Central America Branch FAQ
Replies: 68 - Last Post: Feb 5, 2013 7:15 AM Last Post By: SoloHobo
Jul 3, 2005 2:34 AM
15Where can I go for more health information?
Health Information for Travelers to Mexico and Central America
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention= CDC
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Click here for a Thorn Tree discussion about malaria (with particular regard to Guatemala). Remember that health advice on the forum may not be reliable and is largely anecdotal.
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Jul 5, 2005 8:00 AM
16Q: Why is Panama tailor-made for the American tourist?
A: Four reasons (in no particular order):
1- No monetary exchage is required, as the U. S. dollar and Panamanian Balboa is of equal value. In fact, Panama does not even mint, but uses American currency and coins, while minting and using their own coins.
2- Fluency in spanish is not necessary (though helpful), particularly in the terminal cities of the canal (Panama City/Colon), as the vast majority of panamanians at least understand english, if they're not totally bi-lingual. If I'm not mistaken, basic english is required to graduate high school in Panama.
3- The Panama Canal is a testament and symbol of American ingenuity and engineering.
4- In addition to all the obvious natural attractions (pristine beaches, snorkeling, fishing, bird-watching, animal life, etc.) there's Panama City, a world-class capital in every sence of the word, offering fine dining for every culinary taste, five-star accommodations and a night life matched by few cities in Latin America.
In short, if you like feeling at home while travelling abroad, Panama is your cup of tea
Jul 19, 2005 5:14 PM
17How to Navigate the Guatemala City Airport
Many thanks to Aloysius, Chinche and Mikeand for suggestions for improving this introduction to the Guatemala City airport (GUA).
Many travelers arrive at the Guatemala City airport with only the thought of moving onward to Antigua. For those who arrive and can be through customs by 8 PM, there are regular shuttles still running. A shuttle there currently has a standard price ofs $10. Also you can take a taxi to Antigua, but figure about US $25 or so, but try for less and have the cab driver agree on a price ahead of time.
Getting through Customs does not usually take long. To partly paraphrase Aloysius, except in those rare situations that another flight just came in, the first one off the plane should be done with immigration in about 5 minutes after exiting the plane. If another plane has landed just before that one, everybody should add another 15- 20 minutes to the amount of time to get through. However, anyone with checked baggage will have to wait about 15-20 minutes more. "The last ones off the plane should add approximately another 20 minutes to get through immigration. “If you have nothing to declare, customs will take about 30 seconds, unless you go by mistake to the line for declarations and stand there without realizing you don't have to do so. All in all, it is a small airport, and you can get through it quickly.”
There are ATMs at the airport and money exchanges. This is a very good time to get some local cash.
Per Mikeand, “there is an Inguat (the Guatemalan Tourism Agency) booth in the middle of the terminal. All Inguat employees speak both Spanish and English and are very knowledgeable and helpful. They can help you to arrange transportation to Antigua or destinations within Guatemala City and know what the taxi fares should be before you attempt to negotiate on your own. They will also make phone calls for you.”
*If you are arriving very late in the evening or are flying to Flores the next morning, there are hotels with shuttles hear the airport: *
Note that the first four listed below are in a residential neighborhood where there are no restaurants or bars. Unless their website specifies otherwise, the included breakfast probably starts at 8 am, which is after morning flights leave.
The Hotel Aeropuerto Guest House advertises being 150 yards away from the airport and is all private rooms. No web price is currently shown, but it reportedly is charging $35 for rooms, which the site previously stated were for up to three persons. Breakfast starts at 5 am and is reportedly both good and filling. .
Hostal Los Volcanes. Internet included. Dorms $15. single room $25, doubles or triples en suite $20 pp.
Patricia's B&B $15.
Xamanek Backpackers is $14 and has free airport shuttle if there are three of you or you are staying three days and is in the Zona Viva. This would be the place to go if you want to be able to walk somewhere nearby to eat or drink.
Note that these prices will change. They are only meant to provide a snapshot of the relative costs of these hotels as of right now.
Taxis from the airport are reasonably safe, but be sure to agree on a price before entering the cab. LP notes that there is a bus stop across the airport parking lot where a number 83 bus will take you through zones 9, 4 and 1. The latter is where a good number of affordable hotels are. I have ridden city buses there, but am ambivalent about recommending them to others. If you do ride them, keep your wits about you.
Edited by: ethelfleda
Jul 30, 2005 7:56 PM
18Working in Central America.
This is not referring to those who plan on going down to live for extended periods. Rather I'm referring to the people who are always asking about picking up short term jobs. Keep this in mind:Poverty is extreme in the region. I've seen posts on here with inquiries about picking fruit or working on farms. This is not like Europe or Australia. Such work can pay as little as $2 a day. What kind of work can you get? In tourist areas that cater to foreigners you might get bar or restaurant work. Antigua, Guatemala is one such location. Roatan, Honduras is another. It really, really helps if you are female, young and good looking. That's the way it is. There are one or two hostels in the region who occasionally post on here looking for temporary workers. Pay is low. At best you can hope to cover room and board. Teaching English is a possibility. Not as good as Mexico or some areas of South America so you might want to consider that if you are moving on. Better paying schools usually want someone who is willing to stay around at least 6 months to a year. Best of these jobs are in the capitols...usually not nice places to live. Private lessons pay more...but often require time and contacts to develop a suitable list of clients. If you have no moral values at all you might look into timeshare sales in Costa Rica. Again..Mexico and it's big tourist resorts are better for this. Having specialized skills helps. This does not mean a liberal arts degree from Podunk U. If you are a dive master you might find work in the Bay Islands. Technical skills will at least get you looked at. BTW...for those wanting to volunteer...it's the techies who are in the best demand. Examples...medical, engineering, computers. Locals have these skills...but can't afford often to volunteer. Keep in mind that pay is not going to be good. Many jobs don't pay a living wage. Locals can take such jobs because everyone in the family works to survive...even if it means being hungry a lot. All in all...you are better off working a few extra months at home and scrimping so you can save before the trip.
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Aug 6, 2005 10:27 PM
19A to Z in Antigua, Guatemala
I also made my list of favorite things to do in Antigua. I've been there at least a dozen times now, and I realize that for some on this branch that is just scraping the surface, so if any of you want to add to the list I think a lot of people would find your insights interesting! (My favorite is to discover little things that don't show up in the guide books like the wood carvers in Jocotenango).
A Shop at the Artesania Market next to the bus terminal. The prices here are not always extremely cheaper, but the experience is a lot more fun than the boutiques that line the streets of Antigua, and the people are much more entertaining. The wares are also a little more varied.
B Jocotenango artisan shops – These shops are hidden behind the pink church in the main bus stop in this nearby village only five minutes outside of Antigua. You can see the wooden fruit that these craftsmen make all over Antigua, but they really come to life when you crouch down and they invite you into their living room/woodshop to see where all of the wooden carved fruit, Noah’s Ark, animals, etc. are designed, carved, and all hand painted. Last time I went I was escorted through the family’s kitchen (where grandpa was eating lunch) and into a back room FULL of hand carved wooden platters, exotic fruits, etc. To get there, take the bus to Jocotenango, get off at the big pink church (you can’t miss it), and walk just behind and to the right of the church. There are only four or five shops, but the families will all invite you in, and ask them to show you how they make everything – they have always been thrilled to share!
C Guided Tour of Antigua – Although the price tag on Elizabeth Bell’s tours are somewhat pricey for a backpacker budget, I highly recommend it. I finally broke down on my most recent trip to Antigua (trip number seven or eight I think) and shelled out the $18US to take her tour. The city was so much richer and many of the buildings took on otherwise unappreciated insignificance. There are cheaper guides that hang out at the park, but for historical value I feel like E.B. is both credible and well versed.
D Washwomen at the Pilas – In the early morning and later afternoons across from the Hermano Pedro Church and Orphanage (big yellow building a block and a half from the main plaza) you can watch the native women bring in their laundry and wash their clothes at the communal pools. This isn’t captivating entertainment for hours on end, but the experience is worth the stroll over to see how it is done. If you’re lucky you can catch a good laugh at some poor backpacker who has either a)felt the need to immerse him/herself in the culture by giving the hand washing a try; b) run out of money for the Laundromat; or c) thought it looked like fun.
E Nachos at Fridas – a rather “unGuatemalan” experience, but honestly, during my past four or five trips I have never left Antigua without at least one plate of the Giant Nacho plate at Frida’s.
F Sunday Brunch at the Café Condesa – no amount of relaxation therapy, luxury spa treatments, or zen meditation can hold a candle to the therapeutic benefits of Condesa’s fish bowl size lemonades and macadamia nut pie!
G Tour the Capuchinas convent – Even with a good imagination it is hard to comprehend living in this place without any contact with the outside world. Lots of history and the strategically placed mannequins of nuns that they have erected around the convent are really creepy – especially the dead one down under the Church – that’ll give you nightmares.
H La Cueva de los Urquizu – I might be screwing up the name here, but the food at this place (not too far from the Capuchinas convent) is 100% authentic and pretty darn cheap to boot. Every night they sell truly authentic Guatemalan food. I recommend the pepian.
I People watching at the main plaza – Get your shoes shined for a couple of quetzals and watch all kinds of people walking through the park.
J Hike up the Mirador to the cross on the hill – the local police offer guided tours up the hill (evidently there have been some robberies in the past) twice a day. The hike isn’t strenuous, takes about an hour round trip, and the view provides for some great Kodak moments, plus a real perspective on the size and layout of Antigua.
K Semana Santa – you have to really plan ahead to be there and have a room, but seeing the processions, the parties, the sand carpets and being in Antigua during the biggest celebration of the year is a real experience to behold. I haven’t been during Semana Santa in years, but if given the chance I’d jump at it!
L Attend part of Mass – you can do this at several of the churches in Antigua. The main church on the plaza, the Iglesia de la Merced, and the Iglesia del Hermano Pedro I think all hold some kind of religious services on different days/evenings.
M Stay at the Casa Santo Domingo – This is really off the budget radar for backpackers and budget travelers, but last time I was in Antigua, I got a room there for $65 – an absolute steal relative to the luxury comfort at this hotel. This place isn’t just a hotel, it’s an entire experience to walk the hallways that are lit by candlelight in the evenings, tour the outdoor church, walk into the catacombs under the hotel (where you can still see the skeletons and graves), and relax at the pool or eat at Guatemala’s best restaurant is worth the splurge. I always save enough to money to spend at least one entire day and a night at the Casa Santo Domingo. Even if you can’t stay, visit the hotel during the evening some time for the experience.
N Nightlife at Mono Loco – it’s almost cliché now to spend an evening at the Mono Loco restaurant and bar, but as far as places with lots of social life and fun, there aren’t very many that compare in Antigua.
O Shop the local’s market – right next to the bus terminal is the local market where you can buy fresh fruit (get some lychees, they are delicious!) and even buy local fabrics at a fraction of the cost of some of the stores further into town.
P +The Museum and Native Fabrics Display next to Frida’+s – I can’t remember the name of this place (I think it starts with an “N”), but several of the native fabrics, weaving techniques, and local history and culture are on display. There are better places to buy some of the more common artisan crafts, but if you are interested in hand woven huipiles and fabrics, this place will have everything you could imagine. There is often somebody in there demonstrating the weaving process as well.
Q Casa Popenoe – if you take one of the guided tours of Antigua, this is often included, but even if you don’t it is worth the stop on your own. Evidently somebody still lives in this colonial house, but it is open during times of the day/week for public tours. My favorites: the kitchen and the pigeon room.
R Casa de los Gigantes – traditionally where the giant figures that dance and march in the religious processions were built, it now houses an artesania shop. This shop, however, has some of the more unique crafts that you can’t find in many other places in Guatemala.
S Hermano Pedro Orphanage – if you register with one of the social workers/nurses at this facility (only a block or two from the main plaza) you can spend the afternoon playing/helping/holding orphaned children. The place is popular with tourists, but it provides a great break from the backpacking trail and is an excellent way to bring back the reality of Guatemalan life for many of these kids.
T Casa Santa Lucia – for budget places to stay, my favorite is the Casa Santa Lucia #3. It’s about a block up the street from the Iglesia La Merced. Last time I was there they didn’t even have a sign out front, so if you don’t know where it is, ask around and somebody can point it out to you. Cheap, quiet, private baths, and hot water all under $20.
U La Fonda de la Calle Real – some of the steaks and dinner items on this menu are a little more pricey than other restaurants in town (although definitely worth it, in my opinion), but their typical entrees and lunch items like sandwiches are very reasonable. Also, if you have an ISIC card from STA, they’ll give you a discount on your food. Great ambience and delicious food.
V Doña Luisa Xichotencatl – if the smell from this place doesn’t bring you in, the prices should. This is an awesome place to grab a filling and delicious lunch for cheap, and their fresh baked pies, breads, and cakes are great (although I still think Café Condesa wins with their Macadamia Nut pie).
W Marimba Band at La Posada de Don Rodrigo – this pricey hotel under the archway has a local marimba band that plays in the afternoons and evenings. There is a big courtyard in the middle of the hotel and passers-by are welcome to stroll in, sit down, and enjoy the sounds of the local musicians playing a very typical instrument.
X Pops Ice Cream cone – Get a double scoop after the sun has set and walk down to the main plaza to enjoy the cool weather, the sound of the fountain, and (some of) the merchants packing up and going home. A great way to end a day of traveling, hiking, or Spanish classes.
Y Jade Factory – there are several jade shops in town and many have the factories right there on site. The stuff you buy in the streets is pretty, but it is serpentine and not real jade. Even if you can’t afford to buy any of the real stuff, touring the factories to see how it is acquired, shaped, and designed is fascinating.
Z Dulces Tipicos Doña María Gordillo – Again, I may be screwing up the name, but this typical candy store is as much a treat for your eyes as it is for your tongue. Personally, I’m not a big fan of the typical candies, but the store is fun to see. The sweetened condensed milk bars are pretty good (canalitos de leche?) and I’m a firm believer of trying just about everything once to say you’ve tried it. It’s not too hard at this place.
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Aug 26, 2005 3:28 PM
20Cell Phones in Panama
Answered a question about getting prepaid celphones in Panama and thought it might be of interest here:
You can buy cheap cel phones almost everywhere, there are cel phone stores, people on the street (be careful here), the two companies have lots of outlets...
You can buy all the major brands Motorola, Nokia, Siemens, Sony-Ericcson etc. The two companies are Cable & Wireless who have a GSM network with good roaming contracts throughout Central America and Telefonica Movistar who have a CDMA network - not sure about their roaming capability in CA.
Both companies have prepaid services, you buy cheapest phone you can, and then buy the time on cards worth 5, 10 or 20 dollars. Sometimes they have 3x or 4x promos so a $5 card gives you $15 airtime. You need make sure it's unblocked for making international calls (usually is on prepaid but ask anyway).
Not like Costa Rica, anyone can buy a phone and activate it, think it's $5 to activate and if it's a GSM phone you have to buy the SIM which is another $5 or $10, then your time.
If you want to use the phone elsewhere I would suggest getting a GSM 3-band phone at least. Then you can use it almost anywhere (a 4-band phone has all the frequencies but are quite a bit more expensive)... Make sure the phone is not blocked for just that company and then you can just replace the SIM card with another one from the other company and off you go. I know some people who have 3 or 4 different SIM's - one for each country the visit regularly.
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Sep 2, 2005 6:44 PM
21What can I see and do in Panama City?
Top 10 Attractions:
1 Casco Viejo - Take a walking tour of the city's colonial quarter and end it at the Las Bóvedas seawall promenade.
2 Amador Causeway - Retreat from the bustling energy of the city at Flamenco Island where you can shop, lunch or dine while enjoying the panoramic view across the bay.
3 Miraflores Locks - At the Visitors Center you can lunch or dine as you watch ships navigate the floodgates of the Panama Canal.
4 Panama Canal - You can arrange for a partial canal transit and bay cruise with buffet and bar included.
5 Metropolitan Natural Park - Commune with nature (flora and fauna) within the city limits about a 15-minute drive from downtown.
6 Ruins of Old Panama - Take an historical tour of the original site of Panama City which was destroyed by the piracy of one Henry Morgan in 1671.
7 La Peatonal - Take a walking tour of Central Ave. Pedestrianized Shopping Strip, where you can people-watch and capture the cosmopolitanism of Panama City.
8 Balboa Ave - Take a scenic drive along the arc of this bayfront boulevard and promenade and stop for a respite/photo op at the Balboa Monument Plaza.
9 El Cangrejo - This is the city's main commercial and banking district. On Via España you can shop and dine, then check-out Calle 50, Panama City's Wall Street of foreign banks. If you love the bustling energy of big cities, this area is where you can get your fill.
10 Calle Uruguay - No visit to Panama City would be complete without exploring its legendary nightlife. This is where most of the action is - nightclubs, discotheques, music/dance clubs, strip clubs, you name it.
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Sep 26, 2005 2:30 AM
Sep 28, 2005 8:58 AM
23Buses in Central America
TicaBus...Comfortable bus line connecting Central America from Tapachula, MX to Panama City, Panama and all capitals + many major cities in between
Guatemala bus companies, phone #s, and schedule times
Hedman-Alas Bus Line...A luxury bus line serving some points in Honduras*
Great domestic bus schedule for Costa Rica
Edited by: ethelfleda
Oct 8, 2005 12:56 AM
24What should I pack?
Well, Hopefulist's packing list is great but it is still a little long in my opinion. My boyfriend and I just got back from a month long trip in Guatemala and we each took carry-on sized backpacks that each weighed 4.5 kg (10 lbs.). Here is what was in mine:
2 pairs of pants- jeans and a pair of capris (I was usually wearing one pair)
4 shirts- 3 short sleeve, 1 long sleeve
5 pairs of light socks
tennis shoes (I was usually wearing these)
5 pairs of underpants
all necessary legal documents, money, etc. (that all fit in my money belt)
2 pairs of cheap earrings and 2 cheap bracelettes
tiny pocket-sized first aid kit
1 small bottle of shampoo
1 small bottle of sunscreen
1 small bottle of bug repellent
1 light weight "hoodie" jacket
1 raincoat that I used once
1 small towel
1 small alarm clock
chloroquin (for malaria prevention) and personal medication
I ended up buying a light weight skirt (for the hot humid jungle), a pack of playing cards, flip-flops (for the shared showers), a razor (not allowed on airplanes), and a nail clipper (also not allowed on planes) while I was there. On our very last day I picked up all our gifts and souveneirs (sp?) at a craft market in Guatemala city, so I didn't have to haul them around. All the gifts I got also easily fit into my backpack.
I'm usually fairly high maintence when it comes to clothes and bathroom supplies, but I am sooo glad that I packed light for this trip. I didn't miss a thing (or bought it, if I did) and chuckled to myself everytime I saw other miserable tourists hauling around giant heavy backpacks.
Beautiful, light travels to all!
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Oct 10, 2005 12:41 AM
25What happens when I want to leave Guatemala?
As a general rule for Guatemala: there are just exit fees at the airport, all other "fees" when leaving or entering by bus and boat are illegal
this border crossing can be easily made without an expensive shuttle
1. bus Pinita Santa Elena to La Tecnica, every day 5 am, 30 Q , 5 hrs
(don´t take the 6 am bus with Fuente del Norte, they just go to Bethel, pretty expensive from there to go on to Mexiko except you are a bigger group - boat is 250 Q in total, no matter if you are alone or with 10 other people)
2. Immigration has to be done in Bethel, no border post in La Tecnica
the "exit fee" of 10-30 Q charged by the immigration officer is illegal!!
3. boat from La Tecnica to Frontera Corozal, 10 Q, couple minutes
4. Immigration: immigration post in Frontera Corozal is closed Saturday afternoon and Sunday,in this case proceed to the immigration office close to Palenque (10 km out of town, take minibus from the city center heading to Playas, 10 P one-way; open 8.00-21.00)
5. busses from Frontera Corozal to Palenque: 6 am, midday, 3 pm - 2 1/2 - 3 hrs - 60 Pesos
if going with a shuttle: agencies often charge 5 US $ upfront for exit/entrance fees in Guatemala, that´s pure bs - the agencies are keeping this money for themselves, do the immigration process on your own
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Feb 2, 2006 5:25 PM
26I want to go to Nicaragua. Where can I find information?
Website-Forum and links...http://www.nicaliving.com/
Added by Moethebartender:
Nicaragua Travel Site...http://www.vianica.com/. This site has lots of info on destinations, bus schedules and general travel information for those planning a trip to Nicaragua.
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Feb 19, 2006 3:47 AM
27I want to go to Central America. Where will I spend the most money?
From least expensive to most expensive:
4) El Salvador
I also suggest $35 as an average daily backpacker budget. Of course, many folks manage to do it for less -$20 - $25 daily - especially in the cheaper countries. Obviously, this list is highly subjective and certainly will change over time. But my intention is to offer some basic cost guidelines for those planning to travel in Central America.
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Feb 19, 2006 12:34 PM
28Everything you want to ask about the Mosquito Coast answered:
Mosquito Coast Trip report - After a week messing about around the Mosquito Coast, I have decided to share some basic information about the area for you guys, concentrating on the practicalities. My girlfriend´s blog will give you a bit more of the interesting stuff... http://www.ktjinca.blogspot.com/
The first question to be asked:
Is it worth going?
Resoundingly, YES. Fantastic people, great journeys, a little bit of adventure, good scenery etc. We had such a laugh with so many of the people. (I regret that I never got to get smashed with some Garifuna, who seem to like their booze more than us Irish.). However, don´t bother going if you think you are going to some untrodden wilderness or Rainforest paradise. There are not many tourists, but plenty of people, many of whom are better travelled than you, having worked the lobster ships to Colombia, and done stints in New York. Most of the wildlife has been eaten, if it was within a day or two's hiking of a settlement.
Speaking Spanish really really helps, whether it is to learn about Pech traditions from a Las Marias villager or to find out the time of the next Collectiva boat to wherever.
Patience also helps.
Las Marias guides - Because of last season´s hurricanes, the banana crop this year has rotted from being drowned. Frijoles are being planted at the moment, but the town really needs as many tourists as possible (within reason) to keep things going.
Can you go independently? Cheaply?
Depends on how you define both, but you could easily go alone for a week or ten days at less than $40US a day, so long as you get shared boats and speak some Spanish.
Our route (with time and prices, but it was a few weeks ago so i might be wrong, i am dredging this up...).
Casa Kiwi, outside Trujillo - very helpful, Joy was a joy to meet. They are building a great Mosquito file from guests (including this). 5 am got a lift to Trujillo, got the bus to the crossroads (begins with C). Waited 3 or 4 hours for the bus from Tocoa to come by. 95L per person to the Garifuna village of Iriona. From there a 300L shared boat (canal + sea) to Batalla or Palacios. We found Palacios unfriendly, lots of guns too, not a good mixture. Overnight, 150L in green hotel for double. The airfield has been closed down to cut down on the drug flights.
From there, boat to Belen. Stayed with Eddie Bodden´s widow, Elma, 80L per person. (We think Lonely Planet killed Eddie - by mentioning him, he made a fortune, and seemingly his murder involved lots of alcohol and even more jealously). Meals with meat, 50L. His older brother Sergio, guide, grandfather and dentist, is hilarious, as is Sergio's son the Moravian preacher. We paid 3,400 L for the trip to Las Marias for 5 people, returning 4 days later.
Great journey up. When in Las Marias DO NOT automatically stay where the boat takes you. Trust me, it is unfair. Like anywhere else in the world, you can stay in a hostel of your choosing, and there are 3. The guide system there, and the excursions etc, are explained in all the guidebooks. Very good value. There is no doctor, but a nurse. Pipantes are great fun. If you want to do a 2 or 3 day hike, and don´t have a tent, don´t worry, it is still easy, because Cerro Baltimore and the other one both have huts for sleeping on the way up.
We got stuck in the Bodden´s place (it is actually between Belen and the next village) on the way back, because of bad weather (boats not going, because most journeys involve the sea). Ditto the next day, but we figured out a new route, via Transvia, then walking to a Garifuna village, with some horses if needed, then another collectiva run by a hilarious old Garifuna guy. 300L per person for the first leg, 200L for the second. About 2 hours per leg.
OK, I know that was vague, but it might help. For more specifics, there is a great website written by some Dutch people that was listed here last month.
Before you go, do your research - Miskitos, Garifuna, Pech, Moravians, Cuban medical missions, lobster fishing, colombian drug-running, Honduran government clean-ups, Ladino land-grabbing, whatever else - the more you know, the more you learn. And don´t bring too many preconceptions with you. Oh, and look out for the AK47s, there are a lot around...
Edited by: Irene_Adler
Feb 28, 2006 5:27 PM
29Panama to Colombia
For catching a ride on a sailboat apparently the best place to try is hanging around the Voyager International Hostel and checking their boards for postings. Remember there's no sure way to get a sailboat to Colombia and timing will determine if you get a ride sooner, rather than later. Also, luck will play an important role in whether it's an enjoyable trip from Panama to Colombia, or an absolutely horrible one.
For crossing the Darien Gap using an alternate method, the below was posted by "Karenes" on February 23, 2006:
Panama to Colombia – the cheap way, and relatively safe ....
From Panama city aeroperlas flies to Puerto Olbaldia at 9am Wednesday and Sunday. Cost is $57. Journey time is 1 hour. Reservations should be made in advance.
At Puerto Olbaldia (the town is a military base) get your exit stamp at immigration. Basic accomodation is available at Pension Conde for $5, and food is limited. Nothing to see or do here.
In Puerto Obaldia launches to Carpugana cost $30. Price is the same regardless if theres 1 or 4 people. Not many locals continuing on to Puerto Olbaldia so look out for other travellers if you are travelling alone
Get your colombian entry stamp at the DAS in Carpugana by the harbour
Accomodation is available in Carpugana from 7,000 pesos ($3) per person. Hotel Uvita on the harbour is very nice for ($5). Nice resorty town to stay in for a few days.
Boats to Turbo depart at 7.30am, but arrive an hour before to get a ticket as boat gets full. Price is 40,000 pesos ($18) to Carpugana. Ride can be bumpy and takes 2.5 hours. Put backpack in binliner as can get wet.
From Turbo buses depart hourly and arrive at the caribe terminal in Medellin. Travel is safe during the day. Cost is 45,000 pesos ($20). Journey time is 9 hours. Or to get to Cartagena you have to go to Monteria and change there.
I take no responsibility for your safety and enjoyment when taking either of the above. And all I can say is good luck!!!
(4 star Hotel)
From US$223.20 per night
Las VegasBook now
(3 star Hotel)
From US$89.00 per night
Orlando & AroundBook now
(4 star Hotel)
From US$254.00 per night