Panama and Colombia are connecting by a thin peninsula of thick jungles and no roads. Getting a car around involved stuffing it in a container and putting it on a cargo ship. Getting ourselves around there were two options: Fly or Sail.
North- and South America are not connected by any roads, between Panama and Colombia is about a 150km stretch of jungle, the so called Darian Gap. Therefore, we have to ship our Landy to Colombia.
Before leaving Costa Rica, we stopped at a private Mirador (Viewpoint). The Mirador is run by a National Park Ranger and has two short but steep trails to a viewpoint. From there you have a beautiful view of the coast and with good weather we were told you can even see mount Chirripo. What we also saw on the hike were many green and black frogs, nearly completing our animals to see in Costa Rica list! The only ones we didn’t see were Quetzals, the elusive national bird of Guatemala we’ve been on the lookout for since months.
Part 3 of our adventures starts and ends back at the beach. We start on the Pacific coast, with a night of wild camping. We found some safer stretches of coast in this part of our journey and could enjoy something for FREE in Costa Rica! After all that complaining we did about prices in the last stretch, it was a nice change of pace.
We left the beautiful Nicoya Peninsula excited to see what the highlands of Costa Rica have to offer. The country has a lot of beautiful and exciting National Parks – that are both expensive and totally forbidden for dogs. Monteverde, which would have been the next stop, has $30 entrance fees per person plus a hotel room to leave the pup at while there, made this quickly drop from possible stops. Instead we drove a windy mountain road nearby, enjoyed the beautiful views, and continued on to Lake Arenal.
Costa Rica is an interesting place. It is a huge tourist destination and unlike the rest of Central America, it is full of people that speak English and steep entrance fees to see anything. After our tense drive through Nicaragua and the nervous weeks leading up to that, we were mostly excited to have made it safely to the Switzerland of Central America.
Nicaragua was a very short visit for us. Because of the civil unrest we didn’t do any tourism and just drove through this beautiful country in two days. We met up with two other travelers near the Honduras/Nicaraguan border and convoyed through the country. We avoided all the big cities and most of the main roads so that we could avoid most road blocks. We started early and were at the border at 7am.
From Gracias, Honduras, where we had our first long streak of bad travel luck, we continued on through Honduras and found better luck ahead! We had a long drive through green hills and mountains to our next destination. We stopped in the town of La Esperanza stretch our legs, have coffee and do a little sightseeing. Little towns off the tourist route are often the most charming, and this one was no exception.
After a beautiful week in El Salvador and many in Guatemala, we had high expectations coming into Honduras. With fewer tourist highlights (meaning fewer viral Instagram photos), we weren’t sure what to expect.
El Salvador is a small country and we only explored a small portion of it, but what we saw was stunning. From the first day we felt welcomed, had wonderful coffee and food, and met so many warm and friendly people. Our week here is full of happy memories and we had full, happy bellies to match.