Comun Tierra

Uma Exploração de Comunidades Sustentáveis na América Latina.

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Crossing Continents

Posted on December, 27 2011

As one chapter ends, another begins. After a year and a half traversing Mexico and Central America, we said goodbye to Costa Rica, the last country of Central America visited by the Común Tierra Project (for now :). We were also saying goodbye to North and Central America, a total of 7 countries, countless friends and faces, communities and cities, parks and cafes.

We felt a cumulative bubbling up of emotions during the preparation and execution of this border crossing ... excitement for what lay ahead, anxiety for what could go wrong, frustration with bureaucratic setbacks and uncertainty, and joy for being alive and for the adventure of it all... all of these feeling helped to fuel us through what was the most difficult, most expensive, and most time-consuming border crossing of the trip.

But through it all we never lost sight of the next frontier on the horizon ... South America!

We are excited for all that awaits us in this new continent, how many stories will be lived and documented, how many adventures will be had, discoveries made, friendships born. Ten countries, tens of thousands of miles, one story connecting them all: the people's rising movement towards a sustainable future for all!

But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, here's a report back from the epic crossing from Costa Rica to Colombia!


As mentioned at the beginning it was a very bureaocractic and complicated process with many stages. As we made the passage from North to South without the help of a customs agency (how the majority of travelers make the passage), we had to be very organized and spend a lot of time with formalities and paperwork as more information arrived everyday with new procedures and documents to work through. After about two full weeks involved in the process, including a general organization, cataloging and deep cleaning (!) of Minhoca, we had the car ready for the crossing.




On the left, our house is all packed up and ready to go! On the right, Minhoca's official identification as a shipment of Seaboard Marine...

(Hey, I didn't know Colombia was NORTH??)


We travelled to Colombia separately from Minhoca, as passengers are not allowed to accompany their vehicles. So Minhoca was shipped on a huge ocean freighter, alone (poor thing)... we had to leave her at the port in Costa Rica, say goodbye, and then pick her up in Colombia... This picture above shows how we found her in the port of Cartagena, Colombia, hanging out with some oil and gas trucks, and a little convertible that has been stuck there for 20 years.

To enter the port, Ryan had to wear special safety equipment ... The photo below was taken after a 2-day marathon of bureaucratic processes. Luckily for us we met a friend in Costa Rica who very kindly lent us her apartment in Cartagena, so we had a bed and shower and were comfortable while super-busy with all of the "procedures". Crazy times!









Here, Leticia with Luis and Sonia of Enlace Caribe, the customs agency that gave us invaluable help in Cartagena.

Thank you friends!



As soon as we got Minhoca out, and had Colombian insurance, we hit the road  heading south...

We wanted to cross the entire country in 3 days to get to our destination, EcoAldea Atlantida, south of Cali.



We quickly found out that it's very rare to use Propane as vehicle fuel in Colombia. Unluckily, we began to have  mechanical trouble with the Gasoline system and were forced to use Propane, so we rigged up a way to fill up the Propane tank from replaceable household GLP tanks.


This red-shirted man on the left is a motorcycle-taxi driver who helped us a lot when we couldn’t find anywhere to fill up our propane tank … he took an entire afternoon off work to help us, and thanks to him we found the solution, and constructed an adapter to be able to fill our tank from any other tank! Thank you friend!


Our second stop for propane, this time with our own connecting hose so we can adapt to the household tanks wherever we go.






We took a rare break from the drive at this beautiful waterfall outside of Medellin. At around 6000 feet above sea level, the climate here is fresh, with mist rolling around the hills, and warm sun peaking through during the day.

Very pleasant conditions for a drive...








Below, street art in Medellin:


And an old colonial house in Cartagena...


So far, we have found everyone to be extremely helpful and nice in Colombia. Whenever we had trouble on the road, mechanical problems, or needing to fillup the Propane, or simply confused about which way to go, there was always someone around eager to help and curious about us.

Bienvenidos a America del Sul! Welcome to South America!

We will begin posting from our South American adventures and projects in the second half of January... Stay tuned!

For now, happy holidays to everyone, may your path be blessed and your heart content...

-Ryan and Leti


  • kevin carranza, dia Posted on December, 02 2013

    Hola chicos! Me encontre con este blog y poco a poco estoy leyendo hago escala en este articulo para saber un poco mas sobre el costo y los problemas que se enfretaron para cruzar el canal de panama con el camper? La pregunta es porque yo en marzo arranco con dos amigos mas en una combi hacia sudamerica y se escuchan muchas dificultades para cruzar por panama- Saludos-

  • Miriam, dia Posted on January, 02 2012

    Uauuu!!! Amei! Bem-vindos a América do Sul! Luv u guys!!!

  • regina rigatti ramires barcellos, dia Posted on December, 30 2011

    Lendo toda esta aventura cada vez fico mais apaixonada pela força e pela determinação de vcs- Poder passar estes dias com vcs foi mágico aprendi muito a ter mais paciencia e prinicpalmente a ouvir pelo menos tentarrsrs-Agora chegou a hora da partida- Quero desejar muita energia e muito amor mais ainda para vcsvão com fé e com muita luzamo vcs

  • Micki, dia Posted on December, 29 2011

    Woo hoo! Congratulations on your passage to South America!

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