Hey guys, I wanted to share my story about how I crossed the Darien Gap. It took me 14 days (headache after headache) to complete the journey and my parents started an international search for me during the 2 weeks I was out of contact. After doing some research on Darien motorcycle transportation I decided that the standard sailboat rate of $550 from Portobello, Panama to Cartegena, Colombia was too much. Flying the bike and myself was also too expensive. While I was searching the previous shipments by travelers section on horizonsunlimited.com I found a review from a guy who shipped his bike (and himself) on a cargo ship from Colon to Cartegena for only $200! This daring traveler warned others that many of the cargo ships smuggle drugs or have untrustworthy captains who extort money from you. He also gave a warning about the poor mechanical condition of these old cargo ships. Feeling confident that I knew what to look out for I split ways with my riding buddies Wayne and Mike who opted for sailboat transport with Mark on the Melody in Portobello. Upon arriving in Colon I suddenly started to feel sick in my stomach. I knew at first sight that I had made a mistake by not traveling safely with my friends. If you have ever seen the movie Black Hawk Down, Colon looks like downtown Mogadishu in this movie. The buildings all look like they are ready to fall down and it makes sense because almost all of them were constructed by the French and Americans when they were building the Canal in the 1900-1920s. Every other man on the street appears to be sizing you up. To give you a sense of how afraid I was, I kept my helmet on anytime I had to walk on the streets. There are dumpsters blocking access to alleys for no apparent reason and many of the man hole covers are missing from vandals trying to make a quick buck recycling them. I followed my instuctions and made it to Calle 5 Pier 7 (I think it was this, do not follow this info). The dock has about 5-10 cargo ships docked on average. Some are going to Venezuela, some Brazil, and some Colombia. The ships to Colombia do not leave regularly (grrrr) like the guy on horizons said they did. After inquiring for 30 minutes about finding a ship to Cartegena the gate attendant told me to come back one week from now (Saturday) to catch a ship. Not wanting to wait a whole week I drove to another Calle called Coco Solo. I could not believe that there was a more dangerous looking place than Colon! The buildings around Coco Solo are all in ruins (no roofs, no windows, and collapsed walls) but people actually live in them! Occupancy seems to be around 100%! To get to the dock you have to drive your bike past this group of buildings and through a road of standing water that is hard to tell the depth. After finally finding the dock, the aduana man quickly informed me that this dock only has ships that travel North to Costa Rica, Honduras, and Guatemala. Next I drove to the Panama City Yacht club which was also a great waste of time. My lonely planet told me that there was a post it board listing adds from captains willing to transport passengers to Colombia. The board had not adds like this and the lady working the counter knew nothing about transportation to Colombia. I decided to return to Panama City and stay with my friend until my ship left to Cartegena the next Saturday. BTW: Please check out my website JourneyRider.com If you would like to make a small donation ($5) press the donation button on my website or send by Paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org I would appreciate it right now because my bike broke down. I am a 23 year old who is paying for his journey himself.