The wife and I went on a cruise to the Panama Canal last week. While in Costa Rica, we took an excursion to a wildlife sanctuary. We rode on a private bus line with a guide in each of the 2 buses. On the trip back to the ship, almost in eyesight of the port, we were stopped by several police motorcycles and our driver exited the bus with his packet of registration materials. The guide joined him when it appeared he was being questioned rather severely. She got back on the bus and explained to us that the police were not satisfied with his documents and that if he gave them some money, they would let him, and us, go. Our guide had a cell phone and she called the tour company, the police and the cruise line. It seemed the police might not have been real police, but thugs dressed like police and trying to extort money from tourists. She said it had happened before. Needless to say, the other passengers and myself were very nervous since, we didn't speak their language, our cell phones didn't work and we had no clue where we were. We sat there for more than 30 minutes and were finally allowed to proceed. We all laughed about it but when you think of how it could have gone wrong, it wasn't all that funny. It was a cruise-line sponsored excursion, not some local taxi tour and although between 2 buses there were 40 of us, we were pretty much in the rain forest in Port Limon, Costa Rica, about half way between Panama and Nicaragua. As bad as it sometimes seems, I am sure glad to be back in the USA!
Thanks for the reply LurpyGeek. We departed from Fort Lauderdale, FL. on Holland America Line. Stopped at their private island, Half Moon Cay, then Aruba, Curacao, Cristobal, Panama, Port Limon, Costa Rica and back to FL. If we had opted to go the San Diego rt. we would have had to fly back to FL.
Except for the attempted hi-jacking, we actually had the best time ever. The organized excursions were great.