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Old 8 Sep 2005
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Darien Gap

Has anyone every crossed the Darien Gap in Panama? Is it possible by motocycle? Where would be the best place to go if I had to ferry it to Columbia and approximately how much would that cost?

Thanks -
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Old 10 Sep 2005
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Chris Scott's Adventure Motorcycling Handbook (highly recommended) suggests not. Sorry I can't remember off hand about shipping but you could try the links on the left hand side of this site.
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Old 10 Sep 2005
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If you don't get many responses, it is because this question has been addressed many times in other threads. Do a site search. There are also several books with info, check out www.whitehorsepress.com

The short answer is that you can not ride through the Darien Gap, you must fly or ship. Most people are finding that flying with the bike is the best option.
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Old 12 Sep 2005
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It is possible to "ride," or rather haul and winch, a bike thru the Gap. Ed Culberson and Helge Pedersen have done it.

Ed's book "Obsessions Die Hard" is a terrific account of his struggles and achievement. Helge has a write-up and excellent photos in his book, "Ten Years on Two Wheels." Last I knew they were the only two riders to have crossed.
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Old 12 Sep 2005
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If you´re mad enough there is always a way and the Darien is no exception. However, you would have to be MAD to try it and I wouldn´t expect anyone with a bike to get any further than Yaviza (Panama side).

I was there 8 weeks ago and talked to many of the soldiers there. They were all extreamly insistant that I was to go no further either with or without the bike.

The current situation is that the Panama end is not too bad (in relative terms) at the moment but as you get furhter into the Gap towards Colombia things change. The Colombian Government is cracking down VERY hard on gurilla activities right now, and as such they are being pushed into the traditional stronghold areas more than ever. The Choco, Antioqia and Cordoba regions are teaming with activity at the moment and it isn´t likely to change in the near future.

Bottom line is that you can risk it if you want to but make sure your will is up to date and you´ve said your good byes. We all like adventure but in my opinion (and it is only my opinion from having been there and checking all out 8 weeks ago)it would be stupidity and not adventure.

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Old 13 Sep 2005
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Did you feel safe in Panama and around the end of the road??? I'm heading that way in the next couple of months. Is it worth riding to the end of the road like you did just to see what's up.

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Old 1 Dec 2005
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regarding the gap: it was done on a "Ronkon trailbreaker" which is (or was, i don't know if its still made)a two wheel drive (yes two wheel drive) motorcycle? Chain drive to the front and rear tires. Extremely rugged. Can carry 9 gallons of gas in the very fat tire rims (which also aids in the traction). It was defininately a niche market when they were retailed. Farmers and hunters swore by them. It took them 49 days to do the gap on a ronkon. Check it out www.outbackofbeyond.com/guide.htm
If that dosen't cure you then i suggest plenty of vodka.
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Old 1 Dec 2005
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I know that a British expedition hawled two Range Rovers accross here during the late 60's or early 70's. It took them 99 days, and their clothes had rotten to the point where they only had their underwear left. They had air drops and help from the brittish army. Passage had to be cut with machetties, and the cars hauled and carried ceveral places. They had huge technical difficulties...

So, yes, it can be done!

[This message has been edited by Wheelie (edited 01 December 2005).]
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Old 1 Dec 2005
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re: jv3 question about feeling safe in Panama .
Having done the Canada-Panama and back trip a number of times , most recently Jan '05, I can assure you travelling there is a pleasure and never a cause to feel threatened. People are friendly ,helpful, just take the normal sensible precautions of not going to look for trouble.Also , stick to the speed limit and avoid getting nicked by the cops who like to hang out in the shade along the Panam around Santiago. Climate is wonderful, especially this time of year when the dry season is started on the Pacific side of the mountains.I only went as far as the end of pavement on the Panam .Lots of other side roads to explore paved and gravel,up into the mountains from the Panam or the Azuero Peninsula. Could spend the entire winter there noooo problemo.Enjoy!
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Old 26 Dec 2005
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The original question was: Can I ride across, or if not, can I ferry and how much does that cost.

As they stated before, it has been done by Helge Peterson... But he also said afterwards that it had not been worth the effort.
I took a look a year back and turned around at Yarviza... It was just no fun at all. The sky is constantly black and wet and the mud is horrible.... And then you are not even in the "gap" yet.

So, use a boat.
Lots of sailingboats go from Colon t Cartagena and visa versa.

Mail nooldboldcaptians at yahoo.ca (marc). He is a good guy.
Total cost around 500 US. (cheaper then flying and 10 times the fun.)

You,l find more info in Voyager International Hostel in Panama City


- www.maartensworld.com -
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Old 27 Dec 2005
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I can attest to the mud! See: http://timtraveler.blogspot.com/2005...is-darien.html
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