Category Archives: Colombia

Motorbikes aren’t made to swim

There’s just 3 ways to get yourself and the motorcycle to Panama from Colombia.

The first and second are the normal channels. Use a customs broker and either fly or ship the motorcycle and catch a flight yourself. The third, to find a yacht which takes backpackers to Panama via the San Blas Islands. Transporting passengers to and from Panama on these yachts is legal but transporting cargo is a very different story.

Unfortunately for us, a catamaran transporting roughly 16 backpackers and one motorcycle sank off the coast of Colombia about 2 weeks before we were due to sail. Whilst the people were saved by a passing vessel, the bike wasn’t so lucky!  Can´t imagine how the owner felt watching his bike go to the bottom of the Caribbean as it was pushed over board in an unsuccessful attempt to save the boat. (that black thing you can just see on the right hand side of the stern is the bike)

Anyway, this caused us a problem as customs decided to clamp down on this practice and prohibit any motorcycles to be transported under this method. Their argument (which makes perfect sense) was that the loading and unloading of the motorcycles onto these vessels was unsafe ( believe me, as i found out later, not a truer word spoken!), that due to the lack of inspections drugs could be easily smuggled with the motorcycle (well it is the drug capital of the world after all) and thirdly, none of the vessels are designed to carry cargo.

Whilst all the above points are extremely valid, we would have lost at least 2 weeks if wehad to change our plans. Therefore we lobbied for three days at the port authorities and customs offices until we finally broke them at 4.30 on Friday afternoon. The boat was to depart at 8.30 on Saturday morning.

 

The excitement continued –

-Getting the bike onboard : more than once I though, how the hell could the Port Authorities allow us to do this!  With the bike onboard, relief was short lived upon seeing the rusty tie-downs the Captain expected me to use.  Needless to say, I had to make a quick trip to the hardware store.

 

 

– A visit from the water police to inspect all the documentation of the passengers and motorcycle and of course, drugs.

 

 

– And of course, getting the bike out of the boat at the other end!

 

 

The trip was an adventure in all senses. We were lucky enough the share the adventure with 19 young travelers (we were the oldest on board apart from the Captain) of which about 8 were Australian.

 

Young people make you remember what its to the live the moment rather than concern yourself over the future. Nothing wrong with that for a while.

 

Hope you enjoy the video footage below

El primer esclavo libre en colombia

Esta parte de colombia fue muy esperada por la historia que tiene. Monpox un pequeño pueblo aislado por un rio que se cruza en balsa y con un sofocante calor constante – Quedó la población como una isla encerrada por los brazos de los ríos  Loba y Mompox, apartada e incomunicada, de difícil acceso. Se dice que ahí reside una de las razones para que de Mompox se diga que es un lugar donde el tiempo se ha detenido. Pero es también a partir de esa circunstancia de aislamiento que fluyen los atractivos y la curiosidad para conocer la isla y rendirse a sus lugares.Años atrás fuera de la isla se encontraba la FARC esperando turistas extranjeros o colombianos con poder adquisitivo político para su secuestro – Y Palenque otro pequeña reliquia histórica de Colombia con la estatua del primer esclavo libre en el país según cuentan los locales  – la foto lo dice todo – el pueblo y su gente no han cambiado mucho sus costumbres …definitivamente el highlight de Colombia

THE FIRST FREE SLAVE IN COLOMBIA

We anxiously waiting to see this part of Colombia for its unique history.  Mompox, a small isolated village (predominantly black) which we could only reach by crossing a series of rivers in suffocating conditions due to the heat – was only a few years ago a hunting ground for the FARC (Colombian Guerrillas)  in the sense that it was a preferred place to carryout kidnappings of both international travelers and important Colombian figures such as politicians.   However on the positive side, and the reason why we visited, Mompox is renown for a place were time stood still for many years due to its isolation. Today it is still visible in the building and the behavior of its inhabitants.

From there we move on to Palenque, another small village rich in history.  A statue of the very first free black african slave stands strong in their modest plaza. The photos says it all.

This small village has changed its customs little over the years and was definitely a highlight of our time in Colombia

Crossing the middle of the world

Two countries full of contrast are Ecuador and Colombia.

From the colourful market places, to roads flanked by fully armed combat soldiers to the very well developed mannequines in the shop fronts.

Watch the video and you’ll see what I mean

Cruzando la mitad del mundo

Dos paises bien distintos

Saliendo de Los coloridos mercados locales de ecuador para entrar en una carretera plagada de soldados del ejercito de colombia y unas ciudades donde Los locales exponen en sus vitrinas unos mannequines que representan muy graficamente las formas de las mujeres colombianas