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Central America and Mexico Topics specific to Central America and Mexico only.
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  #1  
Old 3 Jul 2014
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Mexico to Argentina: where to start?

I'm thinking of taking a trip through Latin America. I ride BMW F650GS (2001), enjoying it.

It seems to be a nonsense to ship a 3000 EUR bike to the New World - it seems more rational to fly to ... and buy a bike there. The question is, where the best starting point would be to buy a bike, register it, do checks/service, and take off for the trip?

I am an Estonian (=EU) citizen, living and working in Germany, meaning I do not need visas in most (if not all) Latin American countries. The same goes with US and Canada. US seems to be the optimal candidate for a starting point, but then there are horrifying stories in another thread regarding vehicle registration in the US, so I'm not sure now.

Ideally, I'd buy a bike similar to what I have somewhere near an international airport as close to the Mexican boarder crossing as possible. Any suggestions?
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Old 3 Jul 2014
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Oregon

Hello, I am from Australia and I purchased a bike in Oregon last year and had no problems getting it registered, just 1 visit to an office to pay for registration and got plates given to me straight away. It's a beautiful ride down the west coast into Mexico.
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Old 4 Jul 2014
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Visa info

I recommend U.S. Passport & Travel Visa Services: Online Application, Visas Requirements. for visa and fee information. I believe the fees mentioned on the site reflect rates when you go to an embassy before arriving and the fees that the website charges for processing, so use the amounts listed as a rough guide. The site provides important information regarding visa requirements, such as the require to obtain a visa before arriving at a border for some countries.
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Old 8 Jul 2014
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I can tell you the South American countries have some really arcane import export laws. When I was in Argentina I met a Swiss guy who bought an Argentine bike. He was not allowed to leave the country with it and had to back track and sell it. I know you can buy a US bike and ride it to SA. If you do there are only two places where you can legally sell it. They are free trade zones in Chile, Punta Arenas and Irequeque. The market for bikes there is kinda thin, but if you get an inexpensive single you wont take a really big hit. Dave
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Old 22 Jul 2014
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It is not the visas I'm worried about: I don't need them. It is the point where to purchase a motorcycle quickly and reliably without much red tape involved.
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Old 22 Jul 2014
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Laws in the U.S. vary state to state. In Texas all you need to buy a bike is money. You will need an address to have paperwork mailed to. It can be a friend or even a motel. It takes a week or more to get new title back. You will need original title showing you as owner to travel though Mexico, Central and South America. You will also need proof of liability insurance. Mine cost me about $100/year for multiple bikes. Any valid license is recognized for tourists.

Once you cross into Mexico you will need Mexican insurance as they don't recognize U.S. insurance.
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Old 23 Jul 2014
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South America visas

Hi BB,

I checked and only found two countries in South America that require a visa for an Estonian: Guyana and Suriname. I travel with my Irish passport and got stamped into Guyana at the border. The visa for Suriname has to be secured at a consulate (e.g. Georgetown or Cayenne) not at the border.

Riding through the 'Guyanas' is not a common route, but one that I took. If you do decide to ride Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana, know that getting short term insurance in French Guiana can be difficult. If you have a policy that cover Western Europe (i.e. France) then you will likely be covered for French Guiana. I know of three sets of riders that were allowed entrance and exit without insurance.

Another tip of you ride the Guayanas don't don't plan to stay very long, don't surrender your Brazilian importation paper when you leave because you'll be going back into Brazil on the other end and keep the papers open will save you the hassle. I have read that Brazil is no longer issuing papers for motorcycles, so that advice may be moot.
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Old 26 Jul 2014
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Originally Posted by badbishop View Post
It is not the visas I'm worried about: I don't need them. It is the point where to purchase a motorcycle quickly and reliably without much red tape involved.
Lots of international guys purchase bikes in California and then ride to Mexico. Depending on where you buy the bike, you could be in Mexico that afternoon!
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Old 3 Weeks Ago
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It would be hard to find a used reliable bike in a country other than the US. I'm not saying you won't find it, I'm just saying it would be somewhat more difficult.
In Southern California you'll find plenty of used good bikes on craigslist.
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Originally Posted by green_devil View Post
It would be hard to find a used reliable bike in a country other than the US. I'm not saying you won't find it, I'm just saying it would be somewhat more difficult.
In Southern California you'll find plenty of used good bikes on craigslist.
This is true. And the USA ... and California will have the largest selection of bikes and the cheapest bikes in the world. Japanese bikes in S. America are very expensive ... even 10 year old crappers. Only 250 Chinese bikes are inexpensive .. but you get what you pay for.

Also lately we hear it seems to be getting more difficult for a foreigner to buy a bike in Chile. Forget Argentina. Not possible if you intend to leave.

Good luck, safe travels!
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