Driving Central America & South America.

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SamFlo's picture
Joined: Feb 4 2008

My friend and I are planning on driving through South America (mainly along the Pacific) in October or November 2008 for a few months. We're concerned about border crossing, especially between Panama and Columbia. Are there any fees at borders? Is there a simpler/safer way to get past the area between Panama and Columbia?

We're taking a van. It's not diesel, however, so is gas pretty available or would it be extremely difficult to fill up?

We also were wondering what/how many vaccines we'll need prior?

Any help would be awesome. Thanks

robertdjung's picture
Joined: Oct 31 2006

we all got Hepatitus vaccines, because we'd be swimming and fishing a lot. That and typhoid. You can do that, or not. Look at a malaria map, you can decide whether or not to get the pills for it. Matters where you'll be, really. We never took them, and just used a lot of bug spray.

Van is fine -- you can probably sell it because it will hold a lot of people. Diesel is better, but...

There are NO border crossings into columbia. That area of the country is controlled by the rebels, and there are no roads. You'll need to put the car on a boat, which you can find at the harbor in panama city, or in costa rica. It will cost somewhere between 500-1000 last i heard.

atg200's picture
Joined: Feb 20 2008

Gas has been easy to find for me and i haven't had a bad tank yet. Mileage has been similar to what i get in the usa.

Avoid the El Amatillo border crossing between El Salvador and Honduras. Aside from that one, they have all been easy. Make sure to have the original title or you'll be turned back in Guatemala if not Mexico. If it costs more than $5-30 depending on the country you are getting ripped off. Spanish is useful but not 100% necessary, though you will likely get ripped off if you don't speak at least a little.

miki2008's picture
Joined: Feb 18 2008

Yup, robert is right. There is basically no way to travel between panama and colombia. The road goes to dirt and then pretty much to nothing. if you do try and venture over that way you will probably be killed/captured by rebels/drug lords. I am not saying that to be funny I am being dead serious. I lived in panama for a couple of years and everyone down there know this to be true.

DonJuane's picture
Joined: Apr 8 2008

Crossing Panama to Columbia the difficult way

I see this question a lot on forums, people asking how to drive from Panama to Columbia. Most people say it can't be done but that is not entirely correct. There are a couple of guys who did it and their journey is quite interesting. They had special motorcycles and for parts of the journey they were balancing them in canoes but it is worth a read, if only to understand why you can't do it.


If this link goes away, just google Motorcycle crossing Darian Gap.