Panama > Colombia

There is a lot of information out there about how to ship from Panama to Colombia, so we will try and make this brief.  After hearing too many horror stories about Roll on, roll off (RoRo) so we decided to ship the 4Runner in a shared 40 ft. container.  We had an excellent experience.  We emailed an agent, who was responsive and answered all of our questions.  The agent ended up finding us a partner and the cost quoted to us came out to be spot on — $1,030 USD.  We would highly recommend using our shipping agent Ever Logistics.

Boris G. Jaramillo
Ever Logistics, Inc.
Phone: (507) 431-0390 / 431-0391 / 431-0392 / 431-0393 / 431-0394
Fax : (507) 431-0395
Cel.: (507) 6213-3485
Skype: borisj23

Overview of Shipping Process:

  • DIJ inspection in Panama City:  The DIJ inspection location is marked on iOverlander, but the GPS coordinates are 8.966387,-79.544905.  We were told to arrive around 7:00 a.m. to get a number, but due to traffic we arrived closer to 9:00 a.m.  We were totally freaked out that we would have to wait forever or not be able to get the inspection; lucky for us the inspections went quick and we were done about an hour later. The inspection takes about 10 minutes but you have to comeback at 2:00 pm to pickup a document that certified your passing the inspection.  You will pick up this document across the street at the Secretary General which is also posted on iOverlander, the GPS coordinates are 8.96566,-79.54542. This document is valid for 8 days from the day of the inspection. We would suggest doing the inspection 1 or 2 days before your loading day.  You will need 2 copies of the following documents:
  • Temporary Importation Permit
  • Booking Confirmation from Ever Logistics
  • Title of Vehicle
  • Insurance of the Vehicle
  • Passport of the owner
  • 2. Customs and loading day: Ever Logistics will send you an email with the address of the meeting place in Colon City.  We heard the Colon was a dump, but we also had experienced horrible traffic in Panama City so we ended up staying in a hotel in Colon the night before. We should also mention that it was raining, so camping wasn’t an option for us because we didn’t want to put the tent away wet the day before shipping.  Ever Logistics will then go with you to the Customs office to complete the paperwork.  You will need 5 sets copies of the following documents and EACH set in this order:

    • Temporary importation permit
    • DIJ inspection document
    • Title of Vehicle
    • Insurance of the Vehicle
    • Passport of the owner

    Once you are done with the Customs office you will take your vehicle to the loading area and load it into the container.  You will be required to unplug your battery, and have less than a half tank of gas and empty jerry cans.  At this point you will be asked to pay Ever Logistics their portion of the fees.  We were done with everything by 12:00 and took a bus back to Panama City where we had booked an Airbnb until we flew to Colombia.  Side note – we enjoyed our Airbnb Panama and would recommend it for any overlander who needs a place for a night or two in Panama.

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    First, we had to make the tough decision about whether to fly or sail to Cartagena. Sailing to the San Blas islands and then to Cartagena sounded amazing, but due to rough seas, time constraints and budget issues we decided to fly instead.  We had a 5:00 a.m. flight from Panama to Bogota so we ended up sleeping at the airport the night before, which turned out to work well since Austin remembered to bring our REI travel sack–if you don’t have one of these, get one!  From Bogota we had about 1 hour to make our connection flight to Cartagena.  For these flights we flew Copa and Avianca Airlines, but if you are looking for super cheap regional flights inside Colombia, check out VivaColombia.

    Getting your vehicle out of the port: Ever Logistics works with GLOBAL SHIPPING AGENCIES S.A. in Cartagena.  It took us two full days to get the car out of the port, but for the most part the process was pretty straight forward.  Luckily for us, had typed out detailed steps to this process, you can find the steps here.  You will end up paying the rest of the fees at three banks in Cartagena.  For this portion of the trip, we also rented an Airbnb in the Getsemani neighborhood inside the walled city.  It was a short taxi ride from the airport, a short taxi ride to the port and also in the heart of the city.  We can’t recommend this place enough!  Check out the listing here.

    We hope you enjoy Colombia as much as we did!