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Old 8 Apr 2005
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Location: Santa Marta, Colombia, South America
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Help! - Stuck in no-man's land, Panama/Costa Rica

I knew this would happen one day. I presented my British Columbia "Registration Document" to the Aduana at Paso Canoas today, and... they wouldn't let me in! They say that this is not a title certificate. Granted, it is in the name of the previous owner and I have a "carta poder" transferring title to me. This doesn't seem to be the problem, it's just that they don't accept this document. The thought of leaving my beloved but grumpy KLR in this ****hole and bussing it is just too much to bear. I am going back tomorrow, (crossing the street), to see what the Canadian Embassy have to say for themselves, but if I get the no-go what do I do? Should I make a break for it, what's the likliehood of getting stopped in Costa Rica? Will I be able to bribe my way out of it? Is there an Aduana control before the border with Nicaragua?

I am in your hands - Any Suggestions? pronto.

Thanks - Mick
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Old 8 Apr 2005
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Location: Aarhus, Denmark
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Do not break for it. It is too risky. You will get hell trying to get out of Costa Rica, without the right stamps of entry in the country.

Bribe does not seem to be a good solution either. It is not Africa, and you might end up with nothing.

You should be able to manage this on the right side of the law. Becaouse there is nothing wrong with your papers! I passed the very same border (with the very same motorcycle) some five months ago.

I had some hardship convincing the aduana on the Nicaragua/Honduras border with the same papers though.

But, these ARE your title papers. Anybody who buys a motorcycle in British Colombia will have these papers as title papers.

The confusing part for the officials is just that the title is on the same paper as the Canadian Insurance. The title is in the buttom of the paper - and it says "title" or "registration" down there too.

So you have a two-in-one paper. And for some reason that is something the officials are not used to.

But stand on your right - because this IS the title paper. I had a hard fight with the aduana at the border Nic/Hon. It lasted some 30 minutes, where he showed me copies of other titles that did not look like mine. I pointed out that none of them was from British Colubia, and that they looked different. Eventually he let us through.

But your guys might be more ignorant. So if you have a hard time convincing them, I can come up with two ways to get past that border:

1) Ask your Embassy - or the Canadian - to make a spanish document saying that you are right.

2) Give them what they want. A title paper with nothing else but the title on it (no confusing insurance).

Make a good photo copy of the original title (and insurance) paper, and cut it so the title paper is free from the insurance part of the document. Be sure to get some on the backside as well - it looks better. Just make a copy of the backside of the original and find a column or two, and glue the two parts together. Then laminate it. And you have a new title. It is in a smaller version but dont worry about that. It doesnt matter if it is much smaller. They get many shapes and sizes and - as proven - do not know how to do their job.

If you want to make it really good, see if you can forge a nice looking stamp on it. They love that.

But I have to make it very clear, that this should not be necessary. It is just the title paper from Canada that seems to be confusing the officials.

If you go for the cut-and-paste option I will suggest you try it at another border crossing :-)

Hope this will help you.

Ride safe,

[This message has been edited by Loxley (edited 08 April 2005).]

[This message has been edited by Loxley (edited 08 April 2005).]
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Old 8 Apr 2005
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Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Ardning Austria
Posts: 135
I got robbed in Mexico one day and they got also my originally papers from the motorbike, i still had the international one, but i could not enter El Salvador without the original papers! After that i made my own papers on a computer and printed them out. They look quiet simular and i am still traveling with those papers in southamerica! No problems at all! Nobody knows and everywhere they are friendly and helpful! I had my motorbike 4 month to long in Costa Rica and then i left the country on the Karibien coast, near Puerto Viejo (i think it was Sixaola, i am not sure anymore). I payed 25$ bribe and than i was gone. no problems at all!

Make your own papers and leave via an other boarder!

Good luck Appie!
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Old 8 Apr 2005
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Panama, Panama, Republic of Panama
Posts: 5
Keep it legal if you can. I got stuck at the frontera a few years back and I needed to get home to get to work and ended up spending about a buck to clear customs without any of the proper documentation..

I just sent a guy called Steve (loston.com) from AUS into Tica after fixing up his very battered Honda Dominator. Look him up on his website and see if he can persuade the border troops, as he is a very nice chap and people seem to bend over backwards to help him (perhaps his family were Irish criminals a few gens back?)

I would like to help but from here other than getting you a lot of lawyer fees there is little I can do
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Old 9 Apr 2005
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Santa Marta, Colombia, South America
Posts: 356
Thanks for the advice you lot, it did help reassure me. I knew I was in the right, but it's good to have that reinforced with someone elses's informed opinion. The good news is, I AM FREE! The Canadian Embassy came up trumps, and I now have a fax, in Spanish, from them if anyone would like a copy.


"There's no justice, just us".
2004 650 KLR, Central America
How much does a man live, after all?
Does he live a thousand days, or one only?
For a week, or several centuries?
How long does a man spend dying?
What does it mean to say “forever”? - Pablo Neruda
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