Aloha Panama – Thanks For Letting Us In

We’ve officially crossed one more border and added one more flag to the back of the Sprinter. The Costa Rica to Panama border proved to be our most difficult crossing to date and consumed an entire day. When we entered Costa Rica from Nicaragua we received a valid vehicle import permit, but the clowns up north never entered the permit into the computer system. Therefore the southern border officials had no record of us and would not let the Sprinter leave the country. We spent 6 frustrating hours making phone calls to the boss and the boss’s boss. Finally we got someone to override and exit us.

Next we tried to get into Panama. As usual, we had Kiki hiding under the bed in our attempt to smuggle her into a new country. As soon as we crossed over we were waved aside and 2 officials jumped in the back. The first thing they said was “where is your puppy?” Busted! Someone from the other side must have tipped them off. Stevie followed one of the guys into a building to negotiate the bribe while I started working on the paperwork for our new vehicle permit. We barely got everything done before the offices closed.

This border took first place for the smallest crossing we’ve done. It was a REALLY old single lane railroad bridge used mostly for foot traffic. It was a nightmare day, but we survived and entered another country! (Watch border crossing video here)

Our first glimpse of Panama. This place is absolutely magical. We can tell that we are going to LOVE this country…

Guess what their #1 export is?

It is sad going from the super affluent country of Costa Rica back into a poverty stricken country like Panama where 80% of the rural population live below the poverty line. The average rural family lives on a few hundred dollars per year. It’s like Stevie says,
“I guess some countries grow bananas and some countries eat them”.

And so, we enter a new country eager to explore the landscape, learn about the culture, and meet the local people. Aloha Panama. TREE

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  1. Melissa says:

    yay! glad they let kiki in…some places make you quarantine animals for months..i think australia does that. i am sure you will find out though.

  2. Glad you made it through! Sounds hectic but at the very least your first glimpse was much more picturesque than Paso Canoas.

  3. Glad you made it through! Sounds hectic but at the very least your first glimpse was much more picturesque than Paso Canoas.

  4. i read a statistic somewhere that said if we, the consumers of the US, were willing to pay 2 cents more per banana and that money went to the workers, we would raise every field worker out of poverty. Isn't that crazy!

  5. Heather and Scott says:

    Good luck to you two! You are our inspiration. Is that Jose Gonzalez singing in the background?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Love your SprinterLife sticker. More videos!! Love the videos!

  7. Had a similar experience going between Tanzania and Kenya on foot about 25 years ago. Much holding of breath with guys standing around holding machine guns looking at you suspiciously.

  8. Hey everyone, sorry but Google Blogger went down for 12 hours and it appears that many comments were erased. We're back up now though. ūüôā

  9. Cathy Fanandakis Alexander says:

    Your travels sound interesting and the countries are really loaded with nice scenery and people! I suppose you don't really no any place until you live there awhile. Just don't get locked up abroad, like that show! You never know what pet pieves these countries have. Do you still have the dog, I hope! Enjoy your stay!

  10. Monica Ann Kelly says:

    Im so glad you are all safe, and Kiki wasnt taken from you! ‚ô•

  11. Lorraine Chittock says:

    Oh no!!!! Sorry to hear that…

  12. Layla Morrell says:

    Yeah, first time I've been scared reading one of your post > : (

  13. says:

    looking forward to more panama adventures. i had a friend who visited it once and she loved it.

    hehe i LOVE the puppy smuggling stories. Giving me ideas…

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