Bocas is a colorful place that attracts many interesting characters. Often you can find all sorts of cool people traveling through Bocas with a unique purpose. Facundo and Micaela are absolutely examples of these.
The young couple is known collectively as the “Citronautas de America Mestiza” and they are currently traveling all over Latin America in their Citroen 2 cylinder vehicle. Upon finishing their university studies in Argentina, they saved up some money, bought the car and decided to make their way north with the goal of exploring everything between them and Mexico. They seek to grow, learn and explore this side of the world with no exact plans, following the compass that is the heartbeat of the Americas, to paraphrase a mission statement that can be found on their blog: http://citronautasdeamericamestiza.blogspot.com/
The Citronautas fell in love with each other in Cordoba (Argentina) while Facundo was studying biology and Micaela philosophy. It was there during their university years that they dreamt up the plans for the journey. At first the two hopped on their motorcycle with their backpacks- much like Ernesto “Che” Guevara and La Poderosa, immortalized in the movie “The Motorcyle Diaries”. However this moto didn’t work out so well in the frigid Argentine winter while carrying with all their luggage, so they sold it. With that money they were able to buy the horseless carriage that would forever change their lives: the Citroen 2CV.
The Citroen 2 CV is a French-made economy automobile that boasts a 2 cylinder engine that can apparently take you across an entire continent. Facundo and Micaela describe the car as “simpatico y batallador”, meaning it’s a sweetheart with a lot of fight in it. It’s a cute car that generates tons of smiles and draws the attention of the people so it’s been a good way for to make friends along the way. Not only is it a “cute fighter”, but it’s economical, environmentally friendly and mechanically it’s rather simple, which makes for easy repairs on the road. Facundo was able to learn how make plenty of repairs from simple internet research on forums about the car.
The adventurous Argentine lovers have donned themselves the “Cintronautas”; this for the name of the vehicle “Citroen” plus “naut” meaning traveler if you trace its Latin roots. They left home with the vision of exploring the “America Meztiza” (Mixed America), from the indigenous villages, to the Afro-Caribbean coasts and islands, to the colonial ports and cities throughout the Americas. Their logo is a map of Continental Latin America depicted with no borders and all the colors of the rainbow. It’s a symbol of their mission to explore the continent, exchanging cultures across borders and making unifying bonds with the people. They also wanted to give the people a message:
“We want to encourage people to travel; remind them that there are good people out there and show them that there’s nothing to fear.”
Well, I guess the only thing to fear is fear itself; unless of course you’ve ever had to pay for your car to be shipped from Colombia to Panama. The Citronautas arrived in Bocas del Toro driving from Colon after having shipped their car on a container from Cartegena, Colombia. Facundo and Micaela claim that taking your car from Colombia to Panama is one of the most expensive trips in the world per kilometer. Since there are no longer ferries that make this trip, they had to put their Citroen on a container ship. This cost them $1,800. Earlier in the trip they met an Italian gentleman who had shipped his car from Italy to Chile (via the Panama Canal). He paid 600 euros. According to these reports, it is far cheaper to ship your car from Italy to Chile than Colombia to Panama. Imagine that!
Well good luck Citronautas. May the wind always be at your back and gasoline in the tank of your mighty Citroen. Also, thanks a lot for sharing your story. If you’re traveling in Bocas del Toro and you’ve got a story that’s Breeze-worty, we want to hear it! E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.