Free Documentary Film: Crossing the Darién Gap (2013, 2016)

Darién Gap is one of the most difficult areas on earth to travel and it is considered to be extremely dangerous. This documentary film includes footage from a speedboat ride from Turbo to Capurganá, border villages, and the jungle on both sides of the border between Panama and Colombia. There are interviews with two fellow travellers who crossed the Darién Gap, one from Switzerland and another from Peru. Crossing the Darién Gap (40 minutes, Päivi & Santeri Kannisto, 2013 & 2016) has English, Spanish and Finnish subtitles.

2016-2-28 update notes

We have re-edited the original film (filmed in 2013, released on April 17, 2013) based on the feedback. The timeline was re-organized chronologically, most of the score was removed and the film now features Full HD 1080p. Thank you all of our 36,000+ viewers for watching the film, especially those who give us improvement proposals and shared their own views.


English subtitles



Subtítulos en español



Tekstitetty suomeksi

Thank you for watching. Please leave a comment and share the film, and check the options, details, and costs for travelling between Colombia and Panama.

Transcript

1
00:00:07,771 --> 00:00:10,910
Päivi & Santeri

2
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A Colombian paramilitary group has reportedly
kidnapped three Americans in the Darién Gap

3
00:00:18,494 --> 00:00:21,849
We strongly advise you not to travel to the Darién
Gap because of the risk of violent criminal activity

4
00:00:21,849 --> 00:00:24,369
Drug-running Colombian rebels are using the
dense, lawless jungle to smuggle cocaine

5
00:00:24,400 --> 00:00:26,400
Colombian terrorist groups, drug traffickers and other
criminals throughout the Panama-Colombia border

6
00:00:26,404 --> 00:00:28,924
Foreign nationals have been the victims
of violent crimes, kidnapping and murder

7
00:01:14,000 --> 00:01:18,200
Crossing the Darién Gap

8
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Colombia

9
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Darién Gap

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Panama

11
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Turbo, Colombia
March 10-13, 2013

12
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Capurganá, Colombia
March 14, 2013

13
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Is this your first time in Colombia?
Yes, this is my first trip to Colombia.

14
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I think I will come back again.

15
00:08:28,400 --> 00:08:29,580
So you like it here?

16
00:08:30,020 --> 00:08:35,980
Yes, there are a lot of nice
and beautiful places here.

17
00:08:37,940 --> 00:08:39,680
How do you feel
about this place?

18
00:08:40,880 --> 00:08:48,560
It's a quiet place, a small
village.

19
00:08:49,740 --> 00:08:54,580
It's really nice. People are not very very friendly.

20
00:08:56,840 --> 00:09:01,140
But it is an isolated
place and if you want to

21
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relax a couple days,
it's perfect.

22
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Immigration? It is not here.

23
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Are you going straight somewhere?

24
00:10:22,920 --> 00:10:26,780
The immigration is not open
now because there is no electricity.

25
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They can't stamp your
passport without electricity.

26
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Breakfast US $4

27
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What was your route from Peru to Capurganá?

28
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My trip was quite
monumental I have to say.

29
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I left from Lima and went to Tumbes.

30
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I was at the beach at the border.
Punta Sal was very beautiful.

31
00:13:26,540 --> 00:13:33,020
I wanted to go back
there one day.

32
00:13:34,920 --> 00:13:36,240
Is it in Peru?

33
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Yes, Tumbes is near the border
in Northern Peru.

34
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Very beautiful, also the beaches.

35
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From there I went to
Guayaquil, Ecuador, then

36
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to Quito and to the
Colombian border.

37
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From the Colombian border I went

38
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to Medellín, Turbo
and Capurganá.

39
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How did you come here?
By speedboat and bus from Medellín.

40
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OK, so you took a bus from Medellín
and then where did you go?

41
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To Turbo. And then by
speedboat 2.5 hours.

42
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How was the ride?
Bumpy.

43
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A little bit, yeah.

44
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I came here by boat.

45
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And that was really
a boat, not a bus.

46
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Were you seasick?

47
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No, fortunately I took
some precautions.

48
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Did you take medication?

49
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No, I just relaxed and
tried to enjoy the ride.

50
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The trip took a bit over 2 hours.

51
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I am not used to being at sea.

52
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Was there a lot of water flying
all over?

53
00:15:21,500 --> 00:15:30,360
Yes, a lot of water and
jumping up and down.

54
00:15:32,942 --> 00:15:38,862
But the trip went fine
and we enjoyed it.

55
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Some people were yelling.

56
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Soon I was anxiously
waiting for the arrival.

57
00:15:51,320 --> 00:15:53,920
When we were in Turbo,
it was funny,

58
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we were just shooting
there in the harbour.

59
00:15:57,085 --> 00:15:59,612
And then they got really
irritated saying that you

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can't shoot here. And
then the immigration came

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and they took us to
some place and checked

62
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our passports and
then they were asking

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all the time "Are
you journalists?"

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"Are you journalists?"

65
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I think I saw you.
OK, you saw us shooting there?

66
00:16:16,860 --> 00:16:18,460
Yeah.
OK, yeah, so it was really funny.

67
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Then I was asking them why

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are you so afraid
of journalists.

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"Just show me your passport."

70
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"I need to check it for
your own safety."

71
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Then we showed them, he
checked them, alright, and

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then he asked once more:
"Are you journalists?"

73
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Once in your lifetime to
be in a city called Turbo.

74
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Yeah, it's a funny name.

75
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Turbo. Sounds like some
kind of drug.

76
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It's a strange city, noisy.

77
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It was actually the only
Colombian city we have

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visited so far where tap
water was not potable.

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It was so bad that it looked like porridge.

80
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We went yesterday for a little walk.

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We walked from Capurganá, from here,

82
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all the way to Panama.

83
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How was the trail,
how did you like it?

84
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Nice, a bit muddy,

85
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like always in the jungle.

86
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The hike was a bit tedious

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but when we arrived,

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I didn't think about it anymore.

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It was worth all the trouble.

90
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It was fabulous.

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I have to admit that it

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was indeed worthwhile.

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As I said, my trip
was long.

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The whole journey.

95
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But coming here,

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yes, it was definitely
worth the trouble.

97
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The jungle is so
beautiful and peaceful.

98
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It rains 3 times a day or so and

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the path gets really
muddy when it's raining.

100
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It is something you
can walk without

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backpack and a lot of stuff.

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But if you have all
your gear with you,

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then it is not so fun any more
because it's a slippery mudslide.

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Scenic place

105
00:24:53,353 --> 00:24:58,853
Of course there are always some
problems in touristy places such as this.

106
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Yesterday we took a
boat to Sapzurro.

107
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There was a small
incident with the price.

108
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Yes, I understand that as
a Latin American person.

109
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You expect these kind
of things to happen.

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Many times you have to adapt.

111
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You can't help it,
these things just happen.

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Some people take
advantage of others.

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Like yesterday,
we agreed about the price

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for the trip but the guy
changed it afterwards.

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They just try to take
advantage of you.

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But you learn to notice it.

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You need to be prepared.

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Keep things clear and
always check the price.

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Make sure there's an agreement.

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But when someone changes
the rules on the way,

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what can you do?

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You will have to negotiate
so that nobody loses.

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Meeting halfway

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so that you don't
lose and I don't lose.

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Solomon's judgement.

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You have travelled with
Markus who is from Europe.

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Does he have more problems than

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you because you speak Spanish?

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00:26:54,679 --> 00:26:56,679
Yes, yes.

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There is a huge difference.

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You see it in many places.

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I notice it right away.

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In prices, when talking with
people, when buying something.

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Suddenly everything just changes

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if they see you with a person
who looks different.

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I do the negotiations because
I speak the language.

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So we try to get
the right price.

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Their prices change
according to the customer.

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They take advantage of you.

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00:27:50,200 --> 00:27:54,200
It is discrimination in that sense.

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00:27:54,225 --> 00:27:59,225
It seems to me that you
often feel discriminated.

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Because of your skin colour,
you pay a different price.

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It is just another form
of discrimination

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They think you have
more money than they have.

145
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I don't like it,
but that's how it is.

146
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Does that happen only in Colombia?

147
00:28:22,851 --> 00:28:29,851
No, it is everywhere here,
also in Peru and Bolivia.

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What is the image of Colombia
and Colombians in Peru?

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00:29:49,739 --> 00:29:57,739
The image I had was that
Colombia is dangerous.

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There are guerrillas
that make it dangerous.

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Thanks to this, I was prepared.

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There are a lot of policemen and
soldiers around.

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They make travelling safe.

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00:30:22,225 --> 00:30:30,225
In other countries,
you just hear rumours.

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But you need to see it for yourself.

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You never know, you might want to return.

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00:30:43,673 --> 00:30:46,673
Do you feel that it is dangerous here?

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At the moment no, except the sea.

159
00:30:54,300 --> 00:30:59,300
No, fortunately not.
Everything is fine.

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It's about inner peace, you have to
break out of your comfort zone.

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When you are relaxed,
you are not thinking

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all the time what bad
can happen to you.

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Something can always happen, but...

164
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Have you felt unsafe here,
are there some dangers?

165
00:31:27,258 --> 00:31:28,258
No, not at all.

166
00:31:29,541 --> 00:31:34,638
Is there anything
negative in Colombia that

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you have experienced
during your travel?

168
00:31:40,577 --> 00:31:42,077
Prices.

169
00:31:42,283 --> 00:31:46,283
Yes, prices, they are high.
Colombia is very expensive.

170
00:31:46,931 --> 00:31:52,231
That is the only negative thing.
Ttravel costs.

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00:31:52,386 --> 00:31:55,386
Accommodation, food?

172
00:31:55,518 --> 00:31:58,918
No, I can manage with
food and accommodation

173
00:31:58,967 --> 00:32:02,967
but travelling is outrageously
expensive.

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00:32:03,974 --> 00:32:08,974
On top of everything else,
you have to pay that, too.

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This is the only
negative thing.

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Panama

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Welcome to Panama

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At the Colombia-Panama border

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there was a little shack

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where they checked passports and

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wrote down passport
numbers and names.

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We asked them about
walking all the way from

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La Miel, the border city
on the Panamian side,

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to Puerto Obaldia where there
is airport and transportation.

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00:34:12,887 --> 00:34:18,237
The border guard
told that there can be

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00:34:18,337 --> 00:34:23,337
some gangsters or some
drug smugglers or

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bad guys or at least there
has been at some point.

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00:34:27,259 --> 00:34:30,059
Or at least everybody is
forbidden to walk there.

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00:34:30,154 --> 00:34:33,754
On the Colombian side everything has
been very safe,

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00:34:34,011 --> 00:34:37,701
also on the Panamian side
there was nothing really.

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00:34:37,932 --> 00:34:41,932
The only guns were in the hands of the border 
guards. Everybody else was pretty relaxed,

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00:34:42,383 --> 00:34:45,883
just some local indigenous
people and that's all.

193
00:34:46,041 --> 00:34:50,041
Yeah. It didn't
feel so dangerous.

194
00:34:50,680 --> 00:34:52,333
But anyway, maybe...

195
00:34:52,359 --> 00:34:56,407
I think they want to
promote the (boat)trips.

196
00:34:56,886 --> 00:34:59,886
Yeah, maybe that's the reason.

197
00:35:00,142 --> 00:35:04,142
In the viewing platform we
saw an American woman who

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00:35:04,162 --> 00:35:09,662
was travelling with a local
guide. She had been

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00:35:09,741 --> 00:35:15,241
hiking in the south
and she told that

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00:35:15,305 --> 00:35:20,305
there are paths so
it might be possible

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00:35:20,315 --> 00:35:24,215
to walk all the way from
the south to Capurganá.

202
00:35:24,313 --> 00:35:26,227
Not to take that speedboat.
Oh really?

203
00:35:26,581 --> 00:35:29,573
According to her, yes.
Her guide told that you

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00:35:29,599 --> 00:35:32,162
can't walk all the
way on the beach.

205
00:35:32,317 --> 00:35:35,835
At some point, you will have to go
inland but there are paths.

206
00:35:36,061 --> 00:35:38,061
So if you can use
your map and compass

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00:35:38,094 --> 00:35:41,894
and know a little bit how
to survive in the jungle

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00:35:41,895 --> 00:35:43,495
it should be possible.

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00:35:43,500 --> 00:35:48,000
Or if you hire a guide like she did.
She was from New York.

210
00:35:58,086 --> 00:36:00,586
La Miel, Panama
March 15, 2013

211
00:37:54,880 --> 00:37:58,966
Taking a flight
sounds stupid because

212
00:37:58,992 --> 00:38:03,167
Panama is so near and
Colombia is its neighbour.

213
00:38:03,857 --> 00:38:07,173
So why not try something else?
Then we checked sail boats.

214
00:38:07,199 --> 00:38:10,386
Crazy expensive and we
drink a lot of water

215
00:38:10,420 --> 00:38:13,772
so we can't carry enough
water with us there.

216
00:38:14,198 --> 00:38:16,675
Then we found this route.

217
00:38:17,210 --> 00:38:20,410
From Turbo by speedboat
and then walking.

218
00:38:21,737 --> 00:38:26,737
Yes, coming here was
worth the trouble.

219
00:38:27,370 --> 00:38:31,370
After all, I'm here,
what else can I say?

220
00:38:31,500 --> 00:38:35,500
It has been beautiful,
interesting and

221
00:38:35,526 --> 00:38:40,625
it has changed my
image of this place.

222
00:38:41,250 --> 00:38:47,250
I recommend it.

223
00:38:49,200 --> 00:38:53,200
I guess the biggest challenge
for people crossing

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00:38:53,220 --> 00:39:01,220
the Darién Gap has been taking
some motor vehicles with them.

225
00:39:01,728 --> 00:39:04,728
That's what makes it complicated
because there are no roads,

226
00:39:04,800 --> 00:39:07,351
just walking pathways.

227
00:39:07,441 --> 00:39:10,441
It is OK to walk, but
if you want to drive

228
00:39:10,480 --> 00:39:14,980
a car, it might be hard.
Yes.

229
00:39:15,054 --> 00:39:18,454
Even from Capurganá to Panama,
think about driving there.

230
00:39:18,558 --> 00:39:22,919
In the mud and over the hills,
it's just jungle.

231
00:39:25,591 --> 00:39:30,091
Thanks a lot!
You are welcome.

232
00:39:37,681 --> 00:39:39,681
Crossing the Darién Gap

233
00:39:40,140 --> 00:39:43,240
Interviewees: Magnolia, 41, Peru.
Markus, 44, Switzerland.

234
00:39:43,760 --> 00:39:46,700
Music: Jungle Boys and Juan

235
00:39:47,180 --> 00:39:49,680
Maps: 2D © OpenStreetMap contributors.
3D by NASA

236
00:39:50,240 --> 00:39:51,300
Production

237
00:39:51,840 --> 00:39:55,480
Filmed in Colombia and Panama in 2013
Produced by Päivi & Santeri, 2016

238
00:39:55,900 --> 00:39:59,880
info@2globalnomads.info
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Keywords: , Darien Gap, crossing, film, movie, Turbo, Capurganá, Sapzurro, La Miel, Playa Blanca, Panama, Colombia, jungle, walking, trekking, hiking, documentary, the Darién Gap.

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