Shipping Across Darien Gap: Discuss

Discussion in 'Latin America' started by Charles Seguin, Jun 6, 2008.

  1. JourneyRider.com

    JourneyRider.com Long timer

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    They will kick you out of the hostel if you just want to read the board. The staff memeber that I talked to really was an asshole I thought. He was trying to give me this big long speech about how it was unsafe to have non-customers reading the boat board.

    Definitely do not take any chances with transportation on this trip. I think the best bet is to drive to Portobello where there are 4 sailboat captains who regularly take motorcycles accross and they all charge $550 for you and the bike (beer not included).

    (You may have to wait 2-3 days if you just show up at Portobello. If you email captain Mark of the Melody a week in advance maybe you can set something up ahead of time.)

    BTW: Here is another way you could do the trip if you are looking for more of an adventure. This route requires driving 40 km of tough dirt roads. It is the closest you can drive to Colombia before you have to take a boat. I had an Aussie friend who did it and he said the road was treacherous, but I think he only paid $300 for the bike and him.

    http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/south-and-central-america-mexico/road-to-san-blas-panama-35896
    #21
  2. JamesOn2Wheels

    JamesOn2Wheels Banned

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    dammit..back in the states
    I just did with my mates a panama to cartagena with Guido on the Seeadler
    prices now seem to be at 350 + 350 for bike and rider
    hostel wunderbar google it is a good connection at Puerto Lindo east of Colon 2 hrs thats where Guido and Silvias hostel Wunderbar is located
    road is easy there - watch your things at night
    have patience with any boat captain is my recommendation
    import into Colombia is easy, drive to the Port office of DIan and show them your paperwork (at entrance to port, bldg is on left), they'll process easy enough no cost, then take completed to other Dian office 5 blocks away
    we even imported a non-running moto by taking a foto of vin and motor number and showing it to the DIan - they accepted it !
    they'll check VIN numbers and 2 hours later you are good to go....
    stay at Hostel Holiday bike parking inside
    its around the corner from casa viena in Getsemani Barrio

    or...Copa from Panama city on Fridays to Bogota for I think 625 USD for bike only and only on Fridays
    #22
  3. Flying Gringo

    Flying Gringo Coming Soon

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    You can ride around the Darien Gap at low tide.
    #23
  4. j_seguin

    j_seguin Been here awhile

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    What do you do when the tide comes up?
    #24
  5. kennyanc

    kennyanc Long timer

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    Ride faster....





    Kenny
    #25
  6. JourneyRider.com

    JourneyRider.com Long timer

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    (compiled some of the info in this thread)
    Here is a great website that gives a current schedule of all reputable boats leaving and how much they charge.

    Current September Schedule:
    Panama - Cartagena, 1rst,complete booked
    Panama - Cartagena, 2nd, still room for 4 person
    Panama - Cartagena, 4th, still room for 8 person and 1 motorbike
    Panama - Cartagena, 6th, complete booked
    Panama - Cartagena, 6th, still room for 12 person
    Cartagena - Panama, 6th of Oktober, still room for 10 person and 2 motorbikes

    SY Seeadler :D :D :D :D
    Captain: Guido hostel.wunderbar [at] yahoo.com
    Captain Guido offers you a safe and comfortable trip from Puerto Lindo,Panama, to Cartagena,Colombia or Colombia Panama with the 50ft steel ketch 'Seeadler'. During the 5 day trip we spend 2 days in paradise of the San Blas Islands - snorkling - BBQ - FUN!!!
    We have place for 10 persons and 2 motor bikes. All meals and the clearence fee are includet.
    Price: 350 US$


    SY Esmeralda
    Captain: Oliver hostel.wunderbar [at] yahoo.com
    The trip to Cartagena,Colombia via San Blas islands start at Puerto Lindo,Panama with 2 days in San Blas and 2 days sail to Cartagena. The 42 ft Esmeralda is a beautiful sailing boat with an all wooden interior and comfortable berths for 5 pers. The experienced capitan makes passage safe and fun. All food included.
    Price: 350 US$

    SY Tango
    Captain: David hostel.wunderbar [at] yahoo.com
    We start from Puerto Lindo,Panama have a stop in the San Blas islands for 2 days and continue from there in a 2 days sail to Cartagena,Columbia. There we will visit pristine white sandy beaches, hang out with the Kuna people, swim, snorkel, and have lots of fun. The boat has 2 private cabins, plus 3 other beds, bathroom, refrigerator, stereo and an experienced captain. All meals included.
    Price: 350 US$

    SY Odysse
    Captain: Lucho hostel.wunderbar [at] yahoo.com
    The trip to Cartagena,Colombia via San Blas islands start at Puerto Lindo,Panama with 2 days in San Blas and 2 days sail to Cartagena. The 42 ft Odysse is a safe sailing boat with wooden interior and comfortable berths for 7 pers. The experienced capitan makes passage safe and fun. All food included.
    Price: 350 US$

    SY Melody :D :D :D :D
    Captain: Marc freshaircharters [at] yahoo.com
    The SY Melody is a 44 foot sailing cruiser, very secure and sails beautifully. Marcs wife Paula prepares the deliciosus meals during this trip. Spend 2 days in San Blas, beautiful beaches and having lots of fun! 2 days sailing from San Blas to Cartagena,Colombia a great experience of the deep blue! We provide food, ice and a boat ready to sail.
    Price: 350 US$

    SY Papillon
    Captain: Tom hostel.wunderbar [at] yahoo.com
    Tom starts in Puerto Lindo,Panama with his 33ft sailing boat you make a real sailing trip with 2 days in San Blas and then to Cartagena,Colombia directly. He takes 5 passengers on his vojage. Tom is a sailing istructor and skipper and used to run his own sailing school in Germany. 5 days on board - all meals and all fees included.
    Price: 350 US$

    SY Stahlratte :D :D :D :D
    Captain: Luis info.Steelrat [at] Les-Raisting.de www(dot) stahlratte(dot)org: Logbuch
    The German flagged 40 meter schooner 'Stahlratte', equipped for worldwide highseas navigation and with full safety equipment offers very comfortable and safe sailing on the biggest sailboat cruising in this area. It's big, comfortable and a lot of fun.
    Price: 385 US$

    SY Da Capo
    Captain: Mats hostel.wunderbar [at] yahoo.com
    SY Da Capo, 36 ft, has got six beds in three separate compartments. She is a Najad 360, a high quality yacht build in Sweden, well maintained, comfortable and safe. The Trip start from Portobelo,Panama or Porvenir, stay one more day in San Blas for snorkeling and/or visiting a Kuna Village, and then sail to Cartagena,Columbia as quick as possible.
    Price: 350 US$


    To book any of these ships and see the up to date information above visit Hostel Wunderbar's website here:
    http://www.hostelwunderbar.com/sailing_trips.html

    BTW: 1. The smilies mean that there have been good reviews on these boats. No smilies means there have been no reviews.
    2. All boats listed here run $700 for you and your motorcycle, this is the market price of Darien motorcycle transport.
    #26
  7. sunflowers

    sunflowers alaska2argentina.co.uk

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    Thanks for posting all this info! I have been worrying about the crossing but now just looking forward to the boat trip :1drink

    Annette
    #27
  8. Charles Seguin

    Charles Seguin Noob4Life

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    Ok, so we took the boat trip. We booked through Hostel Wunderbar.

    1) Don`t get to the hostel too early, there`s not very much to do there. My advice is to show up around noon the day before you leave.

    2) Bring all the cash you need to the hostel, there are no cash machines anywhere nearby.

    3) Bring plenty of sea-sickness pills and lots of snacks, you`ll be glad you had both.

    4) Some trips go well, others don`t. The people on the boat we were on were great, the boat that left before us had tons of problems because one of the passengers was trying to scam the captain out of his fare. Other passengers were just as bad. The scammer also brought cocaine on board and traded some of it for sex with the captains girlfriend. Needless to say that voyage was probably not very fun.

    5) The San Blas islands are truly an untouched paradise. There is nothing but a few huts on all of these islands. We had plenty of freshly caught lobster, crab and fish.

    6) Cartagena, the destination, seems like a pretty cool place thus far.

    7) The bikes do get a bit, not a lot, of saltwater on them. We washed ours as soon as we got off the boat.
    #28
  9. Charles Seguin

    Charles Seguin Noob4Life

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    Check out what a friend of ours had to say about his boat ride across the gap (he did not book with Hostel Wunderbar):

    #29
  10. sloj0

    sloj0 uber n00b

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    Resurrecting an old thread here... but anyway...

    There seems to be a lot of info on getting from Panama to Colombia, but what about the other way round? Is it any different? I presume the boats that sail to Cartagena or wherever must sail back to Panama too?
    #30
  11. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    Yes, same routine, they go from Cartagena to Panama. Now they all charge around $850 to $1000 for a 5 day boat trip with your bike.

    However, going from Bogota to Panama you can ship the bike by air for $650 An airline ticket for yourself will cost between $200 and $300 so its almost the same as a boat trip.

    This information on air freight with Girag Air Cargo in Bogota was current as of 5 May 2011
    #31
  12. snohobo

    snohobo Supermoto hippy

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    And if anyone is planning on going from Colombia to Panama - let me know. I may need some goodies from the KTM dealer. Swiss watch oil for $30/liter?!

    I actually lost the clutch lever adjustment screw - so I'll be needing one of those.

    PS - you can bargain with the captains - some of them are hard up to fill a spot and will take you for $100-$200 less than the asking price.
    #32
  13. GastonUSAChile

    GastonUSAChile Been here awhile

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    Darien Gap!!!!


    The expensive way to cross 50 kms gap of swamp, cholera and who know else.

    If you have a little more time, no pressure and more tourism around Cartagena, ship RoRo at a rate of $700 approx. (no crate) to Panama or going further to the West coast up to Tacoma. Or further down East to Brazil or Argentina.

    Air Shipping from Bogota . close to $800 as for 5/27/2011 plus your own air tickets.

    Any further logistic if you want to arrange way before just contact me.
    #33
  14. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    Gaston, once again....... Air shipping from Bogota to Panama with Girag is $650, not $800.
    #34
  15. snohobo

    snohobo Supermoto hippy

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    Met with Girag yesterday and spoke to the "Assistant VP of Sales" - nice woman. She quoted $901.38 from Panama to Bogota for all except the largest bikes (big cruiser style bikes that don't fit on a half pallet - goldwins, harleys, etc..).

    Show up early - pay in cash and they'll load same day. Does not fly on Fridays.

    Alternatively I have an agent here who can ship 3x a week with FedEx or DHL for $950 - his fees include all paperwork and custom handling. Maybe worth the extra $50 for some who would rather have a bit of hand holding with the paperwork - or those with limited spanish.
    #35
  16. markharf

    markharf Been here awhile

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    Snohobo, since you're nearby maybe you'd shoot back out there and ask Girag about the reverse direction, which has always been cheaper. This thread consists in large measure of differing reports about prices from various places in Colombia to Panama. You might help resolve the disparities between people claiming sudden jumps in price and others saying things are more or less as always.

    Thanks.

    Mark
    #36
  17. snohobo

    snohobo Supermoto hippy

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    Well - I'd be happy to make a call on Monday - no guarantees that they know anything about the pricing from BOG - PTY though.

    I'm inclined to take Crashmasters pricing as truth - as he just recently used Girag to fly from Colombia to Panama.
    #37
  18. GastonUSAChile

    GastonUSAChile Been here awhile

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    Well since Crashmaster have the bible and I have the new testament, he could pray all he want it.
    I 've just shipped this weekend 2 canadians through Girag and that was the cost (plus or minus) but not less than $750 bucks. (May 27, 2011)
    Be aware Mr. Crashmaster is a rider doing a trip. He is assuming what he got along his journey.
    Mr. crashmaster, shipping cost change day by day and remember you pay in Colombian pesos at a daily rate, which also change.
    Unless Crashmaster have an account with Girag base on the amount of quotes a month, most probably he get a lesser rate but I doubt it.

    Very simple, call Girag and find out for yourself. $650 is an old story anyway.

    Never rely on costs that one person got 3 wks or a month ago. It won't be realistic but it could be used as an overall guess.

    I don't have nothing to do with Girag, I do logistics and the only advantage with them is, they deal with the airline cargo directly not as an agent. Agents charge more. Actually Girag don't manage flight to Miami, think that I find very weird. Why? they deal with certain air cargo only or just are specialized with Panama. They are making money anyway. Bogota-Panama is extremely expensive compared to other routes.

    If you want to contact Girag, send me a PM and I'll give you the contacts on who to speak with.

    Be noted, if you are using Girag from Bogota to Panama, they have flights only Tuesday and Sundays, 4:30 am and arrive in Panama at 5:30 am . Get to Girag early Friday to do police inspection etc.. it takes 2 hours (+-). Panama customs don't work on Sunday (they are lazy, plain that), you must pick up Monday.

    I AM NOT GOING TO TRANSCRIPT GIRAG QUOTE HERE. THEY DESERVE SOME RESERVATION.

    What SOHOHO mentioned above its about right, Agents are charging about $9XX dollars, but Girag also do most of the paperwork, except Police anti-weed, which you must be present in front of the doggies.

    Don't worry guys, soon we are coming with a solutions against all speculators. RoRo is the cheapest way to cross, sailing too but risky. Air is becoming $$$. There is always a solution among all.

    My 2 cents
    #38
  19. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    Bogota to Panama. $650 is exactly what I paid at Girag, about 3 weeks ago. Its been more or less $650 going that direction for as long as i can remember as well. Gastons price is higher probably because he is a shipping agent and he needs to make money too for his services, fair enough. If he does the work and makes the calls, he deserves a cut of the action.

    For me, Girag's price was not based on Colombian Pesos. The price was based on US dollars and their prices are all based on USD from Panama or Colombia. They used the daily exchange rate and I had to pay in Colombian Pesos, but $650 worth as the price is based on US dollars, for sure.

    Three weeks ago, Girag had flights Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, 4:30 am.

    But as Gaston mentioned, this could have changed to only two flights a week as air cargo non-skeds change schedules quite often, hence the term, non-sked. But I think its strange if they went from 5 flights a week to only 2 flights.

    They will ask you to come to the Bogota international air cargo terminal at the Girag office at 8 am. You will be there almost all day if the drug sniffing dogs are busy. I processed all of my paperwork before noon, but the dogs were not availible until 3 in the afternoon so i had to wait around for that. I showed up at 8 am, and finished everything about 4 pm. My bike was in Panama the next morning and unloaded at about 9 am.

    reservas@girag.com They speak English
    #39
  20. markharf

    markharf Been here awhile

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    When I grow up I hope to be as patient as you, Vince.
    #40