How to Sail From Colombia To Panama on a Cargo Boat

san blas islands kuna yala panama

Image by lapping from Pixabay

The stretch of land that separates Colombia and Panama, called the Darien Gap can only be crossed over by plane or by boat. While many sailboats offer the 5 day journey for $400 to $600.

I made this journey for $40 sailing on a cargo boat through the San Blas islands

Planes leave once a week but you also have the option to wait for the next cargo boat returning to Colombia.

Cargo boats leave from Colon in Colombia loaded with merchandise they drop off through the San Blas islands. You can get on a boat from Colon to Panama as well. The trip takes about 11 days.

On their way back, cargo boats stop back to each island to get paid. The trip, this way around lasts about 5 days. This is the trip we took.

Take another boat You are now in Panama and will need to stamp your passport in

In Turbo, you get on a boat, called launcha, to Capurgana. The trip lasts about 2 and half hours.

Here you wait and wait Stamp your passport in Panama

Get to the Immigration office to stamp your passport out of Colombia.

Once your passport is stamped, get another boat to Panama.

Time to say good bye

In Puerto Obaldia, waiting for a boat can take several days. The town feels like a no man’s land but it grows on you by the time you are ready to leave.

more backpackers joined our group each day

You will arrive in Puerto Obaldia. Get to the immigration office and stamp your passport in.

The boat gets you from Turbo to Capurgana A no man's land that grows on you

When I arrive in Puerto Obaldia, I was the only foreigner in town. I started to freak out and wonder if getting on a cargo boat all by myself was a smart move.

Here you wait and wait Stamp your passport in Panama
Time to say good bye

By the evening, I met a couple from Argentina and we decided to travel together.

The next day we met more travelers and by the time our boat was ready to launch, four days later, we were a group of 11 backpackers.

more backpackers joined our group each day
The boat gets you from Turbo to Capurgana A no man's land that grows on you
Take another boat You are now in Panama and will need to stamp your passport in

In Turbo, get a boat (launcha) to Capurgana. It is about 2.5 hour trip.

Get to the Immigration office to stamp your passport out of Colombia.

no showers on board
crabs caught daily
made new friends
no beds available

2 thoughts on “How to Sail From Colombia To Panama on a Cargo Boat

  1. Pingback: 50 Places to See When Traveling in Argentina - Mystic Banana - The Simple Life

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