Cycling The Globe

A Cycle Touring Expedition Around The World

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Day 1662, Panama City – El Palmar: Positive Energy

Posted by Thomas Andersen Posted on May - 03 - 2015

Distance: 100.97 km
Ride time: 5:23:37
Average: 18.72 km/h
Max speed: 55.84 km/h
Total: 34447 km

Leaving Panama City I would be crossing the famous canal over the Puente de las Americas. I was spending a while standing on the bridge thinking how fascinating it is that the ships are be able to cross over to the Caribbean Ocean from here.

Then I was back on the Panamerican Highway heading towards Costa Rica. I cycled the first kilometers on this famous highway a summer day in Chile over a year ago. Now I will be following it again through parts of Central America and Mexico. Today the Panamericana was a bit too busy to be truly enjoyable for cycling. I hope it gets better as I get further away from Panama City.

I have already noticed a number of ways that Central America is different compared to South America. Looking at the buses and cars on the streets you might as well be in Mexico or the States, and the architecture has turned more North American as well. Finally, the McDonald’s have entered the landscape. In Colombia I would be cycling a thousand kilometers between spotting the famous M, here in Panama they seem to be coming along every 20 km.

The traffic on the Panamericana did indeed get a little better as I left the city and headed into the green and hilly mountain side.

A couple of hours later, in the village of San Carlos, I started looking for a place to stay. I have not been in Panama long enough to know what to expect in terms of accommodation and prices when I arrive in a new place. In San Carlos I found a basic guest house but the lady wanted 22$ for a room and didn’t seem interested in lowering the price. The same room would have been 8$ in Colombia. For a moment I was considering wild camping when I saw a sign for a beach. Worth to check out I thought…

Palomar turned out to be a wonderful little surf beach located just a kilometer off the highway. Suddenly I was glad I had not booked the expensive room up there, especially after I found El Refugio, a run down hostel with a wonderful atmosphere right at the beach. What made the place special was as usual the people. There was Fransisco, a surf dude from Argentina, Daniel an ex. taxi driver from Austria, and finally Jen, an American girl planning to start her own organic farm on Hawaii. I thanked them all for sending positive energy all the way up to the highway so that I got the idea to head down to the beach.

A few beers and glasses of red wine made the night even better. Not knowing where I will end up at the end of the day is something I really like about this nomadic lifestyle – especially when the place you end up is a beautiful beach with wonderful people.

Categories: Panama
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2 Responses so far.

  1. Marcos C. says:


    Life’s really full of nice surprises.

  2. What a wonderful place to stay! I’ve always loved the ocean, having spent my primary school years living within site of it.