Jun 28, 2011

Border Crossing & Shipping info

Border Crossings
We will be crossing anywhere from 12 to 20 (maybe more) borders on our drive, depending on which countries we decide to include. Each border presents it's own challenges and the more prepared you are, the better your experience.  Check out BorderHelper and WikiOverland for the latest info on each border crossing.

Shipping Around the Darien Gap
the Panamericana roadway system stops in Yaviza, Panama and then reappears 150km south in Colombia. While others have braved the infamous Darien Gap by vehicle, the region is filled with narcotraffickers and bandits so most travelers avoid the potentially suicidal trip by shipping their vehicle.

We were contacted by a French couple who we first met in Guatemala, and decided to share the costs of a 40' freight container with them. Vehicle shipping can be a lengthy and complicated process, which is usually considered the worst part of a Pan-Am overland journey but overall it wasn't that bad for us.  We shipped our vehicle with Evergreen Shipping via Tea Kalmbach (tea.kalmbach@gmail.com).  While waiting for the vehicle to arrive in Cartagena, we decided to sail to Colombia via the San Blas islands on an 85 foot boat called The Independence. After calculating the costs of hotel rooms, food, and transportation, sailing ended up costing the same as just flying directly to Cartagena.  If you decide to sail to Colombia, be sure to do lots of research because not all boats are created equally and sailing is not for everyone.

Ferry Service Around Darien Gap
There has been much buzz the past few years about a ferry that was rumored to begin voyages between Panama and Colombia, shuttling travelers across.  This is honestly an impossible task to pull off, since the company involved has a ton of red tape to hurdle between both countries.  Pan-Am travelers were crossing their fingers with high hopes, the rumored maiden voyage was scheduled to be May 31, 2012.  Err, nevermind.  Don't hold your breath, this will probably never be a viable option.

For more information...
Darien Gap Info : lists each sailing vessel available for sailing between Panama-Colombia, many useful reviews

Drive the Americas : lots of first hand experiences listed under the vehicle shipping info section.  Also, their vehicle shipping forum is a great place to find another traveler to share a container with.

Drive Nacho Drive : tried to find updated information on the rumored ferry around the Darien Gap

unUrban Adventures : border crossing reports, shipping from Argentina to South Africa

LifeRemotely: VERY detailed border crossings and vehicle shipping info

PanAm Notes : "The aspirin to your shipping headache"

Drive the Americas : general information for shipping around the Gap

Dare2Go : shipping a large camper around the Darien Gap

Calycaptura : shipping from Panama