Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Darién Gap

Daryll writes:

The Darién Gap is a large swath of undeveloped swampland and forest separating Panama's Darién Province in Central America from Colombia in South America. It measures just over 160 km/99 miles long and about 50 km/31 miles wide. Road building through this area is expensive, and the environmental toll is steep. Political consensus in favor of road construction has not emerged, and consequently there is no road connection through the Darién Gap connecting North/Central America (Panama) with South America (Colombia). It is therefore the missing link of the Pan-American Highway; which obviously causes a problem for all overland adventure travelers.
End of the Road
There are two options available for bikers; either fly the bike and oneself from Panama to Colombia or sail through the San Blas Islands from Panama to Colombia.  Flying can be done within a day.  The bike is strapped to a pallet and normally is on the same flight as you.  Sailing takes 5 days, 3 of which are through the San Blas Islands and 2 on the open ocean.  Regardless of which option one takes, it is damn expensive to get a bike and oneself across let alone 2 bikes.  However the sailing option worked out slightly cheaper, so we booked a sailing on “Fritz the Cat” from Carti, Panama to Cartagena, Colombia for December 10th.  Coincidentally, our friends Naomi and Alberto have also booked for this sail date, so there will be 4 bikes that we know off on this catamaran.  The captain advertises that he can take 6 bikes.

So far, we haven’t really had a schedule, but now we do.  December 10th isn’t that far off and we need to cross from El Salvador, to Honduras, to Nicaragua, to Costa Rica and into Panama.  I’ve heard of some horror stories of captains getting drunk and leaving their passengers stranded or running out of food and water on-board.  This boat came highly recommended from other bikers that have taken it recently, so we really want to make this date.
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  1. the pics of Fritz look great! Hopefully your captain stays off the sauce and gets you guys across safely!! -Colleen

  2. Fritz is an Austrian chef by trade and now does these sailing; so everyone that has sailed with him, raves about the gourmet food on board. I have never sailed before, so really looking forward to this.

  3. Greg writes.. now the adventure really begins!! LOL.. I am sure things will work out fine and the seas will be calm. ride safe and sail safe! Greg and Jill

  4. Thanks Greg. I'm hoping it will be calm, peaceful vacation from the trip. I'm sure the rum, fresh seafood and snorkeling will help:)