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The Impenetrable Darien Gap

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean The Impenetrable Darien Gap

1. Posted by Jacobuh (Budding Member 10 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

My plan was to bike through Central America down through South America, until I ran into this little obstacle.

For those who dont know, the Darien Gap is a (supposedly) impenetrable, 100 mile region of jungle and swampland that separates Panama and Columbia, and there are no roads traversing through it.

Since Central and South America are separated by this region, instead of biking through I'll have to go as deep into Panama as I can go, and then either fly or try to find a boat to Columbia.

Now since I'm carrying a bike, I'd rather not fly, so that's a last resort. Does anybody know if there is reliable boat service to from Panama to Columbia? Where should I look?

Give me your thoughts, comments, criticism, info, suggestions... Anything helps!


2. Posted by dbloom (Travel Guru 586 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

You'll find no "boat" to Colombia if you go down into the Darien, my friend, a year ago, two years ago, who knows, there was a "backpacker ferry" from Colon on the Caribbean side of Panama to Cartegena in Colombia, ask my associates on the Colombia travelling forum Darien is populated with indingenous natives, many hostile to outsiders, drug runners, mercenaries and guerilllas, etc. no place to bring a bike. Otherwise, you will have to ship the bike on container Colon-Cartagena and fly over to Cartegena and claim your bike from customs. Be real careful biking through Colombia and in the cities in Latin America if you get hit, the person who did the damage will probably run to avoid having to pay your damages and hospital. (In many Latin countries those with used vehicles drive un insured)A Salvadorian-American friend of mine was crippled for life in San Salvador a few years ago, the driver ran. Take care.

3. Posted by joey22 (Respected Member 561 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

but apart from that have fun!

4. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

There's no schedule service, as dbloom points out. However, you might be able to hitch a ride on a private sailboat if you are willing to throw in some money and help out. Probably best to do that in Panama City. I once read somewhere the best place to try and hitch a lift on board a boat, but can't find it now. Sorry.

5. Posted by numero1 (Respected Member 295 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Build a raft j/k.

Fly or hitch a ride on a sailboat;)

6. Posted by dbloom (Travel Guru 586 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Best when you are in Panama to make your arrangements, ask around there are some boats that go to Colon from Cartagena charging $200USD per passenger, lunch ain't free...view and for the reviews.
Without a vehicle one takes buses through Mexico and Central America and flys in Panama to Cartagena, Bogota, Quito, Lima whatever and resume their journey by bus. Here are some people who did it in VW van....
knowledege of at least good basic Spanish, speak and understand is pretty much required for the journey. And again be careful in congested areas, you may be the world's savviest biker, but won't prevent someone who can't drive or is 'loco' from hitting you and then running.