all the ways to reach the other side

How to cross panama / colombia border


Every year thousands of travellers cross American continent in search of adventure and extraordinary memories, this is an extraordinary trip to do. But they all find themselves confronted with the same dilemma when they reach the halfway point: How to cross the Panama / Colombia border? Everywhere else the choice is simple but not here:

The problem is there is no road to cross the 80 km separating the Panamanian border from the Colombian one. This is equatorial jungle, wild, beautiful, lush and also full of danger. But, no road, no problem, there are various options to cross, and it s the perfect way to discover amazing places.
Overview of the possibilities:

No road… just Wild jungle and rich biodiversity 

îIf there is no road to cross the Panama /  Colombia border, it’s cause this is the equatorial jungle, and this jungle is extremely rich of diffrent kind of birds and mammals, every year scientists come to explore the biodiversity of Panama equatorial jungle and collect insects species and plant varieties. For understand why it’s so rich, we should return to the past…

There is 15 million years ago, a sea covered the Panama region. So, the Central American Sea separated North and South America. Waters of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans was mixed.

Below the surface, two Earth’s plates, slowly collide forcing the Pacific plate to dive under the Caribbean one, and creating the formation of submarine volcanoes by the same way, which today form the islands of the Caribbean, the movement of the two plates leading to the emergence of new countries, panama is one of them.

It’s for this reasons that Panama have such a great biodiversity, cause the animals during this periods pass from the south to the north, some died, but a lot keep living on this small area, and get stuck when the mountains became big.

if you are interest by learn more. About the extraordinary biodiversity of Panama we suggest you to pass by the biodiversity museum in panama city

By boat

Adventure combined with safety: boat

Cross Panama / colombia border by boat via san blas

Probably the best way to cross the Panama/Colombian border. The adventure is most of the time a 5 days trip. It is composed of 3 days in San Blas (if you don’t know it, I suggest you to read our article on the subject) and 2 days at sea to reach or leave the Colombian coast. There are different charter companies that offer to take you there. We advise to choose one of them rather than a visiting sailors passing by the area because Sailor passing by are not use navigate this special shallow sea, you don’t know their real captain experience and most important unfortunately, you dont know the state of maintenance of their ships, safety and rescue equipments are important on open sea.

Anyway, they all practice the same price, between 500$ for monohulls and 800$ for catamarans including food.

By plane

 the easiest way

Cross the border by plane


Definitely the easiest, fastest and cheapest way to cross. It will cost you approximately 170/200$ by person to cross by plane, but you will definitely miss the most important part of the trip: the travel. 

But if you are in hurry, copa airline will be a good option.

Plane or boat

San Blas is a unic place, preserved and authentic. You will discover in Panama or Colombia a lot of nice spot, but never like the amazing San Blas.


 pass the border by the jungle 

Cross Panama / colombia border walking through the jungle

Every year adventurers embark on a trip across the border through the jungle, some will tell wonderful stories, some will never come back of the jungle.

We are not going to lie, the crossing is dangerous and we can only advise against it. But if you want to risk it it. You should do it in a group and with a local guide used to the place, because the main danger is not finally the jaguar but rather the guerrillos and other bad meetings that this jungle can provide.
It goes without saying that it is important to bring with you more than enough food and water, anti-vennines, a machete and an emergency kit, a way of sleeping on height is also essential (some hammocks are equipped with insect protection nets) and a satelite phone may also be a good option.

If all goes well you should reach the other side of the Jungle in 5 to 7 days. Don’t think that it’s the cheapest way to cross the border, it’s probably the most expensive one. Between the cost of food and the payment of your guide, this way of crossing has more than significant cost, but those who have returned from it can tell fantastic stories.

 Travelling tips

Our Top 5 Ways to cross Panama / Colombia border

1. Our favorite By Party Boat

Yes, you read it good. There is a party-boat doing the Panama / Colombia border. It cross twice the month since 10 years. This choice is perfect for backpackers and travellers. It is a unic and deep emotion to sail away from a country to another one. And it’s even better to do it in a boat with people like you. Price affordable and really friendly ambience .  More informations.

2. The classic Crossing the sea by charter boat

There is a lot of choice, choose regular charter boat instead of boat travelers passing by. This is a 5 day trip, with 2 days of open water: it’s safer to have an experimented captain and a good maintenance of the boat.

3. The fastest Cross by plane

It will take you 1h30 and 170/200$ to get from one capital to another. Definitely the right choice if you are in a hurry. But traveling is about discover, not racing from a point to another one. 

4. The luxiest Passing the border by private charter yacht

Privatizing a boat to cross Panama to Colombia have a price, cause your crew will need to come back home after bring you to your destination, this type of cruise is for big budget travellers or for group of 10/12 pers. So, yes it have a price! But the experience is unic. Freedom to sail with the wind on open water far from the busy city  to reach an other country is the kind of experience you keep in mind all your life. So, if you want to test luxury for 5 days with extra-large cabin, private bathroom, personal Chef and no unknown to share it with. The link is here. More informations.

5. The silliest Reach the other side by feet into the jungle

This choice is for experimented adventurers, fully prepared with a guide, a good machete and if possible some silly friends to join. There is some local guys who propose to do it. Just keep in mind, jungle is not a game, and finally animals are not the most dangerous part you can meet.  if you reach the other side (yes I said if) write a story about it, we will be happy to add your story link to this post.

We suggest also to have a first test by passing some days into the Jungle but not too far from civilisation, just for train few days before to go for real. There some jungle eco lodge. It can be a good first try for 3 or 4 days. One of the eco-lodge is only few kilometers of boats departure for San Blas (so, if you change your mind and finally reach 1 of the eco-lodge cabana instead of been bite by insects all night long you will not be too far of boats. here the link.

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