Colombia to Panama
Riding your bike from Colombia to Panama by road is impossible. The Darien Gap, an 80 km long stretch of jungle full of bandits, is the only interruption of the Panamericana. Getting our bikes to Panama was quite a challenge.
Shipping RORO is an option, but at 1100€ per motorbike, we consider it ridiculously expensive. There also used to be an option by sailboat, who took you and your bike along the San Blas islands to Panama, but the stricter controls on the Colombian side ruled out that option since about three months. Shipping your bike by sailboat is now only possible from Panama to Colombia. We contacted quite a few different shippers and they all told us the same story. Shipping by air was far beyond our budget so the only option left was sea freight per container.
When that one guy suddenly started knocking my airbox, for a split second I thought they would let me disassemble the whole bike
We got in touch with Rehobot Logistics and they had space available in a container to Panama. For 1100€ both our bikes could be shipped so we didn’t hesitate too long. But we thought we could deal with the whole shipment in about two days, just like in South Africa… NOT! Twelve (12!) days it took us to get all the paperwork sorted. A stamp here, working your way through the city center to get your fingerprints legalized, yet another taxi to a notary, buying an insurance for the port… It just didn’t seem to come to an end. We packed the bikes extremely compact and got our final stamp for the shipping documents.
Just a quick narcotics control – 5 minutes it would take so they said – and then we could finally get the bikes on the boat… NOT! It must have been a bit naive maybe to think they would just walk around our crate a few times with some drug sniffing dog and then finally release the shipment. Well, reality was a bit off to say the least. A team of 6 officers, all armed with long dipsticks, ordered to open the crate. It took us 1 day to measure it to the millimeter, fit in our bikes without room for a mouse more and nail it all together for fuck sake! And now some funny narcotics guy wants it open… They checked just about anything on the bike with their dipsticks: fuel tanks, oil tank, water tank, exhaust… They let the air out of the tyres, in search of white powder… When that one guy suddenly started knocking my airbox, for a split second I thought they would let me disassemble the whole bike. After three hours in a crazy hot warehouse, they finally approved our bikes to be loaded into the container.
But despite Panama being pretty nearby, it took another 2 weeks for the bikes to arrive in Colon. We have to admit: both the Colombian shipper and the Panama agent did all they could to assist us. With their help we managed to get the bikes right before the weekend and not after. We found ourselves assembling the bikes at 6PM on a Friday evening in the streets of the Zona Libra…
Final costs for 2 bikes
Shipping + fumigated crate wood from Rehobot Logistics:1050 EUR
Local costs Colon: 210 EUR
Total shipping costs CT to MV for 2 bikes: 1260 EUR or 630 EUR per bike.
Local procedure in Colon
- Take a taxi to the customs office in the Zona Libra (everybody knows it)
- Take your BOL, reception confirmation, passport, driver’s license with you as well as 3 copies of each document. Processing takes about 15 minutes
- Pick up your bike(s) with the paperwork from customs at the warehouse in the Zona Libra. If you use Rehobot Logistics, you should go to the Multi Modal warehouse, 500m away from customs (they will point you in the right direction).
- We assembled 90% of our bikes in the warehouse with their kind assistance. At 5PM they close, so we had to finish the work on the street..
- Ride and enjoy!
Carrera 24 28
Tel: 3174427362 (ask for Yasmin)
Email : email@example.com
Colon Free Zone France Field
al Sur Calle 4ta al Este Calle 6ta
(507) 6676-9707 (office, ask for Guillermo)
(507) 430-3695 / 96 (warehouse)