Another Day Another Country
In Central America, you can’t help but run into a border crossing every few days. So, you must plan your travels around the time expected to complete the crossing. Other than our entry into Mexico each crossing has taken two to three hours to complete. Since one of our goals was to avoid riding at night, we have had to significantly shorten our ride times whenever our day’s travels include a crossing. That is exactly what we did the day we crossed over from Honduras to Nicaragua, but we still didn’t factor in enough time.
The roads on the Nicaragua side were reported to be excellent, so even with a lengthy border crossing we expected to get from Tegucigalpa to Managua before sunset. However, the border was once again our undoing.
We left Tegucigalpa bright and early and made it to the border well before noon. As we approached, however, we knew we were in trouble. A hundred or more semi-trucks were lined up on both sides of the road. Later we found out that these trucks had waited between 3-7 days to get the necessary permits. Passenger vehicles were not experiencing those kind of lengthy delays, but it was slow nevertheless. The process to clear the Honduran side was relatively straightforward taking about 30-40 minutes to complete. The Nicaraguan side was a whole different story. In total, there were six separate steps we had to complete before they let us enter the country. We got our bikes sprayed for insects, had our temperatures checked, filled out an import form, got the paperwork for our bikes, got our passports stamped, paid fees and purchased temporary insurance. We were there working through the process for close to three hours.
I don’t think I will write about the border crossings for a while since they all are about the same. It just takes a depressingly long time to cross into another country.
Not far from the border I got stopped by the local police for not passing safely. I crossed on a solid yellow line, which a cop observed me doing. He was correct and I was in the wrong. I’m sure that I would have gotten a ticket had Omar not pulled up and asked them in his perfect Spanish what was wrong. At that point they simply told me to be safe, and we were on our way again.
The road to Managua was even better than expected. It was in perfect condition with only moderate traffic. Although we could motor along at a good speed, there was no way we were going to reach Managua before nightfall due to the delays at the border. So, about halfway we stopped at a roadside eatery to try the Nicaraguan cuisine. In the photo below you will see what I had: plantains, eggs, cheese, beans and tortillas. This food was like what we were served in other Central American countries, but it was still mighty tasty.
Riding the final miles to Managua at night was not too bad, we just had to make a few turns and of course we missed a turn or two as well.
The hostel we stayed at in Managua was called Maracuya. It was clean, safe and within walking distance to restaurants and a nearby gym. The place was so nice we decided to stay an extra night and take a rest day.
A breakfast of banana and pancakes was served each morning along with coffee.
Since there were only a couple other guests at the Hostel it was very peaceful, other than a couple of rowdy dogs that were always playing and romping around. One of the pair had lost a hind leg, but that did not seem to detour her from tussling with her buddy. We were told that the dog lost the leg after being hit by a motorcycle.
Taking a rest day allowed us time to visit a nearby gym where we had a terrific cross-fit exercise session. I’m still a little sore, but slowly recovering.
After a day of rest we moved on to Costa Rica, which was only 60-70 miles away from Managua.