I intend going from Los Angeles to Rio de Janeiro/Brasil by car. I plan to take the Pan American Highway from Laredo down passing through Central and South America. I wonder what to do when I get to Darien. should I take a ferry or ship the car to Colombia or Equador? I would love to cross Colombia but am uncertain about how safe and feasible it is. I would also appreciate if anyone would have an idea of costs to cross and how many miles/kilometers are from Mexico City to Panama City and the kind of terrain/roads I would encounter. Would a small vehicle/4 cylinders be capable of passing through with no problems? I speak Spanish fluently but my wife would be with me and she does not, just a few sentences but is learning both Spanish and Portuguese.
Thank you in advance for any updated tips provided. Those plans are for Mid-2010.
I can only speak about the Pan American highway from David to Colon through Panama. The main highway is #1 and you will take highway #3 to Colon from Panama City. Highway #1 is four-lane in most places and actually not a bad highway. There was quite a bit of road improvement construction going on when we were there in 2005 but we did not experience any delays because of it. Highway #3 was also very good to Colon.
There are no car ferries from Panama to anywhere anymore. Ferry service was discontinued in 2002 and has not been resumed. Shipping your car is basically the only option for getting it to Colombia or Ecuador. This site has options for shipping companies:
drive the americas - Darien Gap
Enjoy planning your adventure!
Best message me, include an e mail adress so I can send all in attachment...I have detailed information on Shipping Agents to contact in Panama, and as well am able to connect you with two social networks of Panamian locals and ex pats who "know the ropes" as well as three excellent websites for RV ers and Vanners who drive to or have driven to CA and SA. it is IMPOSSIBLE to drive the Darien Gap in a vehicle, as well once your vehicle on RORO or container to Colombia or Ecuador, you have 3 days to fly to port to be there to claim your vehicle, with Shipping Agent on other end. Total Costs run between $1,500-$2,000 including Agents Fees plus your airfare from Panama to Cartagena or Guyaquil click on www.copaair.com/
The better your Spanish, the faster process will go.