The roads between here and Panama are fantastic to drive on and the scenery is simply breathtaking. I’ve accepted that here’s no way to capture the mountains in pictures and do them any kind of justice, but still I try. The drive is roughly three hours each way, something like 309 kilometers, so we make sure to pack lots of food and snacks to keep everyone happy.
Palm plantation near the plant where they harvest palm oil.
Bulls making their way down the highway. No one leading them. I guess they know where they’re going!
The line to enter Panama.
It’s kind of funny, because you can freely walk between the Panamanian and Costa Rican border with no one asking a single question. There’s a large mall right at the border where you can come out on either the Panamanian side or the Costa Rican side. The first time Ivan made this trip, he didn’t even notice he had crossed the border! Once he realized, he walked back over and got his stamps. Of course, if you get any further on the roads in either direction you will find traffic officers checking your papers, but the actual border itself is a level of laid back you would NEVER see in North America! There is no checking of your belongings; you can go shopping in Panama, bring your bags to your car in Costa Rica, walk back over to the mall for lunch, and back again. It’s kinda cool.
Husbands note in regards to the Paos Canos border crossing:
People often hear that you’re required to leave Costa Rica for 3 days before returning back to the country. This is an old rumor that centers around the duty free exemptions. In reality, we checked with the immigration office in San Jose and were told that several people who work in San Jose drive to the border in the morning, have lunch, and drive back to San Jose in the afternoon, all in the same day. We’ve done this several times now. One time we actually arrived at the border in the afternoon and in a rush to return home before sundown, we simply signed out of Costa Rica, signed into Panama, went to the window next door and signed out of Panama, and then back into Costa Rica. Total time was 30 minutes in and out of Panama.
The most colorful cemetery I’ve ever seen. It was really beautiful.
This was after around five hours of driving. We’re almost home!