Shipping a vehicle on the Amazon
|While we only ventured as far
as Panama, we have our sights set on South America.
Listed below are two useful references for those planning a trip south of Central America. We will add more information here as we find it.
More information may be found on the web site for the Silk Route Club, a European club which organizes informal caravans to the far corners of the globe. Joint their Yahoo! Group (email@example.com). They have toured China and Russia by RV. They are touring South America in 2006. There is also a blog for a group touring South America in 2005, and more in 2008 (see links page). Check this site for a British couple's diary. The Adventure Learning Foundation, a non-profit educational group, is sponsoring a South American expedition in 2005 - 2006 and their website contains an interesting and useful journal.
|Kim and Don Greene are world
overland travelers and they have written this very
interesting handbook to help others follow in their
footsteps through Mexico, Central and South America. This is
not a guidebook, but contains many useful tips and anecdotes
that will prepare you for the adventure. The Greene's
adventures are part of a non-profit organization Adventure
Learning Foundation which contributes classroom
materials to schools with the objective of promoting better
understanding among peoples of different cultures.
The book and more information may be found on the very informative web site www.QuestConnect.org.
|Driving through Latin America is written
for the independent traveler. It has useful
information for driving through each country in Central and
South America, tips on shipping your vehicle (you can't
drive from Central America to South America) and roadlog
maps to follow. Campsites and unsafe roads are
noted. Published in 1997 so maybe a little out of
date, but when you order through International Publications
Tours they include an Update Sheet for 2003 -
2004. Maps of Central and South America are also
available on this site. The author, Chris Yelland , and
Adventure Tours also offer an escorted caravan through Latin
|Richard and Amanda Bejarano-Ligato dropped out for a few years and traveled Central America, South America and Africa in their VW Minibus. They published a book, Wide-Eyed Wanderers, about their adventures. Their book and web site offer much useful information such as camping tips, health care and how to ship your vehicle.|
There is no ferry service between Panama and South America!
Please see our Upates Page for current information on this topic. (May, 2011)
Nov. 2011 Update
See this link for recent info: http://whiteacorn.com/theamericas/tips/tips.php#Shipping
March 2010 Update
For update, June '08, see www.99daystopanama.com/updates.html#66
The best source of current shipping information I am aware of is the XSMemories RV park, 60 miles west of Panama City. This place is run by an American couple, Dennis and Shiela Parsick. Their web site and email are down as of this writing (Sept. 2005) (http://www.xsmemories.com/), but you can reach them by phone: +507-993-3096. I talked to Dennis and Sheila and found the following. They are happy to help anyone with shipping info. Also, see Updates for info current as of July, 2006.
a) The situation is constantly changing, but they are keeping up with people doing the trip.
b) There has been a booming business this year. They just sent 10 rigs from Panama to Ecuador. (Actually, XSMemories don't do shipping, but people who stay there get local contact info and access to a phone to make the arrangements.)
c) It is safest to ship by container, but the height restriction is 8 ft (OK for a van).
b) Container shipping between Panama and South America is around $1600.
d) Bigger vehicles must go roll-on / roll-off (RO/RO). (this is not a ferry and you don't travel with your vehicle). Current cost for RO/RO from Panama to South America is $5000.
Dennis suggests contacting the following who can arrange shipping anywhere in the world. He vouches for them. When it comes to shipping, you are at the mercy of the shipping schedule.
Rainier Shipping, Dave Dack, +1-425-277-6000
Suddath (http://www.suddath.com/), Ms. Ambar Brust, +1-904-858-1200
Gateways Intl., Rick Curry, +1-206-728-5990
You can ship directly from Houston or Miami to Colombia or Venezuela, or from the west coast of the U.S. to Ecuador. Check with these contacts for schedule and costs.
A cheaper alternative in the past has been to ship between Costa Rica (Puerto Caldera) and Ecuador (Guayaquil). An agent for this trip in Costa Rica was Milton Madriz, firstname.lastname@example.org. For more background see vwvagabonds. In July, 2007, we received word via our Yahoo! Group that this service was no longer available! Instead, the following contact was recommended if you want to ship your vehicle from Panama to Colombia, Ecuador or Venezuela:
Import - Export Operation Supervisor Pty
EGL Eagle Global Logistics Panama
Centro Comercial Paitilla Mall, 2nd Floor Punta Paitilla, Ciudad de Panama
Cel: 507-6678 1262
Shipping from South America to Mexico
From Silk Route Club Yahoo! Group
The van was shipped from Zarate (very close to Buenos Aires), Argentina to Veracruz, Mexico in February 2008. The shipper was
Capricorn Argentina SA
Avenida L.N.Alem 592 Piso 3
Contact: Alejandro Cadirola
Tel. 0054-11-4314 1300/4600/6300
Shipping from Europe
Here is a Silk Route Club blog which includes some insite into shipping from the UK. http://southamerica05.blog.co.uk/index.php/southamerica05/2005/07/28/intro_to_blog
Carnet du Passage
Until 2005 Ecuador and Peru required a Carnet du Passage and Venezuela requires either a carnet or a libretta. The carnet is a document that is similar to a passport for the vehicle that guarantees to the customs officials of the country that you will not sell the vehicle in that country. For all North American registered vehicles the Carnet can be obtained from the Canadian Automobile Association. As of January 2005 Ecuador no longer requires the Carnet, see http://users.rio.com/tynda/Page517.html.
Shipping Down the Amazon
You can ship your vehicle down the Amazon from Manaus to Belem (or the other way). The Adventure Learning Foundation did this journey in a FUSO. From their journal... "The company that runs the barges, Chibatao - Navegacao E Comercio Ltda, has a monopoly on the barge traffic on this part of the Amazon River. FYI, for other travelers who may wish to ship this way, their email address is email@example.com, be sure to write in Portuguese."
Insurance on our Planning Page)
|Insurance in Colombia
(courtesy Richard and Kathy Howe, June, 2008)
There has been a bit of discussion about the necessity of insurance in Colombia. Many go bare and have had no trouble. Also, we got information from a German couple who didn't have it: when they were stopped and asked, they showed them their general policy, which covered all of South America except Colombia, but removed the cover sheet which listed the countries that were covered; that did the trick. And the vehicle traveling with them and following them wasn't asked at all.
We figured we never get away with ANYTHING and should at least try to get coverage. The hotel in Cartagena where we were staying put us onto Colseguros, a large insurance agency. They were most gracious and explained that we did need basic liability coverage, but couldn't write us a policy. But they sent us down the street to
Previsora (the name of the company)
Calle de Arsenal #10-25
His office is across the street from the parking lot near the convention center (we had stayed overnight in this lot the night before). He wrote us a policy for $41.00US. It is for 2 months; it is a liability-only policy, and doesn't even cover what we would expect from a liability policy in the States. It is called a SOAT; it
covers injury to a person, or to property (not including vehicles). In other words, probably useless.
However, twice within the first 30 miles of leaving Cartagena we were required to present this policy when we were stopped along the road. It satisfied the police, and we were happy to have it. Further into Colombia, we have seen SOAT advertised by several fueling stations. We have not investigated as to whether it is the same policy we bought, nor the price they were asking.