A list of sailboats and captians from Panama to Colombia

Discussion in 'Latin America' started by cruthas, Dec 21, 2008.

  1. spqr

    spqr Been here awhile

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    Strange stories abound. I am booked today aboard the Aurora, under Capitain Pedro Uribe. I will report the conditions of the trip upon my return.

    I went down to Cub Nautica. There I met a German Captain who was loading his last passengers into a cab. They seemed happy.

    I asked him, he referred me to the local fixer. I met two american Captains, who were leaving next week and would take a bike. Then Captain Uribe invited me on board, we had some fruit drink, I looked around the boat then went back to the dock.

    I asked around about him, and no one had a bad thing to say. I am a little worried about the tie downs, but we will see how that works out.

    I did not have a sign that said "Panama" but once I asked the first guy it spread pretty quickly. Almost all the capitains are ex-pats, and seem to have their worlds in order.

    More info when I land in Panama. Hope the bike makes it.
  2. candohome

    candohome Notta Poser

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    Always looking for cheaper ways to ride back home for visits.
  3. cu260r6

    cu260r6 Been here awhile

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    Fact for some, at least it was on the boat I took.
  4. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

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    Please tell the story.
  5. cu260r6

    cu260r6 Been here awhile

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    Take a look at my posts #82 and #97 on p5 and 6 for the details as well as links to a couple blogs with the complete stories.

    The captain bought only 20 gallons of water for 22ppl for 5 days. If several other rider passengers had not spent $1-200 more on drinks we would have had a mutiny on our hands.
  6. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    Is this the one where you ask a woman to punch another guy in the face?

    FYAYW
  7. spqr

    spqr Been here awhile

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    Made it into Panama a few days ago. Capt Pedro Uribe had his act together. However having done this part of the trip now a few things strike me.

    First thing is that sail boats, like motorcycles, look a lot more comfortable than they are. It never occurred to me that some one would expect a large amount of sleeping space or privacy. Even the big boats are small.

    Two of my co passengers were expecting a floating hotel and a smooth trip. They were disappointed, and complained the rest of the trip. (They also complained and threw a temper tantrum about "that ugly thing" on the deck, my bike.) They complained that the meals were rice and chicken, rice and calimari, rice and fish and rice and lobster.

    Having watched them and listened to their post stories, I am taking most of the horror stories with a grain of salt.

    I will post up Pedro's contact info as soon as I get a chance.

    I think that as long as you stick to the larger marina, talk to your cap
  8. candohome

    candohome Notta Poser

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    share the details and costs. Thanks mate.

  9. JJMSP

    JJMSP Cervicalgia

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    :ddog
  10. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    Now you're acting like a stalker. Paranoid, much?

    FWIW, my family owns land between Cuango and San Blas. If you want to go past Cuango, and see about getting a boat from there to San Blas, send me a PM and maybe I can help you. Google Earth "Cocuye Abajo." Find a heart-shaped bay. The house is about a mile and a half east of there. It's only about 12 miles to El Porvenir. Between Cuango and Cocuye you have to cross a few rivers. Sometimes the road is good. Sometims the road looks like this.

    [​IMG]
  11. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    Now that it's only about 25 minutes from Panama City to Colon, there's no need to make an expedition out of crossing the continental divide. Puerto Bello used to be a few hours from Panama City. Not its about an hour from the Gelalbert Airport to downtown Puerto Bello.

    This thread already has a lot of useful suggestions on how to find a boat. If I was doing it today, I'd go to Puerto Bello and just kind of hang out until a boat came by. It'll take about five minutes- maybe less- for the arrangers and arranger-wannabe guys to find you. For Puerto Bello accomodations, I'd go with the scuba diving shops. There are several and they're easy to find.

    Carti is completely different. Carti is a tiny island. If you stay there, it'll cost $5 and you'll share a hammock with a Kuna woman. Good luck to you. El Porvenir has a small hotel. You can get your bike there for about $25-$50. Be careful that they don't drop it into the ocean. Riding to Carti is completely different. Gone is the road that Lucio road in epic style. The El Llano-Carti road is easy now.

    Whatever you do, take the time to ride to Yavisa. It's also easy now.

    You actually have more options than just Colon/Puerto Bello/Carti. There's also the Pacific. Read the account by Cruthas. If you're a hardass, try it from La Palma. To get to La Palma, ride the Pan American to Meteti, then turn left. There's only one road to the left. Earlier in this thread I posted a photo of a flyer for a boat to get you to Colombia.

    As far as I know, there's still no sane way to go by land from Panama to Colombia.

    You're on your own as far as stamps and visas and stuff.

    Edit: when I said "turn left at Meteti," I was thinking that you'd be coming back from Yavisa. Either way, it's South.
  12. gravitygreg

    gravitygreg n00b

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    I boarded the Zao with Leonardo after spending the better part of 6 months in South America and had grown accustomed to what would be considered "bad service" according to North American standards as far as my experience accounts for. I flew with Griag on the way down and sailed with Leonardo on the way back. Here is my experience and opinions.

    I caught a launcher from a small town 38 km from Turbo, Colombia and loaded 2 bikes into a launcher with another guy I met in Cartegena. Luckily for us the seas were calm for the 2 hour crossing to Supzurro, but, occasionally the ocean was rolling causing the bikes to lift and thrash down. On the crossing the launcher captain was arrogant and unhelpful calling us dumb white `puntas` for begging him to stop the boat so as to prevent one of the bikes from smashing repetitively against the gunnel. Of course you must consider that the damages were only cosmetic for the most part but hard thrashing sometimes warrents adjustment.

    I learned that in Colombia transporting cargo with passengers is against port regulations thus it is a huge risk for these launcher captains although when we got to port nobody said anything to us. Loading the bikes from the launcher onto the Zao was easy (via a hand winch system that was partially broken), although the launcher captain smashed my winshield....on purpose.... I`m sure as anyone who owns a boat will attest they aren`t that hard to navigate and raming the sailboat was definately avoidable as far as I was concerned. Although you`ll agree or atleast find out that its difficult to find anyone to do something correctly sometimes in these places.

    As for the Sail, My experience with Leonardo (The Nutty Professor) was apparently one of the highlights of the trip as I have come to find out. Its one of my most popular stories although at the time the sail was uncomfortable at best. I`m sure the image of sailing with full white sails in the wind and pretty blue seas is the popular minds eye image for most people including me. However, Life aboard a boat is kind of boring, and the quaters are cramped, Anything and everything is in your face and only a stones throw away at anytime. There is no escape from anything. To add insult to the image of sailing we motored the whole time to keep on schedule, no one sails.

    Looking back on the sail, I definately enjoyed my time although Leonardo`s boat is dirty, mouldy, leaky, and the room service sucks. (I slept outside on deck, even in the rain, to avoid the mosquito`s and killer heat below deck). Depending on what you consider adventure you should be cautioned that Leonardo`s boat is no Luxury liner but, more of a means to get from point A to Point B. This is what Me and the other guy used Leonardo for. Leonardo is a decient fellow although he hates doing the Cartegena- Panama run. He`s an adventurer like us. He is straight up and will tell you that you`re a `piece of shit` right to your face. Well, thats what he called me on day 2 for argueing about wheather or not the advent of the internet provides great access to information. He claimed that the information available is terrible and inaccurate. But then again he is a scientist!

    Anyhow I was up for adventure, my bike wasn`t worth more than 5 grand so the damages were memories and insignificant. A couple of weeks later I met this nice couple on their brand new BMW GS 1200 heading for a boat on my way back up through Central America. I was looking at their fancy gear and proper everything. I didn`t recommend the ZAO to them. Then I met another dude riding an old machine that looked like it couldn`t suffer much worse for wear and I told him to go for Leonardo.

    The problem with Leonardo is he has no concept of the customer. He believes that as long as he gets you from point A to point B like he said he would, safely, then he fulfilled his end of the agreement. Thus, its no worse than being on a passenger plane with nobody but you to create your own entertainment. I`d say that if you`re the type that does`t like 7-10 dollar a night accomidations while travelling, don`t take the Zao, because its alot like some of the budget places recommended by the Lonely Planet. But if you want to experience Leonardo and have a great story, then go along . Who knows, this guy might create a bit of a cult following for those seeking a rougher ride to brag about (he is a genius afterall), but you`d better go soon because he`s retireing from sailing soon once his pension kicks in from CERN.

    See story on my site with photo`s

    www.toquesonmoto.blogspot.com

    Greg George.
  13. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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  14. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    Thanks to Trevoreva for this report: Our shipping experience from Panama to Colombia

  15. markharf

    markharf Been here awhile

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    Interesting. Interesting also that they paid almost as much for shipping by boat as they would have on Girag with seats on Copa or Avianca. When Copa was shipping bikes for $600, my total costs were about $900 for myself and the bike. That's starting to sound quite reasonable (which it did not at the time).

    Hope the cuisine and the San Blas stops were worth it, but my own decision to wait for the Stahlratte on my return trip sounds increasingly intelligent. In June I paid about $700 for bike and self. Caveat emptor.

    Mark
  16. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    I've never been on the Stahlratte, but everything I've heard indicates that it is the best.

    Regarding the other boats: Haggle! They expect you to negotiate with them. And if you don't like the looks or sound of something, Don't Go! As bad as Girag and Copa are, at least they're not going to drop your bike into the sea!
  17. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    Update on the roads to San Blas: it is now less than 1:25 minutes from Panama City to Carti on the Pan American via El Llano. The road is paved. A decent motorcyclist can probably do it in 1:15.

    The road to Cocuye, via Colon/Puerto Bello/Cuango is all-weather and public, but there are no bridges. People are crossing the rivers in cars except during strong rains. My family is right now negotiating with the government to install steel military bridges. The government asked my family to install the foundations; my family agreed; and work should start soon. Colon used to be two-four hours from Panama; now it's 25 minutes. The government has improved the road all the way from Colon to Cuango. It's now 2:30 from Panama to Cuango. Even with the rivers, by car it is only 30 minutes from Cuango to Cocuye.

    There are plans to build another, separate road, from closer to Tocumen to Cocuye. Roads to the continental divide already exist. This is an area seldom visited by overlanders. I suggest it. Panama is a tiny country, but there's more to it than Panama City, Colon, a canal and some jungle. When I was a kid we would regularly swim at a place called Goofy Falls. Check it out. But don't hold your breath for a road there to the Atlantic.

    Finally, there are strong plans to link Carti with Cocuye. By road it will be 15 miles and will take less than 30 minutes. There were political problems with the Kuna, but they are solved. Once Carti and Cocuye are linked, you'll be able to do a really nice loop. And it'll be easier to catch a boat.

    If you google-earth "Cocuye Abajo, Panama," you'll see a heart-shaped bay. There are strong plans to here build a marina. My family has already won the marina license from the government.

    Today I uploaded several dozen aerial photos of Cocuye, at www.bananaman.smugmug.com. I'd also like to inform you that three parcels are for sale: along the sea, from the heart-shaped bay tirades the East, parcel 1, 320 hectares; parcel 2, 400 hectares; parcel 3, 500 hectares, each for US$7.50/square meter.
  18. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

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    How 'bout Time Shares?
    What do you have available?
  19. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    Yeah... sorry. 320 hectacres is the smallest. It comes with birds, lizards, etc. You provide your own roads, water, sewer, electricity, and stuff. At US$35,000,000 each, it's going to take a serious developer. And then it'll look something like Coronado. The goal is to keep it "natural," but...

    It'll be 5-10 years before individuals will be able to buy. Basically the 10,000 hectacres between the Chagres National Park, Cuango, and Carti will become accessible. It's been farmland mixed with wild- you can see that easily.
  20. peekay

    peekay Been here awhile

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