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Explanation later. May be a while but eventually there will be an explanation.
As we normally camp and there are no campsites in San Isidro we found a couple of hotels that would let us park and sleep in the car park in our Land Rover. Unfortunately the first one would give no good pricing.
The second however gave Bikers (after a bit of negotiation) a non-aircon room a rate of $24usd and an aircon room of $27usd. This compares to over $40usd on the standard rate. Its nearly the cheapest place in town now and its GOOD ! My buddy stayed in a room and we slept in the car park (camping in the car park is $8usd). The car park has no height or width restriction worth mentioning. Even BIG trucks would get in. The restaurant is good, the location is good, the beds are good and its also got a pool and of course Wi-Fi !
San Isidro de Perez Zeledon
HOTEL ZIMA (N 9 22.669 W 83 42.173)
Ubicado: 200meters north of McDonalds and 100 meters East.
Its just of the main road but in a really quiet location. Its really near town and all the restaurants. Its perfect for a stop if you need one in San Isidro.
You can all thank me later......also thank the owner.
IVSSUK run by Overland Sphere and the Overlanding Association.
Shipping across the Darian Gap and Globally RoRo or Container.
As promised and as I've been hounded by the South Africans.....hehe.
Shipping agent in Colombia, Cartagena. They don't speak ANY English at all so expect a strange experience. If you go to the office expect to be there a while. Take your Laptop and use their Wi-Fi for Google translate. They were OK although they loaded the car too early. They said the shipping company demanded this but I suggest you make sure they do it as late as possible. They also booked the boat incorrectly sending the container on a Door to Door which the agent in Panama corrected. The agent in Panama was superb !!!! As they do not speak English the flow of info is difficult and this is what caused most of the problems. Eventually everything sorted itself out. If you speak Spanish it would be so much easier. They also seemed to stall every time we were not in the office. When we were in the office things seem to happen.
We stayed in Boccagrande, Hotel Puerta del Oeste (N 10 23' 53" W 75 33' 33") which is a nice area during the negotiations the taxi to the office was 8,000col . The Hotel is good and OK price 70,000col. They have parking outside for a smallish overland truck or Land Rover or Cruiser. They did ask for 80,000 at first but we went back on got it for 70,000. The rooms at the front are noisy. Try second floor back. They have larger rooms we think but do not know the price if you are a family. Its near to the beach, bars and tourist stuff. Taxi to airport is 15,000 and Taxi to town is 6,000. If you have time to kill get them book you on a tour to Totumo Mud baths. Their rate is OK and the trip is worthwhile at 50,000 each and includes lunch. Photos are 3000 for them to keep your camera and they wash you off after in the lake for 3000 including your swimming costume.
Back to the shipping.
You need to get a letter notarized to give the agent some permission. This was easy and cheap. They took us to the notary. N 10 23.613 W 75 31.301 Door on left number 104. I advise Emailing Martha copies of all your documents, Passports, Vehicle Registration, Driving license as they need hundreds of copies !!!
Loading took ALL day. They only let the driver in the port. The narcotics inspection is a pain. They expect ALL stuff unloaded from the car. Take some water, take a lot or water. There is small restaurant on site but I would not advise waiting there unless you really want to. If the driver can do this on his own then only they should go to the port. Martha will be there. They will make you leave the car in the Ro-Ro area until they are ready for loading. They do have ramps and if you ask (which I would) get them to use wooden blocks under the wheels as well as strapping. There also seemed to be some issue entering the port which I never figured out. Maybe they didn't even want the driver in there. We were told you need travel insurance inc 3rd party liability to get in.
N 10 24.572
W 75 31.928
Ms. Martha Gonzalez Nadaff
RJ logistica & Operaciones
3ra. Avenida – Calle 28 Cra. 26 – 47 Of. 104 Cartagena
(To the Right of Citibank on the first floor, top of the stairs go right and it is on your right look for number 2628)
Receiving agent in Panama. They contacted us via Email. Martha in Colombia arranged the receiving agent. They arranged for the Hotel in Colon and the Taxi from the airport $80 (The Taxi Guy was waiting at gate in airport and we paid him directly). The hotel was not great and in a BAD area. It only has Wi-Fi in reception and TV isn't great. There is a McDonalds and Bank in walking distance and the 99 Supermarket is only $1.50 taxi ride where there is a small Subway/shops/local cafe.
Do not go to Panama until the car has left. You know my story on the return flights rule. The airline will not let you board and they won't let you use a bus ticket. The rule says you MUST have an Airline ticket. We got Kelly in the airport in Cartagena to do a dummy reservation which we arranged before the day we flew. we went to the airport 15,000col to set this up a couple of days before although they only did it on the day so we went 3 hours early. The Airport has Wi-Fi for free but is small.
Basically Ever Logistics did everything via Email and although Boris came to the hotel on the unloading day we never needed to go to meet them. He collected us on the unloading day and we paid him cash. He gave us a receipt. They had no ramp to unload the car from the container. We used our waffle boards. The EverGreen container depot is poorly equipped. Make sure you can get the car out. They do have bolt cutters and Boris sends a guy with you to do all the running round. We just stood around for ages waiting for the box. Unloading was difficult without a ramp. They let both myself and Julie in no problem. Took 4 hours in total.
Ever Logistics, INC
Boris G. Jaramillo
COSTS Colombia (Approx £495 or $750usd)
Handling charge for agent in Colombia
COSTS Panama (£735 or $1,147usd)
included 1 month compulsory insurance.
Thanks to Don for picking up the English strays....
His house is a bit nice.....more accurately the garden and pool. We stayed in the pool house.
The views over to the Pacific are nothing but breathtaking. In fact on Simien Mountains in Ethiopia comes near.
So here he is. The little ffing copper (quite literally little) who decided to take my passport (copy) and license (fake) off to his little world for some reason.
Actually I think the "reason" was we'd misunderstood their limp wrist attempt to wave us down. Now we all now what a stop hand signal is. Its a raised flat palm shown to you. No mistaking that. This was more of a hand wiggle down by his waste. By the time they realized I wasn't stopping and decided to make some more frantic gestures I'd overshot them. More likely by the time they'd realized I was a good target for money/entertainment, anyhow I'd gone 30 meters past them as I was traveling at 80kmph. So he had to walk to our car. He decided we must get out,,,that's a first for us! He wanted the passport to which I said "no you're not immigration, you can have my license you are transito". It turns out the proper immigration and aduanas (customs) was 30km down the road and they were given the proper documents as they should be. Anyhow, we give him a copy of the passports and a fake license and he just walked off and started typing something on his phone. He could have been playing Angry Birds for all I knew. When I went up to him a few minutes later he was still fiddling with the phone. He completely ignore me. He didn't even look up when I asked him what he was doing. At that point I lost it and said "you can keep them, we VAMOS!" so I walked back to the car got in and drove off. Normally they stay near the car and right at the window. This guy had been video'd before I'm sure so he stayed well clear. I got the full audio and some video of the entire thing so if the Police Transito Panama (http://www.policia.gob.pa/) want to find this post and investigate what this little shit was up to I'd be very happy. I wish they had an email to send it to.
You cannot cross into Costa Rica from Panama at Rio Sereno near Volcan. They no longer sell insurance so will not let you into Costa Rica. Its cost us 3 hours at the border checking out and back into Panama. Don't go there. Go to the far north crossing (road is good by all acounts) or the Paso Canoas. They sell insurance at both.
We have the car which was a bit of a nightmare. The depot has no ramp to get the car out the container. We used out waffle boards which luckily didn't break off on the container as the mount point was small and maybe only 1 inch wide.
The Agent (Ever Logistics) at this end were excellent and everything was arranged. Taxis, Hotels and Airport pickups. All were sorted out. They speak English and responded to Emails quickly and kept us informed. I will post all the pricing and details on here and on the Hubb when I have a minute. If you really need the info now send me a Email via the contact us or on the facebook page.
Colon was a dump and as it turns out pretty unsafe. Henning had a close call. I'm sure it will be in his blog.
Its a long time since Solitaire and Apple Pie in Namibia and 300 days. This time its 600 days and we are in Central America. Colon is a bit of a dump but Panama is strange having been in South America for a while. A lot of people speak English. Even Taxi drivers !
Henning should be with us today at our hotel and we might be getting the car. We find out in 45mins. Fingers crossed.
300 x 2 = 300: Rise of an Empire
Shouldn't it be called 600 ?
My last post in South America.....hopefully for now at any rate.
We are in airport departure lounge which is crap really. Its got nothing so stay outside as long as possible. Just round to the left side of the airport (facing out the doors) is a nice cafe on the other side of the road. You will be amazed to know it was only 5000COL for a soup and main dinner. Thats only £1.70 and it includes a drink. The cheapest so far in Colombia and I'm stuffed full on meatballs ! Got o where the taxis are and turn left, its on the other side of the road.
We managed to get Kelly on the counter to make us a dummy reservation to San Jose in Costa Rica. She advised not to show it unless asked and not to show the bus ticket at all. They might ask, they might not. Our experience is that the airlines are more difficult than immigration so I do not think we will have a problem. Henning is currently finding it difficult to refund his Avianca ticket. We are on Copa and what I can say for sure is tickets bought on Copa are only refundable in/on the palce you bought them. Online refunded online and ones purchased at an office refunded in the SAME office. You have been warned as its easy to miss it in the terms.
Matilda is on the boat. We had a small issue as it turns out the car was booked to Panama City for delivery to the door. However we soon got this corrected. The agent in Panama is excellent. They've got us a taxi from the airport,,, and a hotel. Now thats service.
Review on the entire thing when we have the car. Should be Monday we hope. The hotel in Panama isn't cheap. Better to stay in Car
No sure what to say here. We went, we "bathed?", we washed. We enjoyed it. It was 50,000COL each which included dinner. I've always wanted to go to one and now I have. Its an experience.
I performed some other checks for a quarter pounder and horse meat....turns out its a double quarter pounder and hung like a horse......(check out the facebook page if this confuses you)
Not sure what fish it was or what the birds are.....
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