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Photo by Mark Newton, Mexican camping

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by Mark Newton,
Camping in the Mexican desert



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  #1  
Old 31 Aug 2014
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another ferry attempt

Ferry will join Panama with Colombia
August 28, 2014 | _Features
This post is also available in: Spanish

The port of Colon 2000
The port of Colon 2000
Colón 2000 takes a gamble for a second time by introducing a ferry from that port to Cartagena, Colombia and Isla Colón in Bocas del Toro. Mayra de Zebede, sales manager of Tropical Cruises said that unlike the previous occasion, where somebody else took control of the operation, this time Ferry Xpress will be manage by the port itself.

The Norwegian ferry, Adriatico, which currently operates in Europe and is property of SNAV, an Italian company, will start the route from Colón 2000 to Cartagena on October 24. It has three restaurants, a discotheque, a duty free, 379 cabins, 300 seats, capacity for 1320 people and 500 cars.

Zebede believes that the service will be successful, because a road that unites Colombia with Panama does not exists and therefore it is a natural progression to have another way to connect the two countries other than by air.

The ferry will depart on Monday and Wednesday from Colón 2000 to Colombia to return to Panamá on Tuesday and Thursday. The trip will take approximately 18 hours and will cost $99 per person (seat), $115 per person in a cabin for four people, and a cabin for two people is $320 per person. The ship has communal bathrooms with shower facilities and lockers.

Passengers are allowed to bring two suitcases per person, with additional ones at $25 if they are using a seat. However, if they come in their car, there is no restriction on luggage.

Colón 2000 has already habilitated customs and all the other facilities that travelers will need when going to another country. The vessel will be patrolled by a joint force of the Colombian and Panamanian police to ensure passenger safety.

Additionally to transporting people, the ferry will also carry cargo, especially perishable products such as fruits, vegetables and flowers from Colombia to Panama and vice-versa. It is expected that this transport will support the Colón Free Zone users.

The SNAV Adriatico from Norway.
The SNAV Adriatico from Norway.
Zebede added that currently Ferry Xpress is working with the government as part of its master plan to transform Colón into a free port similar to Curacao.

The Adriatico will sail to Isla Colón in Bocas del Toro every Friday at 7:00 p.m. from Colón 2000 arriving to that province at 7:00 a.m. It will return to its homeport on Sunday at 4:00 p.m. arriving at 4:00 a.m. The whole traveling experience is designed to be a mini-cruise in which the passenger decides if he wants to eat or sleep in the ship or go out. The cost of the seat is $75 per person or $276 for four people in a cabin.

The ferry will also bring trucks with small, medium and large containers to Bocas del Toro, benefitting the economy of the area.

It is expected that this ferry will be very popular among backpackers who are having difficulties at the moment trying to find an inexpensive way to travel from Panama to South Americ
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Old 31 Aug 2014
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Is this the same company that tried to get this Ferry service going this time last year? Looks like someone else took over operation of the boat. They say the Port is running it now? My guess is they lease the Ferry ... and probably can't afford the payment.

What is the cost for a car or moto for One Way travel? Funny that they left that bit out!

If they can somehow overcome massive corruption, insane govt. bureaucracy and overall incompetence ... then this could be a useful service for travelers.

As it is now, the lack of cheap transport from Panama to Colombia is a major impediment to tourism. I'd estimate a ten fold increase in tourist traffic if this Ferry can run reliably.

I wonder if they'll run that Ferry like a Chicken bus?
Bus scheduled to leave at 9am. Bus proceeds to drive around town for an hour yelling at pedestrians, attempting to lure in more passengers and double up ever seat. Once the is Bus is properly overloaded, they finally depart!
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Old 31 Aug 2014
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What is insane about getting across the gap is not the cost, but the paperwork involved at each end. Compare that with the ferry between Denmark and Iceland - a lot further, costing about 3000 Euro for a twin cabin and a 6.5m motorhome - but with zero paperwork and almost zero inspections at either end.

If they can get the countries at each end to cooperate to that extent it will be a cruise.
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Old 2 Sep 2014
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short on details for anything other than passengers, it is a different boat to the one Fritz had last year.
If I find any more info I will post it.
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Old 2 Sep 2014
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a website reference...

I have no idea how reliable thevistorpanama.com is as a new source, but the following webpage has the same details previously posted:
Ferry will join Panama with Colombia - The Visitor / El Visitante
Also located, shipspotting.com a website that documents the dates that ferries are in port, replete with photographs of the vessels in port (everyone should have a hobby, who am I to judge?) Follow the link below to see the ferry which is reported to start service on October 24th. As of August 17, 2014 it was docked in Split, Croatia. If posts can be found in mid-October on shipspotting.com, then chances are the ferry will not cross the Atlantic and start service between Panama and Colombia. At least not to the reported plan.
Photo search - ShipSpotting.com - Ship Photos and Ship Tracker
Time will tell if this plan is actually realized or just a lot of talk.
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Last edited by Peter Bodtke; 2 Sep 2014 at 01:30. Reason: typo
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Old 2 Sep 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony LEE View Post
What is insane about getting across the gap is not the cost, but the paperwork involved at each end. Compare that with the ferry between Denmark and Iceland - a lot further, costing about 3000 Euro for a twin cabin and a 6.5m motorhome - but with zero paperwork and almost zero inspections at either end.

If they can get the countries at each end to cooperate to that extent it will be a cruise.
this will NEVER happen in latin america, or at least not in our lifetimes. these people, while nice for the most part, are in love with paper, processes, more paper, bureaucracy, bribes, a bit more paper, stamps, copies, fees, a little more paper, oh and you want to go with the bike? some more paper!
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Old 19 Sep 2014
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smells like progress

There seems to be progress if the website is to be believed.

Ferry Panama Colombia

One way (assuming prices are in USD)
$99 per person
$180 per moto

Additional prices available covering 4 wheeled contraptions.
Prices include tax.

The voyage would be a night crossing, 18 hours in length.

Keeping my fingers crossed that this becomes a real service...
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Old 19 Sep 2014
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Interesting, hope it works out.
I noticed in the Tarifas section it stated that unless you are a legal resident of either Panama or Colombia, you must buy a Round Trip ticket.

I doubt that rule will fly with travelers ... but lets wait and see!
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Old 19 Sep 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog View Post
Interesting, hope it works out.
I noticed in the Tarifas section it stated that unless you are a legal resident of either Panama or Colombia, you must buy a Round Trip ticket.

I doubt that rule will fly with travelers ... but lets wait and see!
Isn't this also a requirement with the existing methods of shipping, but which can be got around by attention to detail with paperwork.
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Old 19 Sep 2014
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Yes, many countries require R/T ticket or return ticket, varies round the world. Most times if you can show "means" .. (IE: credit card works) .. then Aduana will usually let you pass. These sorts of policies change all the time.

During 7 years in Latin America I always carried an MCO. (Misc. Charge Order) This basically is an open ticket, (like an airline gift card), good on ANY airline, anytime, no expiration. The amount is up to you. Mine was $500 USD. It looks exactly like an airline ticket, all stamped, embossed and with all pertinent's included.

I never once had to show it to gain entry to a country. A credit card or wad of cash always did the trick and even this was rarely required.

But govt.'s change, policies change ... and they often use these sorts of policies to exclude certain nationalities. This policy for the Ferry is no doubt an Aduana policy being forced upon the Ferry company. It's mostly to prevent indigent people from migrating into their "paradise".

Will probably be waved for most Motoqueros ... for sure those riding BMW!
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Old 20 Sep 2014
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Quote:
A credit card or wad of cash always did the trick
Yes, that even works with Qantas if you escalate it upstairs a bit. They are notorious for requiring return or onwards tickets before allowing you to get through the check-in counter.
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Old 3 Oct 2014
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panama to columbia ferry

check out Ferry Panama Colombia

looks like it may actually happen

Last edited by rltoddster; 3 Oct 2014 at 13:13. Reason: did not have website
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Old 8 Oct 2014
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And this: Ferry will join Panama with Colombia - The Visitor / El Visitante
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Old 9 Oct 2014
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Three of us are heading for Ushuaia in November on Gen I KLRs. I am following this new ferry closely. They seem to be updating the web site daily. We are going to get one of the kids who is fluent in Spanish to call the Panama number and see what happens.

If anyone hears anything from other sources I am anxious to hear it. I realize that there have been several false starts but this one looks like it might pan out.
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Old 9 Oct 2014
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mexico central and south america

thanks
let me know
where are you guys starting.
i have been reluctant to make the ride alone
i planned for nov start as well
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