Troutbridge: Trust me on this one - do it yourself. I was like you and figured an agent would be the easiest - and for that I didn't mind paying extra and I ignored the same advice I am giving you now. In the end, it was actually much harder, more stressful and longer because of our agent. The process seems very daunting, but in reality it is no harder than checking into a foreign country and getting your boat inspected and then making a simple bank transfer.
In three easy steps:
1) When you arrive at the Shelter Bay Marina, take a taxi to the admeasure office in Colon. Even if you don't speak Spanish, the cab driver will know the "admeasurer office." Once inside, everyone speaks sufficient English
, there is usually no wait and you can normally schedule your admeasure date for the very next day. The measuring process is easy and very straightforward. At the arranged time the admeasurer will arrive at your boat and take a measurement of the boat (complete of all protrusions, like davits
2) Once you are measured you take one final taxi to the "ACP transit office" to pay. This is a simple bank transfer and the bank is right next to the ACP transit office.
3) Once paid, the last step is to call the ACP office (they speak english) to receive your actual transit date and time. That's all an agent will do for you, and from here it is up to you to get tires, lines and line handlers anyway as your agent does not help with this - and to transit, of course.
To pay an agent anywhere from $300 to $500 to do this seems rather wasteful in comparison. While Colon is not the nicest of all towns, you are not going there at night and the taxi drivers are very helpful and know exactly where to take you.
To see more advice on how to get tires, where the best transit location is and other random facts, click here to see our blog and a video of our crossing.