June 27, 2017: Getting Across The Darien Gap

You have a few options to cross the Darien Gap from Central America to South America (Panama to Colombia). You can take a boat (Only options are the Wildcard or Stahlratte right now), you can fly yourself and your bike (Airpack Cargo), you can find some buddies and hire a Shipping Container or you can actually try to cross the Darien Gap through the jungle with your bike. I originally was going to fly the bike and myself across since you can show up last minute, find the company to ship, do some paperwork and your bike is flying the next day. I ended up deciding to take the Stahlratte because it became easier and most of the riders going to Argentina I met in the past 2 months were taking the June 15th boat as well.

The Stahlratte is a non-profit vessel that is captained by Ludwig the German. If you have taken the boat before, you know that this guy is a serious character. He also takes care of all of the paperwork for exit/ enter of the person and bikes which is a headache relief. Non-Profit still means you pay $1,150 usd for the bike and rider.

The boat was built in the Netherlands in 1903. It’s older than the Titanic and is still in operation 😉 It is currently on it’s 3rd engine, which is a 4 cylinder diesel that resonates a kiirrrrr- plunkkkkk, kiiirrrr plunnkkkkk. The route for the Stahlratte is Carti, Panama to Cartegana, Colombia. We had 9 riders/ 9 bikes on board heading south, all of which were serious world riders. Some seriously fun conversations were had. We took 4.5 days land to land which 25 hours of it is straight sailing. The remainder of the time is spent enjoying the San Blas Islands and all they have to offer. I enjoyed the San Blas puttering since the boat was not in open water, once we got to the sailing part, my head turned inside out and puked for 16 hrs straight. Nothing against the Stahlratte, I’m just not made for boats 😉

If you’re in need of crossing the Darien Gap, the Stahlratte is probably the most fun solution. http://www.stahlratte.org

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