Our first 3 hours in Panama
Panama pissed on our sunshine with a flat rear tire only an hour in. The greeting was hot and sweaty and took about three hours. All in all, it was an opportunity to practice our Spanish and mechanical skills. Although there were tire shops 15 miles away, deficiencies existed in the tube and mount we were sold. In total the tire came off rim three times. It was exhausting, and we surrendered to the beach town of La Lulas for the night. Oddly enough, Panama has some of the best highways and roads in Central America.
Awoken from our hammocks by a damp heat with no ocean breeze, we began packing up. There existed only a few hundred miles until we could no longer travel south on the motors. Here we would hit an ever-nearing blockade known as the Darrien Gap. We had been wondering how we would pull this off, as the internet offered no commercial service for transporting motorbikes.
Panama is an interesting place to be. In some places only 37 miles separate the Atlantic Ocean from the Pacific Ocean. Shortly we would cross onto the continent of South America. Unfortunately for travelers, the Darrien Gap is the only land route between the continents. Here lies wild tropical rainforests, complete with mountains, deep rivers, swamps, smugglers, guerrilla militia, no kind of service to the outside world. Although it’s possible to trek it, with only 60 miles dividing Panamanian and Colombian roads, most that enter have a death wish.
Aside from becoming Tarzan, one can fly or take a boat. We were interested in the quickest route as we were behind schedule and needed to make up some time. As such, we left La Lulas with no breakfast and headed for Panama City with the intention of finding some information about flights.
The Panama Canal...... Cost to Use $2000 to $150,000 Avg: $60,000
Arriving in the capital at 3pm we found our hostel in an interesting part of the city as we drove past a sign stating, “Boats to Colombia”. Acquiring about a room inside, we asked when the next boat was leaving. Tomorrow morning at 10am in an Atlantic coast town called Portobello, was the reply. Astonished, we imagined the possibility of sailing our motors around The Darrien in less than 24 hours. Could this be our move? It was Super Bowl Sunday, so we took the night to figure our logistics as we enjoyed the game in a t-shirt outside in February.
Scrambling the next morning to get what we thought we might need for a four-day Sail to Colombia, we arrived in Portobello just after 10am.
Turns out this option is next only to Tarzan.