Vehicle shipping across the Darien Gap URGE

Vamos a cruzar de Panamá a Cartagena, la idea es compartir un contenedor para esta semana, la idea sería hacer el inspección mañana (29 de agosto) por la mañana en ciudad Panamá para el miércoles embarcar los carros en puerto Manzanillo Colón. Cualquier interesado comunicarse al +506 8848-1212 por whatsapp o por correo a

The entire network of roads in North, Central, and South America connect, except for a 50 km (30 miles) gap between Colombia and Panama known as the Darien Gap. The Darien Gap has been crossed a handful of times by international teams, but is now considered too dangerous to cross due to rebel groups.  We've got the lowdown on how to get you and your car across the Darien Gap.   Also check out related articles about traveling across the Darien Gap, vehicle shipping (excluding the Darien Gap), and detailed shipping instructions if you are using Barwil to ship around the Darien Gap

The Darien Gap

Crossing the Darien Gap by Air

If you are traveling by motorcycle, you can find air cargo freighters that will ship a motorcycle. Vehicles need to be transported by boat.

Yet to be confirmed first hand, there are apparently small local airports offering inexpensive passenger flights between Panama and Colombia for prices around $50.

Crossing the Darien Gap by Boat

While this may be the most frustrating border crossing, many people have done this before, so don't let it deter you from taking the plunge. You have two options for transporting your vehicle: using a cargo container or RORO, which stands for "roll on, roll off". Your car will not be placed in a shipping container, but instead will be driven into the ship. RORO will be less expensive, but you will need to hand over your keys. You will need to take everything out of the car, and remove anything from the vehicle that can be stolen. If your vehicle's height exceeds 2.7 meters you will have to use RORO due to the container restraints.

VW Vagabonds provide a wealth of information on different shipping options, including a list of questions and tips to complete your paperwork correctly. These intrepid travelers have shipped their car four times at this point, and have detailed information on shipping their vehicle from on a RORO from North America to South America, shipping vehicles from Costa Rica to Ecuador on a RORO.

''It should be clarified that container prices below are based on shipping two vehicles in a single container. While this is most cost effective, groups with only one vehicle unable to share a container with fellow travelers will have to double the below "per vehicle" container fee.''

Alex and Lisa from 2 people 1 life have put together a series of videos documenting their experience shipping across the Darien Gap if you're interested in a first person perspective. 

RORO from Panama to Colombia

There is a RORO service from Colon, Panama to Cartagena, Colombia as of April 2009. The cost is $55 USD per weight measure (cubic foot). To calculate this, according to Evelyn, you take the length x width x height of your vehicle and multiply it by $55 to estimate the cost. Usually it costs from $600 to $700 USD. If the vehicle's height exceeds 2.7 metres you will have to use RORO due to the container restraints.

NYK Lines, RORO from Costa Rica to Ecuador

According to positive reviews from THymeoff and VW Vagabonds, you can get your car shipped hassle free by NYK for $500 USD. Since it is a Roll On, Roll Off, you will need to hand over your keys. You can contact Milton Madriz who has an office in San Jose, Costa Rica. His email address is [email protected].

Josh from notes the below:

Previously (2004) this route was traveled at a cost of $250, but as of 2007 the fee appears to be $500. Additionally there is a $50 port fee on arrival in Ecuador. Another note is that it is not entirely "hassle free" as stated above - travelers should be careful to secure any cargo in their vehicles and not leave any items accessible inside that they don't want stolen. Thefts have been reported by several travelers on this route. Paperwork and receiving in Manta, Ecuador takes about a day, is straightforward, and Manta is a very nice place with a beautiful beach!

People have had mixed results in dealing with Milton Madriz in San Jose(the official NYK agent for this port), ranging from willing to unresponsive to actually obstructive. Better service has been received by first directly contacting the NYK office in Mexico, which is in charge of this route and where the shots are called.

Contact: [email protected]
Note: There is no Container Service via NYK Line for this route

Transit time: 6 days

$600 per unit

Full Liner Terms (FLT)
- From vessel's Ramp at Loading Port, to vessel's Ramp at Discharge Port
- Any Tax and / or Dues, Wharfage and / or any transhipment cost at Loading and/ or Discharging ports to be from shippers/ consignee's account
The following agent contacts can provide more information about additional fees, services they provide, documentation etc.

Pto Caldera, Costa Rica
Lucia Hernández G.
[email protected]
Customer service manager
Barlovento Agencia Marítima S.A.
San José, Costa Rica 

Manta, Ecuador
Ginger Rodriguez
Customer Service NYK
Telf: 2-598060 Ext 1332
Fax: 2-598060 Ext 1339
E-mail: [email protected]
[email protected]  

Also read this detailed report about shipping RORO from Costa Rica to Ecuador with Transoceanica.

Barwil Agencies, Container Shipping from Panama to Ecuador or Colombia

Barwil agencies has been recommended by a number of different sources, and they are extremely helpful. In general, they tend to be most responsive when you actually arrive in Panama City and meet with them in their office. They ship cars from Colon, Panama in either 20 or 40 foot shipping containers. 2 cars can fit in one 40 foot container, reducing costs somewhat. In general, ships for Guayaquil, Ecuador leave once every 15 days, while ships for Cartagena, Colombia, leave every week. The journey to Ecuador takes about 4 days while the trip to Colombia takes only 1 day. While Barwil does provide shipping services to both Colombia and Ecuador, Colombia seems to be preferable. Of the 203 cars they shipped in 2008, 200 were shipped to Colombia, only 3 shipped to Ecuador. The receiving procedure in Colombia is much more efficient and potentially less expensive. For detailed instructions describing the entire shipping process, see Barwil Shipping Instructions.

Costs in Panama:

$950/car, 2 cars in a 40 foot shipping container. Includes departure permits, 'stuffing' fee, ocean freight charge, stuffing materials, and any port fees.
$9/car customs/port charge paid in Manzanillo Port in Colon.

Costs in Colombia:

$150/car for 'unstuffing' fee

Contact information:

  • Barwil Agencia S.A.
  • Panama Pacifico (former Howard Airforce Base), south of the city
  • International Business Park,
  • Tower A, 3rd floor, Office 401
  • N08º 55.67’ W79º 35.57’
  • [email protected]
  • Phone: +507 263 7755; Fax: +507 223 0698
  • Panama, Republic of Panama
  • [email protected]


C. Fernie & CO, Container Shipping from Panama to Ecuador

C. Fernie & CO offers container shipping from Colon, Panama to Guayaquil, Ecuador. Their ships leave on a weekly basis, and it takes 4-6 days for the ship sail from Panama to Ecuador. They recommend using a customs broker to speed the permitting process in Panama.


For 2 cars in one 40 foot shipping container:

  • $600/car, shipping fee
  • $175/car 'stuffing' fee
  • $200/car customs clearance for export
  • $50/car police permissions

Contact Info

Tel. Panama: 211-9488

Tel. Colon: 433-8500

[email protected], [email protected]

Rozo / Marfret, Container shipping from Panama to Colombia

Another shipping company with an office in Panama City, shipping from Colon, Panama to Cartegena, Colombia. You can contact Mr. Martinez to get the ball rolling. His email address is [email protected].

Dan from notes the below:

"In March 2010 we searched and searched for the cheapest shipping agent for days in Panama City. Barwil quoted us $950 plus unknown costs in Colombia and Seaboard quoted $880 plus unknown costs.
For two vehicles sharing a 40' container we paid a total price of $770 per vehicle which includes every single cost on both ends - customs and all.
This is the lowest price I've ever heard of."

Website with price breakdown:

LostworldExpedition notes that:

As of December 2010 shipping through Marfret in a 40 foot container split with 2 vehicles the cost was US $781.00 each vehicle and it did not include some costs at the Colombia side. After all costs including cab rides and additional fees from the Colombia port authority and Colombian receiving shipping agent the total cost was close to $900.00.


WILHELMSEN Container from Cristobal to Cartagena or Barranquilla

Contact: [email protected]
Ph: (507) 263 7755 Mob: (507) 6674 6857

Weekly shipping
Transit: 1-2 Days to Barranquilla, 2-3 days to Cartagena

Rates: 20 foot container (didn't give info on 40 foot but I'm sure she will if you ask)
Ocean freight - $1350
Stuff/ Unstuff - $150
Doc. Fee - $50
Not including Customs and port charges
TOTAL (excl. additional fees) = USD 1550

There is also irregular RORO service for this route which leaves once or twice every 2-3 months, ask for quotes if interested.  

SEABOARDMARINE Container from Cristobal to Cartagena

Contact: Vanessa Degracia [email protected]

20 Foot Container (1 car) = $600 + $275 bunker + $50 Bill of Lading (BL)
40 Foot Container (2 cars) = $900 + $550 bunker + $50 BL

+ Stuffing on Cristobal = $162.50 Per Car + $75 for Empty Container
+ Un- Stuffing on Cartagena = $160 Per 20 foot container / $180 per 40 foot

Extra costs (not part of freight)
+ $17 Cargo por Seguridad Portuario Puerto Cristobal
+ $5.25 Cargo por Etiqueta "Warning"

Port to Port Service
Rates do NOT include taxes, customs papers, permissions etc.

THE ROZO GROUP Container from Manzanillo to Cartagena

Contact: Guillermo Martinez [email protected]

Transit Time: One day, shipping every weekend

2 cars in a 40 foot container

$750 Freight
$200 Stuffing of the cars in Manzanillo
$37.45 Agency fee
$6 CSC
$227 Unstuffing of the cars in Cartagena
5% of the net freight (minimum $35)
$15 Doc Fee (pay at destination)
$58 per car as terminal services, 3 days free storage after which you pay $3.50 per day per car

The export paperwork should be done by a customs broker
The booking and delivery of the car to the terminal will be coordinated with Guillermo

Many people have used Guillermo's service, including Lost World Expedition's Lacey and Luis in Dec 2010, and everyone recommends him highly.

* Note: HLAG does not ship household goods, which a private car is included under. You can also try Maersk Sealand, Libra, CSAV. Crowley does not ship to South America.

NYK LINE (Mexico) RORO from Balboa to Buenaventura

Contact: [email protected]
Note: There is no Container Service via NYK Line for this route

Transit time: 2 days

$500 per unit

Full Liner Terms (FLT)
- From vessel's Ramp at Loading Port, to vessel's Ramp at Discharge Port
- Any Tax and / or Dues, Wharfage and / or any transhipment cost at Loading and/ or Discharging ports to be from shippers/ consignee's account

Agent contacts below can provide more information about additional fees, services they provide, documentation etc.

Balboa, Panama
Katrina Wan
Freight Department - Import
Norton Lilly International (Panama), S.A.
E-Mail: [email protected]
Tel. (507) 431-4500 / 4548
Fax.(507) 441-8598 / 6057

Buenaventura, Colombia
[email protected]
Phone: (57 1) 2966315 Ext.2312
Fax: (57 1) 2966316
Bogotá - Colombia  

Tea is a shipping agent that can also help you arrange container shipping from Panama to Colombia.  

Container shipping from Colon to Cartagena with Everlogistic


Update July 2012: Costs have increased substanitally. Total cost for us to ship in June 2012 in a shared 40' container was $2100 in Panama (excluding plane tickets, hotels and taxi rides) and an additional $500 in Colombia for port fee and unstuffing. Not these are the total costs and were spilt by 2 cars.

Read our full write up on the process here:


Cost for a shared 40 foot container (per car)

  • Our cost is USD37.50 per Original House B/L per Car = 1 x 40´hq, USD75.00
  • CNTR. SIZE DOOR OPEN: Width 2.343m and Height 2.585m
  • USD 750.00 Ocean Frt. +
  • USD 200.00 stuffing at MIT,
  • USD 37.45 agency fee +
  • USD 6.00 CSC at MIT
  • USD 227.00 CSC IN Cartagena un-stuffing
  • USD 58.00 Port Cartagena Authority will pay in Cartagena, Colombia
  • USD 35.00 Terminal use. will pay in Cartagena, Colombia
  • USD 15.00 Local Cartagena Charge. will pay in Cartagena, Colombia

Cost for a 20 foot container

  • Our cost per 1 x 20´GP USD50.00
  • CNTR. SIZE DOOR OPEN: Width 2.343m and Height 2.280m
  • USD 600.00 Ocean Frt. +
  • USD 100.00 stuffing at MIT,
  • USD 37.45 agency fee +
  • USD 6.00 CSC at MIT
  • USD 172.00 CSC IN Cartagena un-stuffing
  • USD 58.00 Port Cartagena Authority will pay in Cartagena, Colombia
  • USD 35.00 Terminal use. will pay in Cartagena, Colombia
  • USD 15.00 Local Cartagena Charge. will pay in Cartagena, Colombia

Destination must be paid and do not appear in the B/L, also remember that they have three days free storage after that you have to pay.

Contact Information:

  • Gabriel Boris Jaramillo
  • General Manager
  • Ever Logistics, Inc.
  • e-mail: [email protected]
  • e-mail: [email protected]
  • e-mail: [email protected]
  • Phone: (507) 431-0390 / 431-0391 / 431-0392 / 431-0393 / 431-0394
  • Fax : (507) 431-0395
  • Cel.: (507) 6550-9961
  • Skype: gabrielboris1

Notes on this shipping agent from Jimmy:

I think we did things pretty fast we contacted the Boris at Everlogistic in Colon on Tuesday Mar 29. We went back to Panama city that day headed to the police station at 2:30pm and they told us to come back tomorrow morning for the inspection because they only do it in the mornings.

Mar 30, went back to police station at 930 to do the inspection finished at 10:00 but had to wait until 2 to get papers took another 1hr at that office

Mar 31, meet with Boris in Colon, he show us to the port and had a guy waiting there taking us to the 2 different customs office and finally to the port for final inspection we had to leave our keys because we're not allow to enter the container area. (its a new rule)

Apr 6 went to the office of Ami logistic in Cartegana they charge us $35 bucks made some photocopies and the bill of landing we proceeded to customs (note make sure if your shipping with someone get both names added to the bill of landing because customs turn us away) back to customs for an hour handed in our papers and than told to go to the port office just down the road to tell them we are picking up our cars. that took all our info. and told us to go to the big port holding our cars at 700 am next day and not to be late.

Apr 7, arrived a port 645 am the agent was expecting us and too our papers waited around 2 hours and paid $135 and told to go back to the custom office after 2 pm to get the permission papers. 130pm , early had a few beers waiting for their 2hr lunch break and when we arrived the girl that help us the day before told us we need more copies we got the copies an waited about 1 hrs for customs to give us the permission papers. went back to the nearby port office to get the release papers took another 1 hour. 430 pm now they told us the paper is valid for today only and we had to get car today or have to get the release paper again and pay late charge so we headed to the port that held our cars.

We found they same guy we dealt with in the morning he was about to get off but he called the workings in the port to drive our cars out took them like 2 hours to drive our cars out don't know why it took so long because they where out of container. finally got our cars at about 700pm. Apr 7. 

It think we did things pretty fast had our cars in Panama contained and out of driving in Columbia in 1 week thanks to Boris, but he did give us the wrong address in Cartegana office make sure if you choose to use Everlogistic get the address for Ami in Cartegana.

Over all I would recommend Boris very fast professional and the price is the best.  

Read more about how to find boat or air transportation across the Darien Gap, and also more about non-Darien Gap shipping options.   Also check out for additional international shipping options

Fri, 06/01/2018 - 17:52

Container share Colombia to Panama in June

Hello, this is Paul, Silvina, Francisco y Pedro.
We want to ship our car from Cartagena yo Panamá (Mercedes Sprinter) in mid-June 2018 in a closed container (High Cube) and are still looking for a car o motorbikes for Container Sharing.
If you also want to ship in mid-June, please contact:
[email protected]
best regards
Pablo and Silvina

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 16:34

Panama-Colombia Container Share August 2018


Looking for an overlanding team to share a container with our Highlander in the first half of August from Panama to Colombia. Please contact me if interested!