I am planning a trip to Panama, and I am very found of jungle. My question is then if someone had a guided tour in the darien gap or nearby Yaviza? I know it is a bit risky area, that is why I want a guided tour, but I have heard that some of the guide´s are not to trust. That is why I want feedback from anyone that have been in this area.
I like taking risks. I plan to travel to every country in latin america by motorbike, but every guidebook very clearly says 'DO NOT TRAVEL THE DARIEN GAP!!!' or words to that effect. Apparently it is practically permanently occupied by rebels. So even with a guided tour I'm nowhere near tempted. Instead I'll be going from Colon to Cartagena by boat. I'd be interested to know if anyone feels differently though.
Here is a great website I just found about the Darien Gap
[ Edit: Edited on 04-Oct-2009, at 06:27 by glothy ]
Last time I was in Darien is 6 years ago,in La Palma and Djunga.
from La Palma I went by canu to a small Embera comunity.
Last week while in Panama I met a young well travelled men at the hostel who just came back from Darien.He was also not so far from La Palma in a Embera village.
His advice also is DONT GO MUCH FURTHER ! it is scary.Nobody in Panama is promoting Darien.
I have spent a year and a half living in Panama's Darien Gap - traveling by sailboat, dugout canoe, footpaths and rusty frieght boats. My simplest advice is to travel to an area and begin to talk to people in a village. The towns of Yaviza and La Palma are Darien's two main centers, and you will get plenty of advice from whoever you talk to. For a short and completely off-beat experience, I would suggest going to the municipal dock in Panama City (Muelle Fiscal, in a part of town called Salsipuedes) and buying a ticket on a rusty freightboat. The boats deliver freight to many of the river villages, as well as down along the Pacific coast to Jaque. It will cost about 10 dollars, more or less, and will last for anywhere between 3 days and two weeks, depending on where it goes, and how often the boat breaks down, runs aground, loads cargo, etc. You can also just leave the boat if you find yourself in a village that feels inviting.
There are a number of books describing some pretty heroic journeys - including kidnappings and deaths in the area. I think that "The Darien Gap: Travels in the Rainforest of Panama" is quite different, - less of a straight adventure story, and more of a book about place, people, history and mythologies. Take a look at it, and you will likely come away with some good ideas concerning villages and rivers that you might be able to include in your own journey. Certainly you will get to know a lot about the exotic history and peoples of the region - something that is often lacking in other true-life adventure books.