A list of sailboats and captians from Panama to Colombia

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

  1. Dr. Benny

    Dr. Benny Enjoying the Journey

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    DarienGap.info is the easy way to find and talk about great (and not so great) methods for Crossing the Darien Gap.

    On my ride to Ushuaia in 2010 I researched crossing the Darien Gap by reading other travelersÂ’ blogs and scouring ADVrider and Horizons Unlimited. The information was mostly there but it was all over the place and exhausting to find. In the end, I spent 7 days on a 4 day boat trip and had a less than savory experience with a crook of a captain. (Don't take the Metacomet!)

    Have you already crossed the Darien Gap? Was it wonderful? Was it horrible? Write a brief review so that other travelers can learn from your experience.

    I wanted to build a resource that continues the spirit of travelers helping travelers. This isn't a business - I don't get any money out of it. I'm not a web developer and it's not beautiful (but hopefully riders will find it useful). What do you think? Will you post a review?
  2. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    There has been a big land sale at Cocuye. Obe if Panama's biggest developers is planning a Decameron-style all-inclusive resort. If you're going to be in the region, go there soon. By this time next year there will be regular bus service on paved roads all the way to Cocuye and San Blas.
  3. ItchyFeet

    ItchyFeet Too young to resist

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    I used to enjoy Bananaman's input but his recent Don Lapre isque post to sell real estate on this thread has me reconsidering his worth on anything he says on here. Take it to the right proper place and keep it relevant please.
  4. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    You are misinterpreting my posts about the land sales. No way do I expect anyone here to buy land in Cocuye. The land sales are relevant because development is fundamentally changing the landscape. And it's happening very fast.

    Knowing what is happening in Cocuye is as relevant as knowing what's happening in Colon, Porto Bello, Carti, etc. Colon has poor people and they might rob you, although I haven't heard of many robberies lately, and last time I was there, a year ago, it didn't seem as bad. Porto Bello has tons of boat captains, and that doesn't look like it's going to change. Carti has a paved road, making it very easy to get to. Cocuye is about to be developed. It matters that Cocuye is going to be developed.

    I'm not involved in the land sales. I just hear about them.

    Most of the land around San Blas is owned by several large investors. Typically they own more than 10,000 acres each. Some own more than 50,000 acres. If you want to buy from them, typically you have to buy a minimum of 1000 acres. Prices start around US$10,000,000. Investors of this type have government connections. They partner with the government to build paved roads. This is why the El Llano-Carti road is paved.

    This is why the Pan Americana is paved all the way to Yavisa.

    Most of the land around Porto Bello is owned by normal people. They don't have tons of money. This is why the roads around Porto Bello suck. They used to suck more. One of the biggest reasons why the roads to Porto Bello got better was from the influence of Colon 2000. Colon 2000 is a cruise ship port operator and tour company. The owners of Colon 2000 were very close to Panama's President. I don't know how the owners of the new development at Cocuye might be connected to Panama's president, but that doesn't matter to us- the only thing that matters is that there will be new roads, and there might be new access to boats bound for Colombia.

    This new land sale at Cocuye is going to fundamentally change the landscape. It used to be wild. Now it will be a luxury resort. Smelly bikers fit well in wild landscapes. The heart-shaped bay in Cocuye is going to be a luxury-yacht marina. I'm doubting that smelly bikers will be tolerated around the club, but maybe there will be support-boats that will be friendly.

    Note: I'm getting this info from my dad, who just returned from Panama. He starts round 2 of chemo today. He is 69 years old. He was stationed in Panama when he was 19 and he's been back every single year. My dad has driven to Cocuye at least 20 times, plus taken many boat trips there. I haven't been to Panama for almost a year, but I talk to my family on a weekly basis.
  5. ItchyFeet

    ItchyFeet Too young to resist

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    The thread here is " A list of sailboats and captains from Panama to Columbia". Your post contained neither and was off topic so they are not relevant to the thread. Then you digitally pollute it with more AND privately threaten to have me arrested should I venture to Panama for calling you out on it. You should probably refrain from posting/emailing anything until you straighten out your personal life.

    Good luck to your dad.

  6. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    Your ignorance is amazing. This is why you are not welcome on my family's property in Cocuye. And if I ever have a party, you're not welcome there, either.

    As I've said many times, for now, anyone who wants to go to Cocuye just has to ask. Permission isn't automatic. It's private property. Usually, permission is granted. Occasionally, permission is denied. Once in a while, somebody gets arrested. Ask anybody who goes to the Atlantic coast, and they'll tell you that travel is not guaranteed.

    Once you cross the Culebra River, after Cuango, you are on private property. There is a big sign. It says, "Private Property."

    If you don't believe me, just try to go to San Blas without permission from the Kuna.

    What is happening in Cocuye is going to have an enormous impact on sailboats to Colombia. Why? Because it's going to change the face of tourism on Panama's Atlantic coast.

    The main places to ship from, on the Atlantic: Colon, Porto Bello, and Carti. Cruthas started this thread after he went on a long search for alternatives. He ended up doing an epic on the Pacific. The lack of boats on the Pacific is directly related to the lack of towns on the Pacific, and, along with the lack of towns, the lack of tourism. Dr. Benny started a website with more information. As much as we'd like to be able to just log on and find a list of boats, the reality is still this: you have to actually go there and figure it out for yourself. But where is "there?" Is it the hostels in Panama City? Is it Colon? Is it Porto Bello? Is it Carti? Is it a port in Panama City, maybe near the Balboa Yacht Club, or one of the slums along the ocean? Should you go to Yavisa, and ask there for a boat? Should you go to Meteti, turn South, and then find a water taxi? Should you get a container in Colon? Should you ask Gaston?

    A few years ago, Colon was way too dangerous to even consider using. It's improving. This is evidence of the dynamic nature of Panama's tourism and economy.

    Sometimes there's a nice, biker friendly hostel, and then, suddenly, POOF!

    How many biker-friendly hostels have started in Panama in the last four or five years? How many biker-friendly places have gone out of business? I think the number is the same.

    There's a fairly new industry of hostels, catering to Europeans and Americans, on the Atlantic side, from Colon to Porto Bello and Isla Grande. Thirty years ago, until the Invasion, there was a very busy hotel trade on Isla Grande. The withdrawal of US troops put a very quick end to that trade. It has taken a long time to recover.

    The hostel industry, in general, is difficult. It's just really hard to make money off of poor people who don't want to spend money.

    It's a lot easier to make money off of upper middle class people who just want to go somewhere warm and not think about anything.

    If Cocuye gets developed, and becomes a Decameron (read: Club Med) style of resort, what's that going to do to the sailboat industry? What if Cocuye, and the beaches around it, start to look like Coronado, or Jamaica's Negril? Maybe it'll be easier to find boats. Maybe it'll be harder. It'll certainly change.

    As you sit in Appleton, Wi, in total ignorance, Panama is changing. There is no such thing as a well-organized list of sailboats and captains from Panama to Colombia. If you want to look at a nice list, you're going to have to go there and make it yourself.
  7. ItchyFeet

    ItchyFeet Too young to resist

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    I'm all for the adventure of figuring it out when I get there if need be because everyone knows that the world changes and evolves and tomorrow doesn't equal today. That's why I think the OP started this thread, to obtain current information on what's available from multiple sources. Input from those that made the journey don't create a list, this thread is the list. Posts about what was available several years ago or MIGHT be there twenty years from now (should your family's marina and real estate development dreams come to fruition) don't help the current traveler.

    Time to get over yourself Max and keep in mind - This ain't your sandbox. If I can get there on two wheels, that's where I'll be!

    Mark Twain was right. You need to travel more!

    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime."
    - Innocents Abroad



  8. ItchyFeet

    ItchyFeet Too young to resist

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    Misinterpreting??? Can you say "Huckster"? You sound like the pitch person for condo sales in the Yucatan. "Get in before the prices go up!", "The marina will be right over there...", "Just come in for a quick tour of the place." "Don't worry, the club won't allow any smelly bikers." "Let me check with my manager, maybe we can get in you for a special showing." LMAO :rofl:rofl

  9. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    There are 10,000 square meters in a hectare. At $7.50 per square meter, 300 hectares is $22,500,000. 400 hectares is $30,000,000. If any of you FF's have an extra $22,500,000, just for the undeveloped land... Ha! I sure am not in that league!

    The marina is not for sale. I don't know what my uncles plan to do with it. Panama has very liberal laws for poor sailers to have access to ports, but the poor sailers need a reason to go there. I do not see how they will be catering to discount sailboats and back packers. If it's an exclusive marina, it will bring maritime police, and other services. This will continue to change the sea scape.

    There are no condos for sale.

    Smelly bikers are welcome in towns like Porto Bello, Isla Grande, and Cuango. Also San Blas.

    Cocuye will never be like Cancun.

    For those of you who have been to Panama several times over the last decade, you know Panama has changed profoundly. It keeps getting more and more modern. This is continuing along the Atlantic. I'm not aware of significant changes on the Pacific east of Panama City. There is continued growth on the Pacific west of Panama City, but that doesn't get you closer to Colombia.

    The Kuna in San Blas will never allow commercialism.

    Edit: Russ, the guy who owns and manages the nice marina by Sherman, by Colon, is from Sheboygan (or Sturgeon Bay?) Wisconsin. Frank (now dead, used to own The Pizza Palace in Appleton, WI) was an expert on San Blas. (Frank's daughter, Jeanie, now owns The Pizza Palace, and she can verify to any FF in Appleton that I'm not selling anything in Panama.) Father Kasabuski is from Ripon, WI. Phil Woodman is married to Yolanda (I think her maiden name is Mendez? and Yolanda's nephew was once married to my cousin. I think Phil and Yolanda have been to Cocuye, maybe in 1999 or 2000. Anyone can call Phil, at any of the stores, and Phil can verify that I'm not selling anything in Cocuye. I don't know why there are so many connections between Wisconsin and Panama.
  10. ItchyFeet

    ItchyFeet Too young to resist

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    I asked Jeanie - she said you're an @ss and Phil was nicer saying you are just a blowhard but he did invite me and the wife down to his villa in Panama, maybe do some fishing. Thanks for your references.:rofl:rofl

  11. PhilSpace

    PhilSpace The Ex-Gov

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    Enough BS. :bluduh
  12. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    Thanks, Phil.

    Another route to Carti is being planned. Of course it goes through Cocuye. Once built, it will be a public road. Sadly, I won't be able to have anyone arrested.

    As for fuel, the last reliable fuel on the Atlantic side is in Colon. If you ride Colon-Cuango-Cocuye-Carti, you won't find fuel until El Llano, which is over the continental divide. If you're desperate for gas, there might be some available from barrels, in Cuango and Carti. The distances are not far, but sometimes the hills and mud requires more fuel than you would expect.

    On the Pacific side, there is reliable fuel as far as Meteti. It gets expensive, but not crazy-expensive, as you get farther from Panama City.

    If you were to show up in Carti with an extra 100 gallons of fuel, you could get a Kuna to take you on a private boat along the routes only the Kuna know. Getting 100 gallons of gasoline to Carti or Puerto Quimba is as easy as finding a big farm or a construction company. Father Kasabuski (aka Father Pablo) has a mission near Torti, and, amazingly (but not strange for Panama), he has a construction company. He could probably help you with a special delivery of fuel.

    If you want to go via the Atlantic, ask Father K for help. He knows all the Indians along the Pacific- basically, he knows everybody. He can help you figure out which Indians in La Palma to avoid. If you go to La Palma, it will be easy to find a small boat for hire- as long as you buy the gasoline. If you go to La Palma, you can leave your bike next to the police station at Puerto Quimba. It will help if you bring the police some treats- cokes and cookies, for example. It's better if you talk to the rank and file police there; the ranking officers can be too hard-ass. (Also if you go this way, you will find it much easier if you get a letter and exit permission from police headquarters and immigration headquarters in Panama City.)

    It's really not far from Panama to La Palma or Carti, so it's easy to make an easy day out of going to both places and gathering information. You don't have to rely on Panama City hostel owners. Most of the hostel owners get a commission from the boats, so they will try to get you to go their way. You can save time, effort, and money, as well as have a fun adventure, if you do the research yourself.
  13. luciosiq

    luciosiq Been here awhile

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    As usual, tons of useful information from Bananaman about Panama.
    We would never been able to reach villages such as Yavisa and El Povenir and find accommodation in Torti without his help.
    Great stuff.


  14. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    A 250 horse yamaha outboard, running wide open, uses about 7 gallons per hour.

    If you really want to take charge of your trip, go to the yacht club at Sherman and talk to Russ. He'll give you all you need to know about how to pilot a boat to Colombia, on either ocean. Basically you want to know about fuel, time, and ports. He'll sell you some charts, or maybe you can get some for your GPS. Then, when you go to Carti, or La Palma, you'll have better info, and you'll be able to contract better.

    Also bring a few tarps and tie downs. You can buy them as you leave Panama City, past Tocumen, after the last McDonalds. (You can also buy a machete and enough provisions to last a week.) There is also a Chinese grocery in Torti where you can buy everything. Next door is a bakery. I like the pan de huevo and some local white cheese. There is also a decent grocery store in Meteti, but no bakery. It's ok to make several trips on your bike to ferry all your provisions to the boat, or hire a local taxi to deliver it for you. Once you are at sea, or in San Blas, you will be grateful that you brought your own provisions. I'm always careful like this. Two years ago, my dad got stuck in Santa Isabel for three days, due to rough seas, and he had to subsist on platanos and fish for breakfast, lunch, and dinner- and he doesn't even like platanos!
  15. ItchyFeet

    ItchyFeet Too young to resist

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    I agree! Read my original post. I just said he was posting it all in the wrong thread, I didn't realize his banana peel was so thin.

  16. MaRc_FROST

    MaRc_FROST Lacks Credibility

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    Update as at May 15, 2012.

    As of right now Colombia is no longer allowing motorcycles into the country arriving by sailboat.

    I live in Portobelo and get info right from the source. For further information you can PM me and I will find out or the user 'captainjackvoyages' is the absolute authority on all matters relating to boat travel between Panama and Colombia - that is his line of work, along with running a great Bar/Resto in Portobelo.
  17. PIMPTRIX

    PIMPTRIX Been here awhile

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    You just have to be careful where you unload your bikes at so that the marine police don't mess with you. Then you go to the port and get a one of the guys that deals with the paperwork for the sailboats to arrange the paperwork for you. It will cost you around 50-100$ but he will pay off the aduana guys for you. He will also get your passport stamped and all. It's a bit of an adventure but it can be done with some $$.
  18. AirborneAndy

    AirborneAndy Vagabond

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    Im certainly no expert on this. I've only done it once going into Colombia. But, I was working with one of these guys who was suppose to know the ropes getting a bike thru Aduana painlessly.... ended up waiting there all day with the guy and he finally left just before they closed and told us to meet him back there the next day. But, right after he left the Aduana officials took care of us. I dont think they liked the guy or something about what he was doing or possibly how he was doing it. That's just my experience.
  19. woc4

    woc4 Adventurer

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    I do not understand why no one mention a ship named independence that at this moment is making two round trips every month from Carti to Cartagena and it takes up to five (5) bikes on each leg. take a look at the Place independence-ms.com and read the reports. I personally received an e-mail yesterday from them and they blame any trouble that happened on the sunken catamaran Fritz that the colombian marine have to rescue last may, all the passengers and crew make it okay but the motorcycle they were moving to Colombia was lost. According to what I have investigated there are only two (2) ships that have authority to accept bikes on board and they are the Sthallratte and the Independence both are steel old refurbished cargo ships in Europe and both are over a 100 ' long. Hope this information be usefull for the gang boys
  20. Airhead Wrangler

    Airhead Wrangler Long timer Supporter

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    We showed up to the Aduana office in Turbo on our own in the morning as it was opening and 6 of us (and 6 bikes) were in and out within an hour and a half. The secretary even served us coffee on a tray several times while we were waiting. No need for helpers there.