Boats and Ferries
The Ferry from La Paz to Mazatlan, the boat from Belize to Guatemala and the boat to Nicaragua from El Salvador
I will add these three boats rides together.
This will save me some time writing about it in general.
La Paz to Mazatlan
In the meantime we had a “big” group (8!) of cyclists who where taking the ferry from La Paz to the Mexican mainland, Mazatlan.
This is the most southern city you could go to when taking the ferry from the Baja California to the mainland of Mexico.
When I did some research to the ferry I couldn’t believe the price they charged: $1150 for a passenger only!
I couldn’t get any more information. Nor did they answer my mail. Also my very good friend Alex Brede, tried to make a phone call with the company, but didn’t succeed either.
In the end I found out that the Mexican Peso is been written with the dollar sign before the amount. So in the end it did cost me about US$90 including the bicycle and food!
This was much better and not very expensive!
The hurricane that left the south part of the Baja California with a lot of damage, maybe the cause of the lack of communication!
This hurricane was late august 2014, a very rare event in this region!
The ferry was 20 km away from the city of La Paz so we started to cycle to the ferry.
This ride to the ferry was hard, due to some hills, without shade and the traffic. The traffic sometimes did pass me pass me really close.
I did hit one car on the side (softly with my hand) that was to close to me. He didn’t stop.
At the ferry we met Andreas who was also a cyclist from Austria. He was taking the ferry as well.
I talked to him and he was a vivid cyclist who had done a lot of cycling! He planned to be home (with his wife) November 15th.
We had to transfer to the boat and cycled over the busy docks.
At the ferry we had to put the bicycles in a very small room with a high step door.
This was hard to get all the bicycles all into that room.
But we gathered strength and helped each other with the lifting of the bicycles and gear.
We had to climb a lot of stairs with the bags we still needed.
At the top of the stairs we entered a cafeteria and we did sat in the nice chairs for some time.
There were movies shown, but unfortunately for me, only in the Spanish language.
After the diner that was provided by the ferry company we waited until the deck area was quieter.
I started to put the tent on the deck and prepared for the night.
When I almost finished preparing Daisy and Jason, Spencer and Kate joined me with their tents too.
It was great to sleep under so many stars and the see was very calm.
I did sleep quite well that night and was awake when the sun was coming over the horizon!
After breakfast (also provided by the ferry company) we soon arrived in Mazatlan where the next part of our journey would start!
There is one thing that was special about the ferry we sailed on.
It was an old “Stena line” ferry. This was / is (?) a ferry company that sailed in Europe between (at least) England, the Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries.
I did use these ships frequently a long time ago. It was funny to see some Dutch signs still on this ferry!
The boat from Punta Gorda, Belize to Puerto Barrios, Guatemala.
This boat ride was so different than the ferry ride from La Paz to Mazatlan.
We bought a ticket in a small office in Punta Gorda, we bought some drinks and snacks for on the boat, we didn’t know much about.
We first had to pass the customs, pay a leaving fee, than to the boat.
Not a ferry but a speedboat with 20 seats and some room for luggage!
The crew (2 people) waited for loading until we arrived with the bicycles. That was a good move.
The bicycles were taken in first and the luggage of all passengers was loaded in after that.
We left Belize where we had such good time! I hope to come back one time?!
It took us about an hour to cross the sea to Puerto Barrios Guatemala.
It was a bumpy ride, but not too bad, the see was relative calm!
At the port we had to walk to the immigration office and receive the stamps after filling in several forms.
A new country to cycle, GREAT!
A third Boat ride! El Salvador to Nicaragua
To bypass Honduras we were advised to take the boat from La Union (El Salvador) to Potosi Nicaragua!
The owner, Tom Polak, of “La Tortuga Verte” gave this good advice. Here we had a great time it felt like paradise!
The bicycles were loaded on the pick up truck to take us from El Cuco to La Union, a little fisherman’s port.
The language was a bit of a problem. The driver, a young guy, couldn’t speak anything else but Spanish.
So we were in doubt with several parts of the trip.
We didn’t know what time the boat would leave and we didn’t know how long it would take to bring us to Nicaragua.
Also we didn’t know where we could do the immigration part.
This is always very important in Central America, as it is else ware in the world of course.
We could change some money to have at least some money for the first days in Nicaragua.
We were taken to the immigration office and received our stamps in the passports there.
With someone else we were taken to a little shop. There we waited for some time.
They even give us a little bench to sit on, on the pavement in front of the shop.
It turned out to be the shop of the boat owner.
Luckily the nephew of the shop owner was also one of the passengers!
He did spoke good English and could bring some answers for our questions.
It took the boat two hours to bring us to Nicaragua; halfway the nephew did go to his island, where he was born 58 years ago.
We had a nice conversation with him. He turned out to be a technical physician. He was not able to work anymore, due to a problem he had after helping a patient who weighed over 300 pounds!
He lived in Los Angeles and tried to go to El Salvador each year.
The boat owner did go to Nicaragua too. She bought fish there and sold this again in El Salvador.
When we approached the landing zone we thought we could use the pier.
But we had to get out of the boat into the warm water and wade to the shore.
Then we took the bicycles and the bags to the beach, a real adventure!
On the beach we had to take it to the road and the people who watched us coming helped us.
The bicycles were packed again and we went to the immigration office just 100 meters down the road.
One thing was different right away were the large numbers of horses walking all over the land (and beaches).
We had to ride over the rough road to the office.
They just had lunch there, but we didn’t have to wait long. $(US) 12 and we received new stamps again.
Also when we were almost cycling we were offered a bowl of fish soup! “Welcome to Nicaragua”.
This was indeed a very special entry of Nicaragua!