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Pura vida

Article published in Euromoto magazine in 2008.

“Pura Vida” this is the greeting you will hear practically on every occasion in Costa Rica, a kind of wish, hope, a phrase that encompasses cordiality, hospitality, joie de vivre, which are often part of the background of some Latin peoples. But the greeting on this occasion can be safely used to define the mood that accompanied a group of 31 people for 3 weeks. Almost all of them known in previous travel experiences, they trusted a journalist who went to the other side, the organizational one, even if supported by a professional in the sector.

Read the story published in the magazine.

It starts in Panama, Panamà as it is called in Spanish and it couldn't be otherwise. Its locks, the canal, this vein of water, inaugurated in 1913, which separates in 2, which cuts the American continent like a scar.

The canal, in addition to having decided the history of the country, has influenced the economy of an entire continent and revolutionized the transport of goods worldwide. The fact that boats are now built respecting a Panama-size speaks volumes. The visit to the locks of Miraflores and the passage with the usual photos from the Puente de las Americas are mandatory.

The Panamericana is a tarmac blade that, apart from a short stretch that stops in the Daren forest, joins the Americas. It must be said that, apart from the obvious fascination it arouses, it is often a boring and busy route, especially for trucks. The alternative is to enter Costa Rica, from the Atlantic side, flanking the coasts that in 1492 saw the 3 caravels of Christopher Columbus disembark. Here charm, adventure and a pinch of unscrupulousness will be stimulated by the crossing of 2 railway bridges, now relegated to the transit of people, goods and vehicles.

In the end, 5 will fall, but morale is high despite customs problems, which extend the waiting times, due to lack of personnel on the Costa Rican side, which, among other things, had to be among the simplest of the entire route. . Time is finally turning to beauty and Costa Rica at a naturist level has a lot to offer: national parks, active and non-active volcanoes, pristine beaches, lakes, spectacular roads. 2 days in the Volcan Arenal area and 2 days of rest by the sea, in the fantastic Nicoya peninsula, to be able to regenerate and better face the first noteworthy customs crossing. We enter Nicaragua with acceptable times, to arrive in colonial Granada. The next day, unfortunately, time is running out, another customs is waiting for us, probably the most mangy: we enter Honduras. It will be about 5 hours between offices, tramites, photocopies and various payments, really not bad !! Honduras was, by all accounts, the most pleasant surprise in terms of roads and landscapes. It must be said that also on this occasion we tried to avoid the busiest communication routes to grant ourselves a secondary panoramic road that through fascinating landscapes, roads with little traffic immersed in coffee plantations, small indigenous villages and about 90km of dirt road, allowed to reach Gracias, one of the most fascinating colonial cities in the country, thanks also to its 3 churches, those of S. Marcos, S. Sebastian and Las Mecedes. The next day, visit the ruins of Copan, a gem for connoisseurs of archaeological sites, with the staircase of hieroglyphics and the stelae of the large Plaza that are very interesting and rare for the Mayan world. After the visit we can enter Guatemala, the goal is Antigua, a World Heritage Site and certainly one of the most spectacular and fascinating cities in Latin America. But there are still many things to see: Lake Atitlàn, defined as one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, surrounded by indigenous villages, in a spectacular natural setting, with the S. Pedro (3020 m) and Taliman (3158 m) volcanoes reflect in its waters. The colors, the people, the traffic, however, are only the preparation for the spectacle of the Chichicastenango market. We are now running out, a few days yes, but not without surprises. The streets are the main protagonists. Chiapas, which I am personally in love with, is a welcome confirmation. For the fourth time in my life, but with the usual satisfaction, I will take the S. Cristobal de las Casas-Tuxtla Gutierrez. Mexico, however, has a lot to offer viariamente and the participants do not take long to realize it: the splendid coastal 200 up to Huatulco, then the fantastic 175, which connects the 2 oceans, to reach first Oaxaca (pronounced Uacaca) and then on ' ocean in the fantastic village of Tacotalpan, one of the oldest ports in the country. We are at the end, less than 90km from here, Veracruz, the Camino Real, the farewell dinner, the delivery of the motorcycles, the return to Italy ... well, not really, to be honest, this was the program of the participants in this travel preview. The undersigned goes north, but this is another unpublished itinerary, another story and, hopefully, another article.

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