Panama, business in the jungle | Deadliest Journeys

Jul 21, 2023 | Nature, Travel, Videos

The Darien Gap is an impassable stretch of jungle between Panama and Colombia that has become the stuff of legend. Named after a province in the area, it is home to some 12,000 square kilometers of densely forested terrain, filled with rivers and swamps. For centuries, merchants and adventurers have attempted to cross the Darien Gap, risking their lives for its secrets. Now, a new documentary “Darien” takes viewers on a journey through this daunting land.

The film follows Gina, an enterprising businesswoman who makes her livelihood from smuggling goods over the Pan-American highway. Despite the dangers she faces traveling through the jungle, she manages to transport tons of goods from Panama City to Colombia by truck and canoe—earning her nickname the “Queen of the Tuira River”. Alongside Gina, we meet farmers, gold diggers, and adventurers who are also defying the odds by crossing this seemingly unnavigable terrain.

The most extreme challenge faced by these intrepid adventurers is in the inhospitable Choco region on the Colombian side of Darien Gap, which can only be crossed by foot—on bare feet! Here we meet “paseos” (smugglers) who lug tons of cargo across treacherous mountains without any form of bearing or direction. The filmmakers also follow illegal immigrants from Somalia, Sudan, and Eritrea as they make their way through this green hell courtesy of unscrupulous smugglers with no regard for human life.

Darien promises a thrilling exploration into one of Earth’s last frontiers; a rare glimpse into a zone shrouded in mystery – where nature still reigns supreme – while uncovering stories about those bravely attempting to traverse it against all odds. If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush and inspiration from some truly remarkable people facing extraordinary circumstances, then make sure you don’t miss out on this captivating documentary!

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David B