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  #16  
Old 18 Apr 2012
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Ferry between CA & SA

At this rate, it seems rather expensive for a 12 hour journey with a moto, when you can take a sailboat for 4 days via San Blas for $500..
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  #17  
Old 18 Apr 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solohobo View Post
a sailboat for 4 days via San Blas for $500..
Tim, those sailboat tours with a motorcycle now cost about $800.

Thanks for the continued updates, Martin.

Mark
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  #18  
Old 25 Apr 2012
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Hi guys,

Some updates. After being on the phone with aventuras2000 (who are selling the ferry tickets) mulitple times waiting for our confirmation, it turns out that something was wrong their end. They would be on the phone to us saying they are now sending to our gmail and hotmail addresses but nothing would come through.

So we were told to go to their office in Panama city and we could pay in person. We were told this Monday morning. We left David and drove to Panama city and it took us about 9 hours in all, but we parked up overnight and arrived Tuesday morning. We met the woman we were dealing with (Betsy) only to find out our reservation had been cancelled as we didn't arrive on the Monday and the boss had said it couldn't be held any longer.

I was a tad annoyed to say the least but they wouldn't listen to the fact that the fault was at their end at being unable to send us an email, they not telling us on the monday we had 5 hours (to do a 9 hour hour drive) to get to Panama city or our confirmation was cancelled.

So anyway, we are now on the reserved list hoping someone else with a reservation does not pay. We are waiting to hear on Thursday what will happen.

We were told, that the ferry is now fully booked until June.

There was some confusing about getting a British vehicle into Colombia. We were told that all legalities for entering colombia must be completed BEFORE the vehicle gets on the ferry! But I had the impression that they didn't really know and were just talking about having insurance.

So that is it for now. The office is quite easy to get to and if you want directions let me know, much easier than trying to deal with them on the phone

Martin
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  #19  
Old 25 Apr 2012
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"...booked until June..."

I need a little emoticon expressing extreme astonishment. And doubt. At three trips per week, 500 cars per trip, that would mean they've got at least 4500 cars reserved already.....without anyone knowing how to contact them until about a week ago.

Leaving all that aside, thanks for the update. They do sound sort've clueless. I've never heard of Colombian insurance being available in Panama--why would it be, with no road connection? In my two times bringing vehicles into Colombia (once from Panama, once from Venezuela), I was required to buy local insurance one time, not the other--available by the month from some, but not all, offices. Once in the country, an insurance card from anywhere, whether genuine or not, can be presented at roadblocks to police who don't generally read English or understand the fine print. Just tell them it's international insurance and includes Colombia.

Of course, you did not hear this from me, and all the usual caveats apply. Hope your trip works out. If you post their address in P.C. here I'll pass it on to a few other forums where people are clamoring for information.

Mark
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  #20  
Old 25 Apr 2012
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just was in contact with one of the sailors down there, shipping bikes from/to Colombia.

They have heard the same rumour/story, but still operate without any problems.
No sign of 'coastguard control' or anything... and none one has ever seen this huge ship there.

I think a company which is going to have a 1500-people ferry there... would have a very clear website by now if they want to start operating anytime soon. To add to that, I think this ferry is very big and I doubt whether this is all real. Where are the loadingdocks in Colon and Cartagena?

If the damn boat is booked full till June without even having a proper contact person or ticket-office, we should all buy our share in an even bigger ferry and start our own business: HorizonsUnlimited@Sea!

Or maybe get those unused Hoovercrafts from Calais-Dover out there and use them! Eco-transport... as you cannot damage the reefs! ;-)
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  #21  
Old 28 Apr 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dstehouwer View Post
just was in contact with one of the sailors down there, shipping bikes from/to Colombia.

They have heard the same rumour/story, but still operate without any problems.
No sign of 'coastguard control' or anything... and none one has ever seen this huge ship there.

I think a company which is going to have a 1500-people ferry there... would have a very clear website by now if they want to start operating anytime soon. To add to that, I think this ferry is very big and I doubt whether this is all real. Where are the loadingdocks in Colon and Cartagena?

If the damn boat is booked full till June without even having a proper contact person or ticket-office, we should all buy our share in an even bigger ferry and start our own business: HorizonsUnlimited@Sea!

Or maybe get those unused Hoovercrafts from Calais-Dover out there and use them! Eco-transport... as you cannot damage the reefs! ;-)
But if not legit, why would they ever turn anyone away who wants to give them their money? I'm not convinced there isn't a business model that'd prove profittable for this transport, given they are after all connecting two very large continents.

I'm most curious about the cost. Is it actually going to be upwards of $500 for a motorcycle? For a round trip that's not bad but for one way that blows...if nothing else this will help to drive down the cost of private sailboats.

I'm sure it'll be at least a couple weeks before the point of sale side of the business gets it's dicks lined up in a presentable fashion for the customer, but not a sufficient reason to completely doubt the service end of the operation. Thanks to those who have offered input and updates, I'm in Costa Rica now and probably going to pick up a bike here to head south on.
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  #22  
Old 28 Apr 2012
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I have no doubt that "something" is happening down there, and that this "something" might eventually morph into a functional transport option. My doubts have involved the incessant string of press releases, relayed with uncritical enthusiasm by posters here and elsewhere, all of which have made extravagant claims about start dates, frequency of sailings, and capacities. A few posters have gone on to celebrate, rather prematurely, the demise of the sailboats making that run.

But the sailboats have proven track records, better and worse. The rumored ferry has none whatsoever. I wouldn't count on anything specific happening by any specific date--May 10, June 4, this year or the next.

Mark
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  #23  
Old 13 May 2012
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I´ve just stumbled across this thread, but have been following one on the South America page: http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...-service-63720

I´ve been quoted $170 for the bike, plus taxes etc, plus my costs, which are as noted above. I´ve also been told I have to buy a round trip, even though I´m heading one way (north), and that they will sell Panama insurance on the boat. They also confirmed that I would not need a plane ticket.

All that said, I am still a bit doubtful about this service - and would love to hear of anyone who has done it. I´m not planning on booking a slot two weeks in advance and running up to the coast to get a boat that doesn´t exisit - and then have to trek back to Bogota for a plane!

Will follow this thread with interest, and post here too any news I get.
Cheers
Pat
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  #24  
Old 13 May 2012
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The boat has not run yet. Latest promise from the operators said something about end May/early June. Don't hold your breath (but don't slide too deep into bottomless cynicism like me!).

Mark
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  #25  
Old 15 May 2012
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Hi Pat
if you make it to Pana let me know, I am a Brit living near David, if I am around you are welcome to stay normanonthehill@yahoo.com
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  #26  
Old 16 May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panavalk View Post
Hi Pat
if you make it to Pana let me know, I am a Brit living near David, if I am around you are welcome to stay normanonthehill@yahoo.com
Cheers fella, I´ll keep that in mind.

Also just heard from a fellow Hubber that they are now talking about 10 June start - but I am waiting confirmation of this.
Pat
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  #27  
Old 24 May 2012
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As promised this is the latest message from the ferry company:

We were informed that for the month of June the ferry will not be able to travel. You can make reservations from now for the month of July onwards.

Ah well - too much late for me.
Pat
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  #28  
Old 10 Jun 2012
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Shame to see the ferry is still "a month away".

After all our troubles with them, then being offerered a definite date of 30th of May, I am glad we decided to ship with a container. Although it was alot more expensive, we are now home here in Ecuador and not still living in the Albright shopping mall car park (a great place to park up for free and close to the offices you need to visit in order to get permission to ship out of panama I will add, plus free internet if you sit near Cinabon at the end).

Good luck to the rest of you though

Over and out (until the next run )

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  #29  
Old 17 Jun 2012
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By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Received today via email: "HEY DON! I enjoy your guide immensely. Thanks for all the news!! Do you have any current info please on the proposed ferry service to Cartagena? Yesterday, I went to the Port Authority in Colon, and was told that it's not happening. We also stopped into "Shelter Bay Hotel & Marina". Had a grand lunch there. Highly recommended! Best Wishes, Ted." Editor's Comment: It's being held up by the Customs Authority. This week the Director of Customs was on a television interview and someone asked her about the status of the new ferry service. She said they are in the process of training up their staff, hiring new people, and installing some additional equipment. This new ferry will be bringing in thousands of people and potentially hundreds of vehicles every week from Colombia. The short answer is - the government of Panama currently does not have the required infrastructure in place to be able to handle that level of new flow through that port facility, as the result of the initiation of the ferry service. I understand the actual ferry itself - the boat - is still in the Mediterranean providing service there, today. So, despite the press releases, public announcements, and plans to have started the service a couple of months ago, right now the government is forcing implementation to be slow-rolled, until they are up to speed with new people, training, equipment, facilities. I suspect it's going to happen, and I think the company behind this effort was moving faster than the government of Panama, so they put on the brakes. But with all of that having been said, I also have not heard anything indicating the ferry won't happen. Or, (without the double negative this time) I think the ferry service eventually will begin, some time in the relatively near future. Hope this helps. Oh yeah, the burgers at Shelter Bay are the best in Panama.
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  #30  
Old 17 Jun 2012
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Open water..........

Hi,

Thanks for the update, I will be in Panama in around two months so hopefully it will be sailing by then
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