Posted by: andrewedwardmorgan | April 17, 2008

For ESL Students: Panama To Colombia by Boat

the Stahlratte

Above:  The Stahlratte, the boat we sailed from Panama to Colombia


Wednesday 4/17/08  Cartagena, Colombia
**For ESL Students—This entry is written in easier English for ESL students in Japan and other countries.  A post for native-English speakers is above this post.**

In Panama City, I met two Swiss cyclists heading for Argentina.  We talked and laughed for hours before planning to travel to Colombia together.  The Swiss cyclists told me about a boat that had heard of that takes people from Panama to Colombia.  The boat sounded like a good idea; I called the boat captain the next day.


For five days, we sailed a 30 meter boat from the town of El Porvenir, Panama to Cartagena, Colombia.  The boat had 23 passengers.  The boat was built in 1903 and has a long, interesting past. 


On the first day, we sailed six or seven hours to a small group of islands where we stopped.  We stayed there for about two days.  We stayed there because the water was calm and the area was good for snorkeling, watching the sunset, and relaxing on the boat.  I enjoyed my time here because I got to snorkel (one of my favorite things to do in the ocean), sail on a small sailboat, and talk to many of the other passengers.  Most of the passengers were young people who either were still in college or just graduated college.  We talked about politics in the United States, South America, safety in Colombia, sailing, and our home countries, among other things.  I had so much fun talking to so many people because I have gotten used to spending so much time by myself on the bicycle trip. 


One night we had a barbeque and a bonfire on a small island.  We cooked kabobs over an open fire and watched the sunset.  The scene was perfect—the sky was beautiful, there was a gentle breeze, the water was warm, and everyone was in a good mood.  After the sunset, we had a big bonfire.  Some passengers played guitar and sang songs in German and Spanish.  We stayed up late into the night talking and telling stories.


Once we started sailing on the open ocean, however, things changed.  The waves were a little rough.  The boat was moving all around and it made some people feel sick.  For 30 hours, we sailed across the ocean to Cartagena, Colombia.  During this time, most people slept on the boat and felt sick.  We were all very happy to finally see the buildings of Cartagena!  We had made it to Colombia!  For me, this was a special moment because I had made it to a new continent—South America.  Woohoo! 








  1. Thank you for this! It will be very helpful:)

  2. What a wonderful entry. Your description of the boat captain reminded me of Hemingway’s Santiago in The Old man and the Sea. I can see Santiago repeating these same words to Manolin in a modern day setting….”Internet, Manolin….this internet and these emails are not the way, Manolin. I must go now to fish. Stay off the computer, Manolin.” Your stuff is what the school kids should be reading in their books–it is the real stuff, the living stuff. Good work.

  3. Hi,Andrew.
    Your trip is nice.
    We hope your trip will be successful.
    We want to travel the whole world someday.
    Good luck!

  4. Hello! Andrew.
    We are Daimon S.H.S students in Japan.
    We were impressed by your blog.
    We think you are great because you are traveling alone around the world by bike.
    How we envy you! You can make a lot of people smile!!
    We are looking forward to meeting you if you come to Japan!
    Good luck on your good trip…!
    We hope your trip gives you good experiences and fortune.

  5. Hi Andrew, we are the three most charming girls in Japan, haha.
    Your bicycle trip is very cool.
    We want to ride your bike,haha.
    We are cheering for you.
    Good luck!

  6. Boats from Panama to Colombia – Colombia to Panama by San Blas

    I am several months in San Blas, doing a thesis on Kuna Yala and I have known and

    continuous knowing Captains, some of whom performed with passengers travel between

    Panama and Colombia, most between Cartagena and Porvenir or Portobelo.

    Also I traveled once to Cartagena from San Blas, and again between Portobelo and Capurgana,

    where I am right now.

    There are about 15 boats that make these trips, among which one is around, some captains

    bad, bad, but others friendly, and some very good … always consult with passengers and the

    captain know personally.

    There is a big business in hostels Panama and Colombia, where charge $ 20 per person … The

    result is that we must pay to the master … $ 20 more.
    Of course, if hostels are concerned about contact with good captains … well, but not, the only

    thing that interests them are the $ 20 although the boat did not resist the crossing and the

    captain is a drunk and drug addict. That is the truth. Of course in hostels say they do not

    charge for it. Of course.
    I know very bad adventures of these passengers.

    The best is approach where are the boats and ask people for the masters. I can not

    recommend going into the Club Nautico Cartagena because there not want to passengers and

    has a boat owner who only wants for he … said that besides passengers…..
    In Portobelo there are always too many boats, not recommend going to Puerto Lindo, there lie

    a lot and people waiting and waiting, some returning to Portobelo when know the trap.

    I have traveled with two captains, boat Staratte and Twyla

    The first very good, the second is also very very good, the Captain, the ship and the route I am

    sure is the best, wonderful.

    Only I know a sail boat that makes the route of the merchant boats and is the sailboat Tuyla ,

    captain Javier (Spain) i wos com from Portobelo until Capurgana in Colombia…nice, very nice!!!

    I leave the addres of this Finally, if I write me I can give you other addresses of good captains

    … see you soon.

    address of the sailboat tuyla is:
    To put out to sea

    For the other boats or some advise ……write me



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