My plan was to fly into Belize City and bike down to Panama, find passage in a boat around the Darien Gap to Colombia, and then continue biking south towards Ushuaia in Argentina.
However lately I've been coming across more and more stories of kidnappings, assaults and murders of foreign tourists in South America.
I know that most tourists are pretty safe if they just use common sense and I dont want to judge S. America by just these bad people, but I'm actually getting a bit scared to go on this trip.
I dont really know why Im writing this, I really dont want to miss out on such a divers continent such as S. America....Am I overreacting?
Yes you are over reacting. I have been on the road since October an a girl travling alone, for most of the time. I have met a few bikers and they have been fine. Their only trouble is the altitude.
My only advice which has been given to me by fellow travellers are don't get into a dodgy taxi. go for the ones with the telephone numbers at the top or the ones the guide books says to go for.
Travelling on buses at night are usually fine. I have had no trouble at the moment and I have to get to Colombia to fly home so touch wood.
Don't be scared because if you don't come out you will miss the experience. Yes I was in La Paz a couple of days ago and i am fine. I even did the Death Road and survived to tell the tale.
Only bad stories make it on the news and don't let this worry you too much. Yes take caution but most of it is common sense.
Hope you do get on that bike and do it.
If you need anymore info write back
See from your profile you live near Mexican Border, why don't you just bike down to Panama via Belize from there? You'll probably have to find a boat in Panama where you can take on your bike with you..or if not container roll on roll off, where you can ship to Ecuador and avoid Colombia, some rural areas in Colombia are still very dangerous to travel through, don't try to go through the Gap and don't try to be a hero biking through Colombia on your own if you don't have to. You will be in rainy season north of Equator, so be advised. Still try to get another travel companion, especially if your Spanish is not good. I drove 15 years in Central America (national plates)and had three small accidents and lots of small theft of spare tires, jacks, rear view mirrors, etc. Make sure you are able to fix the bike if it breaks down in a remote area, so that you can get it in town for spare part. Remember, you cannot leave any country without it, as is stamped into your passport. One still has to prepared for any emergency, any situation, in a strange country. "You're mot in Kansas anymore Dorothy"
For Colombia travel advice http://poorbuthappy.com/colombia
you can never let a fear hold you back from doing what you want to do...
your trip sounds like it will be an amazing experience and you shouldn't second think it just because of the news or reported crimes...
it's like people scared of flying after 911, or not travelling to asia after the tsunami hit... the chance of it happening again directly after it has already occured is pretty slim...
kidnappings and assaults are a little different because they CAN happen anytime, anywhere to anyone... but most likely if you are cautious and have a little common sense, you'll be perfectly fine.
i hope you have a good, safe trip, but DONT PASS IT UP!!!!
I'll chime into this thread because that's my main fear regarding what I'm setting out to do: i.e. travel for the first time in my life as a woman alone age 70 (good health, blah blah.) I've been to Jamaica (loved the energy of the streets and didn't mind somebody trying to sell me something every step of the way) briefly, and Antigua (and Pana, Chichi) for 2 weeks last Nov. I'm headed back to stay in Antigua, come July, but of course would like to travel around - specifically to see children's programs in C. America (and maybe Africa someday) but just to SEE what the world is like. Would like to check out the Livingston area in Guate, see Honduras, Nicaragua.
People say "use common sense" - and I have a lot of that, plus a good nose for danger - but it's my impression that attitudes toward Americans and tourists generally is getting worse, not better. Es verdad? As an older woman I don't expect to get harassed in the way the young blondes do....but I'd be more concerned about asking someone to show me something out of the way and having them take me up a dark alley and rob me at the least.
What do y'all think about travelling alone, attitudes toward tourists currently, and.....??
Doing your homework is vital especially if you are travelling on the road in Latin America with your own vehicle....aside from the compulsory liability road insurance some, not all, Latin American countries will require you to purchase..medical insurance coverage is a necessity in case of accident and injury or an illness..so, entonces:
http://www.hctravel.com/latin.htm Organized road tours and bike rentals, however, the site lists a lot of places to visit off road in Mexico, Costa Rica and South America.
Obsessions Die Hard: Motorcycling the Pan American Highway's Jungle Gap (Paperback)
by Ed Culberson </gp/search/104-1974974-1370358?%5Fencoding=UTF8&index=books&rank=-relevance%2C%2Bavailability%2C-daterank&field-author-exact=Ed%20Culberson>
Two Wheels Through Terror: Diary of a South American Motorcycle Odyssey (Hardcover)
by Glen Heggstad </gp/search/104-1974974-1370358?%5Fencoding=UTF8&index=books&rank=-relevance%2C%2Bavailability%2C-daterank&field-author-exact=Glen%20Heggstad> "Warriors claim that battles are won in the preparation..." (more </gp/reader/1884313493/ref=sib_fs_top/104-1974974-1370358?%5Fencoding=UTF8&p=S00J&checkSum=pGp6pBdaC5Far4xpNbYrIKC4mv0L0%2B%2FQEGQIEz5LgQs%3D>
And here is "Dighitch" Driving & Road Tripping Links, practical advice from drivers and bikers who have been there and done that. http://www.digihitch.com/link-4.html
http://www.adventure-motorcycling.com/edition5/index.htm Website of the Book. Full of Factual Information and Trip Reports.