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Panama to Colombia, days 5 and 6
Posted by: HoboSylvain | 2014-11-22 18:14:23 | Medellin, Antioquia, Colombia
Keywords: boat, bus
After the boat dropped us off in Capurganá, I still had to reach Cartagena to begin my itinerary in Colombia. The transit requires 2.5 hours of boat followed by some 9 or 10 hours in mini-buses. That would be a very long travel day. First, I don't like to arrive in a new city at night then I figured this journey would be very bumpy and hard on my old body so I decided to cut it in two and rest in the town of Montería for one night.

Day 5

So, the day began by a boat ride from Capurganá to Turbo. I arrived early at the dock in hope to get a seat in the back of the boat because that would be less bumpy. I wrapped carefully both my large suitcase and backpack. I then had them weighted because we hsd only a 10kg franchise and we were charged for all excess. I ended up paying 18 000 pesos (US$9) for my luggage.

I was ready to board but the police officers kept us all away from the boat as an employee called the names of the people on her reservation sheet. Officially, it's supposed to be done in order of reservation, but she called up all the locals first, not considering the order. So, the locals had the back seats while all the gringos were in front. It was a very bumpy and wet ride (yes, it rained).  You can see our boat above.

As we arrived in Turbo, we had a hard time getting off the boat because of all coyotes on the dock trying to lure the gringos into their bus or taxi. The whole thing was chaotic and it was impossible to understand anything. It reminded me many Central America border crossings. Once I got off the boat, I accepted the offer of a coyote for a bus to Montería.

The bus was heading to Cartagena so four girls from our San Blas journey also got on board. The bus ride was bumpy because of the road conditions and because of the very hard suspension that didn't smooth the ride at all, plus we were sitting in the back, near the rear axle.

Mini-bus from Turbo to Montería.

I was then very happy to get off and walk for about 45 minutes to reach my hotel, right after I bought my ticket for Cartagena. I just rested and backed up my pictures to the cloud then did some Internet catch up.

Day 6

In the morning, I walked my way back to the bus terminal. The mini-bus I then had was much more comfortable (with better seats and A/C) than the one of the day before, cheaper too (no coyote commission). So, that portion of the trip was much more pleasant. I made it without a problem to Cartagena and I took a cab to the apartment I had reserved (at an incredible price) by the ocean. I just had to wait a bit for the check-in time of 3 PM.

A ferry service between Colón and Cartagena just entered in service doing the round trip twice a week. It's still in its beginning and they don't even have a sales office in Colombia yet. The big ferry allows transport of cars and motorcycles. The fare is pretty cheap (lower than a plane ticket, even on a discount airline) and the transit is only 18 hours. You can pay for just a chair (I did so in Newfoundland). If I had known about that, I would have taken that ferry service.

The complete road I took.

Related posts:
Panama to Colombia, day 2
Panama to Colombia, day 1
My entrance into Belize
Inter-city bus transportation
100 days and counting


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