Saturday, December 22, 2018

Definitive detailed Darien Gap map (Panama side)

I created this map from maps I purchased from the Tommy Guardia National Geographic Institute in Panama City. The highlighted route is the safest* and quickest route from Yaviza (the end of the Pan-American Highway) to the village of Paya by motorized dugout canoe (piragua) (67 miles) to the Colombian border (Palo de Letras) by foot (8 miles).

*Not safe.


Yaviza had a population of 4,441 in 2010. This is where I ended my 2013 bus trip. It's a pretty vibrant town, composed of descendants of escaped African slaves and indigenous tribes. Go to the dock and get on a boat! It should take a whole day to get to Paya.


Once you get to El Real, you take the Rio Tiura. The next settlement is Pinogana (405 people in 2010).

All of these photos of the villages were tweeted by Panama's border police SENAFRONT.

The next settlement is Vista Alegre, a Wounaan village.

Next up, Union Choco.

Yape had a population of 187 in 2010.

Capeti had 957 residents in 2008.

Boca de Cupe had a population of 1,167 in 2010. Here is a great story about a recent visit to the town and a description of all the murders and kidnappings by Colombian rebels and paramilitaries in the area, which in turn resulted in the heavy SENAFRONT presence.


The final settlement before turning onto the Rio Paya is El Balsal.


Finally, Paya (639 residents in 2010). This is the end of the navigable river. From here, you have to walk to the border with Colombia.

This video gives you a pretty good idea of the scenery along the rivers, from Yaviza to Paya:

And this obelisk (Palo de Letras) marks the border.

No comments: