Parts Availability in Central/South America
Presently just south of Medellin, Colombia, and wanted to post a bit of advice that I wish I'd known when I was in Central America, so the next person driving down through C.A. to South America won't make the same mistake (and waste money!).
Panama City is NOT GOOD for finding parts, esp. tires and such. There are not many shops, and the supply is seriously limited. And everything is expensive.
If you need new tires, helmets, brake pads, WAIT FOR COLOMBIA!! Everything that you can get in Panama City can be bought in Colombia for half the price. Metzeler and Pirelli tires are produced in Brazil, and are cheap in Colombia!! The Pirelli rear tire (that was the ONLY one in Panama City to fit my KLR) was less than half the price in Medellin. I could have saved a solid $100 if I'd known this.
So if you are getting into Panama and freaking out about your balding tires/scratched helmet visor/barely there brake pads/stretched chain - take a deep breath, drive a little slower, get on the boat to Colombia (you won't be driving across the Darien Gap anyway) and do all that parts shopping in Colombia, where it's cheap and easy!!
Oh and try with all your might to get on the Stahlratte, if you can. Amazing boat, amazing crew, great way to get your bike and yourself to Cartagena!!
Hope this helps,
Pura Vida 2009-10 » New York to Argentina by motorcycle……