Originally Posted by pictish
looks like your having a ball, A quick copy and paste of your text into this report would help following you a bit.
Also people here are looking for info, road conditions, security,border crossings, interactions with locals, places you stayed costs ect.
For isntance you say you left your jeep in secure parking for $3 a day was it still there when you got back, who you used ect would help the next folk.
The fact your using a standard unmodded vehicle is also interesting, how its coping, what kind of offroading [or only roading in some places] are you doing.
Hey Garry - thanks for the input.
A big part of my stories is the photos, so I don't usually copy and paste the text around without the photos and it's a pain to put them all into this forum.
I've been pretty detailed with border crossings and some other tricky bits (shipping across the Darien) but to be perfectly honest, I find those things pretty mundane and they are by no means the focus of this adventure for me. Driving around is not particularly hard, and things like road conditions can really only be assessed at the time by asking locals.
With regards to secure parking, etc. I think it's crazy to try and describe it all. We actually had a few different guides for the process required in Panama City and both were hopelessly wrong in so many ways. These things are constantly in flux and the experience is never going to be the same for two different people. (ie shipping from a differnt port, paperwork problems)
In your specific example, the secure parking for Bocas Del Torro - there are about 10 places you can use and they're all identical, trying to descrive that I used the "one with the white building 300meters past the red ferry terminal" is not helpful when there are 5 different ferry terminals.
In terms of 4x4ing, it only depends on how far off the road you want to get. Even a Jeep TJ in stock form will go very very far off the road, to the point you wind up at a place there is really no point in going to (done that a few times). Any place worth going has a road that locals are driving all the time in stock 4x4s and plenty of sedan taxis. I've met plenty of people doing this trip in minivans and front wheel drive sedans, so a 4x4 is not at all required.
Later I'll do a big post on my thoughts for vehicle recommendations.