Do you want to discover Central America? Do you love cycling? Why not travel by bike through this region of the world?
Does the idea appeal to you? To help you prepare for your cycling trip , to carry out this project in the best conditions and to give you valuable advice, who better than someone who has traveled the lengths, breadths and across Central America by bike?
That’s good, we know one and she gives us here 10 tips for a successful bike trip in Central America !
Etahlep cycling trip in Central America
Hello, I’m Constant or Etahlep and I carry out a cyclo-educational project.
Since September 2019, I have traveled the world with my bike with the aim of sharing my adventure with children. It all started with Europe by bike, then Russia with the Trans-Siberian, a year in New Zealand, a crossing of Mexico, Central America and then the ascent from Portugal to France.
From May 2021 to September 2021, I traveled 4500 km from Guatemala to Panama via El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. I share with you today my advice for cycling in Central America.
Central America has the advantage of having a common language, so you might as well take advantage of it and learn Spanish! Before departure, I advise you to know the basics. For this there are specialized sites and applications, you can also take lessons or simply learn with a friend who speaks the language and/or a good dictionary.
Take a “classic” travel bike
Far from being a mechanical expert, I recommend taking a classic travel bike. In some countries (Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua), it is difficult to find new parts. On the other hand, it is easy to find mechanics with golden hands.
Well, clearly it is possible to travel with any bike, the main thing is to be in harmony with your mount!
Have Useful Apps and Groups
To accompany you throughout your adventure, I advise you to download applications that can help you in all circumstances, but also to integrate various groups/conversations of cyclo-travellers. Here are those who accompanied me before, after and during my trip:
Warmshower : the global platform for connecting cyclo-travelers
RAXM : Facebook group of cyclo-travelers in Mexico. Do not hesitate to contact them to be added to WhatsApp support groups (Familia Ciclo CentroAm, CentroAme Cicloviajeros,
My three “safe” rules
I think we all live with fears and fears. Not having one would be inhuman or even dangerous see the attractions destinations .
There is nothing more uncomfortable than sleeping in a place where you don’t feel confident. This is why, during these two years of roaming, I set up rules to tame my fears and sleep soundly:
Never drive at night
Look for my bivouac an hour before nightfall,
Always trust my instincts!
To ask for hospitality, I simply ask “Hola, ¿que tal?” Estoy viajando con mi bicicleta, quería descansar por aquí. ¿Sabes donde podría poner mi tienda de campaña? which means in French: “Hello, how are you?” I travel with my bike, I wanted to rest around here, do you know where I could put my tent? “.
You will always find a beautiful soul among the locals: firefighters, police officers, churches, restaurants, individuals… Everything is possible! I have made incredible encounters thanks to this.
Raising your hand or shouting “Hola” with a smile doesn’t eat bread and it drains a lot of positive energy!
Bike travelers in Central America
Besides the frijoles, which means “beans”, don’t be afraid to eat street food, it’s the best! I understand that the unknown can be scary, but dare! This will allow you to travel also tastefully speaking. Indeed, tasting the local cuisine while traveling is immersing yourself in the culture of the country you are visiting.
Who can resist the unknown flavors and scents of typical local dishes while traveling?
Knowing how to say yes
I think that out of politeness or not to disturb, the human being tends to say “no” to a meal or to hospitality. At the beginning of my adventure, I preferred to refuse a meal if I had food in my saddlebags or refuse hospitality if I had another accommodation solution. Then I realized that accepting anyone’s help was the greatest form of equality. All over the world, human beings need to drink, eat and sleep. To accept and say yes is to put every human on the same pedestal.
Remember, while traveling we encounter dozens of different cultures, the act of refusing can be misunderstood.