On the 12th of September we drove in to Panama at the Sixaola border on the Caribbean side. An easy border crossing, only the paperwork for Binkie took a long time, partly due to computer problems. Fortunately nobody at the border demanded to see a drivers license before giving the temporary import permit for the car. After 2.5 months the RDW (Dutch office for drivers licenses, car registration etc) finally decided last week that we will get our new drivers licenses. They arrived at our Dutch postal address and it will take another two weeks before we receive them here. Meanwhile we have good copies, but those weren’t needed at the border either.
Panama is well known for its canal and hats. It is also our last country in Central America. Although it is joined by land with Colombia,it is not possible to drive to Colombia. The two countries are divided by the Darian gap. A jungle area of about 200 kms wide without any roads. It is also not advisable to walk the distance. Apart from the usual dangers of poisonous or dangerous animals such as snakes and crocodiles, the Darian Gap’s biggest dangers are the humans. It has become a hide out for drugs cartels, traffickers and criminal organisations such as the FARC. Chances of making it out to the other side alive, are slim.
The only way to get a vehicle in to South America is to ship it. Humans(and their pets ;)can either fly or take a (sailing)boat. Several years back there was a car ferry for a short while, but it ceased to exist, apparently mostly due to corrupt politics. So we will be shipping our van in a container. The container is being loaded on the 11th of October and the ship should leave the harbour on the 15th, although delays are to be expected. We will fly to Cartagena on the 12th and have booked an airbnb for 2 weeks, since it will take about a week to get the van out of port.
From Cartagena we will be driving South. All the way South to Ushuaia, Argentina. This is the most Southern point to where you can drive on this continent. It is so far South that it is cold there and the best time of the year to visit this place is in the Summer, which is November to February. So we aim to be there around December 2023. In order to reach this place we will be driving through the following countries: Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chili and Argentina. The distance between Cartagena and Ushuia is 10.250km, if we would drive in a straight line, which we obviously won’t be doing. So far we have driven 11.146 kms in Central America, Panama not included.
We don’t know what we will do when we have reached Ushuaia. Ship back to Europe, visit other countries in South America? And the above is a PLAN. And plans often change, due to many unforeseen reasons. When it changes you’ll be able to read about it here.