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South America Topics specific to South America only.
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  #1  
Old 22 Mar 2012
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Do I need a license to buy, & ride through Chilli & N Arg? Waiting for it to arrive

Hi there, I really want to get going and buy a motorbike in Santiago and start riding North and into Argentina. Currently waiting for my UK license to be sent from the UK!
Is is unwise to buy the bike and get going without it? It will take a month to come.
What is the likelyhood of getting asked for it?
Also it is only a car license I'm being sent, i've heard over here it doesnt matter?

Many thanks in advance
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  #2  
Old 24 Mar 2012
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What about getting faxed a copy of your car driving license, to have the beginning of an official paper to show, at least as an excuse...

Being british, the chances cops understand what s written on your license is higher than for a russian or a chinese citizen...then it all depends on the local behaviour of police officers.

Each region in Argentina has its culture. In Mendoza, expect a zero tolerance attitude (chilean influence) while in Formosa, police is corruptable (paraguayan influence). The majority will consider you as "out of their juridiction" if you dont speak spanish and have a foreign plate and papers. Some might regard it as an oportunity to increase their meager salary...In the Buenos Aires region, motorcycles are the favorite target of police controls, since zillions of regulations apply, much more than for cars, which increases the chances for a coima.

I wouldnt recommend you riding in Chile without a valid driving license tho, this is the strictest country of the region and fines are VERY expensive.
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Old 24 Mar 2012
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I've never rode in South America, but... one thing I notice in many (most) trip reports from that region is that riders seem to get stopped a lot and hassled by cops. If you get pulled over and asked for your licence and papers, what are you going to do?
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Old 24 Mar 2012
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You will need a valid drivers license to cross borders. Along with passport and bike papers.

Looking at this recent post:

http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...hile-non-63372

It appears that he just needed a passport to get the RUT number to allow him to buy a bike in Santiago. So it appears that you can at least find and purchase a bike while you are waiting for your drivers license.

From reading other accounts it sounds like it takes 10 days or so for the bike papers to come through so you can leave the country. I have not bought a bike in Chile so others may know more.

In my experience, the only time you need a drivers license is at borders or if you are pulled over by the police. I'm not saying you should ride around carefully and tour the Chilean countryside while waiting for your drivers license to arrive. Although that is probably what I would do given your circumstances. I would rather ride around and enjoy Chile and if pulled over shrug my shoulders and explain that my replacement license is coming in the mail and pay any fine rather than sit around twiddling my thumbs. That's just me though.

Kindest regards,
John Downs
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