Shipping bike Colombia-Panama by air or sea?
Hello regional forum members: I will be traveling from Machu Picchu to New Orleans on my BMW 1200 GS Adventure in December. I´ve been reading some comments on this site and I´ve been talking to some people about the best way to ship the bike from Colombia to Panama. There are mixed answers. Most suggest to to ship it by air, since it is the safest way to go.
Personally I would like to ship it by sea and enjoy the journey at the same time, however, I want a ship/ferry that can offer certain safety conditions for me and for the bike. In some posts I´ve read that even getting the bikes into some yachts is quite an adventure, salt water splashing on the bike is another issue, and paperwork is another.
Can anybody provide me with suggestions, recommendations on this matter.
Also if anybody has a contact name of a ship/ferry that can handle this safely (if there is one at all)
Thank you all very much,
Personally, I would definitely choose the sea route. I've done it twice, both ways. From what I've heard the choice trip on the "Stahratte" is getting expensive, about $700, but even so, worth the plata - big old German 100 year-old boat, comfortable berths, great food, 20-odd other travellers, a couple of nights in the San Blas. Somewhat cheaper, very much smaller, but as professional as things can be, "The Melody", Mark/Marcus and his wife Paola. Failing that take your chances in Club Nautico, Cartagena. Your lump of a bike will make things more difficult for you however ;) , and you will have to be prepared for the prospect of some damage. Good luck, and if I can be of help, let me know, here or PM.
Do a search here - tons of information. Suerte.
Dear Stretcher Monkey, your advice was very helpful and encouraging. So I've focused my energies on crossing by sea. I did a search on the www.stahlratte.org: Logbuch and it looks like they will be doing a tour from Oct thru Jan all over the Caribbean and I was thinking about being there in Dec. So, then I did a search on The Melody and I couldn't find it, a big italian ship came up, but I came across a site of Horn-Linie Hamburg Reederei Frachtschiffreisen Frachterreise Karibik Cameroon Freighter Cruises ship cargo cruises travel - Hornbay, Horncap, Horncliff, Alicante Carrier, Algeciras Carrier and it looks like they transport cargo from Colombia to Panama and they accept passengers. It's not quite as picturesque as the Sthalratte but and option. I sent and e-mail just now and I'll let you know what they say. Do you have any other idea?
Thank you so very much for taking the time to help.
Glad to be of help!
Mark's e-mail address is:
I think the cost was $250 for bike and $250 per person. The last I heard, he had a shrimp boat moored in the San Blas to allow some quality R&R. I am sure someone here can chip in with the latest.
A large German agent called Manfred is useful and he will most likely have information on other boats:
He knows all about Horniline aswell. From what I know, you can travel with them, but as you say, it's unlikey to be a great experience and I think, costly. Do let us know.
You can't miss Cartagena anyway but it's unlikely that you will want to spend more than a few days there, so my advice would be to stay in the Getsemani area, which is a few minutes walk from the Old City and very close to Club Nautico. You can drop in a for a beer, browse the notice boards, enquire at the bar and generally hang-out. Once you've made some contacts, you may have time to shoot along the coast to Santa Marta and it's environs, which in my opinion is unmissable too. If you are unlucky, then it's a 2/3-day ride back down to Bogota where you can ship by air without too many problems. I've got some contacts for that if you need them.
Oh - saltwater is preventable with care and if you bring plastic and WD40, jet wash the bike on landing, but it's still a risk. Paperwork - you can bus it into the Zona Franca area of Colon and have this taken care of quite easily.
Dear Stretcher Monkey, you are very resourceful. I got a reply today from the Horn Linie's agent in Colombia and they don't offer that sevice for motorcycles or passengers in that direction, even though online it sounded like they do. Ohh well. I am writing The Melody and Manfred right now. Let's see what they got for those dates. Thank you so very much and I will keep you posted.
ctuzar mi moto de panama a ecuador o colombia
Hola, espero hables español. Soy de Queretaro Mexico y el 15 de Agosto de este año salimos 2 amigos a Ushuaia. el viaje durara 100 dias y estamos viendo como cruzar las motos de Panama. Puedes darme algun numero telefonico de la alternativa mas economica, me agrada la del barco aleman.. gracias
melody sails sep 3
just got price its also 700 bucks:helpsmilie:
shipping to south america
I sent my bike from Medellin Colombia to Miami by air about a month ago. Cost $1270. Paper work took a entire day but they were very nice. My bike is a BMW 2007 GS adventure with the bags and top.
After 8 month of riding from Chile all the way up to Oregon and across to Miami, I'm now back in Cali, Colombia with my bike and Colombian girlfriend Diana and we're expecting a baby in December.
Today 1st of August 2008 we start a super nice hostel in the nice part of Cali.
If you head this way its cheap, quiet and safe and we'll help you in any way we can.
We have airport pick-up and since I have flown my bike in and out of Cali, i can help with all the legal matters of arriving or leaving Cali.
Casa Blanca Hostel, Avenida 6 bis, Calle 26n, #57, Santa Monica Redencial, Cali, Colombia. Tel. (+57) (092) 668 99 86 or
mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check my video diary from my journey at YouTube - kaiserkyhl's Channel
Update From Colombia to Panama/Costa Rica
Dear Forum Members thank you very much for the feedback provided. This is what I have so far regarding the shipment of the bike. Stretcher Monkey gave me a great contact manfred.al[@]gmx.net this guy is extremely knowledgeable regarding any sort of shipments from Colombia, please read the message that we exchanged
Nice to hear from You.
In fact, lots of Bikers take the trip with smaller sail-boats: spray the bike over with W-40, put yellow grease on vital parts (bare brake and shift-wires maily) and warp it in plastic foil, use lots of duct tape!
From Colombia to Panamá, You go with the wind, that means, not much spray, and saltwater only harms on bare metal after extened periods of time. After arrival in Panamá, have it rinsed with a garden hose, and You will be fine, unless You have flooded the air-intake.... There is nothing to be afraid of... From over 100 Bikes shipped and received, only 2 did'nt start right away (one was a women driver, the other was a dutch guy....)
May be, You got the "Maritrans -Guy at Cali" (Agents of Horn-Line) in his "noon brake"...(I would kill for that too !!!)
But in fact Horn-Line offers this service every sunday, at least to our clients! Horn-Line as i said has a vessel every sunday from CRT via TURBO to PUERTO LIMON / COSTA RICA, as said every Sunday, reliable as the British Railroad. Estimated transit time: 4 days, underdeck or sheltered stowage, some vessels are even RoRo. Very nice cabins, but a single person has to pay for double room. Passage with Horn-Line is not precisely cheap! But on the other hand, this is an adventure not accessible to everyone, just to a few selected!
In fact, our contacts at HORN-LINE are in Blind-Copy right now and will be in contact with You after a couple of hours after receiving this msg, to give You a quote for the passage. We will assit You with the necessary paperwork at customs and at the port facilities. You even may stay at our TRANS-OCEAN GUEST HOUSE at Manga on the waterfront if You need accomodation.
An alternantive may be shipping with SEABOARD, but You will have to pay at least for a 20' Container, and You can't travel with the carrier! You still may go with a Sailboat instead of flying, but Horn-Line is more fun and relax. At least for the passage, You will be back in civilization...
Seaborad only pays out, if You ship at least 4 Bikes at a time, and You will need to pay a special SEABOARD approved agent to ship with them: they will charge 4-times our rate....
If You have any more questions, pls revert.
-------- Original-Nachricht --------
> Datum: Tue, 22 Jul 2008 16:26:21 -0600>
> An: email@example.com
> Betreff: Shipping Bike from Colombia to Panama
> Dear Manfred:
> I got your e-mail address from a motorcycle forum online called Horizons
> Unlimited. I will be traveling from South America to Central American and
> wanted to cross from Colombia to Panama tentatively on the third or fourth
> week of December. I would like to do it by sea, since I think that the
> experience is more fulfilling than by air. (Girag or Copa Cargo) I would
> like a sea transport that offers some guarantees to loading/unloading the
> bike + some protection against salt water. I did a search for the Horn
> but I got turned down by their agent in Cali, saying that they don’t
> that service to bikes+ passengers. Then I checked out the Stahlratte but
> they’ll be in the Caribeean by that date. Then The Melody looks nice, but
> might be small and we don’t know if the bike will get splashed too much +
> loading and unloading look difficult for a heavy loaded bike. Do you have
> option of sea transport that could work for us?
> Thank you so very much.
CA Manfred H.H. ALWARDT, Ing.
AB&B Shipping Ltda. / HANSA PROvisiones GmbH
/ TRANS - OCEAN ONG
Pie de la Popa, Par. Res. LA ERMITA
Calle 29E #20-141, Apto 101
CARTAGENA de Indias / Bolívar
Mobil1: ++57-311-400-6394 (Main)
Mobil2: ++57-301-222-1255 (Back-up only!)
E-mail: Manfred.Al@gmx.net (Main)
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (Back-up only!)
Horn Line follow up
After Manfred's reply I decided to go for the Horn Line and they sail from Cartagena to Port Limon in Costa Rica (for me it works out well) and this is the contact person in Horn Line: Sabine Guettel SGuettel@Hornlinie.com
My only challenge right know is to see if they'll let me on board in December since it is their high season, but please read below and get in touch if you need to. Sabine is great and she replies daily. Extremely professional, just like Manfred.
Another challenge is that they are fixing a ship and it look like room on board is subject to this.
Please read the 3 email below with the info exchanged:
Good day Entreprerider,
in order to say the truth-it's very difficult to find a sailing for your favourite time...please understand that we accept on Christmas time only roundtrips from Europe-Europe (duration 35 Days) passengers using this trip as Holiday and not way of transport to get from A to B...
At this moment there is the chance also to sail with Segovia Carrier vessel but departure dates can still change-because now vessel is in Dry Dock and it depends when the vessel will be in our trade back again...planning is:
Cartagena Moin Name of vessel
02.11.2008 07.11.2008 Horncap
09.11.2008 14.11.2008 Segovia Carrier
14.12.2008 19.12.2008 Segovia Carrier
Passenger fare/per person 360 EUR + 80 EUR port tax
A crate would be perfect for a good handling and your bike would be better protected against larceny...nevertheless I'm kindly ask for the correct measure of the bike.
Kind regards from HAmburg
Gesendet: Mittwoch, 23. Juli 2008 20:30
An: Sabine Güttel
Betreff: Re: Freighter Trip * Horn-Linie
Hallo Sabine viele gruesse aus El Salvador.
Thank you for your prompt response.
I am planning on being in Colombia ready to cross to Costa Rica on the
fourth or fifth week of December 2008. Do you have a ship going every Sunday
of the year? If not what will be my options in the month of December?
I will be traveling with my wife. What would be the price for a cabin for 2?
I will measure the bike and I will let you know.
If I don't have a crate for the bike, I assume there will be a place where I
can secure the bike safely with straps, right?
Thank you so very much. Yo have been very helpful and Manfred has been
amazing guiding in putting together this awesome adventure.
On 7/23/08 3:11 AM, "Sabine Güttel" <SGuettel@Hornlinie.com> wrote:
> Dear Entreprerider,
> many thanks for your very kind mail & your interest in our freighter trips. My
> name is Sabine and I'm responsible for the Passenger Department. Like Mr
> Alwardt wrote already our vessels calling normally each Sunday Cartagena and
> sail after this to Costa Rica (Puerto/Limon=Moin) in Costa Rica in 5 days. You
> have the chance to sail as passenger with us and to transport also your
> motorbike-please find here our offer:
> Cartagena Moin Vessel
> Very first chance:
> 03.08.2008 01.08.2008 Hornbay
> 10.08.2008 15.08.2008 Horncliff
> 24.08.2008 29.08.2008 Horncap
> Fare/Single cabin: 400 EUR + 80 EUR port tax
> (including meals)
> Freight/Bike 350 USD (up to 2,5m x 1,0 x 1,4 m)
> if your bike have other size please ask for a new freight
> plus costs for costume clearance, documentation
> Direct delivery * we advice a crate for the safe transport of the bike
> I like to point out, that there is no doctor on board and that we are ask for
> a health insurance of each passenger and for passengers over 65 years we need
> a Medical Certificate. There is also an age limit of 79 years.
> If you are interested in a booking, please be so kind to send us the Booking
> Application. Enjoy the material-If you have questions it will be a pleasure
> for me to answer.
> Very kind regards from Hamburg
> Manager Passenger Department
> H O R N - L I N I E
> Horn-Linie Hamburg Reederei Frachtschiffreisen Frachterreise Karibik Cameroon Freighter Cruises ship cargo cruises travel - Hornbay, Horncap, Horncliff, Alicante Carrier, Algeciras Carrier
llama el aleman Manfred en Panama. Conoce los voleros que viajan en el caribe.
Lo encontre en Cartegena, hizo los documentos de aduana por la moto.
Manfred habla espaNol tambien,
Tiene 3 numeros:
57 311 400 6394
57 666 3230
57 301 222 1255
o tal vez, escribe el capitain leonardo del Zoa Zoa:
Thank you for an inadvertent lead Entreprerider, I have had great difficulty finding a major line that makes a port call in Costa Rica. I had even given up but now I believe the Horn Line runs from Antwerp to Puerto Limon and their prices look fair. I have sent them an email and I await their reply.
Thanks you for the lead and best wishes on your trip
just flew with girag
3 weeks ago i appeared at panama city cargo airport,left my bike(1150 bmw)there,disconnected the battery ,bargained for half an hour,(from1550 to 750 us dollars down),made 1 hour paperwork+flew with copa to bogota(better book for pax in advance).in columbia i had to wait for one day,and than it took 2 hours paperwork to leave the airport on bike.fast+easy,but not just very cheap.good luck.joerg
Do it by boat!
I just arrived Cartajena 3 days ago after GREAT sailing from puerto lindo, Panama.
It was a 47 feet boat, called ZAO.
To avoid the rust i bought gear oil and a brush and just "painted" the bike with it- no rust at all! the problem with wd40 that it gone after 2 days or so.
The uploading and downloading of the bikes was easy the excpected , you can see the pics and movie in my web site- it is in hebrew but the movie is on the right side..
The paper work took me about 2 days (not intense, just go here and there, i did it on the bike..) and a guy is helping you all the way- include in the 700$ price.
I really enjoyed the trip and beside- it is much better to start Colombia from Cartajena and go south rather the Bogota.
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