Darien Gap Drama, Part 1: Where Is The Road?!


Few years ago, when I studied the map of Panama and Colombia I looked with misbelief. Despite obvious advantages, Central and South Americas appeared as they are not connected to each other with any road. Although there was an attempt to make a highway it failed due to swampy terrain. Since then nobody tried again and today Darien Gap is unwelcoming area of criminals, guerrillas and drug traffickers.

The poor tourist faces few options: travel on a plane, sailboat from San Blas to Cartagena or hop on few motorboats/cargo ships. It is all quite easy if you travel only with just a backpack, you will pay $500 for a sailboat, about the same for a plane or under $200 for a combined, uncomfortable trip on few different boats. The problem starts if you have your own vehicle, for example a car. Then you need to pay a lot. If you travel just with a motorbike its little bit easier, you can go for $1000 on a sailboat or you can take it on cargo boats for $300 – $400. But then it is better that your motorbike is light and already scratched, cause it is going to be a shaky ride.

Recently when I travelled on a cargo boat I had enough time to admire wild coast of Panama, which led me to some conclusions and today I know why there is no road connecting Americas. Who on the end of the world like that would make an effort to connect two countries with marginal significance? Additionally, there are some people that just dislike this idea, starting with environmentalists or people afraid of transferring tropical diseases between two continents. And eventually there are those wanting to sustain this part of the world unexplored. Because there is a shady trail that goes through Darien Gap, the trail of white powder, the one that starts in Colombia and goes all the way to the United States.

DSC03669The cheapest way to cross Darien Gap involves transporting your motorbike on several motorboats.


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