😳 The Darien Dash: Migrants Outpacing Last Year’s Jungle Journey Record 🌿

250K adventurers have dared to cross Panama’s notorious Darien Gap in 2023, breaking last year’s record. Why? πŸ€” Let’s dive in.

Imagine taking a hike, but it’s not your usual scenic trail. It’s the perilous Darien Gap! πŸ’€ 🌳 It’s kind of like nature’s version of the “floor is lava,” but instead of lava, it’s a treacherous jungle. Sounds thrilling, right?

This Panama-Colombia border’s notorious trek has seen a surge in foot traffic this year. Just in the first seven months of 2023, a whopping 250,000 migrants attempted this daring venture. Just to give you an idea, that’s more than ALL of 2022 combined! But why the sudden influx of brave souls? πŸšΆβ€β™€οΈπŸšΆπŸŒ²

Now, before you think this is some new adventurous trend or jungle escape room experience, it’s not. Most of these trekkers are migrants, primarily from South America (shout out to the Venezuelans leading the pack). And guess what? This route isn’t just popular with South Americans. We have people from places as far as Africa and Asia joining this jungle jamboree.

Despite an April agreement between the U.S., Colombia, and Panama to offer some alternative routes, the Darien Dash seems more popular than ever. The United Nations (yes, they’re keeping tabs) projects that if this trend keeps up, the number could shoot up to 400,000 by year-end! 😲

It’s no secret that smuggling gangs operate in these parts. Tackling them? Well, experts reckon that’s gonna be a tough one. Imagine trying to play “Whack-a-Mole” in a vast, dense jungle.

One detail that might have you gasping is that 21% of these daredevils are children or adolescents. The question is: are they looking for the ultimate adventure, or is something pushing them towards this dangerous journey?

On the official side of things, Panama’s National Immigration service gave the digits – 248,901 adventurers by July 31. And Security Minister Juan Manuel Pino confirmed that this year’s number has already surpassed last year’s.

So, let’s bring in a tad more context. These migrants, mainly from South America, often use the Darien Gap as a corridor to travel through Central America, ultimately aiming for the U.S. southwestern border. This April, the U.S., Panama, and Colombia teamed up and promised β€œnew lawful and flexible pathways” for these migrants. But does the number say they’re taking this offer? 🀷

So, edgy reader, the question we’re all dying to ask: What makes the Darien Gap THE path to take, despite its dangers and challenges? And more importantly, if this is the route of choice now, what’s the next big migration trend? 🧭🌍