Bat Crazy in Playa Venao Panama

Things got a little bat crazy during my stay in Playa Venao, Panama.

As I enter a country I circle on a map all the places I want to see and visit. From there it is a matter of connecting the dots as I ride. Playa Venao was one of those places I had circled.

As you can see from the map below, it wasn’t far from Las Tablas to Playa Venao. Despite leaving late, I still arrived early. So I had a bit to eat in downtown Playa Venao ha ha


Hostel Venao Cove

As I have mentioned before, Hostels are so friendly and my preferred place to stay as long as they have a private room for moi. Hostel Venao Cove was no different. As soon as I arrived I was greeted with a big smile and friendly banter. It made me feel at home.

Also when I arrived I ran into a couple from the Netherlands riding a BMW 800. They were in Panama for three weeks riding around.

I was escorted to my room on the top floor of a building just up the hill from the main lounge area.


My abode was basically a cement room with a bed. No air conditioning, just a big fan on the roof.

After lugging my stuff up the stair to my room, it was time for an after ride beer in the lounge.


Playa Venao

From the lounge I headed down to the beach for a walk.










Sooooo nice. So nice in fact I went and got my Helinox chair and just sat out on the beach for a while.



After awhile it was time to relax on the patio of my place and listen to the Howler Monkeys.


A truly awesome day! But like all days, it has to come to an end. Time for bed.

Good Night Sleep?

After a good day I settled in to sleep. It was a bit warm so I turned the ceiling fan on higher.

I am not sure what time it was, but at some point during the night I was startled as I heard a bang against the small narrow window in the room. I looked up in the dark and saw something flying around my room. All of a sudden it flew into my ceiling fan and was catapulted against the wall with a thud and dropped to the ground.

I was too groggy to get up, and have been startled many other times during my adventure to really care too much. Back to sleep I went.

Some time lapsed, not sure how much, when I was woken up again by something flying around my room and banging again into my window. What the heck?! Not another one. I was more awake now! As it flew around it hit the ceiling fan, was catapulted across the room, thudded against the wall, and dropped to the floor.

This time I got up. How were these things getting into my room. I didn’t bother turning on the lights, but felt the windows to see if they were open. Nope, they were all closed. No idea how they were getting in. Oh well, back to bed I went.

In the morning I woke up to the bright sunshine. I looked over to the small shelf next to me and saw a whole bunch of turds. I was sure they weren’t there when I went to bed. Uuuummmmm.

Oh yeah …. what were those things flying around my room last night. I got up and looked around the other side of my bed. There on the ground was a bat lying on its back still twitching. I didn’t want to touch it as it was still moving. I didn’t want to get bitten. There was just one though. I am guessing that there was just one all along.

It was definitely time to get riding for the day.

My Route for September 30, 2017

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Tamarindo – Surf Town Costa Rica

Relieved to have gotten through the border at Penas Blancas into Costa Rica, I rode to the surf town of Tamarindo.

One of the first things I noticed on entering Costa Rica was that pretty much all the houses were actual structures. Up until now it was common to see houses made from scraps of wood, metal and plastic. Very sad.

Hotel Mahayana

In Tamarindo I was staying at the Hotel Mahayana. Well … so I thought. When I arrived no one was there, except for a few guests. Strange.

Tamarindo hotel

I checked my email and I had a message from the Manager asking when I was going to arrive. I said I am here now. A little while later he showed up and said I wasn’t suppose to be there until tomorrow! He was right. This was the second time on this trip I’ve done that.

Luckily, there was a room and I could pay for the extra night. So instead of 2 nights at the hotel I would be there for 3 nights.

The hotel itself was different from others I have experience. It is a few blocks from the beach along a dirt road.

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There was no front desk and the Manager only shows up once or twice a day. Other than that there is just the cleaning woman from 9 until 2. The rest of the time the inmates are left to fend for themselves in a locked compound.

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It is very relaxing though with a small pool and kitchen.

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Something very peculiar at the hotel, and all over Tamarindo was the disposal of used toilet paper. It was not to be flushed down the toilet but put in a trash can beside it!!!

toilet paper

OK …I am sorry Hotel Mahayana and Tamarindo, but I don’t care how small your septic tanks are or limited your sewer system is, there was no way I was going to put used toilet paper in a trash can. So gross to me. So I became an outlaw that day. 🙂


This was the third surf town I had been to in Central America. El Tunco, El Salvador was a grubby little hippie town and San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua was mostly a college party town. Tamarindo had lots of college aged kids but also lots of families enjoying the beach. The town was a mixture of everything. There were a few expensive resorts and restaurants in town for the rich. I have to admit I went to one each day just to relax with an expensive beer.

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But also hostels, dirt roads and grocery stores for those on a budget.

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The best part about Tamarindo though was the beach.

Tamarindo Beach

I have to admit I took a lot of pictures at the beach. I wasn’t the only one though.

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Sooooo … I will just let my photos do the talking here. There are a lot. Hard to choose which ones to include. It was a lot of fun just walking up and down the beach watching the surfers and the kids play.

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Tamarindo was a great place to some some beach time. Like many places I’ve visited I could have stayed longer.

My Route on August 8, 2017


My Location for August 9 and 10, 2017


San Juan del Sur Nicaragua

From Granada I made my way to the beach and surf town of San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. The last beach and surf town I was at was El Tunco in El Salvador. It was OK but not my favorite place as it was grubby. I love beaches but it wasn’t my kind of place. So it was with some trepidation that I rode to San Juan del Sur.

HC Liri

Most of the hotels in San Juan del Sur were over my budget. I guess because it is a tourist area. The HC Liri hotel was still over my budget but within reason. It appeared that the main reason it was cheaper than other hotels in the town was that to get to the town you have to walk through a river!

Depending on the tide, the river depth would either be below my knees or to my crotch.

Juan del Sur phone

It really wasn’t a big deal though. The other option was to walk a long way around it to a bridge.

The hotel itself was nice and served a huge breakfast.

At the entrance of the hotel was a fridge with beer and other drinks. You just grab one and let the receptionist know. When you check out you pay for what you took.

The Beach

Of course the main attraction of San Juan del Sur is the beach.

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Of course there was the Nicaraguan flare to the beach.

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When I was there, no one was surfing. The waves were kind of small. Just past the waves were lots of boats moored.

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The Town of San Juan del Sur

The town of San Juan del Sur itself was nothing special … at least to me. It mostly consisted of restaurants and hostels.

One of the best restaurants in town is Dan Pues.

Juan del Sur phone 4

The meals are relatively inexpensive and very good. It is small but a good place to meet people. A woman next to me asked if I was going on the bar crawl. What? She explained to me that everyone wearing wrist bands were walking from bar to bar that evening. Later that evening I saw throngs of young people walking from bar to bar. Not my scene.

One older guy came up to me on the street and said, “only young people and fat naked chicks here.” huuummm well … he wasn’t too far wrong. Only I would be a little more polite and say that the town was full of young people having fun. That’s ok. But I’m no longer young 🙁

I looked around town for the main plaza and church. These are usually the center of activity in Central American towns. Not here. I guess the beach supersedes it. Nothing to see here. Just a cute little church.

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Besides the beach, the other main attraction is the sunset. I found a nice patio to sit out on with a drink and watch the show with everyone else.

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Wasn’t the greatest sunset, but still relaxing and beautiful.

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San Juan del Sur is a beautiful beach town, but after 2 nights I was ready to move on and tackle the border into Costa Rica.

My Route to San Juan del Sur on August 6, 2017


My Location on August 7, 2017


Grubby Little Hippie Surfer Town of El Tunco El Salvador

The next day after crossing the border into El Salvador, I headed to the grubby little hippie surfer town of El Tunco. Now you may think that my description of the town is derogatory, but it isn’t really. Most people who go there probably hope it never changes.

I had heard about the town through several blogs I read. It sounded nice, especially the beach and waves. It had been a long time since I was at a beach and I was looking forward to it.

My Route

I ended up taking a route to El Tunco that I didn’t intend to take. I just assumed that when I set my GPS it would take me a certain way. It didn’t. But I didn’t mind too much. My route to El Tunco was really nice. Lots of trees overhanging the road and I rode through many little villages which I enjoy doing when not in a rush. It was a short and relaxing ride.

El Sunzalito Hotel

I got to my hotel early as usual.

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hotel 2

After unpacking I headed in the direction of the main town.

El Tunco

You can’t really miss the town as it only has 2 streets ha ha. My hotel was on one, and it leads you to a T intersection for the other.

As you would expect the streets were pretty sandy. And a lot of the driveways into the hotels were dirt.

At the T intersection I turned left as it was cobblestone and headed towards the beach. The other way was dirt.

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street 1

I finally reached my main objective, the beach.

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It wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. As you can see there are a lot of rocks. But the surfers loved the waves.

It is pretty much a surf town. Everything is geared to surfing. And the dress for the day is surfer shorts and no shirt. I didn’t exactly fit in ha ha.

I did find a bar to hang out in and watch the waves and listen to the sounds of the ocean.


As usual the beer was cheap at $1.50 US. The food, however, was pricey for my budget – $12 US for a small plate of nachos.


As I have come to expect, the clouds rolled in by the late afternoon/evening and the rains started. What was different here though it that it was a full blown storm.

storm bike

day storm

I spent the time enjoying the storms on the hotel patio which had a roof on it.

Two Days

Two days was a bit too much for me. Especially considering that I arrived early, so it was actually 3 days. If I surfed it may have been different. I could have taken surf lessons, but the heat and rocky shore didn’t make it inviting for me.

The town too was a bit on the grubby side. And after the storms it was really that way as the dirt from the driveways turned to mud and washed onto the road.

Making matters worse for me was the cold showers.

OK … I know, I am a bit of a wuss sometimes. Or maybe I have a bit of a cleanliness fetish. I enjoy things a lot more when I am clean, my bike is clean, my clothes are clean, and my surroundings are clean. Huuummmm but I’m really not that bad. I can be messy. I am not as bad as I use to be though. Traveling to and living in developing countries has helped. But still, I have that in me. I enjoyed being in El Tunco but two days was long enough. I was looking forward to a hot shower 🙂

My Route for July 11, 2017


My Location for July 12 and 13, 2017


Cancun Conundrum

On arriving back in Mexico I stayed a night in Chetamul and then rode to Cancun to face a conundrum. I was looking forward to Cancun as I have heard so much about it. But my first priority was to get my new Visa credit card after mine had somehow been compromised.

Waiting for my Visa Credit Card

I booked Monday to Friday in the Hotel Margaritas to wait for my new credit card which Visa said they were couriering over. It was suppose to reach me in 2 business days. The one catch was that they said I needed to personally sign for it and that they couldn’t give me a tracking number yet.

Soooooooo, for the next three and a half days I waited and waited and waited in the hotel lobby for my card to arrive.

waiting-for UPS

And spent the evenings in my room, playing Age of Empires and watching Hogan’s Heroes. Love that show.



On day two I finally got a tracking number which helped. It said the package was in Cancun. Later the UPS site said it was undeliverable because the address was wrong. WHAT?! I gave the hotel name twice to the Visa rep I talked to. And read the address to him a couple of times. I got the hotel staff to phone UPS and explain where I was. UPS said it would be delivered the next day.

It didn’t arrive!

By this time I was extremely frustrated. I could feel it welling up inside me. I shot off a couple angry emails to UPS just to vent. They didn’t answer and that made me even more ticked.

By the afternoon of the fourth day it finally arrived. For a moment I was elated. I went to my room and opened the package. The elation came to an abrupt end when I realized Visa had sent me the exact same card I already had! How was this going to solve the problem of my card being compromised?!

I Skyped with Visa and after being passed to three different people they discovered they had made a mistake. I guess those things happen but I was so pissed. I had wasted 4 days in Cancun waiting for this. Visa gave me 5,000 Aeroplan miles to compensate, but this hardly made up for everything. All I could do is phone Visa back when I had another hotel for them to send it to. Cancun was too expensive for me to stay longer.

Searching for Hotels

I had gotten my hotel for a good price from Monday to Friday. But I had wasted those days waiting for my Visa. Everything is expensive in Cancun 🙁 My hotel was going to be double the price over the weekend. At the same time I wanted to see Cancun, especially the famous beaches! So I bit the bullet and booked the weekend at the same hotel.

Cancun Beaches

The hotel had a free shuttle to the beach. I took advantage of it and on Saturday and Sunday I headed for the beach.

When I first saw the white powder beach and the crystal clear turquoise water I got a huge smile on my face. It was truly amazing! I spent most of the day walking up and down the beach in the water.










Cancun Beach Strip

It was hot walking the beach and by the afternoon I could feel myself getting burnt. I headed to the strip to see if I could find a cool place for a drink and use wifi.

The strip is made to party! It is filled with clubs and tourist stores.



This was certainly not the Mexico I had know for the last few months. I settled on going to Hooters as it was one of the few places open. It was only the afternoon so everyone must have been still sleeping.

It was cool inside and had wifi. My server? Well she was from Russia … huuummmm. Hard to tell I was in Mexico.


After my “Big Daddy” beer I saw this sign.


I guess I won’t go back on Sunday ha ha ha.

On Sunday I went to Haagen Daus for ice cream instead. I couldn’t believe it … 136 pesos or about $10 Canadian dollars for 2 scoops of ice cream! Things are very expensive in Cancun! Definitely catering to the reach tourists on vacation. That wasn’t me. This is everyday life for me.

While beach were so nice, the prices weren’t. It was time to leave Cancun.

My Route on April 3, 2017


My Location from April 4 to April 9


Nicest Beach To Date – Melaque, Mexico

Unexpectedly, I stopped for the day at the nicest beach I have seen to date located in Melaque.

Puerto Vallarta to Melaque

The road from Puerto Vallarta to Melaque contained hours of curves and twisties. It is only 240 km but the estimated time to ride it was 4 hours and 10 minutes!

The ride was lots of fun but also a lot of work, especially in the heat and humidity of the coast.

Hotel & Temazcal Hacienda de Melaque

I arrived at my hotel pretty tired. From the outside it looked pretty nice.



And to be fair it was pretty nice. What was irritating were the light switches ha ha. They were no where where you might expect. I found them behind curtains and in alcoves. And making it even worse, they were at different heights.Some were at my waste. Ok … I know … pretty minor. It was funny though.

As per normal, I arrived early into town and set off to explore it.


Now I had never heard of this town before. I just picked a cheap hotel where I thought I would be around 2 pm. It turned out that it seemed everyone knew about this place but me!! Lisa, who you will remember I visited, said she and her family were going there this weekend. Unfortunately I will be gone by then. I also heard from friends from Canada that said they had been there. Well now I have been too! ha ha.

The town itself was small and most of the stores were closed for some reason.


There was a store with Canada on it though.


Since there was basically nothing in town to see I headed for the beach.

Melaque Beach

I thought there would be a malecon but there was nothing. However, I stepped off the end of the main road onto this amazing beach. To the right was a thatched roof restaurant with chairs and tables on the sand. A perfect spot for a beer.




I just sat there and took it all in. Amazing.


Eventually I went for a walk. Magical.



In retrospect I should have stayed a lot longer instead of going back to my hotel. But I was also tired.

If anyone is looking for a secluded beach away from the hustle and bustle, then go to Melaque.

My Route for November 14, 2016


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