Panama to Colombia

Logistics at Border:
Panama: 
Need three photocopies of passport to enter and two to enter.
Office opens at eight, photocopy office opens at nine.
Office closes at four.
Colombia: 
Office opens briefly once a day to stamp passports.
Ask Joe near the dock for details.


Fly
From Panama to Bogota for about $250
From Panama to border, 45 minute Launcha to Capurgana and Fly to Bogota. $150
Tip: This is the best, cheapest and safest option. Hostels don’t tell of the second option as it is cheap but without kickbacks. Make sure to buy tickets in advance as flights fil up quickly.


Launcha: 
Cost: $150
Logistics:
Jeep to East coast.
8 hour Launcha to border.
45 min Launcha to Capurgana.
Warning: Launchas are small and go into open sea. Capsizing and breakdowns are frequent.

Options from Capurgana:
Flight to Medellin (twice a week) $90
2 hour Launcha to Turbo $20
Warning: During low season, hostels may tell you that immigration is closed and won’t re-open for a few days in order to get you to stay longer. Don’t believe them, talk to immigration, they will open usually between 12 and 2pm depending on when the Turbo Launcha comes in.

Options from Turbo
Bus to Medellin or Cartagena $35
Tip: Kids will try to help you for a fee to get to the bus. They can waive down a bus and it is cheaper than to buy at ticket counter. Bus driver gives them a cut so don’t give money to kids. Negotiate fee with bus driver not the kids.

Sail:
$350 by “speed boat” or $500 by sail.
Warning:  Often a rip-off, leaving tourists stranded without refund. Especially on the way north. Sail boats are often loaded with drugs.
Tip: Don’t trust hostels, go to the docks and find the boat there and ask the captain for references.

Hitchhiking through San Blas
Can take as little as a few days and as much as a month depending on boat traffic.
Most villages cost $10-$20 per night for stay.
Warning: Must have own water. Water on islands is very expensive.
Can cost as much or double as a flight or launcha.

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