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Old 20 Nov 2011
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Travelling by Car in South America


Me and my friends are about to undertake a 3 month trip from Rio de Janeiro into argentina, chile, Bolivia, peru, Ecuador and finish in columbia.

originally we were going to take public transport but i want to buy a car out there so that we have more freedom and don't miss out on anything in between stops. Gives me more of a sense of adventure.

However a number of things have sprung up. i have a number of questions to ask anyone who can help!

how worthwhile would a car be? what car would serve me best?
Where is the cheapest/easiest place to buy a car?
If bought there what documents (how easy, or if at all possible) will be needed to get into the next country?

thanks, any help much appreciated! i know there are a lot of questions. my first proper trip and cannot wait

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Old 18 Sep 2012
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The best place to buy a car would be Chili. Cars are a lot cheaper than e.g. Brazil or Argentina (read up to 50%!). Be prepared for some paperwork in order to register it in your name, but at least it is possible in Chile!
On the net you can find info about this, like here Vacations & Travel Planning - How To Information | eHow.com
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Old 20 Jan 2013
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Buying own car in South America

Hi, I am also trying to find out information about a Brit passport holder buying a car in South America and then crossing borders with it. It seems perfectly possible to buy a car and travel with the same country but I cannot find info on whether it is then possible to take that vehicle cross borders. Is it like Africa where you can travel in a local vehicle and get temporary import permits at each border if you dont have a carnet?

Any one have any more information? I am thinking of buying a car in either Chile or Colombia.


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Old 21 Jan 2013
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For Colombia I have no information, Chile or Paraguay ( Travel Expeditions: How to buy a VW Campervan in Paraguay ) is possible yes. The border Arica-Tacna is sometimes difficult and there are stories that people could not leave the country. The last I heard was of a german couple with a chilean car who got a 6 month exportpermit at that boirder which can be a problem if you want to stay away for a longer period. The border to Argentina or Bolivia is as far as I know still fine.
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Old 8 May 2013
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I have lived in South America for about 10 years and 3 years ago myself and a friend drove from the Caribbean coast of Colombia through the Andes (Ecuador - Peru - Bolivia - Argentina).

I bought the Land Rover (Series IIa 1964) in Colombia. You can get really good ones for about $3000 upwards - ready to hit the road - no probs. Paperwork in Colombia is nice as the seller has to put the papers into your name - or someone, preferably a foreigner with a Colombian CEDULA. Get an older car as it is less attractive to thieves, easier to maintain, built like brick sh*t-houses and you can sell them on without losing out. You are required to take out SOAT insurance in Colombia.

It was the 3rd time I have traveled the length of the Andes and having a 4x4 with camping gear, oven, water etc is by-far the best way of traveling.

You will need your UK driving papers and a post office over-seas permit. If you take travel insurance (this will serve as car insurance too). Don't judge me - its easier than having to pay thousands of pounds and/or having the car impounded.

Make sure that when you cross ANY boarder in South America that you get a SALVO DE CONDUCTO. All other papers are straight forward. Without the Salvo you will find yourself in very hot water. I ended up in prison for 30hrs once.

Do not try to re-sell cars in Argentina. You have to nationalize the car and its not worth the hassle. Go to Bolivia, Uruguay or Paraguay for easiest sell-on or preferably back to Colombia if poss.
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argentina, buy, car, south america

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