Because of the price difference i chose to ship myself and the bike to Cartagena Colombia instead of Quito Ecuador.
I arranged to have the bike an I shipped for $500 USD total from Colon Panama to Cartagena Colombia on a 35ft sail boat. The trip took a total of 5 days, 3 days of open ocean travel and 2 days at Panama´s San Blas islands.
I went through captain Ruben - Fujimo Charters
Tel Panama 507 6735 3714
Tel Colombia 57 313 5000 229
I saw ads for other charters scattered around hostels in Panama.
Ruben doesn't speak much english but is more than happy to help. Included in the price was food for the voyage and immigration BS in Colombia.
Immigration went extremely smooth. I gave the guy at the docs my passport, he went to the airport to get the stamp, returned 2 hours later and i was done. No hidden fees or BS. The immigrations guy has a pretty good rep and handles all the US/UK travelers for immigration and customs.
When it came to getting the bike documented he wanted $100 USD because he said the boat (Fujimo) wasn't licenced to carry anything besides passengers and the bike was brought in illegally. This may be true but I wasn't going to pay $100. After talking to two other people, one cop and some guy who said he worked for the department of transportation, both said I didn't need anything besides the bike title and a passport... (i speak VERY little spanish so the conversation / translation is a bit rough)
So I decided to chance it...
a note on Cartagena Colombia... As i understand it...
Bike taxis own the roads out there but the car taxies are trying to put them out of business and are paying the Gov good money to do so. As a result there are all kinds of weird rules for motorcycles (like you can only ride every other day...). anyway if you drive after dark in Cartagena you WILL get pulled over by a police check point. When i got pulled over (moving the bike less than half a mile from the docs to the hostel) they asked for title, insurance, and passport. Asked me where i was going and how i liked the country and sent me on my way... As i´m answering questions the best i can in my shitty Spanish i look ahead and see a large truck, a ramp into the truck, and a bed full of motorcycles.... anyway scary but i wasn't their target and they were very respectful.
Leaving the country was just as easy as getting in. During the trip from Cartagena to Ecuador I was only stopped once at a military check point (i... ´´failed´´ to stop at two others) and the same questions were asked. Passport, title, how do you like the country, where are you going, enjoy.
I left the country with another bike traveler who had the proper paper work. When he went to turn in the temporary import permit he said the guy took the paper, didn't check the bike and say bye... There is no exit paperwork involved and they don't even look to see if you have the bike. The boarder was so relaxed id didn't even know i left the country till i saw the immigration office for Ecuador.
Bottom line (again my experience only)
Easiest country to get into or out of out of the 8 (or so) ive been through so far.
Cops/military who are either respectful/friendly or too scary to stop for.
Women are top notch.