Crossing the Darien Gap by Fishing Boats

Crossing the Darien Gap by Boats

The Panamerican Highway that runs through Central America stops at the Darien Gap, the thick jungle of Southern Panama and Northern Colombia. To pass it one has to fly over or take a boat around. Flying isn't as much fun so I took a series of small boats along the Atlantic Ocean to cross from Panama to Colombia. After biking through some insanely steep jungle hills, I made it to Puerto Carti, where the reserve of the indigenous Kuna people live on some 50 of the San Blas islands. I stayed with a Kuna family one evening and caught my first boat the next day. The ride started out well as we stopped for gas and dropped off a few Kuna, but we came to a quick halt after running over a plastic bag. That led to a longer stay on another Kuna island as we fixed the motor in pouring rain. I was lucky enough to stay the evening in one of the Kuna communities called Armila, and took another boat to cross into Colombia the next day. My third and last boat ride was a biker's nightmare, as my bicycle slammed up and down on the fiberglass boat and the Colombian drivers smiled as they rode over choppy water as fast as they possibly could. But I arrived in the super charged Colombian town of Turbo and was able to hop on my bike again.

Panama City to Turbo, Colombia- 4/29 to 5/3

Image00001The roads across the jungle in Panama felt like a real rollercoaster, straight up and downImage00003Leaving the isla de CartiImage00005Filling up the gas tanksImage00007Typical rainstorms in the Darien Gap

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Image00011Pulling into Puerto Obaldia, the last town in southern PanamaImage00013Capurgana, Colombia

Image00002The Kuna island of CartiImage00004

Shout out to Sergio for giving me a hammock for the evening!Image00006

Image00008Scenes from Pirates of The Caribbean were filmed on islands like this oneImage00010

Image00012Capurgana, Colombia's northern border port, can only be reached by boat or plane on the edge of the Darien. That means no cars, at all