DECEMBER 2016CYCLING TOURING PANAMA
At the start of the month we found ourselves back in Alabama. We decided to hop on a plane to take us back to see Julie’s mom for a couple of weeks to celebrate a late Thanksgiving and an early Christmas with her.
Once back in Panama it was already getting on to Christmas, we had to be in the town of Portobelo by the start of January as we had booked a boat to take us onward to Colombia. We left the city of David with our new ‘bikepacking’ set-up which made the hills easier to climb and the descents less wobbly. However, It also meant we were carrying far less stuff than previously. Gone were all our luxuries and space.
We had some of the best rides in the whole of Central America in those two weeks, mainly because the Pan-American Highway was under-construction so we had two lanes of traffic free riding for over 150 miles. This made for smooth fast riding on virgin black top (New tarmac).
On exiting the city of Santiago we met up with a group of cyclists from France and Germany who were also heading to South America. We joined forces and spent Christmas together in a hostel, drinking rum and eating a french Christmas dinner, oh la la.
Our approach to Panama City was marred by the harshest rain we had seen on the trip so far, and thanks to all the metal shards from blown out truck tires which scattered over the roads we had 3 flats in one day, it made for a brutal ride around the outskirt of Panama City.
With only 60 miles left of Central America we hammered our way through the central rainforest and on to the Caribbean coast, the humidity was at 100% which made even the smallest hill impossibly grueling. “Am I cut out for the Andes if I can’t even tackle the smallest of hills?” I repeated to myself on every climb. As the sun was setting on the 29th December we rounded the final bend of Central America and into the sleepy port town of Portobelo. We would have to wait out the new year for a couple of days before catching our boat to Colombia, via the picture perfect San Blas Islands.
Total so far: 5655 miles. Panama
Current Location: 8.761824, -75.872977
CHRISTMAS DAY WITH FELLOW CYCLE TOURISTS [JULIE’S PHOTOGRAPH]