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  #1  
Old 24 May 2012
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Central America in July

Hello all

I hope some of you can give me some advice. I'm planning to meet a friend who is travelling Canada-Ushuaia by bike, beginning next month. I want to meet my friend in Central America in mid- to late-July. My arrival + departure points and timing is totally flexible, so I can join him whenever and wherever in Central Am is best/ easiest.

I live in Delhi, and have never riden a bike before. I'm currently learning, 8 lessons in. It's a bit frightening on these streets. I'm learning on a Honda 125cc.

My first question is: 1. am I crazy? Is it possible in 6-8 weeks to get to a stage of being confident enough to ride a bike through Central America? My friend, who is doing the ride for work (researching a book), says realistically I should plan for riding 500kms a day on long days, and up to speeds of 90km/hr, on a 400cc bike, or at the very least a 250cc. He'll of course try to take it easy on the days I am travelling with him, but at the same time I can't be a complete tortoise.

The rest of the questions I have are below. Apologies if they are very novice:

2. Can foreign tourists (I'm UK citizen) rent bikes easily in Central America?

3. If I fly in to, say, Mexico City, or Belize City, can I rent a bike there and take it across the border to the next country on the itinerary?

3. If you can take bikes rented across borders, or for long stretches within a country, do rental companies allow for shipping bikes back (ie. we won't be travelling in a circle so how do I get the bike back?)

4. If no to the above, then is the only option buying a bike? I'm on a bit of a budget, so is it possible to buy a second-hand bike? (Paperwork, how would I find one, etc) And then I would have to make sure I get the TVIP (I think I read that is what it's called) at every border crossing, right?

5. Would another option be renting bikes for part of the journey - eg. in places where renting a bike is easier and the route offers a way of returning it to the original point - and riding pillion with my friend for the parts where it's more difficult. My pal has a 650cc but it will be a bit heavily loaded so he thinks a couple of days pillion here and there would be ok, but not really more than that.

6. His route is Mexico - Yucatan Pen - Belize - eastern Guatemala - Honduras - western Nicaragua - Costa Rica - Panama - and then on. If anyone knows bikes are easier to rent in certain of these countries, please let me know.

I'd really appreciate any help. Thanks very much.

Victoria
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  #2  
Old 24 May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vixonella View Post

My first question is: 1. am I crazy?

No.


Is it possible in 6-8 weeks to get to a stage of being confident enough to ride a bike through Central America?

Depends on your route.


My friend, who is doing the ride for work (researching a book), says realistically I should plan for riding 500kms a day on long days, and up to speeds of 90km/hr, on a 400cc bike, or at the very least a 250cc. He'll of course try to take it easy on the days I am travelling with him, but at the same time I can't be a complete tortoise.

That's about right.

The rest of the questions I have are below. Apologies if they are very novice:

2. Can foreign tourists (I'm UK citizen) rent bikes easily in Central America?

Not really, some beaters are expensive and available but there are not a lot of options.

3. If I fly in to, say, Mexico City, or Belize City, can I rent a bike there and take it across the border to the next country on the itinerary?

I highly doubt that you will be taking the bike across borders unless the company specifically offers this advantage and you have all the paperwork you will need.

3. If you can take bikes rented across borders, or for long stretches within a country, do rental companies allow for shipping bikes back (ie. we won't be travelling in a circle so how do I get the bike back?)

I have never heard of that but perhaps someone else has.

4. If no to the above, then is the only option buying a bike? I'm on a bit of a budget, so is it possible to buy a second-hand bike? (Paperwork, how would I find one, etc) And then I would have to make sure I get the TVIP (I think I read that is what it's called) at every border crossing, right?

Bikes are expensive in the 3rd world unless you are buying a used Chinese small CC range beater. You might get lucky and find yourself a good deal on a KLR 650 that someone is leaving behind. Just a week ago on this forum a guy was going to dump a Honda 125cc at the Mexico City airport.
Take a look for the thread, maybe you can score that bike!

5. Would another option be renting bikes for part of the journey - eg. in places where renting a bike is easier and the route offers a way of returning it to the original point - and riding pillion with my friend for the parts where it's more difficult. My pal has a 650cc but it will be a bit heavily loaded so he thinks a couple of days pillion here and there would be ok, but not really more than that.

Renting bikes is not as easy as you might think it to be. It isn't the USA.

6. His route is Mexico - Yucatan Pen - Belize - eastern Guatemala - Honduras - western Nicaragua - Costa Rica - Panama - and then on. If anyone knows bikes are easier to rent in certain of these countries, please let me know.
See if you can get hold of Garry Dymond and get the info on what happened to the Honda 125 that was going to be dumped.

Here is the link. Act fast.

http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...r-mexico-64218
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  #3  
Old 25 May 2012
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Thanks, and Garry: are you out there

Thanks so much, MikeMike. Appreciate your help.

Garry Dymond: Heeelllloooo, are you out there?? I can't PM you as I don't have enough posts yet. Will keep trying.
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  #4  
Old 25 May 2012
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Garry is usually watching things here that concern Mex.
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  #5  
Old 25 May 2012
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We have the 125 that was dumped. I have to figure out how to legalize it and if that goes well my wife will learn to ride on it.
You won't be able to rent a bike and take it across borders. The only person I know who rents bikes in Mexico is Oscar Calderon. I think his company is called www.mexmotoadv.com . He rents 650 KLRs, BMWF650's and a 650 V-strom. Cost is around $100 a day. He will rent in Mexico City and let you leave the bike in Cancun. I think he only rents to experienced riders.
You could buy a Honda 125 Tool which costs about $15,000 pesos or just over $1,000 dlls. This would allow you to go across borders and you could sell it or dump it at the end of your trip.
If you come to Mexico City you can stay with us. my email is garrydymond @ prodigy.net .mx (just put it all together)

Hope this helps.

Garry
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  #6  
Old 26 May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garrydymond View Post
You won't be able to rent a bike and take it across borders. The only person I know who rents bikes in Mexico is Oscar Calderon. I think his company is called www.mexmotoadv.com .


Garry
It's "www.mxmotoadv.com"

...Michelle
www.scrabblebiker.com
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  #7  
Old 27 May 2012
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Garry: what a kind offer, thank you, and appreciate the info, too. I presumed it would be easy to rent a bike in Latin America, like it is in Asia. I'll have to have a thnk about what to do.
Michelle: cheers for that. Am looking into it now.
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  #8  
Old 27 May 2012
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Garry: any chance you might know what a cheapie 250cc bike might cost there? And do you think it would be much harder to sell a 250cc at the end than a 125cc?
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  #9  
Old 27 May 2012
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I would look to buy in the US, you are likely to get a better deal, better maintained & you understand the language, if you have a friend there they could probably do pretty much everything for you.
A couple of longer distance days to cover the extra miles is no big deal.
If you make it to Panama come & stay, I am a Brit living near David.
normanonthehill@yahoo.com
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  #10  
Old 1 Jun 2012
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Thanks, Panavalk (Norman?), that's super of you. I was wondering if you also might know whether it will be possible for me to sell whatever bike I end up with in Panama? Are there any second-hand dealers you know of, or any other bright ideas?

It looks like it'll work best for me to join my friend in Belize, but that's if it's possible to buy a not-too-crazily-expensive bike there - anyone have any tips? I'd be looking for a 250cc if possible. I have found a couple of sites online selling new bikes but they are a bit pricey.

Thanks, again

Victoria
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  #11  
Old 2 Jun 2012
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Sometimes you get lucky and will score a decent bike that a traveler needs to get rid of. Be prepared for the bureaucracy of any registration process because this will have to be done correctly. You will need proper documentation to enter each country along the way. Avoid headaches at the border and wasted time by having everything in order. It will get really expensive really fast if you are having to pay bribes at each border.
Decent bikes are expensive in Central America. You can sometimes get a bargain from a traveler but you won't find a huge selection of decent used bikes for what you want it for. It is a question of luck, having cash, and being in the right place at the right time. You can expect to pay anywhere from 40% to over 100% more for a comparable bike than you would in the USA.
It really comes down to luck and timing, you could be waiting a long time for a decent bike to come along and smaller countries have a smaller market to begin with. There are some very inexpensive Chinese and Korean trail bikes on the market that are in the 150cc to 250cc range, but most are 125cc and anemic for horsepower especially when loaded with luggage at any elevation more than 4,500ft or so.
Not all countries have the same range or brand of bikes available so think about any important parts you might need that are unique to the brand.
Remember that riding in Central America is not anything near normal riding, the ebb and flow of highway traffic and city traffic are something unique, you might find this somewhat difficult at first, the weather is changing to the rainy and hurricane season, and if you are using secondary roads, this becomes important. When you go through your first tropical downpour while on a mountain highway you'll understand.
I am not trying to discourage you, I am trying to give you an idea of what you will find.
Try posting on as many BB's as possible and get a ton of feelers out there and see if someone in the area you are looking at has something or a lead on something for you.
Good luck!
Seriously, try to avoid the bureaucratic headaches and make sure your docs are bulletproof before starting out and you'll avoid a lot of problems.
Smaller cc bikes are the most stolen of all, large capacity bikes rarely get nicked, so you might put some thought into that.
Tour the bike shops and back alleys in Belize, but be real careful with your cash! Belize is a tiny country, you'll find lots of scooters and little bikes for sale, but you'll need some luck for a 250cc that can do some traveling.
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  #12  
Old 2 Jun 2012
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I would suggest the ease of buying & lower price in the US will pay your travelling costs through Mexico & some, + you are more likely to get a well maintained bike.
Selling abroad be it here or other countries is never easy, you will take a hit on the price because of all the red tape & taxes which involve running round in a lot of circles & paying varying amounts of money to people who do nothing.
Believe me I have done it a couple of times!!
If the bike is decent there are people here who may buy.
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  #13  
Old 3 Jun 2012
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Hi Victoria,

Dont get me wrong or take it personaly or so but i dont think after two months you will be able to ride a bike like someone who has done this for years. Take a look at the Film "Long way down" how the result looks like.

Im shure he would love your company but its not fun to ride behind a beginner for a long time so may be ask him if you could come with him on the same bike as a Sozia. Just bring your own helmet

Transafrika - Motorbike Experdition to southafrica part 2

good travels, Tobi
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  #14  
Old 14 Jun 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vixonella View Post
Hello all
Hi Victoria,
I hope some of you can give me some advice. I'm planning to meet a friend who is travelling Canada-Ushuaia by bike, beginning next month. I want to meet my friend in Central America in mid- to late-July. My arrival + departure points and timing is totally flexible, so I can join him whenever and wherever in Central Am is best/ easiest.
I live in Guatemala and this is what I can tell you from my experience. I just traveled to Costa Rica in Feb. Buying a bike in Belize will cause you a lot of headache. The best way to travel CA-4 (Centro America -4) is on a bike with plates from Guate/Honduras/Salvador/Nicaragua. Mexican, Belizean, Costa Rican or Panamanian plates are bound to be a problem. As far as I know you can cross the CA-4 borders with the bike titled on someone else's name, Coming from Belize, going into CR or Panama it will have to be in your name. Buying a good used bike, like Mikemike said is next to impossible. Very hard to obtain a 250. What's your budget? I know of a honda Tornado 2010 new, but the dealer wants about $USD3500 for it still
I live in Delhi, and have never riden a bike before. I'm currently learning, 8 lessons in. It's a bit frightening on these streets. I'm learning on a Honda 125cc.
From what I hear, Very few places are as frightening as Delhi, you should be good. My wife started riding on a Honda Titan 150, moved up to a YS250 yamaha in a month and we rode to Mex (Guadalajara) six months later. Riding in CA is not that bad or hard
My first question is: 1. am I crazy? Is it possible in 6-8 weeks to get to a stage of being confident enough to ride a bike through Central America? My friend, who is doing the ride for work (researching a book), says realistically I should plan for riding 500kms a day on long days, and up to speeds of 90km/hr, on a 400cc bike, or at the very least a 250cc. He'll of course try to take it easy on the days I am travelling with him, but at the same time I can't be a complete tortoise.
The roads here are better traveled on under 250cc bikes anyway. Big bikes are more of a hindrance. A 125cc will take you places at an average 80kms/h. More than sufficient, you will feel more confident on a small bike and it will also be easier to pick up. Not that you will drop it....
The rest of the questions I have are below. Apologies if they are very novice:

2. Can foreign tourists (I'm UK citizen) rent bikes easily in Central America?
NO. I know of two places that rent bikes in CA. CATOURS in Antigua, and another place in Managua. I don't believe they do oneway rentals.
3. If I fly in to, say, Mexico City, or Belize City, can I rent a bike there and take it across the border to the next country on the itinerary?
See above comments.
3. If you can take bikes rented across borders, or for long stretches within a country, do rental companies allow for shipping bikes back (ie. we won't be travelling in a circle so how do I get the bike back?)
See above comments.
4. If no to the above, then is the only option buying a bike? I'm on a bit of a budget, so is it possible to buy a second-hand bike? (Paperwork, how would I find one, etc) And then I would have to make sure I get the TVIP (I think I read that is what it's called) at every border crossing, right?
Honda has just introduced a new 125cc bike here. It is the equivalent to the honda ACE125 sold in Africa and other parts of the world. As a reference the price in SA $627, here $1200. Should be reliable, but not sure how easy to sell in Panama. I think getting the bike titled would take about a week. Best bikes are in the USA, but bringing it to Guatemala would cost a pretty penny. Buying a used bike for the intent to travel 2000 to 2500 kms is a crap shoot, specially if the bike is not a common bike here. Looking for a reliable bike for a oneway trip like yours, I would consider the Honda, put it in my name to avoid border problems and dump it, cut my losses at the end of the trip
5. Would another option be renting bikes for part of the journey - eg. in places where renting a bike is easier and the route offers a way of returning it to the original point - and riding pillion with my friend for the parts where it's more difficult. My pal has a 650cc but it will be a bit heavily loaded so he thinks a couple of days pillion here and there would be ok, but not really more than that.
possible, but you will waste a lot of time searching for such bikes. Like I said here in Guatemala CATOURS (search here in the HUBB for them) rents bikes locally and even offer tours
6. His route is Mexico - Yucatan Pen - Belize - eastern Guatemala - Honduras - western Nicaragua - Costa Rica - Panama - and then on. If anyone knows bikes are easier to rent in certain of these countries, please let me know.

I'd really appreciate any help. Thanks very much.

Victoria
buy a NEW bike here in Guatemala, consider it your ticket to Panama and forget about it. $1200 for the CB1 125 (ACE elsewhere in the world) for a 6-8 week ride is not much in the scheme of things. For about $1500-1700 you could have a Carburated Yamaha YBR125, a Suzuki EN125. For about $2000 a honda Invicta 150, for $2600 a Yamaha FZ16 or a Honda XR125L. Chinese bikes can be had for less, but do you want to risk breakdowns on such a limited time?

Let me know if I can be of any help to you from this end. I don't know if I will be around in July, but if I am, I will be more than happy to accompany you and your friend through part of your adventure, plus it would be good for my wife to travel with another female for a while, not many female riders in the area. WORD OF ADVICE: bring all your riding gear with you, and plan for a LOT OF RAIN
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  #15  
Old 19 Jun 2012
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Thanks, everyone, for your comments and advice.

It seems that Oscar Calderon at Mexico Motorcycle Adventures in Mexico City (Inicio) can arrange for people to rent bikes and take across the border with a notarisation letter. He's incredibly helpful and gave me a very reasonable quote for a 400cc bike with all the necessary paperwork plus he will arrange having it returned back to Mexico. It makes a good back-up plan, but it's unfortunately still a bit expensive for me, so I'm still looking at buying a used bike.

Then I'm hoping to sell it in Panama (although a number of people have warned me this is a headache). Apparently I have to make sure to declare at the border that I plan to sell it and then pay customs fees and taxes etc. But at least it would still be some money back, whereas renting wouldn't.

At the moment I'm looking mainly in Mexico as there seems to be a wider selection of bikes available. My travel companion is very sure I should be going for not less than a 250cc, and probably not as big as a 650. So if anyone hears of one, please do let me know.

I'm also looking in Belize, and Emma at Alternate Adventures (Alternate Adventures | Motorbike Rentals and Alternate Adventures, Hopkins, Belize) says she sells off her 200cc dirt bikes regularly. So that's an option, although a dirt bike for such a long journey may not be very comfortable, right?

I'll also keep a look out in Guatemala - thanks for all the info, richsuz - and if you hear of a 250-400cc bike that's, say, around USD2,000, then please let me know. Is that price being too optimistic?

Unfortunately buying a bike in the US isn't an option at this point due to timing.

Richsuz: We'll probably reach Guatemala round August 15, and I will stay in contact to see if we can all ride together. It seems we're just whizzing through the eastern parts though for three days or so. But the itinerary isn't set in stone.


Cheers
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