Sunday, July 6, 2014

Colombia/Panama Day 9: Turbo to Sapzurro by boat

We arrived to Turbo after dark night last night so I did not realize that our hotel was so close to the ocean.  When we woke up in the morning we were escorted to the boat launch, although initially I believed we were walking to another van.  Once again I was happy that San Blas Adventures arranged this (even though there is an option to meet in Sapzurro), because the local way looked like a mess.  

I made a friend!  And it isn't a lizard or some other animal.  Her name is Laura and she is from New Zealand. 

We were stopped by the coastguard to have our passports/documents checked while in the ocean.  The first half of the two hour journey was just a little choppy but not bad at all because we were in an inlet, the latter half of the journey was more difficult.  We were in the front of the boat which is the roughest since it slams onto the water with the most force, it reminded me that a liquid can be hard. 
It was so rough that a huge piece of luggage in front of us (who travels with large rolling suitcases in Latin America?) was becoming dislodged, sliding towards us, getting closer and closer with every jarring movement.  We thought for sure we were going to be slammed in the face with 50 pounds of luggage, so we spent much of the time pushing it back, and let me tell you it is not fun to stand on a moving boat when the conditions are not great are luggage.  I swore that the luggage was pursuing a vendetta against me, maybe because it knows my opinion of large rolling suitcases in Latin America.   

After we got to Capurgana we found our luggage and met the tour guide for San Blas Adventures.  She informed us that we had to get the exit stamp on our passport right then because they were going to close for lunch.  Even though there is another city on the coast before the Panama border (Sapzurro), Capurgana is the last immigration office and so the last place to get your passport stamped.

After lunch and an exit stamp Laura and I decided to temporarily ditch the group and get to Sapzurro on our own (in case you think that boats age people Laura is not on my right, or behind me).  
Sapzurro is just a 30 minute boat ride away from Capurgana.

We finally made it to Sapzurro!  This is where the boat will leave for the San Blas islands tomorrow morning.  It was time for a swim after being in transport for most of the day.  The water is absolutely amazing.  It is the perfect temperature and so clear.  

We are in the Darién Gap, a 160 km long and 50 km wide undeveloped area that covers both the top of Colombia and the bottom portion of Panama (and is Central America's largest National Park).  There are no roads that connect these countries because it would be too expensive and devastating to the environment, and it would make a much easier corridor for drug smugglers.  They have a network within the swamp/jungle but it slows them down a bit.  There are two indigenous tribes that live within the Darién (the Embera and the Kuna), along with armed Colombian rebels (the FARC).  
It is not recommended to travel in between the two countries.  

Sapzurro is very quaint and quiet.  

Laura and I walked on the path that leads to La Miel, which is in Panama.  There is a duty free shop there and we were going to go in together on a bottle of rum since the Kuna do not sell alcohol on the islands (party poopers).

At the top of the hill is a border check point.  They register your passport and, if this guy is working, insist that you take a picture with him.  

La Miel is quainter and quieter than Sapzurro.  

The duty free shop can be seen in the background, it is the building with the blue roof.  As it turned out they were closing and we could not buy duty free rum.  

We saw some kids swimming at the end of the pier and decided to join them.  We swam in Colombia and Panama in one day.  Pretty cool!  

1 comment:

  1. Again, the Brady Tales continue to intrigue. I love the luggage story and all the photos.

    How cool to swim in two unique countries all in one day.
    You are living the life my friend. Good for you!

    Keep blogging.


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