This is our experience/record of crossing from Panama to Colombia on the Stahlratte sailing vessel. Our traveling party consisted of two people and two motorcycles.
The majority of our paperwork was completed by the shipping agent for the Stahlratte and all fees (except insurance) were included in our ticket/voyage price so they are not listed below.
Border Name: By Sea
Costs: 107.98 USD insurance for two motorcycles
- Colombia insurance: 107.98 USD (53.99 USD per motorcycle)
- All other expenses were paid by the Stahlratte shipping agent
- Motorcycle title
- Panama vehicle import permit
- Note: we keep all originals in individual plastic sleeves. We labeled these sleeves clearly to avoid confusion as to what was what, to keep original documents clean, and to differentiate what was original and what is a copy. All border-crossing officials have respected the sleeve.
Step 1: Join the Stahlratte sailing vessel in Carti, Panama
Step 2: Panama immigration: provided passports to the captain who then had a local Kuna contact that took all passports to an immigration office and had passengers stamped out of Panama. The captain kept the passports during the voyage.
Step 3: Panama customs: provide title and vehicle import permit to captain who scanned documents and emailed them to shipping agent who cancelled out import permits.
Step 1: Colombia immigration: arrived in Capurgana and the captain took passports and all passengers to the customs office where all passports where stamped. We then re-boarded the Stahlratte and sailed another 24 hours to Cartagena.
Step 2: Colombia customs: on arrival in Cartagena we unloaded the motorcycles from the Stahlratte to a smaller barge. The barge took us to shore and we drove off a ramp into the city. We drove about eight blocks to the customs offices where we were met by the shipping agent provided and paid for by the Stahlratte. Before leaving the Stahlratte the captain gave us our stamped passports along with photocopies (three) of our passports including the Colombia stamp. Upon meeting the shipping agent we gave him one copy of our passports and he had already filled out the customs forms. We were required to review and sign. About an hour later we were provided with our temporary vehicle import permits.
Step 3: Colombia insurance: we drove from the customs house to the closest insurance (Seguro) office where we provided our passports, titles, and import permit to receive insurance. The insurance policy was 53.99 USD per motorcycle for a three-month policy (the same time allowed on our vehicle permits).