Browse content similar to Costa Rica to Panama. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
'My fellow comedian, Ed Byrne, and I are on an epic road trip.'
We have been in this car for nearly a month.
'We're travelling 4,000 miles down the longest road in the world -
'the Pan-American Highway.'
Wow, look at that!
'We'll be passing through some of the most spectacular...
'..and volatile countries on the planet.'
Look at that over there - over there.
Oh, my God.
'Today, this great road is the main artery through the Americas...
'..but 75 years ago,
'it was little more than a cart track.
'Then, three adventurers from Detroit
'set out to drive all the way from North to South America.'
It was an expedition to attempt what no-one has ever done.
'Crossing jungles, fording rivers and conquering mountains,
'they forged a route for what would eventually become
'the Pan-American Highway.
'Using their journal as a guide,
'we'll follow their path from the USA all the way to Panama.'
-That's impressive, isn't it?
-It's incredibly impressive.
'This time, we'll be riding with Costa Rican cowboys...'
Ed, stop showboating.
Dirty cow protest, is that what it is?
'..crewing on the Panama Canal...'
'..and deep in the jungle, Dara puts his foot in it.'
I recommend a dry rot expert to come in and spray this place.
'We'll discover how this highway
'has changed the lives of the people who live on its route,
'on our very own Pan-American road trip of a lifetime.'
'After nearly three weeks,
'Ed and I are into the final leg of our epic journey
'through Central America.
'And now, we're heading further south, into Costa Rica.'
This is a wildlife paradise.
-There are more animals...
-Stop introducing me to Costa Rica.
-I can see it! It's all around us.
-I know, but it's full of animals...
-Stop showing me YOUR Costa Rica.
It's not MY Costa Rica, I've never been in this part of Costa Rica.
I'm on holiday somewhere, in a different part of the same country.
-Also, if this doesn't offend you...
..it's one of the only countries in the world which has an ironic name.
This better be ironic.
Do you know what the name means - "Costa Rica"?
-"Costa" is "coast".
-Yes, they called it "Costa Rica" because they presumed
it was going to be rich with minerals - and it has nothing.
It's got no mineral worth at all, I think.
It's still called "Rich Coast", ironically.
Then again, that's probably no more ironic than the West Indies.
It is beautiful though, isn't it?
Armed with the original expedition journal, Adventure South,
our last chapter in the Pan-American Highway
takes us through the mountains of Costa Rica
to Panama and its world-famous canal.
Finally, we head into
the mysterious wilderness of the Darien Gap,
which separates North from South America.
But first, we're following the Pan-Am along the exact same trail
blazed by the three adventurers -
Sullivan Richardson, Ken Van Hee and Arnold Whitaker,
over 70 years ago.
When finally we entered Costa Rica,
our first surprise was to see these trees of yellow golden flowers,
standing out above the jungles.
Across the hills,
they appear like huge nuggets of gold in a grey-green setting.
Up close, they're as lovely and as delicate as any flowers we've seen.
But the flowers soon turned to mud,
as the intrepid explorers became bogged down in jungle paths.
They were rescued more than once by local sabaneros,
Costa Rica's legendary cowboys.
Hi, how are you?
Modern-day sabanero Gonzalo Sanchez is the owner of the El Cojito Ranch.
How long have your family been on this farm?
This farm was bought by my great-grandfather in 1916.
So your family would have been here when the men we're following...
-..went through here in the '40s?
And in the past, old farm was a cattle farm,
but now the cattle business is in a bad situation,
so we prefer to produce sugar cane.
Right. Sugar cane doesn't need cowboys, does it?
No, that is a big problem, because the sabanero is going to disappear.
Gonzalo still keeps several hundred head of cattle on the ranch
and needs to round them up.
Luckily, two of Ireland's finest horsemen have volunteered to help.
How do you make it start? Where does the key go?
-You have to push your legs like this...
I'm looking at your legs. I'm not seeing what it is
that my legs aren't doing that your legs are doing.
Come on, I know you're slow.
Ed, stop showboating.
Back to the rest of the class, come on!
Oh, yeah. Drop a load on me, I know.
Dirty cow protest, is that what it is?
You're kind of a "stop and smell the roses" kind of horse, aren't you?
You do things when you want to do them.
I have literally one gear on this horse.
You have to be firm with them, that's the thing.
Cattle ranching was first brought to Costa Rica
by the Spanish, 500 years ago.
Now, the free-spirited sabaneros are revered throughout Costa Rica
for their horsemanship and cattle-wrangling skills.
Ed seems to have found his inner sabanero.
I am still looking for mine.
Do you have any openings? Do you think we could get a job here?
Yes, of course. If you want, I can...
I think we can separate this out.
One of us seems to be quite good at this -
and the other one couldn't get a second speed on his horse.
'But there's one more thing we need to master
'before we can become true cowboys.'
Norbert is going to tell you how to use the rope.
'The sabaneros still rely on their well-honed rope tricks
'to manage the feisty calves.'
-Do you like the sneaking I'm doing, as well?
-Yeah, I can see you.
He's not going to hear you coming.
-Quick, Ed - double it up!
-There you go! Come on!
We've hooked ourselves a big one!
'Lassoing a tree is relatively easy.
'But now, it's time for a fast-moving cow.'
How eager are you?
Just go in and put it on his head.
I don't want to be doing this! I don't want to be doing this!
I don't want to be doing this!
Yeah, but you let go of your rope.
That is a small technical problem.
Now I need my rope back.
Don't poo on my rope!
Despite our best efforts,
the skills of the sabaneros may soon be gone for ever.
Since the late 1980s,
crops have become more profitable than beef
and many cattle farms have closed.
El Cojito is one of the last ranches in the area
keeping the cowboy traditions alive.
-So, did you like the experience?
-BOTH: Oh, it was fantastic!
-It was wonderful.
-You look like real cowboys.
You feel like a cowboy, when you're sitting on a horse. It's just...
It naturally gives you a certain stature.
Straightens your back, it lends you an air of dignity and...gravitas.
Come on, let's go. Come on.
No, I mean, this is "let's go". There you go.
By March 1941,
the expedition had been on the road for four months.
With Sullivan as navigator, Ken as cook and Arnold the mechanic,
they had coaxed their battered Plymouth as far as the River Sapoa -
an area rich in wildlife.
This chap's older brother had captured this little anteater
a day or two before we came along, and now the boy plays with it,
as your little son or brother
would play with a pet kitten around the house.
A year after the expedition passed this way, the US kick-started
the construction of the Pan-American Highway in Costa Rica,
with a donation of 40 million.
'Today, it looks like the engineers are back.'
Look at this for a road-widening programme.
"It's currently two lanes, so should we make it three,
"should we make it four? No, six - let's go straight to six."
That's right! How many roads are they planning to build?
Are they trying to build three parallel Pan-American Highways?
'The expanding highway now cuts through
'two of Costa Rica's most important national parks.
'Dara and I have come to the Rescate Las Pumas animal rescue centre,
'which deals with the devastating consequences of the road
'on local wildlife.
'Whilst Dara goes in search of the big cats,
'I'm meeting Dr Martha Sanchez,
'to find out about the most vulnerable animals.'
-Do you want to feed him?
-Oh, God, yes!
-Right, just a little squeeze.
There we go.
'This three-month-old baby anteater
'was found by the roadside, two weeks ago.'
The orphans come here, because their mothers die in the road.
You can see in one week,
four or five anteaters die in the street.
And it's very expensive to take care of these animals.
No-one's done anything?
So, the people building the roads don't throw you...
No, nobody gives money.
'Costa Rica now depends on its wildlife to generate tourist dollars.
'Sanctuaries like this one,
'which rescue a wide range of animals from the Pan-American Highway,
'are key to protecting not just the country's diversity,
'but also its income.'
Will you ever be able to release her back into the wild,
or does she have to stay here, now?
Yes, she needs to stay here maybe six, seven months.
-Six or seven months?
'Whilst the centre rehabilitates many of the animals,
'some, like the jaguar Rafael, live here permanently.'
Rafael came three months old.
He was a baby, the mum was killed.
'Esther Pomerada is the centre's chief biologist
'and she's asked me to help prepare Rafa's morning entertainment.'
-That's cowhide, is it?
-Yeah, it's cow - and inside is a coconut.
'Toys like the cowhide pina colada are designed
'to stop Rafael getting bored in captivity.
'He also gets to play with a perfumed log.'
That's actually... That is genuinely Chanel No 5?
-What does the perfume make him do?
Will Rafael nuzzle against it and...?
-Does Rafael have some fun with the log?
The perfume has pheromones that motivate him
and you will see the response to that.
Grab your little tree, my friend.
-It's not mean to get him all excited like this, is it?
Oh, he's found a toy.
What effect do the roads have on jaguars?
The first effect is that the roads fragmentate
the habitat of the jaguars,
because they tried to move to get new territories to hunt,
because they have the cubs on one side and they need to move,
so they can be killed on the road.
Time for conservation efforts for this kind of animal
can be quite critical, aren't they? What's the population in Costa Rica?
Well, right now we don't have exact numbers,
but I don't believe that we have more than 200.
-200 in the entire country?
-In the entire country.
But if they start getting isolated into small groups...
They will probably be extinct in a few years.
This is the largest big cat in America...
and we could be within one generation of losing jaguars completely?
Yeah, that's right.
'It's a sobering thought -
'these great cats, on the brink of extinction.'
And what sort of things could they do while building the road,
to make it more friendly to the animals?
First, research where the animals are crossing,
to make underpasses, so the animals can go down,
or put fences to guide the animals to go to these underpasses.
And for the arboreal animals, they could build bridges
that connect from one tree to another tree over...
-Over the road?
-..over the road.
He's a noisy little thing. We're trying to do an interview here!
-Do you mind?
-It's not all about you, is it?
JAGUAR GROWLS MONKEY SHRIEKS
'There are problems with the road,
'but 25% of Costa Rica is protected national park.
'They work hard to protect the wildlife.'
It's a very... not just verdant place,
but they're just tripping over life.
This is a country the size of Ireland
that has like five different types of big cat.
Yeah, but I bet they haven't got as many different ways of cooking potatoes as we do.
No, they don't. They hardly have any potatoes at all, to be honest.
After nearly five months on the road,
the expedition finally reached the Costa Rican capital, San Jose,
in April 1941.
They'd driven over 5,000 miles south -
a feat which no-one had ever achieved before.
Sullivan's mission to drum up support
for the building of the Pan-American Highway
was becoming front-page news.
It's only taken us three weeks to get to San Jose
and by chance, we've arrived on election day, in a country that,
unlike many we've driven through,
has a proud, long history of democracy.
Costa Ricans refer to themselves as "ticos"
and to find out what makes them tick, Ed and I are meeting
fellow comedian, Waleska Oporta, in the city's Central Park.
-Hey, you guys.
-Ed, nice to meet you.
-How are you?
-Excellent choice of place to meet, by the way.
-I know, right?
-It's a dense use of park.
The last few countries we've been through, like Guatemala
El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua...
We've kind of characterised them as being mainly volcanoes
and civil strife. That's kind of a lot of what's going on.
-Costa Rica is completely different to those.
-I think so.
-It's not on the same level of civil war as...
-We don't have any.
We haven't had an army since 1948,
so we're very pacifistic.
All the money that was supposed to be invested in that
has been invested in education, mostly.
Because you have a 98% literacy rate - the highest in the area.
Yes, we do.
You're like a strange oasis, to a certain extent,
within this part of the world.
Exactly, we're a unique kind, within our neighbours, I would say.
That sounds super arrogant, but...
Yeah, do they regard you as a bit smug and arrogant?
We have a good relationship with Panamanians, because Panamanians,
we think of as a party people -
good, neighbourly and they have money.
-So it's all good!
But Nicaraguans fight. They've had wars, so...
So we don't like confrontation, or the chance of getting beat up.
I think I might be part Costa Rican.
Tell me about the relationship that ticos have with the United States.
Well, before, we used to admire them like gods
and going to the States was a sign of status.
But as time went on, I guess we kind of fell out of love with them
and right now, we're a little bit disenchanted, I would say.
The development of transport links, like the Pan-American Highway,
coupled with cheap labour costs and tax breaks
have seen a flood of US companies arriving in Costa Rica
over recent years.
We see all these big companies and they promise a million jobs
and then only 500 people get hired.
Now, we want to actually ask for our rights.
If you're going to come into our country,
we want your companies to pay the taxes that they should pay
and not just be here because
you're friends with a certain person in power.
You're a small, highly educated,
that has a lot of multinational American corporations coming here,
exploiting the tax laws.
-You're Ireland, basically.
You're Ireland, with some more sunshine
and tiny, cute furry animals...
-SOME more sunshine?
If we could take the heat, we'd move here in the morning.
'There's one more thing I wanted to ask Waleska -
'what's the craic in Costa Rica?'
"Craic" is a very Irish phrase, meaning "fun", or "good feeling".
Is there a particular phrase in Costa Rica
-that you have for that kind of...?
-Yes, definitely - "pura vida".
-What does it literally translate as?
Which actually means nothing to us at all!
It's like, "Yeah, man - pure life!"
So it summarises a lot of good feelings, I would say.
Pura vida, indeed.
Of all the countries we've driven through so far,
this is definitely one of our favourites -
and it's not just us.
According to the wonderfully-named Happy Planet Index,
Costa Rica now generates 90% of its electricity
from renewable sources
and is officially the happiest country in the world.
MUSIC: Mr Blue Sky by Electric Light Orchestra
# Sun is shining in the sky
# There ain't a cloud in sight
# It's stopped raining
# Everybody's in a play and don't you know
# It's a beautiful new day
# Hey hey hey
# Hey, you with the pretty face
# Welcome to the human race
# A celebration
# Mr Blue Sky's up there waiting
# And today
# Is the day we've waited for
# Mr Blue Sky Please tell us why... #
We're making good time, but south of San Jose,
the original expedition quickly ground to a halt.
Across the southern section of Costa Rica,
we find it utterly impossible to travel by car.
We estimate that it would take us four months, with 150 men,
to get our car through
and then, it's only a fair chance we'd succeed,
because the rains have started.
In their way stood the Cerro de la Muerte -
the Mountain of Death -
which regularly claimed the lives of those who tried to cross it on foot.
No motor vehicle had ever made it over the top.
And so, for the first time since they had left Detroit,
the expedition was forced to take the Plymouth off the road
and transport it south by train.
But a year later, with the Second World War raging,
a road link from the USA to the Panama Canal
was becoming a matter of national security.
In July 1942,
US military engineers arrived to blast a route for the Pan-Am Highway
through this notorious mountain.
Where are we, Ed?
I don't want you to get upset. I don't want you to get worried.
We are on La Passa de la Muerta...
..the Pass of Death.
Did the Costa Rican tourist board ever consider
changing the name of the road?
"Why aren't more people coming...
"to the Pass of Death?"
"I must call my friend - he's on holiday in Cape Fear.
"I'll just ask him what he reckons we're doing wrong."
But it turns out this section of road lives up to its fearsome reputation.
Somebody just left a red triangle in the road.
Well, there must be an erotic movie...
-Oh, because there's a crash.
-Oh, my God, there's a crash.
Doesn't look like anybody's injured, but they've...
-It's obviously mashed it up pretty bad.
-Oh, dear. That's written off.
You die on this road,
it's a shorter trip to heaven than it would be otherwise.
After failing to get over the Mountain of Death,
the original expedition struggled on
towards the uncharted jungles of southern Costa Rica...
..hacking a trail along dirt tracks and across rivers.
When the Pan-American Highway system is finally completed,
there will of course be a paved road.
Then there will be bridges over these rivers.
But just now, there are no bridges
and we get across them as best we can.
We seem to be off the road, unless you're going to convince me
-this is the Pan-American Highway.
-This is not the Pan-American Highway.
-So what do we do?
-I thought we'd just take a little bit of a detour,
to get a bit more of a flavour of what the three damn fools did.
What, we're going swimming?
You're kidding me. Really?
-Does this actually link up to anything in particular?
It links up to another road,
which eventually will lead us back to the highway.
We've taken somewhat of a detour, I have to admit.
I'm going to go to the leisure deck.
Are you going to try one of the buffets?
-I think I'm going to go and hit the slot machines.
I like this operation.
It's just that guy and that engine.
-That's it? That's all that's moving us?
The Pan-American Highway in Costa Rica
wasn't completed until the early 1960s
and in many places,
you still have to travel as Sullivan, Ken and Arnold did
over 70 years ago.
Back then, the dirt tracks finally petered out into impenetrable forest.
The three adventurers were forced to admit defeat
and sail the Plymouth around the coast to Panama.
Very good, well done, well done.
Careful, careful, careful!
I know you had to put some oomph into it...just in case.
-Very good, top work.
-Thank you. Lovely.
-Let's find the highway again, shall we?
-It'll be along here, somewhere.
Do you have more of these plans?
I feel we've got a sense of them now.
Actually, no. Tonight, we're staying in a hut.
-Only joking, only joking.
-Keep your eye on the road.
-Have you got the tickles? Have you got the tickles?
You actually revved up the car by accident,
-while trying to tickle me...
It's less dangerous, tickling you while I am driving,
than tickling you while you're driving.
Oh, well, then! You should go ahead - fill your boots!
While the Pan-American Highway now carves through
the dense Costa Rican rainforest,
it's still a long drive to the border with Panama -
the last one we'll cross on our trip.
Ed, what would you say your hopes and dreams and fears are
for the border?
My hope is that we'll get through in a couple of hours.
-Current record is two hours.
And we can maybe repeat that.
Things are looking good here at the Paso Canoas border post
and it's definitely less busy than the others we've crossed.
-Got your passport?
-Got the money?
This is always the easy bit, anyway.
First, we just need to pay our 7 Costa Rican departure tax.
-I pay this guy - do we pay here?
-Oh, is it this one?
Or maybe you pay there...?
Where to? Which window?
I go to two?
I have to pay seven dollars?
I thought I'd pay that here, no?
Did you not just pay the taxes?
Fine, no problem at all, I have to pay, I have to go to another window.
You couldn't have told me? You couldn't have told me?
So, window four sent me to window two and window two sent me...
to here? Hola.
Did you find it? Is this it?
I think this might be it.
Pay the departure tax?
-Just through there.
-We have the money, but we're...
OK, slide it in and put it in.
'Just days before we arrive,
'Costa Rica automated their border payment system...'
The arrow is saying that it goes in that direction.
'..and it's already broken.'
Let's go back to the gate.
OK, that machine...
That machine doesn't work.
So what can we do?
I have to wait till 8 o'clock in the morning
to give you 7 to get into Panama?
-Because your machine is not working?
Because your machine won't work -
and there's no-one in there who can take the money off us?
That's madness, that's absolutely madness.
'And right now, Costa Rica has slipped down a notch
'in our personal Happy Planet Index.'
Wow, we have a winner.
Yeah, it'll be...
13 hours minimum, it's going to take us to cross this border.
Before we can even leave Costa Rica and start trying to get into Panama.
I would like to officially retract
every nice thing I've said about Costa Rica.
Costa Rica...can bite me.
I like... I like the slogan - I like the slogan.
"Costa Rica - we'll never let you leave."
Pura vida, my friend, pura vida.
'A night in a local motel later
'and we're back to pay our departure tax to a real-life person,
'but unfortunately, so is everyone else.'
So, do you think potential travellers watching this in Britain
will be thinking, "Oh, there's some good queuing going on."
-That'll be quite the taste of home.
Even if the queue's not moving,
if you go from being at the end of the queue
to being in the middle of the queue,
just by virtue of the people who have joined it behind you,
it still makes you feel better.
'And after another two hours,
'we finally got permission to leave Costa Rica.'
It's a very small sum,
given that we had to spend a night in a hotel for it.
That is a hard-won stamp right there - a hard-won stamp.
'And now, we just have to wait four hours to get into Panama.'
PANPIPE MUSIC PLAYS
'At least there's some local talent to help us pass the time...
'..until Ed makes a show of us again.'
You were caught twerking there.
'Eventually, I manage to drag him back to the car
'and we're out of here.'
Are we leaving? Are we finally leaving?
And it is now, unbelievably...
-Half past two.
-..half past two.
Well, I think we're somewhere in the region of 20 hours,
trying to get through there.
Out of the way, out of the way, out of the way -
I'm impatient to get going and see Panama!
MUSIC: Panama by Van Halen
# Panama! #
But Ed's dancing has angered the rain gods.
Hello. Wow, it's bucketing down here.
There isn't, like there's not a... Did you see that?
I saw it, I can see the lightning - I have eyes and it's right there.
I'm excited by lightning!
What really rubs it in...
about the pain and suffering of that almost 20-hour border crossing...
..is the first line of chapter 29 of the book Adventure South is...
"Our entry into Panama was simple."
In Panama, the original expedition
were guests of the all-powerful US-owned United Fruit Company -
keen supporters of the need for a Pan-American Highway
and the largest producer of bananas in the world.
We decide to go out into the plantation,
to see what a banana split looks like in its natural habitat.
The tree is cut about 15 feet above the ground
with this long-handled knife, while one fellow waits underneath
to catch the stem of fruit on his shoulder.
With a single knife jab, it is cut free of the tree.
Marketed as a health food for children in the US,
demand for bananas boomed in the 1930s.
United Fruits soon controlled a huge empire of farms
across Central America.
In this one plantation, there are 26,000 acres of producing trees,
furnishing some six million stems of fruit per year
for American breakfast tables.
Down here, I bought a whole stem of fruit the size of this one
for 26 cents.
The United Fruit and other banana companies
were so economically powerful in countries like Panama,
they gave rise to the damning phrase, "Banana Republic".
And whilst they often built roads and schools,
they weren't always the best of employers.
The United Fruit Company just took the piss.
They were paying their workers in tokens
that they could only use at shops
also owned by the United Fruit Company.
So there's no money bleeding into the economy at all? OK.
Yeah, so there's no trickle down.
They were using insecticides and pesticides
that were making the banana growers sick,
making the banana growers infertile.
And the Chiquita banana lady
was like the smiling face of a hideous company.
# I am Chiquita Banana and I've come to say
# Bananas have to ripen in a certain way
# And when they're flecked with brown and have a golden hue
# Bananas taste the best and are the best for you
# You can put them in a salad... #
It's like having Gunny the Squirrel
representing the arms manufacturers -
"Hey, kids, don't point it at your foot!"
"Didn't you used to be the Cadbury's Caramel bunny?"
"Yes, but I do fags now."
# Si, si, si, si. #
But in the 1990s,
a worldwide slump in the price of bananas
forced most of the plantations on Panama's Pacific coast to close.
The few bananas still produced here are sold on the roadside,
to hungry travellers like us.
How many do we want?
Take those, then.
Three bananas for like...50 cents.
-That's not a bad deal.
No wonder there's no money in growing them any more!
From the Costa Rican border, it's an eight-hour drive to Panama City.
The expedition arrived here in the spring of '41
to find a thriving capital of 125,000 people...
..and it still appears to be thriving today.
Would you look at that city? That is... Isn't it bizarre?
It is, it's like Dubai or Chicago, or something, yeah.
That is like no city we have passed through on this entire journey...
-..since Mexico - but even Mexico was...
That looks so shiny and new and gleaming.
-Where do they get the money from?
-I don't know.
Maybe it's because Panama City sits next to the Panama Canal -
the world's busiest trade route
and one of the largest man-made waterways ever constructed.
They've just gone, "There's a continent in the way.
"Let's just bore a hole right through it."
Ah, it's impressive, isn't it?
It's incredibly impressive.
I actually didn't know what to expect, in terms of it
being impressive, like, because it's a canal.
This extraordinary channel
cuts through Panama at its narrowest point,
connecting the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean
and saving shipping a perilous 5,000 mile journey around Cape Horn.
Excavation began under the French in the 1880s,
but ended in disaster,
with the deaths of over 22,000 workers.
In 1904, the US took over what had become
the most challenging engineering project in history
and after a decade more digging,
the canal finally opened for business in 1914.
On the centenary of that opening,
we've joined Captain Adrian Estrada aboard a canal authority tug boat.
OK, come with me.
-Thank you very much for letting us...
Thank you very much for letting us sail on your boat
and have a little pleasure trip down the...
Yes, yes, it's great.
Well, sadly, I'm not a tourist guide, so let's get to work.
-Are we working our passage?
-Do you really trust us?
Do you really trust us not to drive the boat into a wall?
Yeah, you look strong - and you too.
Do these feel like working hands to you?
-I don't know, but we're going to find out.
Over 30 large ships a day use the Panama Canal
and are guided through its massive locks by powerful tug boats.
As it enters the lock, the tug must be securely tied to the lock wall,
to stop it from smashing into the huge cargo ship
as the lock fills up.
Timing is critical,
which is why they don't usually give the job to two cack-handed Irishmen.
There is personnel on the locks.
-They're going to throw us a messenger line...
..so we secure this line and then follow to the wall.
When they throw down the messenger rope,
how quickly must this be done?
'The rope securing the tug requires a simple knot called a "bowline",
'which even the novice sailor should be able to master.'
-Through the hole...
-Rabbit goes through the hole.
-Behind the tree.
-..and back to the...
-Back in the hole.
-Back to the hole.
OK, let's practise that 300 or 400 more times, shall we?
Up the bottom of this.
-No, no, no, no.
-You have changed this.
You literally change this from time to time.
-You are the worst knot teacher I have ever had.
Do it like Ghost - like he's making a pot.
Right, OK... No, seriously - direct my hands, right? OK, there we go.
-You're a big guy.
-Yeah, sorry, I'll crouch.
# My darling
-# I've hungered for your touch... #
-But wait, wait...
This actually isn't helping at all.
# Time goes by... #
-Back in, through this, like this?
Bingo! Oh, wait...
'As Dara struggles with his knots,
'we are fast approaching the Miraflores Lock,
'which our huge cargo ship, the Ikan Sagai, is already entering.'
This distance, people chip at the walls.
Yeah, it is, that is tight.
-Really tight, right?
Getting nervous, actually. Wow, that's incredibly tight.
Looks really simple, but it's really dangerous, what we've got to do.
-Here we go.
-Are you ready? No joke.
-No, I'm not, I'm really nervous.
'Dara needs to tie the knot within the next minute,
'or as the lock fills,
'the turbulent water could crush us against the 60,000 tonne cargo ship.'
-Pressure, pressure gate.
-Shut up! Jesus, come on.
'Luckily, I'm here, to offer vocal support.'
We're all depending on you.
All souls aboard this vessel are depending on you.
There you go, there you go.
Here we go, take it away, take it away.
It was a thinner rope.
It was a much thinner rope - that was a string.
Look at that go! Oh, my God!
This is really nerv... I'm really nervous.
-I mean, part of me does want that...
..not to just slip out and the rope to just drop, literally.
We're in, we're in, we're in, we're in, we're in! Lovely!
'Dara's feat of tying a piece of string to a rope
'has not gone unnoticed.'
Yes! My rope, people - my rope!
'Now Dara has secured our tug,
'the locks can fill with water,
'raising us and our cargo ship
'up onto the next stage of the 48-mile canal.
'We have to get a move on too,
'as there's a queue of ships waiting to take our place.'
It's really all about feeding this, isn't it?
I mean, the Pan-American Highway is really just
a tributary of the Panama Canal, really.
The heart of Pan-Americanism, my friend.
That's incredible, isn't it?
'Over 10% of all US shipping passes through the Panama Canal
'and it remains as crucial to US interests now
'as it was when the original expedition arrived here.'
You can see why Sully got so excited by this.
Just sitting there with the typewriter clacking away,
describing the water bubbling up and the men on the side.
"Lazily throwing ropes" is the phrase he used,
which I think is a little unfair.
You know, rope people like me -
we've been sullied with that brush for years.
For Sullivan, Ken and Arnold,
reaching the Panama Canal marked a huge milestone
in their Adventure South.
It has been five months since we left home,
so we decide to celebrate it in proper fashion.
With a world famous ditch as a backdrop,
Kenneth goes down, dips up a can full of water, brings it back
and with boisterous shouts of laughter,
we douse it over the car -
the first automobile ever
to cover so much of Mexico and Central America on the ground.
Here you go.
Thank you for many fine hours.
Make it to the end of our journey, that's all we ask.
'Not content to let me christen the car,
'Ed insists on having a go as well,
'but as ever, he cannot resist taking things a little too far.'
-Well, I hope you get some sort of...
..parasitic disease, Ed.
That is an old floor cleaner bottle...
Off, off, off!
I'm not having any part of this.
Sadly, this is where we must part company
with Sullivan, Ken and Arnold.
Having reached the canal,
the three adventurers could go no further overland.
Their way was blocked by the much-feared Darien Gap -
the remote wilderness that separates North and South America.
They were forced to sail around the coast to Colombia
to continue their journey south.
But our plan is to follow the modern Pan-Am Highway
as far as we can go.
So we venture forth, Ed - the last bit.
-To the Darien Gap!
-To the Gap... BOTH:
We're heading for Yaviza - the last town on the map.
It's a long drive, but at least to keep us company,
we've got Joe Cuba and his orchestra.
MUSIC: Bang Bang by Joe Cuba
'By now, the Pan-Am Highway has become a single carriageway
'and the large trucks that use it
'aren't too bothered about which side of the road they drive on.'
-Really, you're going for it, are you?
-Yeah? He's going for it.
Oh, you are pulling out. Oh, let's all stop, then wait for you to go and do your thing.
Yeah, no, no, you just do whatever you want.
I couldn't help noticing...
that the trucks which come so close to ploughing into us and killing us
seem to have logs on the back.
I guess if you're part of an industry
that's completely destroying an ancient way of life,
you're not going to be the most courteous driver in the world, are you?
'50 years ago, there were no roads here at all,
'but the building of the Pan-Am has led to
'widespread and unregulated logging,
'which has cleared vast areas of primary rainforest.'
Jesus, look at this.
It's been completely denuded.
Yeah, I mean, that would all have been jungle.
Wow, that is amazing, how destructive that work is.
The deforestation here has been felt most acutely
by the indigenous communities of the Darien, like the Wounaan tribe.
Before we reach the end of the road,
we're stopping to visit one of their villages.
It's only accessible by river -
and local guide Michel Puech is taking us there.
Hi. Yes, I am Michel. How are you?
-Michel, comment ca va?
It's a pleasure, yeah, pleasure thing,
mucho gusto for the first time in a month.
I am ready. We go to the village?
-That'd be great.
It's a little village, the name is La Playita.
-Shall we go?
Be nice to be on a boat, for a change.
Before the road came,
these rivers were the only way to travel through the Darien
and the Wounaan have used them for hundreds of years
to move freely between Panama and Colombia.
There's often been talk of extending the highway through the Darien Gap
to connect Central and South America.
It will inevitably bring more loggers
and Ed and I want to find out what this means for the Wounaan.
We couldn't have got here by road, could we not?
-No, no, no, only by boat.
-There's no road.
Michel, I can't help noticing your strong French accent.
-You're not a local.
-I'm born in France.
How long have you been here, then?
-DARA AND ED:
I know these people this many, many years, so...
They are like a friend, no?
And you see all the family here.
'Francisco, a young fisherman,
'has agreed to talk to us about the impact of the road.'
Are you not worried that that's what's going to happen?
They're going to take all the trees away?
The plight of indigenous people all over, really, isn't it?
He say, little - too little, is...
-Just shrinking it down.
-Narrow, narrow, yes.
Presumably, as well, if the road builds through the Darien,
there'll be a border post
-between Panama and Colombia...
..which there hasn't been, till now. They move up and down these rivers
between the two countries very, very freely.
Are they worried that if the road comes through,
their life will change in that way as well?
So, for him, he prefer the road through the Darien,
because it's more easy for him to go to see his family.
-Fine, fair enough.
So it's a mixed message, to a huge extent.
So they can see the good points and the bad points, both?
He has every right to the same facilities and things -
we can't expect them not to want ambulances arriving,
or schooling, or cheap gasoline, or market for their fish.
Viva El Pan-Americanismo.
Yes, exactly, yeah!
'Before we leave the village,
'we've been invited to have ceremonial Wounaan tattoos,
'made out of the grated fruit of the jaguar plant.
'The body painting takes place in a traditional Wounaan hut,
'which has clearly seen better days.'
-Oh, God! Ooh!
That's not a particularly strong beam.
Wow, that was dramatic.
-Might have to spread your weight a little bit.
-I will, actually, yeah.
But actually, to be fair to me, that is, that's really...
That's not the strongest beam you ever had in the world, OK?
-I'm going to sit here on this slightly more...
-Look at that, that's how strong that is.
-..more recently replaced beam.
-Mind yourself, there.
Do you know, I recommend a dry rot expert
to come in and spray this place,
because frankly, it's riddled.
Something very small,
to mark my almost falling through the floor of the house.
Can you get a small one? Is it possible to just to...
Si, OK, grand.
'The jaguar tattoos are temporary,
'with the pigment fading after about ten days -
'or at least, that's what these women have told us.'
This is to signify your rank
as the village galoot.
-Oh, that's fantastic.
-That is, that's nice.
That's lovely, yeah.
I am fearsome, now.
'While Dara's opted for the macho bicep design,
'I'm going the whole hog and having my back done.'
I have been a bit foolish to myself, haven't I,
in that I've got myself a tattoo in the one place that I can't see it?
-Doesn't hurt, neither.
-No, it doesn't hurt enough.
I suppose it does though, when you put your foot through the floorboards.
Yeah, I suppose in that regard, this has been the most painful tattoo I could have ever got.
That's coming up very well.
That really is... I'm very proud of that.
It's actually looking quite Celtic on you.
When you're this pasty, everything looks Celtic.
-Yeah. Muchas gracias.
-Muchas gracias. You're very kind.
I'd get that floor sorted out.
You know, it's just getting a bit of dry rot.
God knows you've enough trees around here, right?
Now, listen -
I will have an estimate here by the end of the week.
We'll get the whole job done in four, four to six days, tops.
Will you be in on Monday, between nine and three?
There you are, we can be there. Right, don't laugh at me!
I know, she said, couple of cowboys.
Thank you very much, pet. Thank you very, very much, pet.
You're a killer, but you're a delight.
Graaar! CHILDREN LAUGH
They fear me. They fear me now.
To be honest, the children always find you a bit strange.
Turn round, it looks great.
It looks fantastic, it looks as if you could just
put your hands between the two and pick you up and carry you off.
That's what it looks like.
-Probably could, couldn't you?
-Yeah, it, it looks like you're...
wearing a rucksack on your front...
or a BabyBjorn -
it looks like you're carrying a child in a pouch!
While it's very tempting to try and protect tribal life from change,
the Pan-American Highway is already having an impact
on indigenous communities like the Wounaan,
whose way of life will inevitably be transformed.
'We're back on the road, heading deeper into the Darien Gap.
'It's an area the expedition never visited,
'as they travelled on to South America by boat.'
-Ed, the last part of our journey.
-This is it.
The last 30, 40 miles of a nearly 4,000 mile journey.
Sully and Ken and Arnold didn't get to come this far.
Well, hang on - I charge different rates for breaking my own trail
than I do for following the journey of a 1941 adventurer.
-Really? I just give a flat trail rate...
You know, whether I'm breaking or following.
No, no, no, no, no, no, no.
No, you know, you've got to look into that.
'In less than an hour, we should reach our final destination -
'Yaviza, which sits at the end of the highway in Panama.
'That's if we can get past the potholes.'
We're all right, we're all right.
You're so busy avoiding the little ones, you drove us into a big one.
'This stretch of the Pan-Am Highway was only built in 2009
'and it could already do with a bit of resurfacing.'
Hang on, a big-big-big-big... Whoa!
See that? I got right between them.
'With the end in sight, Ed turns all profound.'
How would you sum up the road, Dara?
-How do you...
-It's difficult to know.
I mean, I've struggled with how best to express it.
In a way, the road...
is like love.
How is the road like love?
In that, you know...
people need it,
but it can also bring much misery and disease.
I think the road is like a jaguar.
No, it's not like that at all.
No, it's not. I found it quite easy to find.
-It's on a map.
In many ways, the road is like this conversation...
..it will just eventually peter out.
-There better be a big sign saying, "The End".
This is Yaviza -
and it's no longer a highway, is it?
No, it's very much...
a cement path, right now.
Yeah. This could be the end of it.
That's a nice smooth end, there.
Came off the end of the road.
I mean, I wasn't expecting bunting...
..or there to be some huge, bronze map with an arrow in it and stuff...
but it just kind of peters out.
'The Pan-American Highway begins again
'about 100 miles away in Colombia,
'but for North and Central America - and for us -
'it ends here,
'in this small, dusty jungle town,
'in the middle of the Darien Gap.'
That was fun, but the ending was sort of unsatisfying.
I don't know, I think there's some sort of poetry
in the fact that it just sort of stops.
I don't know, I think I want there to be a skeleton, just like...
lying and pointing back the other way, like,
"You can go no further."
Do you know what I wanted?
One old man, sitting here and as we turn away, we go...
Now that, my friend, would be an ending.
"How did you find me here?"
-I'm picking the music, OK?
Nothing too high-energy or dancey, please.
After almost four weeks of driving
from Arizona through Central America,
we've reached the end of the road.
But for Sullivan, Ken and Arnold,
Panama wasn't even the halfway point of their Adventure South.
After sailing from the Panama Canal,
they picked up the trail again in Colombia,
forging a route through South America...
..and four months later, they reached its southernmost tip -
Their extraordinary journey took almost a year to complete
and helped to inspire
the building of the 48,000-mile Pan-American Highway.
You've done this without roads?
That's insane - what were they thinking?
But, undying admiration for what they did -
and how they did it, with that car.
I think they did it with the noblest of intentions,
when they came down here, first blazing the trail.
They wanted the road built,
because they believed in the idea of making all of America more unified.
And what was a hugely ambitious idea back then
can easily be taken for granted today -
the nations of two great continents,
connected by the longest road in the world.
The bit that absolutely blows my mind about this is,
we have done this epic journey of ours...
and then if you pan out,
we are just the smallest section of a road
that goes from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego.
We haven't even scratched the surface of this road.
The interesting thing about this journey, Dara,
is that it's not just been merely us travelling from one place to another.
In a way, it's been an emotional journey.
But more than that, it's also been...an actual journey.
But it's also been...
a journey of discovery.
But also, we've literally just gone from one place
to another place.
WE are in the same place.
-We - you and I.
Right, look, we're going to pull up and I'll step out
and I'll show you it's a different place.
On my phone, I've got pictures of the place we started the journey.
OK, but in a way, we'll end up in the same place we began. Yes?