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Travelling From South America to Central America


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Thorn Tree Refugee
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Joined: June 2nd, 2014

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Tags: panama, south america, central america
  • Added on: June 2nd, 2014
Hey fellow wonderers,

I am trying to get back to the eternal summer of Central America, I am currently in Peru. I am happy to travel by land as far as I need, but need to get up there for as cheap as I can. TAME airlines just cancelled their connection to Panama, which was only a 100USD flight out of Ecuador, which was the dream option. I know about the boat cruizes from Columbia, but they are a very expensive option.

If anyone knows some local airlines in Columbia or Panama that fly for cheap, or cheap boats, or boates that take volunteers I'm open to anything.

Stay free x


Holds PhD in Packing
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Joined: July 11th, 2004

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  • Added on: June 8th, 2014
Look for a cheap flight out. There is no reliable cheap boat from Columbia to Panama, though there are boats, and there are cheaper boats that my travel guides and people I've talked to say are very sketchy. IF you have yatching experience, and the SEASON is right, you might get on a private yatch in a columbia harbour, or any coastal harbor, to panama, but I don't know of any.

The land option through the Darien gap is certainly adventurous, and if you have the cash, I hear some tour guides make a more or less safe trip by paying off the people you meet along the way.

It's probably cheaper to take a boat, and the border people in Panama probably don't look kindly on Darien Gap refugees.

There are flights from Peru as well.

I found that COPA seemed cheapest, at about 500 euros from Lima to Panama city

The prices seemed little better than the price from Columbia.

Does this help?
Oh, Peru does connect with Columbia, though travel through Columbia can be tricky. It's best to know Spanish and ask locals which cities are safe.

Maybe ecuador is a safer connection through to Columbia. I'm just not sure.
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Felix the Hat

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Joined: June 17th, 2002
Location: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh

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  • Added on: June 9th, 2014
I've gone from Colombia to Panama via surface travel. It's a long, slow trip; and you'll need at least intermediate Spanish ability. It took me eight days to get from Medellin to Panama City, including two rest days, and cost about $200 (including food and accommodation).

From Medellin, take a taxi or a bus to Turbo, about a seven hour trip. From Turbo, catch the morning boat from the wharf across the Gulf of Uraba to Capurgana, a pretty little resort town near the border with Panama, on the Caribbean coast. It's worth spending a couple-few days here and in nearby Sapzurro, which is even sleepier. From Capurgana, you can walk over the hill across the border (two hours or so - there's a poorly-marked trail with a military post on top of the hill at the border). The first town in Panama is Puerto Obaldia, a forlorn village with adjacent Panamanian navy station. Puerto Obaldia is a long way from the nearest roadhead. You'll need to negotiate a trip on a boat from there to Carti or Miramar, where you can catch a bus to Colon and then on to Panama City. There are also occasional flights from Puerto Obaldia to Panama City's domestic airport, for about $90. The airport was closed when I was there, so I spent two of the longest days in my life in Puerto Obaldia trying to catch a ride west through Kuna Yala. Eventually I paid $50 for the trip to Miramar. It was 10 hours on an open speedboat, stopping at navy checkpoints at Mulatupo, Playon Chico, and El Porvenir. Once you clear El Porvenir, the seas can be very rough. We hit a squall about 90 minutes out of Miramar, and arrived soaked to the bone. (Be sure to wrap your bags in plastic, as they will get wet.)

From Miramar or Carti, you can find a chicken bus for a couple of dollars to Colon, and from Colon, there are dozens of daily buses to Panama City.

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