This has all been great news, things as I expected. Good to know the boats will be waiting for me. Now, a few more questions if you will...Carrying a large amount of Canadian cash, a max of $10 000 American plus small change I can exchange along the way; how easily do you suppose I can exchange Canadian cash in Columbia? Also how long can I remain in Columbia and where are the tourist hot spots for rec rentals which is my reason for this trip. All other information appreciated also. Greg
Greg-how's our Spanish?
You do realise that south of the Rio Grande the English won't get you too far.
Canadian cash is essentially worthless outside of Mexico-because of NAFTA the Canuck dollar is exchangeable in many Mexican banks.
The idea of taking a large amount of cash, a large vehicle and toys is poor at best-learn to use ATM's everyone does-as well as CC's.
How long do you think you'll last before someone asks for a business licence?
Yes they have business licences there.
Also-there will be no boat waiting for you-arranging transport to Colombia takes time, money and again Spanish language skills.
I was in Colombia last year-great place friendly people great food/music beautiful women-all in Spanish.
I suggest you ditch the road trip idea take a Spanish course-intensive-and book a flight with Continental to Bogotá and start from there.
I wouldn't carry the large amount of cash. Lots of ATMs in Central and South America. Check out Mastercard / CIRRUS locator or VISA PLUS locator.
Check out this site Canadian Consulate for information on entry and exit requirements, including the visa stuff. For Colombia, Canadian citizens coming to Colombia for tourist purposes do not require a visa to enter the country. However, those travelling for other purposes must apply for the appropriate visa. Failure to have the proper type of visa could result in deportation. Tourist visas are normally valid for 30 days. They may be extended to a maximum of 180 days although the number of days is determined by the Immigration Officer at the point of entry.
As for language, here's my advice from a different thread...
I did 8 weeks in Chile, Argentina and Bolivia. I didn't speak any Spanish prior to booking the trip, but did try and bone up a little prior to going.
The important thing is not to be completely fluent in spanish, but to be able to have key conversations. As I travelled, I had a basic knowledge of a couple of things, and was fine.
Learn how to carry on a short conversation - say hello, ask someone's name, ask where they are from and be able to answer these questions. Be able to tell them where you are going. This way you can talk to someone for at least a few sentences before launching into the "do you speak English?" question.
Learn the numbers. You can get by in almost any store by pointing and asking "how much?" As long as you can understand the answer.
Learn how to ask if a place has rooms available. Learn to ask about the room - Is there hot water? Does the room have a private bath? Learn how to tell them you want to stay for X nights.
Learn the names of common food and drink items. This will make ordering in restaurants easy.
I found things fine with these key things. You'll also be surprised how quickly you can pick up other vocabulary in Spanish. I never caught on to the grammar all that well, but it is amazing what you can do with nouns and pointing.
I did see people with no Spanish travelling around, but obviously they were more limited in what they were able to do, and learn about the people they met.
After ten years of travel including twenty-one countries, three trips to Mexico as well as Espaina and Italia, my Spanish should be suffice. The cash I will be carrying is for the purchases of recreational vehicals I plan to get in the U.S.; now that our Canadian dollar is stronger. Apparently I am only allowed $10 000 U.S. cash crossing the border from Canada. My ATM daily amount is limited to only a few thousand per day per card, my purchases will be in excess of $30 000. I dont want to be stuck without that cash. In Cambodia I found my CC to be unusable, an experience I learned that lesson from. I had planned to exchange any remaining cash in Mexico before I proceed. Thanks anyway Sam for reminding me that I will need a buisness licence, that's if I want to call it a "buisness". Time, money and Spanish are the things that inspired my travel plans to Columbia. As an adventurer I've learned that almost anything is a possibility and that common courtesy is appreciated the world over.
Thanks Travel100 and GregW for the intrest and replies, links as well. Leaving soon, this Canadian to US border a little worrisom as things have tightened since 911. The one thing I can count on, is that the line up wont be clogged with cattle liners. Thanks Again, Greg
The Forum for Colombia info is http://poorbuthappy.com/colombia/forum/
[ Edit: keep it friendly please. ]
FYI, you will be fine with a credit card here in Colombia. However I would recommend travelling with fewer things. Colombia is well equippef for doing mostrly anything. I have already done some research on traveling from Panama to colombia by Boat (if you are interested), and you have to consider the amount of time that might be lost when getting to Cartagena and attempting to get your stuff out (lots of paperwork).
I live in bogota, so if you are interested in more local information, feel free to ask!
"Very few people have actually crossed the Darian Gap. Unless you have a well trained team of locals supporting you, and even with that, I daresay it is close to impossible.
We found a willing SAILBOAT in Cartegena de Indias, Colombia, and sailed northward into Panama, bypassing the Gap and heading home easily. But, don't be fooled. In 2001 when we made the journey, there were few methods for crossing the Gap with your vehicle. Some people, FLEW their vehicles from Panama to Ecuador. Others, look for freight ships."
Why dont you just go ahead and say that RYP's senseless trip there
got people killed? Are you afraid to?
Hes an idiot. If you ask me it just goes to show hes a show-off, eager to impress some ditzy "s*** and giggles" blonde.
Not to mention a poor judge of character.
Hope this travel board is a little more liberal with censorship efforts and at least pointed criticism is tolerated.
Sure go check out BFC. Be amazed. Good luck RYP.
hey guys. any idea how to get from Panama to Ecuador by boat? cheers
The Darian Gap was walked across by an English guy called Karl Bushby who is walking from the bottom of Argentina to London. His book Giant Steps has a chapter on how he managed to get across. Certainly well worth a read.
As for driving, I am also considering driving from New York to Panama, possibly further and I have ben advised that you have to get a boat out of Panama to Columbia.