Costa Rica Tour and Panama Cruise with CruiseWest, Feb. 2005
This review has been completely revised to include the new CenRut GPS maps of:
Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama.
(Donations to CenRut welcome) Text and Photos by Jack Yeazel ° 6 Sept. 2012
Return to GPS General Information Home Page

These maps have been successfully loaded into a Garmin GPSmap 76c, & 76Cx  ( protocal),
and 78Sc &  Dakota 20 (mass storage) hand-held units.

Here are some examples of loading both types of maps into a Garmin  GPSmap 78sc.
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Courtyard Hotel  ° Inbio Park near San Jose ° Arenal Inn, Hot Springs Swimming ° Closer view of Arenal Volcano ° North end of Canal at night
NOTE: Placing the cursor on a street or contour reveals the name or height.  (Blue is a GPS track on land and pink is the track of the ship)

To record this trip, we took two Garmin receivers and a Magellan SporTrak Color.  Generally we used a Garmin Vista-C to record the bus and walking tours, a GPSmap 76C to record the ships position 24-hours a day,  and a Sportrak Color to show contour lines.  The CenRut maps are remarkably detailed and accurate -as compared to the GPS tracks recorded on the trip.  Due to lack of memory, those three units aren't capable of accepting the CenRut regions, so we will describe the units we know that can.

MAP INSTALLATION INTO GARMIN UNITS DIRECTLY:
In the http://www.cenrut.org/adw/over.htm, Overview page is, "How do I load the maps onto my GPS?"  Download to a folder of convenience: http://www.CenRut.org/Mapas/gmapsupp.img  Once you get the gmapsupp.img file, you can upload it to any Garmin unit that supports "Mass storage" where other .img files are located.  If you find a gmapsupp.img file already there, change the name to gmapsupp.img.org, or similar, to prevent overwriting that file.  (Later you may want to go back to the original .img file).

MAP INSTALLATION INTO GARMIN UNITS VIA MAPSOURCE:
In the CenRut Overview page is, "item 3) CenRut*: http://bit.ly/Cenrut28".  Download this file to the same  folder of convenience.  It will be, "CenRut28.rar".

NOTE: *.rar files must be extracted by downloading http://www.tucows.com/preview/194276 -or similar.  (Try not let the 'extra' files by TuCows clutter up your computer!).  This file will be:  "oi_wrarexe.exe" which downloads "wrar411.exe".  Run this file to install 'WinRAR' on your computer.  (If you are using PKZIP, I suggest you only register WinRAR to extract *.rar files).

Now you can extract "CenRut28.rar".  There will be a sub folder, "CenRut28", where you will find, "CenRut.org 2.8.exe".
Running this file will install  the "CenRut 2.8" map on your MapSource.  To check the success of the install, load (THIS) Garmin .gdb file with waypoints and tracks from a previous visit to Central America into MapSource -which can show the accuracy and detail of the map.

NOTE: With some Garmin 'mass storage' hand-held units, the uploaded tracks aren't visible on the screen until they are activated individually.

ADD TOPOGRAPHIC MAPS:
Also on the Overview Page is "Topographic map of Central America".  Download and run "Centopo.exe".  This will install 50m (164') contour-line-interval map derived from NASA’s SRTM data.  On MapSource, the map will be "Centopo 01 www.cenrut.org©" and will show contour lines only.

To add CenRut street maps AND contour lines onto a GPS unit, select both 'CenRut 2.8' and 'Centopo 01 www.cenrut.org' regions of interest.  Upload these regions to you GPS unit.

ROUTING:
Routing on the Garmin nuvi series seems to work well.  Below are two calculated routes as compared to a rout actually taken.  But so far, we haven't been able to do route calculations on the hand-held units we have that will accept CenRut maps.

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A route from the Courtyard Hotel to the first stop, Inbio Park, as calculated by a Garmin nuvi 760 and 765T
The newer 765T finds a shorter route. (Black lines are contour lines)


A GPS track of the route actually taken by the bus -which is the same as the 765T.

WEATHER:
In February, Costa Rica, Atlantic side, is cool and sometimes showery.  Costa Rica, Pacific side, warm and humid.  Seas fairly calm.  Panama Pacific side, cool and pleasant (due to the Humboldt Current).  Atlantic side, warmer, but still rather pleasant.  Seas more windy and choppy.  We would suggest you select a cruise in the Costa Rica-to-Panama direction in order to get your sea legs for the Atlantic side.  Winter is considered the dry season in Central America.


Overall GPS StreetAtlas map of the trip. Blue is Land Tour of Costa Rica, Green is the Ship Cruise in the Pacific Ocean.
Black is the Panama Canal, and Red is the return Cruise in the Caribbean Ocean from the San Bas Islands to Colon.

Part-I Costa Rica Tour (5 Feb. to 10 Feb. 2005)

The "yellow brick road" is a GPS track of the CRT bus tour superimposed on CenRut's new map

Click on these Thumbnails to Access Web Pages of Interest
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Part-2 -Cruise on the Pacific Explorer (11 Feb. to 19 Feb.  2005)

The Yellow Line is the ship track of the Pacific Explorer superimposed on Garmin's WorldMap

Click on these Thumbnails to Access Web Pages of Interest
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On the flight down, I noticed a "kink" in the path south of Cuba.
It turned out to be Grand Cayman Island. (Where the multinationals send all our money!)

Other Cruise West Cruises with GPS:
    Click (HERE) for Alaska and Canada
    Click (HERE) for Baja California and the Copper Canyon

Photos taken with a Nikon CoolPix 990 and adjusted with Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0.