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Thread: The Road to Bluefields

  1. #1
    Dog Whisperer cookshow's Avatar
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    Default The Road to Bluefields

    Finally made the trip via road, I came from Nueva Guinea to Bluefields last week. I went up to Rama on a Panga, spent a few nights in Juigalpa then bused (4hrs) to Nueva Guinea from Juigalpa. Spent the night in Guinea to check it out and find transport info.

    There is a lot of conflicting info about the buses, here is what I know to be somewhat certain. Vargas buses are leaving Bluefields at 6am (sometimes daily, sometimes every other day). There is also another company doing the same route at the same time I am told. From MGA Vargas leaves from their terminal at Montenegro Market, the other company from Lewites Market, departure times for both appears to be 9pm. The trip takes approx. 9 hours, cost is 300 cords.

    Now to my Personal Experience, was not getting much promising info once I reached Guinea, the area had just been hit with torrential rains. Heard a bridge was out on the new road (more about that later), confirmed that on internet, was hearing that the river in Rama was rising and near flooding, could not confirm that.

    My "Back-Up" Plan to get back to Bluefields was bus back to Rama from Guinea (4 hours) then Panga back (2 hours), that was looking shaky.

    I milled around town for the afternoon, weighed my options. By 6am I was at the Bus "Station", Knew there was a 7am bus to Rama and planned to catch it if I did not find anything out about a Bluefields Bus. Several people told me there was a Bluefields bus at 11am, and I could live with that but no one instilled me with much confidence.

    Was sitting out by the road watching buses and the bus/trucks go of to areas I was having to look up on the internet. Taxi Guy pulls up and chats me up, out of curiosity I ask him how much to Bluefields, 2,000 cords he replies, about what I figured, but more than I wanted to spend, 2 hour trip he said, he sees I am getting more interested. He then says he can probably find someone to split the ride with me, would I be willing to pay 1,000 cords, now I was hooked.

    Was looking at a long day of travel if I went via Rama and by time it was said and done would have spent 500 cords, and the river condition had me concerned that I might get hung up in Rama.

    Taxi Guy finds another passenger and he too was planning to go back to Rama, but concerned about the river. Off we go, 7am. we are clipping right along and not far out of town, not reaching the new road yet, come over a hill and traffic backed up a good bit. This is the bridge that is out, they are working on the low water crossing as the water keeps rising. We spent a good 45 minutes sitting on the side of the road and watching as trucks made there way across, then more rock would be brought in, the dozer would make a few passes and next truck would go.

    Finally get that out of the way, and in a short time hit the new road, it is nice. Soon as I was getting used to it we were back on gravel, miles and miles of gravel, some of it barely more than 1 lane. Outside of Bluefields the road is beautiful, arrived in Bluefields at 10am.

    I really thought more was completed from all the reports I have heard. I did see them pouring some and they had out lights so obviously working at night. Not much work going on but I figure that was due to the recent rains and the impending Holidays. There were still an Army of Workers and lots of Heavy Machinery, there is a "Company Town" about at the midway point and it looked pretty dead when we passed.

    The road really is a Marvel, cut through some serious wet areas. First thing I looked at when I got in the cab was the odometer, electronic and of course not working, wanted to see how much was cemented. The road is approx 100km.

    The road is certainly passable by any means and I have a feeling we saw it at it's worst due to the rains. Only 2 spots were tricky for the Taxi (4 door Hyundai), the low water crossing and an area with 6" or so rock, no small gravel on top, other than that it was rough in spots but no big deal. Would not recommend it for someone who has never driven on narrow gravel roads as it might be a little overwhelming.

    Had been wanting to do it for over a year, now that I have it out of my system I can probably wait until more is cemented.

    Some Tips if making the trip:

    -Overnight in Guinea, or Bluefields and get an early start before work really cranks up. I can easily see long delays during peak construction.
    -Buy water and snacks before hitting the road, not much out there, that will quickly start to change.

    Nuevo Guinea has more Hotel Rooms than I would have expected and of varying degrees of comfort. True to form after I had picked a place I found a much newer, nicer, and cheaper place while out walking around. Most places that I saw had secure parking. Looks like most of the other small Agro dependent sort of towns you see, lots of Agro Stores and the such, a decent Pali.
    ‎"You know what you say when people tell you you can't do something? Fool, shut your mouth up!"
    Ernie K Doe

  2. #2

    Default Re: The Road to Bluefields

    Thanks for the detailed report. I'm going to drive it mid- February. I'll be driving a Ford F150.

    I'll be coming from the North and am still uncertain where I will access the road. Sounds like an adventure.

  3. #3
    Dog Whisperer cookshow's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Road to Bluefields

    In a truck and having driven in Baja you will not find any issues with the road. I have travelled much further on much worse roads. Found a good place in Guinea for 300 cords a night with fan and they have rooms with a/c as well, secure parking. Posadita La Reyna, they are on FB. I have their # as well, just not handy. That is where I will stay next time. I paid 400 cords for a much lesser room. Juigalpa is also worth a day or 2, if you have time.
    ‎"You know what you say when people tell you you can't do something? Fool, shut your mouth up!"
    Ernie K Doe

  4. #4
    Para aquí para acá Jonh's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Road to Bluefields


  5. #5

    Default Re: The Road to Bluefields

    Quote Originally Posted by cookshow View Post
    In a truck and having driven in Baja you will not find any issues with the road. I have travelled much further on much worse roads. Found a good place in Guinea for 300 cords a night with fan and they have rooms with a/c as well, secure parking. Posadita La Reyna, they are on FB. I have their # as well, just not handy. That is where I will stay next time. I paid 400 cords for a much lesser room. Juigalpa is also worth a day or 2, if you have time.

    Thanks!

    I don't have quite the truck that Jonh posted,, but it will get me down the road. I was going to sell it and buy something smaller,, but I have some body work to get done and guess who does GREAT, CHEAP body work??? Nicaragua.

    Fantastic paint matching. When I do buy something smaller I'm going to look for something with some serious body damage that sells for less, and get it fixed and re-painted in Nicaragua. I've been more than satisfied with the mechanical work as well,,
    but as you can imagine,, parts for a Ford F150 are few and far between. I had to get front brakes done the last time )or time before last). New rotors, and brake pads cut down from some bus brake pads,, synthetic oil change,, cost me $300.

    I keep a set of brake pads in the truck now

    This was in Estelí,, the mechanic fought as a contra around Canto Gallo,, a

  6. #6
    Dog Whisperer cookshow's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Road to Bluefields

    Travelling the road we saw several people changing flat tires, and for most of the road there are no shoulders yet, so changing a tire would bring back Baja memories. Also they are still working on the drainage along both sides of the road so pulling off the road is not really an option in most places.

    May try the trip to Guinea and back by Bus in a few months, Bus would have to be more comfortable than the Taxi I was in. I want to see it when Construction is really moving, must be quite a sight. Most of the Heavy Equipment I saw was near new, and there is LOTS of it.
    ‎"You know what you say when people tell you you can't do something? Fool, shut your mouth up!"
    Ernie K Doe

  7. #7

    Default Re: The Road to Bluefields

    Excellent update. Wish I had time to take the new road before it gets all built up and trashed up.

  8. #8
    Dog Whisperer cookshow's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Road to Bluefields

    I keep hearing a 2019 completion and that is possible. 2016 must have really hurt them, the rains started early and never stopped. Make the trip and you will understand, I saw Dozer tracks in some of that mud, must have been a nightmare. We get a decent dry season and they should move fast, looked like most of the road bed is in and in good shape to pour on. Looking at it, I bet the traffic is going to slow them more than the weather from here on out.

    Already seeing many changes in Bluefields. With future projects in the pipe things are going to change even more.
    Last edited by cookshow; 12-27-2017 at 07:31 PM.
    ‎"You know what you say when people tell you you can't do something? Fool, shut your mouth up!"
    Ernie K Doe

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