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Photo by Mark Newton, Mexican camping

I haven't been everywhere...
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Photo by Mark Newton,
Camping in the Mexican desert



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  #1  
Old 16 Oct 2013
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Ferry In Service from Panama to Colombia

San Blas Ferry - Home, Portobelo, Cartagena, San Blas, Panama, Columbien

I e-mailed them to verify ferry service began yesterday as expected and the reply was as follows:

On Oct 16, 2013 12:49 PM, <info@sanblasferry.com> wrote:
>
> Hi Jacob,
>
> Yes, we are operating,
>
> Cheers, Fritz

Note: I'm in London, hence the impossible timestamp.

I'm still undecided about using them, depends if the cost for transporting a motorcycle ($459) includes rider, or if that would run an additional $249. I've sent a response inquiring about the same.
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Old 17 Oct 2013
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I ain't saying it is not true. The conventional wisdom is you either sail on the yaul Starrot or fly with Garig. Spelling improvised. Dave
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Old 17 Oct 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by checkerdd View Post
The conventional wisdom is you either sail on the yaul Starrot or fly with Garig. Spelling improvised. Dave
You are right, but if this ferry is for real, that changes the equation. Would love to hear from someone who has used it, if it exists.
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  #4  
Old 17 Oct 2013
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I received a response from Fritz. The rider and motorcycle are charged separately, so a bike ($459) plus rider ($249) would come to $708. I also would like to hear about the experience of someone who took the journey, assuming such a person exists.
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Old 18 Oct 2013
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apparently, their first trip which was suppose to take place on the 15th did not.
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  #6  
Old 18 Oct 2013
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I also received an email from Fritz but I may have not directed my question specifically enough. It was "confirmed" that the ferry "is running" but nothing specifically about the first run on the 15th of Oct.
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  #7  
Old 21 Oct 2013
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Apple and Oranges

Those that follow reports of ferry service between Panama and Colombia are want to spell it "fairy" service, as news of service last year was fiction not reality. Perhaps this new service is real. Time and the first rider report will tell.

To the best of my knowledge there are currently three sail boats in operation, providing passage to and from Panama and Colombia (on the Caribbean side): the Stalhratte, the Independence and the Jacqueline. I can only speak to my experience on the Stalhratte, posted price for rider and moto is $980 (USD.) Per my crossing in fall 2012, the transit is a day longer and $25 more than described, because motos are loaded the day before. The extra $25 was to sleep on a Kuna island and be fed dinner the night before setting sail. Other than the extra cost for extra day on a Kuna island, food, non-booze beverages, and bunks for the balance of the trip was included. Swimming, beach BBQ (with bug juice & rum included), all in four days, three nights... PS: Immigrations came to the Stalhratte to stamp us out of Panama. Again, I can't speak to the service offered by the Independence and the Jacqueline, and only guess that their service is roughly similar. Your mileage may differ.

I don't think the experience on one of the above sail boats can be compared to the new "San Blas Ferry." Other than to say they both get you from one country to the other. The ferry price is ~$700 (rider and moto.) Do you get anything else? Where would you sleep during the 24 hour crossing? Shower? Are meals included in the price? If not included, is food and drink available for purchase? Will immigrations come to the ferry to cancel your visa?

Very curious to see if this new service actually starts and to read the rider reports.
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Last edited by Peter Bodtke; 21 Oct 2013 at 03:52. Reason: typos
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Old 29 Oct 2013
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Just heard a 2nd hand report from someone who took the San Blas ferry. Here's the Coles Notes version, I'm sure 1st hand accounts will start coming in very soon.

- Ferry was advertised to depart Portobelo, Panama on 15th October
- Actual departure date was Wed 23rd October
- Ferry was advertised as a 24-hour trip
- Actual arrival was this afternoon (Mon 28th October)! A bit less than 6 days total onboard.
- No dock in Cartagena, so the ferry went back and forth between Cartagena and Baranquilla and back.
- Ferry is very old, run-down and dirty, no shower on board and only two toilets. No air conditioning and no beds. The passengers had to sleep on hammocks outside for the entire 6 days.
- Bikes are still on the ferry because there isn't a dock to unload them onto. They require small boats to bring the motorcycles onshore. They are anticipating unloading tomorrow perhaps.
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Old 29 Oct 2013
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So....on the one hand, things are better than expected--that is, a ferry actually exists.

On the other hand, things are far, far worse--no beds, no shower, no sanitation, no way to unload (What would they have done with cars or trucks?), and a 600% overage on the schedule. I wonder about food, too: if expecting a daylong journey one might not bring enough food, liquor or entertainment for the week.

Great to have something concrete. Thanks for reporting.

Mark
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Old 29 Oct 2013
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Real Cost

So what is the total going to come to including offloading with boats, I wonder? Hope to hear it goes smoothly for everyone! (for once)
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Old 29 Oct 2013
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Also, question to the people who have crossed - Anyone have any info on this?


Panamanian visa entry fee: The Panamanian Migration authorities have begun charging $100 per passenger unless the passenger can provide proof that they will leaving Panama within 72 hours of arrival. Whilst we have yet to receive a clear answer from the authorities on the basis for this charge, we recommend that you bring a printout of your onward journey from Panama or you will be personally liable to pay the $100 fee to the Panamanian Migration authorities.
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Old 30 Oct 2013
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cannot believe this $100 charge to be true as Pana law gives you 6 months "visa" for most nationalities. Your drivers licence however is only valid for 3 months
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Old 30 Oct 2013
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We saw the bikers at Aduana yesterday morning in Cartagena, some more info:

- managed to get the bikes off ferry via a floating dock
- there were 14 passengers on board and 3 motorcycles, no other vehicles
- each day they were promised that the ferry would dock the next day, it didn't do so for another 5 days
- in total, the ferry tried to dock 6 times at different ports
- it seems the captain left Panama without proper authorization to dock in Colombia
- at one point, the auto-pilot broke and the ferry did a huge circle out at sea
- they said it was the most harrowing experience ever and would not repeat it again
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Old 31 Oct 2013
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A truly impressive performance.

Hey, is that the Jacob who bought a KLR from Jake in Costa Rica? Still riding that thing?
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  #15  
Old 31 Oct 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElExplorador View Post
Panamanian visa entry fee: The Panamanian Migration authorities have begun charging $100 per passenger unless the passenger can provide proof that they will leaving Panama within 72 hours of arrival. Whilst we have yet to receive a clear answer from the authorities on the basis for this charge, we recommend that you bring a printout of your onward journey from Panama or you will be personally liable to pay the $100 fee to the Panamanian Migration authorities.
I believe this is only for people *arriving* to Panama by sea. Does not apply if you are riding across the border to Panama or if you are leaving Panama by sea.
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