Step 1 in getting to Panama (the easy part): the last few jungle and beach towns in Colombia

flower in the darien

Sadly leaving from Barranquilla, my next stop was going to be the last few places on the coast of Colombia before reaching Panama. Isolated towns only accessible by boat due to the impenetrable Darien Jungle and heavy guerilla activity, I was pretty excited to see what they were like. The other options in getting to Panama were several hundred dollar sailboat or plane rides, options that didn't really fit into my budget, and I wanted to see some places these means of transport left out (albeit while being far more comfortable). I left Barranquilla a bit late and decided last minute to skip over Cartagena (promising myself that I would return), and ended up having to pass the night in a muggy, mid-sized town called Monteria. Since the buses to the coastal town of Turbo where the motorboats depart from were leaving (supposedly) at 4 am, I just decided to stay in the bus terminal and read and maybe dose off for a little bit. Sleeping proved difficult with all the mosquitoes, but I found a TV in the terminal, which was surprisingly modern and well guarded. After watching Cris Angel's MindFreak, Gene Simmon's Family Jewels, and assorted TV shows describing American serial killers, I was happily reminded of why I never owned a television...

...in the University. In any case, the buses didn't leave until around 5am due to some brake problems, and I promptly passed out until arriving in Turbo. At the port they informed me that I had missed the boat for the day to Capurgana, my first destination, however I could take a boat to Acandi and then another boat to Capurgana for more or less the same price. Acandi was a sleepy town without much to see where I grabbed a few empanadas, and a few hours later took the bumpy ride to Capurgana (motorized transport is banned in the town besides boats and the occasional plane that arrives). After a hefty search through my bag by some soldiers at the dock, I wandering in to Capurgana and found a delightful campsite owned by a local lady named Nelly to pitch my tent just a few steps from the beach, which was crystal clear (for some reason didn't take a whole lot of pictures). I spent a few relaxed days on the beach and wandering in the jungle before walking over to another nearby town called Sapzurro. I was informed the walk was supposed to be fairly simple, but it ended up being mostly trails of wet clay and a steep climb, resulting with me on my ass more than a few times. I ended up doing it barefoot for the last 20 minutes, and after wandering in Sapzurro grabbed a boat to the first port on the Panamanian side, Puerto Olbaldia.That's when things got interesting, though...I reached into my pocket and realized I had about 20 dollars. This wouldn't have posed much of a problem if there were ATMs around, but in the Darien and Kuna regions there were no banks and I wouldn't have access to money until reaching Panama City. The rest of my trip to get to Panama City is detailed here.
Departing from Turbo.
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The main catherdral in Acandi.
Beach in Capurgana.
A howler monkey in the Darien.
The next few pictures are from in the Darien jungle near Capurgana.
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Leafcutter ants.
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The morning boat in Capurgana unloading, the only supply link.
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On the tough walk from Capurgana to Sapzurro, this is a high view of Sapzurro.
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Departing from Turbo.
01/18 
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