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  #16  
Old 18 Jan 2006
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C'mon folks. There is no beach.

The bulk of the caribbean side of Panama is mangrove, jungle and swamps abutting the ocean. When the tide goes out in a swamp, you've still got a swamp. If there was a beach, there'd be villages, resorts, a road down to the beach - the trappings of civilization. Not to mention, look at the map. Its several hundred kilometers from the last road to the beach in Panama to the first road in Colombia. How many kilometers on a beach can you ride before the tide comes back in? Where ya gonna park that thing waiting for the tide to go back out?


[This message has been edited by quastdog (edited 18 January 2006).]
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  #17  
Old 19 Jan 2006
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Crossed from Panama to Colombia with a backpack once in 1994. Ten days of walking and taking canoes from village to village, at the time there was not a lot of geurilla activity. The paths at that time we're defenatly not for bike's.

May 2005 we hitched a ride from a sialboot from Cartagena to Panama. Five days off sialing with a stop on the beuatifull San Blas islands. Tied our XT600 tenere's to the mast.

We waited in the marina in cartagena two days before we found some one who would take us across. But there are regular sialboots that do this trip, but not to many that take bikes.

An other way is to drive to Turbo, Colombia and boat your way along the coast to Acandia (according to same guidebooks there is a direct boat), cross the border to Puerto Obaldia we re you can take the supply boat along the cost off panama ending in Colon. But trust me this is not safe, a lott of hassle, and cannot compeat with the sailboats from Cartagena to Colon (but this is my opinion)

In the lonely planet and footprint guidebook there are section dedicated to the crossing, check it out...

There is a guy that crossed the gap on a special prepared bike, saw a webpage once. I'll check my boomarks

Check foto's on our website
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[This message has been edited by MillsRoadsurfer (edited 19 January 2006).]

[This message has been edited by MillsRoadsurfer (edited 19 January 2006).]
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  #18  
Old 18 Mar 2006
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Never mind metros, riding at low tide, walking, pushing, saliboats or contraband boats. What about this? I have just noticed that there appears to be a ferry link from Cartagena to San Andres and another from there to Colon. Is this so, and if so, do you think they could manage a KLR somehow? Not the only reason to visit San Andres, I've heard.

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  #19  
Old 18 Mar 2006
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You might check our Kip Ross's piece in the March 1961 National Geographic called, "We Drove Panama's Darien Gap".

It only took them 101 days averaging less than 3 miles a day to cover 271 miles.

Great reading. Guess they should have used trailers or followed the low tide also - silly gringos.
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  #20  
Old 21 Mar 2006
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It can be crossed. Not a joy ride though. You have to haul her across the jungle. Use dugout canoes and the help af at least half a dozen natives. Antonio Braga has a web page with plenty of photos and descriptions. www.motoaventour.com
I would rather take the Central America Underground Train.
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  #21  
Old 24 Mar 2006
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I recall a Rokon was ridden through a numer of years ago - no canoes. And who wants to end up in N. Columbia, even if you took the Trans-Darien-Dirigible service across?
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  #22  
Old 6 Aug 2006
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Using the monorail

I'm surprised at the amount of incorrect and out of date info on this thread. Facts...it's not hundreds of clicks through the Darien. Were one to go overland the least structured part is about 50 miles. The ferry ran for a few years but went out of business some years back. No running along the beach at low tide....much of the coastal area is mangroves...hench...no beach. Can you ship a bike on the monorail? Yes, but space is limited..the amount being seasonal. The monorail is venture of the Colombian government and FARC. Under the Colombian/FARC Joint Use Agreement of 1998, FARC military shipments receive priority during the dry season. Coincidentally this is modeled on the treaty between the US and Panama which gives American naval forces head of line priority. Few bikers use the monorail. This is in part due to costs. Obviously, to anyone who has viewed the site, this is not a mode of transport for the masses. A dress code is maintained...difficult for someone who carries all their gear in saddlebags. Some of you may remember that episode of "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" when Robin Leach journeyed on the monorail with the DuPonts. There was the somewhat frenzied media circus when Madonna and her entourage chartered the entire monorail for the beginning of her South American tour...timed to coincide with the release of Evita. As to traversing the Gap on land. It has been done by bike. There was one particularly publicized case of the guy who spent several weeks in one of FARCs eco-tourism camps in the Darien.
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  #23  
Old 6 Aug 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobSouls
There was one particularly publicized case of the guy who spent several weeks in one of FARCs eco-tourism camps in the Darien.
Nothing to do with the Darien, nowhere near it.

The Darien HAS been crossed by vehicle, to my knowledge, as follows (best as memory serves)

Ed Culberson, R80G/s
Helge Pedersen, R80G/S
Antonio Braga
Lauren and Patricia Upton, 4wd Outback of Beyond Adventures
Two guys on Rokons, 1970's Crossing Panama's Darien Gap by Motercycle

That's all the vehicles I know of.

Currently, you'd have to be mad or suicidal to try - the guerrillas control the region and don't take kindly to foreigners in the middle of their drug route.

Northern Colombia is also not safe. The rest of Colombia is improving quickly, and is well worth a visit.
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Last edited by Grant Johnson; 6 Aug 2006 at 19:38.
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  #24  
Old 6 Aug 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant Johnson
Nothing to do with the Darien, nowhere near it.

The Darien HAS been crossed by vehicle, to my knowledge, as follows (best as memory serves)
Ed Culberson, R80G/s
Helge Pedersen, R80G/S
Antonio Braga
Lauren and Patricia Upton, 4wd Outback of Beyond Adventures
Two guys on Rokons, 1970's Crossing Panama's Darien Gap by Motercycle

That's all the vehicles I know of.

Currently, you'd have to be mad or suicidal to try - the guerrillas control the region and don't take kindly to foreigners in the middle of their drug route.

Northern Colombia is also not safe. The rest of Colombia is improving quickly, and is well worth a visit.
Upton did it twice in a Jeep.

Also, AMC (when it owned Jeep) did it as a promotion and used the rivers much of the trip.
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  #25  
Old 6 Aug 2006
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Danny Liska?

Didn't Danny Liska do the Gap back in the 50's?

Anybody ever read his book?

It's been 25 years since I read it....can't remember the Gap details but
I'm thinking he did it....but I'm sure he had lots of help. Anyone?

Liska was a bit of a BS artist as I recall....kind of like some of our
current overlanding heroes out there

In 1975 I was in the area. I did research at the time by talking to every
traveller I could find who'd come up from the south or was headed south.
I'd spent two years in Guatemale before this so I met many many travellers
and I quized them all and made detailed notes on everything. No internet then.

I did not have a bike on this portion of my trip. At that time flights from Panama to Colombia were very expensive. And boat trips were inconsistent
and also pricey.

The very best option I found then was flying from San Jose, Costa Rica to
Isla San Andreas. That flight was $25 in 1975. Since San Andreas is part of
Colombia the National flights into Colombia were very cheap at that time.

I flew from San Andreas into Bogota for about $15. I know, seems unreal, but
all true.

Granted, I'm sure costs have gone way way up. And who knows if you can
stash a bike on the little planes they fly. (back then it was Foulker turbo
props IIRC) They did take some big furniture and other huge cargo pieces at that time. A bike? Don't know.

If you get stuck on San Andreas, well its not too bad. Nice place.

Cheers,

Patrick
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  #26  
Old 6 Aug 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog
Didn't Danny Liska do the Gap back in the 50's?

Anybody ever read his book?

It's been 25 years since I read it....can't remember the Gap details but
I'm thinking he did it....but I'm sure he had lots of help. Anyone?

Liska was a bit of a BS artist as I recall....kind of like some of our
current overlanding heroes out there

In 1975 I was in the area. I did research at the time by talking to every
traveller I could find who'd come up from the south or was headed south.
I'd spent two years in Guatemale before this so I met many many travellers
and I quized them all and made detailed notes on everything. No internet then.

I did not have a bike on this portion of my trip. At that time flights from Panama to Colombia were very expensive. And boat trips were inconsistent
and also pricey.

The very best option I found then was flying from San Jose, Costa Rica to
Isla San Andreas. That flight was $25 in 1975. Since San Andreas is part of
Colombia the National flights into Colombia were very cheap at that time.

I flew from San Andreas into Bogota for about $15. I know, seems unreal, but
all true.

Granted, I'm sure costs have gone way way up. And who knows if you can
stash a bike on the little planes they fly. (back then it was Foulker turbo
props IIRC) They did take some big furniture and other huge cargo pieces at that time. A bike? Don't know.

If you get stuck on San Andreas, well its not too bad. Nice place.

Cheers,

Patrick
He shipped the bike to Colombia and went thru via canoe and hike, IIRC.
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  #27  
Old 6 Aug 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lone Rider
Upton did it twice in a Jeep.

Also, AMC (when it owned Jeep) did it as a promotion and used the rivers much of the trip.
yes - it was the AMC expedition I was thinking of. Forgot about the Uptons, although I had heard about them. They took 741 days to travel 125 miles in a Jeep.

I didn't know about a Land Rover and a Jeep (Kip Ross) that went through in 1960, and a British expedition, led by Major John Blashford-Snell, that took two Range Rovers through in 1972.

Anyone know anyone else?
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  #28  
Old 6 Aug 2006
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And for the hardcore out there, let's not forget Karl Bushby who walked it (& floated down part of it!) in 2001.

The Darien part makes for pretty grim reading in his book 'Giant Steps' which covers walking the whole of the Americas.

http://goliath.mail2web.com/
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Last edited by MikeS; 6 Aug 2006 at 23:17.
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  #29  
Old 7 Aug 2006
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Cool Ronkon Trailblazer

It was done on a Ronkon "Trailblazer". With balloon tires and two wheel drive, all you'd need is a pair of pontoons and you probably "could" drive it down the coast. There's even enough room on the back seat for a six pack.
Check out www.outbackofbeyond.com/guide.htm Smitty
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  #30  
Old 7 Aug 2006
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Wonder if it would be possible on a specially built quad bike?I have actually seen one fitted with a set of very bulbous tyres,crossing a marshy lake a couple of years ago.The tyres had rubber paddles that were leant one way so they would act as propulsion in the water.The rider would get soaked of course!
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