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  #1  
Old 11 Jan 2010
Michael Madill's Avatar
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Boat transport Colon Panama to Necocli Columbia ?

Has anyone done or heard of any boat transport from Colon Panama to Necocli Columbia which is the start of route #62 south to Medellin.
Yesterday I read about a young guy who took and small commercial boat down the west coast from Panama city to Jaque Panama then onto Jurado Columbia and then on to Buenaventura Columbia in order to reduce his cost it took him 10 days and $400 for himself and his KLR mind you he spent 7 days waiting in Jurado for the boat but felt it was all worth it for the savings plus the bonus of an adventure.
This was the first time I had read about anyone taking transport other than a plane or sail boat out of Colon to Cartagena , I would prefer not to land in Cartagena if possible I have 3 bikes to get across.
Another alternative would be to organize a container with other riders.
I will be arriving in Panama around the end of sept 2010.

Any info would be great.

Freedom Rider
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Old 14 Jan 2010
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I wrote this on my web page (http://www.newfrontiersadventures.com/MC/Centra) 2 years ago, still valid today except for prices. (edit: and yes there is another way on the pacific side, from panama city to buenaventura, the one you mention)

Crossing the Darien Gap
The main concern, or challenge, to everybody doing this trip. The Darien gap is this area, the border between Panama and Colombia, where there is no roads. The Pan-American highway stops in Yavitza (Panama) and starts again in Turbo (Colombia), a few hundred kilometers away. This is a jungle-covered, mountainous area, one of the wettest on the planet, filled with leftist guerillas on vacation, right-wing paramilitaries looking for guerillas, smugglers of all types, and also indigenous people. You need a special permit to enter the area if you come from Panama. Work on that missing part of the Pan-American highway started a number of years ago but was stopped for ecological reasons but especially because of the opposition of the US government who wanted to prevent the introduction of the Foot-and-Mouth disease into the Northern hemisphere. Argument not valid anymore because in actuality there is no FAMD in the contiguous department of Colombia. Also communications would allow a better control of all the illegal activities in the area, from illegal lumbering to smuggling of all sorts.
There are 3 ways to cross the Darien, from North to South, possibly a fourth one from South to North.
The first one and from what I heard, the most common, is to fly the bike from Panama City to Bogotá (Colombia) or Quito (Ecuador). About $375 for the bike plus your own airfare.
The second is to put the bike on one of the numerous sailboats doing a 5 days tour from Portobello (Panama) to Cartagena (Colombia). You will spend 3 days doing snorkeling in the San Blas archipelago and then ending the cruise in Cartagena. Price is $275 p.p. including food. For the bike they ask the same price, so add another $275.
The third way is to board a Kuna cargo ship in Colón ( I boarded on the island of Carti, but that was because I didn’t know, the ship actually leaves from the wharf in Colón). Going to Carti can be complicated during the wet season because you have to followi a clay dirt road in order to get to the shore in front of the isalnd. They have spread all kind of gravel and rocks to give more traction but this is regularly washed away by the rains. Arriving to the coast you then have to cross a river, which can be high if it's raining, the bridge has been washed away a few years ago and not been replaced yet. Then you have to load the bike on a small boat to bring it ti Carti... I am happy I did it but I think I would go to Colon if I had to do it a second time!!
Once on the cargo ship, you will then spend 5 to 7 days sailing along the coast, stopping at various of the inhabited islands of Kuna Yala. You disembark in Puerto Obaldia, still in Panama. This trip costs about $50 p.p. for the the whole trip, including 3 delicious meals per day. Bring your hammock for the night. Add $30 for the bike. In Puerto Obaldia, you have to do the immigration paperwork and then put the bike in a small boat to Capurgana (Colombia). The whole boat should cost between $50-70, that is for the whole boat, so if there are more passengers, you divide the cost. Still no roads in Capurgana, you have to cross the Gulf of Uraba to Turbo. Colombian Coast Guard doesn’t allow passengers on the cargo ships, so you have to ship the bike separately, about $80-100, and you cross in a fast passenger boat, about $18. This alternative is much longer, but cheaper, and you have the opportunity to see a lot more. Also more possibilities of putting dings and dents on the bike for the way they manipulate the motorcycle on and off the boats...
The same ways are available from Colombia to Panama, but there maybe a fourth way, because a trail actually exists, which goes from Acandi (Colombia) to Yavitza (Panama), the end of the Pan-American highway. This is a tough 4-days walk through mountains, jungle and rivers. No idea, for now, if it is possible to ride it on a motorcycle. I will investigate one of these days, so keep in touch. Problem here is the danger, real this time. As already mentioned this border area is where all the arms are smuggled in Colombia and as such is coveted by both the guerillas and the paramilitaries, fighting each others to control the area. Moreover, supposedly, various tourists who have disappeared in the area would have been victims of the same guides they have hired from Acandi to rob them, and then these blame the guerillas. So you are warned!! You cannot do that trip from Yavitza to Acandi because you will be stopped by the military in Panama. This area is closed to the public, for the dangerous situation.
That’s it for the Darien Gap. One last detail if you go to Turbo, I will recommend profusely the Residencias Florida, it is really a basic hotel in terms of amenities, but it is close to the port and the owner, Jhon Botero, is so helpful it is incredible. Phone is 827 35 31 and cel 311 327 25 69.
Following numerous questions, I have expanded the details for that part of the trip on AdvRider site Shipping bike from Panama to Colombia - Page 4 - ADVrider with more pictures, starting post No.52.
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Old 19 Jan 2010
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Michael,

That trip sounds familiar, I did that same trip last year. Might be me you heard of. Anyway, getting across the Darien, there are many ways to do it. I always recommend getting to Panama City first and then deciding what you want to do. A container is expensive, plus you have to buy airfare. For me I wanted the adventure, and to cut cost, it worked out with some luck finding a boat. It mainly comes down to what you to spend, and if you want the adventure of finding alternatives...
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Old 20 Jan 2010
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Thank you for the info it will help us allot knowing what is available
before we get to Panama.

Freedom Rider
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  #5  
Old 21 Jan 2010
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prices ?

I think Girag which may be the only air shipping company right now charges 800 more or less to Colombia, and you have to fly seperate for another 300 - 350.
Sailboats are now up to 375-395 per item (you AND bike)

Zig
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Old 21 Jan 2010
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Thank you for posting this info. I am planning on going to Peru in a few years and was sweating the Gap. This is my first on this site, I wanted to be sure to thank you, and ask that this information stays updated.

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Old 9 Sep 2010
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boat for bikes to colombia

Hi there,
I know that you and your bikes can get to where you want to go on Metacomet, she is leaving Panama on Sept. 28 and is perfect for motorcycles. She will get you to where you want to go safely and you'll have fun too Cheers!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Madill View Post
Has anyone done or heard of any boat transport from Colon Panama to Necocli Columbia which is the start of route #62 south to Medellin.
Yesterday I read about a young guy who took and small commercial boat down the west coast from Panama city to Jaque Panama then onto Jurado Columbia and then on to Buenaventura Columbia in order to reduce his cost it took him 10 days and $400 for himself and his KLR mind you he spent 7 days waiting in Jurado for the boat but felt it was all worth it for the savings plus the bonus of an adventure.
This was the first time I had read about anyone taking transport other than a plane or sail boat out of Colon to Cartagena , I would prefer not to land in Cartagena if possible I have 3 bikes to get across.
Another alternative would be to organize a container with other riders.
I will be arriving in Panama around the end of sept 2010.

Any info would be great.

Freedom Rider
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  #8  
Old 2 Oct 2010
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On the Metacomet website it states that transport to and from the Metacomet is not included, and that they use Launcha. Has anyone used this company or know what the price is?
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Old 2 Oct 2010
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On second thought, nevermind!

Mutiny on the Bounty – Crossing the Darien Gap ? A Few More Miles
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Old 4 Oct 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roni View Post
Good thinking!
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