Departing San Jose, I said goodbye to my father (who returned to the states), and continued climbing into Costa Rica’s mountains. I climbed a 10,000 foot pass and then, in the same day, returned to sea level and the Pacific Ocean. On one of the many climbs, I met two Costa Rican cyclists and convinced one of them to ride my heavy bike up a hill while I pedaled his bike. I told him it would be good training (video right).
You may notice I have only three panniers now. I sent a number of items home with my father – the first comment lists some of the things I got rid of.
From the beach, I continued south along the coast, finding the heat and humidity at sea level almost unbearable. With every climb, my clothes became soaked with sweat. I was relieved to find that the fire station in Ciudad Neily, on my last night in Costa Rica, had not only extra beds, but also air conditioning, a kitchen, and a pool table.
Departing Costa Rica, I met Geovanni, a cyclist who rode with me and provided a short oration about why we should use bikes as transportation. Click on the video above right.
Entering Panama, I noticed no major change in the standard of living – Panama and Costa Rica have strong economies compared to the rest of Central America. I biked quickly across Panama, which I found to be sparsely populated. I camped next to a fire station, camped on an empty beach, stayed in a cheap hotel, and then camped next to the house of a family who sells souvenirs on another beach (photo bottom right – note that my stove is at the bottom of that picture because I am trying to cook dinner).
The rainy season has just begun here in Panama, meaning that it is humid all day and there is usually a heavy rainstorm at the end of the day. In such a storm, I crossed the bridge over the Panama Canal, and arrived in Panama City, where I will stay for a few days attempting to find a boat to take me through the canal and into Colombia.