Blogs from Darién, Panama, Central America Caribbean

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Manuel motioned to me strongly and blurted out in Spanish "dig, Vicente!". Alfredo gave me his fishing mask and said "dive for it". As I wandered through the remote Panamanian Darien Jungle days from any town in search of gold with a half blind 60 year old and hyperactive 19 year old Embera tribesman, it became clear that I had a story to tell. On a cold Seattle day in February, I was off for one month in Panama. Bags packed, headed for Seatac, heart beating as usual before I travel. This was going to be a very special trip so it was really thumping. As we took off on the first leg to LA, the ground and all my worries seemed to melt away below me. Nice chat on my flight with a Korean woman, ... read more
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We have officially been on the road for one year! Since we had Mike down for the previous week and saw a flurry of sights, we decided to take the road less travelled. Tuesday morning we took a drive back to Colon on the Caribbean and then northwest to Fort Lorenzo. We originally intended to do this part of the trip when we went to Portobelo, but something happened to our car and we couldn’t go. The map took us over a one-lane bridge near the Gatun Locks at the entrance to the Panama Canal. We were stopped at a red light with a lot of other vehicles. The light changed and it was our turn. I have never seen a lock gate from this angle before. It was quite massive. I looked up and I ... read more
Gatun Locks - Panama Canal
Fort Lorenzo - Chagres River
Ipeti - Embera Children

Central America Caribbean » Panama » Darién November 4th 2011

The San Blas islands are beautiful. There are 378 islands scattered within the 100 square miles of the archipelago – some are barely big enough to swing a hammock while others are home to hundreds of inhabitants who are of the Kuna tribe. The Kuna are an autonomous indigenous group who run San Blas with minimal interference from the Panamanian national government.We'd been looking forward to visiting the San Blas Islands for quite some time. Even though we were leaving Colombia and headed home towards the US, we were excited. There's a few ways that you can visit the San Blas Islands. Tourists in Panama can take a tour from there to the islands which are relatively closeby...some of the islands are less than an hour offshore. Most of us backpackers will do it one of ... read more
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Central America Caribbean » Panama » Darién October 20th 2010

(Day 929 on the road) My final ten days in Central America after over five months of travelling across the region have also been my wildest and weirdest by far. They left me with beautiful memories that I will never forget in my life, and it was an incredible experience. I am talking about a visit to the wild stretch of jungle in eastern Panama that is the Darién Gap. With Tino gone and me once again being on my own, I was pondering what to do. There were numerous options, as always, but in the end I decided to head down into the infamous Darién province, where the Pan-American (the Inter-Americana) highway suddenly stops without as much as a warning near the town of Yaviza, only to resume some 150km further south in Colombia. The ... read more
Preparing the jagua-juice for my Embera body painting in Mogue
Old man weighing fish with an ancient tool
Embera house on stilts in Mogue




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