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  #1  
Old 26 Mar 2008
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Customs and my van in Bolivia!

Oops, I screwed up. Entered in Copacabana, asked for 90 days, got 30. Everyone says, if you overextend your visa, no worries, they just ask for a dollar a day if you're late. Went to Immigration, got my 90 days, didn't have to pay anything. Went to Aduana, and they say I have to go to this customs office near the airport, with a letter pleading guilty, copies of paperwork, leave it there a few days before getting the verdict. Then presumably return to Aduana and get the 90 days for the van.

Obviously, I don't want to do this. And wouldn't bother if it wasn't for having to exit the country.... I was seven months late in Costa Rica, and happily paid $200 bribe getting out. But this was an honest mistake.

Hmm. It's looking like I have to do this damn paperwork, huh???
Actually, it's not the paperwork so much, it's that the customs place is MILES away, all the way through town etc....
Lorraine
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Last edited by lorraine; 26 Mar 2008 at 18:53.
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  #2  
Old 26 Mar 2008
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Someone on HU had a similar problem with a motorcycle. I seem to remember he exited Bolivia to Chile, southwest of the Salar de Uyuni. There was no real border post, and he came back later to get his tourist permit. It's supposed to be a rough road that way, though. I went into Argentina from Bolivia, at La Quiaca, so I don't have first hand info on road conditions. Wouldn't want the old Chevy breaking down out there.
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Old 26 Mar 2008
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We actually missed the Aduana coming into Bolivia from San Pedro de Atecama (the passport office was obvious so got out passport stamps ok) so didn't get any paperwork for our bikes. Leaving Bolivia up towards Titicaca, the guy on the border didn't ask for any bike paperwork, only a $10 bribe but he'd already stamped our passports so somehow we mananged to leave Bolivia without need for any bike paperwork or paying bribes though I'm sure this doesn't always work!
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Old 26 Mar 2008
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Mike,

We did the opposite thing leaving and entering Peru. The motos were from Peru and when we got to the Brazilian border jungle crossing at Inapari, Peru, the aduana told us we couldn't leave without a guarantee and permission from Lima! Lima? That's 2,000 km away on the other side of the Andes! Then he said he would let us "run for the border", but we may have trouble re-entering Peru.

So when we got to La Paz, we decided to take the "less formal" route around the eastern side of Titicaca. It was soooo remote we did not even know when we crossed the border! http://http://www.freewebs.com/shanperu/day37lapaztomojoperu.htm

So then the motos were safely back in Peru, but WE had no stamps in our passports making US illegal ! Luckily we know 'people', and when we got back to Pucallpa, we 'had the detail corrected' before we flew out of Peru....

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Old 27 Mar 2008
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Well shoot. I looked at the map last night and realized that the airport-customs office is en route to a location I wanted to check at some point-so why not now.... I predict it could be way more hassle than it´s worth, and if that´s the case, I´ll just keep driving... and perhaps head back to the border at Copacabana, and start all over again! Or, just ignore the whole situation!

Lorraine
PS I´ll post what happens..
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Old 27 Mar 2008
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Lorrain where are you now. There are several crossing where customs and immigration a a distance apart and immigration will not ask for the customs paperwork. The crossing southwest of Uyuni by the geysers and pink flamingoes is one. Aduana is about 50k before the border at 5000 meters above sea level. You also need to drive almost one hour off the main track to get there. Once there all the guy did was take the customs paperwork. No stamp, no copy machine. We took pictures of us with him and the forms just in case but no one ever asked at immigration. This is route has lots of deep sand- fyi.
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Old 28 Mar 2008
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Angry

Thanks BDakar, I´m in LaPaz and need to stay in this area for a few weeks for work stuff. So, tomorrow I´ll head up to the office, see what they say, and if I don´t like what they say, I´ll head to the border at Lake Titicaca. I´ll only be ten days over at that point, so a small bribe is easy. Inshaállah.... And you say deep sand? Hah! That´s one of the reasons I need to stick around, I desperately need two new ´bravo´ tires to get me out of those kind of situations I tend to find myself in too much! Ah, for a 4x4 van....

If I was planning on heading out, this would all be different, but I´m not.... saving up for a paint job etc before I hit Argentina where I won´t be able to afford anything.

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Old 28 Mar 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lorraine View Post
.... saving up for a paint job etc before I hit Argentina where I won´t be able to afford anything.

Lorraine
I think you'll be pleasantly surpised at how affordable Argentina is. Not Bolivia cheap, but not as bad as I was afraid of. Fuel gets cheaper the further south you go. I could go for a good bife de chorizo (steak) right now. Of course, the US dollar has lost another 20% of its' value since I was there, but it shouldn't be too bad.

Good luck with the van
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Old 28 Mar 2008
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I was told by mechanics in Peru that Argentinian mechanic-tire prices etc were high??

Anyway, I thought of a problem. If I leave Bolivia to Peru to start all over again, will I be able to?? I remember when I outstayed in Costa Rica, I got a lecture about not being able to return for 6 months a year, can´t remember.... This time, I won´t be overdue, but the van will. ARGH!

Any ideas/thoughts anyone???
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Old 28 Mar 2008
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Hey Lorraine, would a very good color photo copy with a date alteration work? I have always used a color copy of my title at borders and it always works. If you have problems you could always just say you lost the original papers but still have the copies.

Good Luck
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Old 28 Mar 2008
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Alas gatogato, it´s all computerized...
Anyway, here I go, wish me luck!
Thanks for everyone´s thoughts,
Lorraine
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Old 31 Mar 2008
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Aduana in Bolivia is computerized? What is this world coming too?

Good luck Lorraine. I am in Honduras now without my bike...it's a long story...so we won't be meeting anywhere for awhile.

Happy Travels.

Jeff
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Old 6 Apr 2008
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Update

Update. This is what happened with customs. I got to the Aduana at 4pm on Friday, then close at 4:30. I discovered the people who do photocopies, have an assortment of 'made to order' letters on their computer. Alas, by the time a request for more time in Bolivia was printed, one of the offices was closed, and nothing would be open again till Monday. On a hunch, I asked two very nice and helpful people if it would be easier if I went to the border, left and returned again. They said yes, especially I think, because I was already late.

The next day I arrived at the border and on a hunch, said to the customs man, "Senor ___ at the Aduana in Al Alto, La Paz, said since I can't get the paperwork done on the weekend, you'd give me an extension, so the car date matches what's on my passport."

Within five minutes it was done. No bribes, no charges. Nothing like dropping a name... I don't of course know if it would've made any difference, but anyone needing a name, send me an email. I'm not sure it would be politic to post the nice man's name here. Unfortunately, the border only gave me six weeks on the van, even though I have three months on my passport. Sigh. How much time has everyone else been given? I've heard up to six months! Why are they being so stingy with me??? Anyway, hopefully by then I'll have enough money to invest in Chile's expensive gas for a short trip before re-entering.

Extraneous adventures included: driving through LaPaz during Friday lunch hour, stalling on a steep hill, and because of being very low on gas, having to buy some, taking everything out of the front to get to the motor, and pouring the gas in the carburetor, having to reverse down two 'short cuts' that were too steep for the Chevy, then having an argument with a little old lady who threw a rock at Bruiser, before getting to the Aduana in Al Alto.

After the Aduana, I then got entangled in Friday rush hour traffic, saw my first skinned, beheaded and gutted dog in a market, erroneously took the road to Chile, and then took the wrong road to Copacabana, before taking the right road.

However I must be becoming more evolved at travel, because I stayed calm the entire time. Six months ago, I would've felt totally hassled.

Thanks for all your thoughts and suggestions!
Camped behind the archeological site at Tiwanaku for 8 nights getting some work done, overlooking adobe houses and a valley. Great weather. Now back in La Paz.

Lorraine

PS And predictably, the police came around at the site, a regular occurrence when you have a van which looks like it could be smuggling something. Which is why I wanted my papers in order, and why I want to get a paint job. Not sure if it'll help, but... will at least help the resale value when I get ready to sell!
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