Contributor: Karthi Pillai
In 2016, I cycled 3 countries in Central America, starting in Nicaragua, through Costa Rica and ending of in Panama.
This was a real treat as I got to experience cycling through the boarders of different countries (obviously stopping at passport control and then getting back on the bike to continue on).
Although these 3 countries are somewhat similar (common language) it was really interesting to experience the difference in the cultures first hand. It was truly amazing riding through remote areas of these respective countries, from the coffee plantations in Nicaragua to the rain forests in Costa Rica and then onto the famous Panama Canal was truly spectacular.
I remember the one day riding in Costa Rica, and we were heading to the boarder with Panama to get to immigration and cross over to Panama. Our guide mentioned that it was boxing day so the boarder will be busy and we need to get there as soon as we can, it was raining that day, so as fate would have it, I had 3 punches that day and hence fell right to the back of the group. The mechanic on the trip assisted me with the tyre changes and luckily he had plenty of spare tubes. After changing the last flat that I had within the space of about 4kms, he paced me back to the get to the boarder, rush into the bus to get our passports, soaking wet, walked to the boarder crossed over to wait in line, only to wait there for another 4 hours before actually getting into Panama. In the process from having on soaking wet cycling clothing to being completely dry in the heat as the sun later made an appearance.
The local crew on this trip was honestly amazing, really full of useful bits of information and many jokes along the way, and although they were all Costa Ricans, they knew their neighbouring countries so were and were constantly sharing their knowledge along the way.
Nicaragua still rates as on of the countries you must visit in my opinion (although I know that they are going through some political problems currently, Costa Rica is lush with vegetation and Panama is 2 worlds really, Old Panama, and Skyscraper Panama)