Our main reason to go to Panama City was to arrange the shipping of the Patrol around the Darien Gap. Before arriving in the City we got an email from Nordsued and they had got a quote for a 40 foot high cube container, and we decided to share the container with them. In Panama we stayed with Panama Passage and it was great to meet up with overlander’s that we had met before and to meet others for the first time.
People were traveling both north and south so we had some good days exchanging information, tips about good places to go to, and of course shipping info. We had all got different quotes from the same shipping agents and it turned out that we all had different experiences because of different vehicles, sizes, and shipping methods. Here is a video from Adventurouspirits from their and PanAmNotes loading into a container. Luckily the Patrol and the Land Rover is smaller and we therefor had more space around our vehicles.
Compared to a normal border crossing shipping a vehicle involves more paper work, but we were able to handle it all our self. Our vehicle is now in a container in the harbor waiting for the ship.
Besides arranging shipping we did a little bit of sightseeing in Panama City.
The Miraflores Locks at the Panama Canal is a must see when you are in Panama. It was interesting to see the big ships being lifted up in the Locks to be able to pass through from the Pacific to the Caribbean Sea. In the museum at the Locks we learned that Panama is well suited to host the canal because it get so much rain that it is no problem to run 14.000 ships through the Locks and the canal every year. And talking about rain, we had our share of it. During our 9 days stay in the city we had rain every day and there was some really heavy showers.
This is from our drive on the Causeway and afterwards some streets were flooded.
Casco Viejo was interesting to walk through with some nicely renovated buildings and others that were still just ruins.
We were told that when we walked down to the Casco Viejo we should follow the Pedestrian street and not go to much to the left or right because then we would end up in the neighborhood of Santa Ana or Curundu.
Some of our traveling friends ended up walking in Curundu looking for a hardware store, and they were stopped by a police man that pulled them into a store. There he called them a police escort that drove them the remaining 300 meters to the store. One police man came with them into the store and two were standing guard outside. They bought the things they needed and was driven down to the pedestrian street where they could walk safely back home.
We did not see much of Panama, our focus was on shipping the car to Colombia and continue our drive south. The shipping had been talked about so often and been on our minds for a long time and it will be great to have done. Panama kind of feels like a half-way point in our trip, especially since we have to ship the car, it is the end of Central America, and the journey will start again in the north of South America. Colombia here we come!