, Ciudad Nielly; Panama: David
- Distance travelled: 449 kilometers / 279 miles
- On the days we biked, we averaged 91 km (57 miles) / day.
- Spent: $13 / day
- Hours on bike: 5 per day. Speed: 17 kph (10.5 mph)
Week 1: Costa Rican Kindness
During the week we met four other Americans biking the PanAmerican tour. They´d been at it for at least 6 months already, so they shared a few suggestions with us, one of them being that we should stay with bomberos (firefighters) as often as possible.. Later that night, we did just that. We approached the firefighters in the town of Ciudad Nielly and did a little bit up sucking-up: ¨So we've heard that you guys are the best firefighters in all of Costa Rica?¨After some small talk, we asked if they had some floor space for us to spend the night. Immediately, they took us up to a sparebedroom and gave us a couple of bunkbeds. Some small talk also revealed that about 10-15 bikers per month end up asking them for a room.
By the end of our first week, we had biked across Costa Rica to the Panama border. Security at the border was an absolute NIGHTMARE and we were initially denied entry into Panama. This experience deserves a blog post on its own, so if you're interested, check it out (link coming soon)
The next morning, we took a bus from David to Panama City, due partly to a time-crunch (we needed to get to Bogota for Christmas) and due to our hatred for the somewhat dangerous PanAmerican Highway going through Panama.
Since we have no biking experience, there were some things we came to realize:
- Cars honk at us all the time. We think it's them saying hi... but they could be mad at us; we are not sure.
- There are many other people doing the Pan American bike tour as well
- You get very sweaty during the day
- Rain sucks. And it rains everyday.
- Justifying spending money on food is easy after biking all day
-We learned that most places in which you camp, the people are helpful, nice, and always want to talk. We never stayed with someone who didn't want to chat with us. They were always helpful and usually offered us food and something warm to drink. Although sleeping in a tent is less enjoyable than a hostel, being able to meet local, rural people is an amazing experience.