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  #1  
Old 27 Nov 2009
freewheelin frank's Avatar
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Travel & medical advice for Central America

I am planning on heading to Mexico and Central America in January/February and wanted to make sure all my bases are covered. Is it necisary to take Malaria or any other meds or shots to ride to Panama? Will I need any special documentation other than state drivers license, registration, title of ownership for the bike and passport (with copies of all of course).
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Safe riding,

FF
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  #2  
Old 28 Nov 2009
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Before I left on my trip I visited a "travel medicicine clinic", told them where I was going, and they set me up with all the right medication. I had malaria pills for central america (chloroquinine). Hepatitis A and B, Tetanus, Typhoid, Flu, ETEC (travellers diarrhea), Yellow Fever. They also gave me a prescription for an antibiotic to carry with me (Ciprofloxacin) to treat a bad diarrhea while on the road.

Your documentation sounds correct. I would visit the AAA and get an international driverĀ“s license. In fact, get two copies. If the police hold you hostage looking for a bribe by taking your license away, you can walk away and still have backup.
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  #3  
Old 28 Nov 2009
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FF
I have a diferent take on the travel precautions. I have travelled many times to mexico and CA and have not had any shots or malaria pills. I usually live right in the small villages where I help build houses for the poor and live like a local.
I think alot of the clinics are suggesting these shots without thinking and are trying to stay in buisness.
If Malaria was such a problem would'nt everyone in Panama be at risk?
Now, maybe some countries in the world this may not be a bad idea but in my opinion for CA and Mexico just go and have fun!
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  #4  
Old 28 Nov 2009
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Get whatever shots will make you think you are safe
but the essentials are to get the Twinrix shots against hep A and hep B , shots against typhoid and tetanus , and the Dukoral oral vaccine against travellers diarrhea-- all related to situations of bad hygiene and contaminated food.And unfortunately bad hygiene is still common in rural and urban CA and Mexico...and USA and Canada and......
Having also travelled all of CA often and right to the end of the Panam highway in Yaviza in the Darien I have never had nor needed malaria treatment . If you go during winter- the dry season and do not take up living in a swamp chances of getting malaria seem to be pretty thin.
International DL is not required, .If you think you need some extra "coverage " in case of la mordida, just get some copies of your actual drivers license made up and laminated ( illegal to have back home !) and hand these to the cop on the take if you must .
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  #5  
Old 28 Nov 2009
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I contracted Malaria in Nicaragua in 1972. I was 15-yrs old. However, it is not killer malaria like plasmodium falciparum available to us in Nigeria and Angola, where I often go to work. I take the pills (Malarone) now for travel to West Africa. For Latin America, I do not take the pills. For southeast Asia, another place I go to work, I do not take the pills either.

For my travel I get health insurance. For my rides I get a motorcycle specific supplement to health insurance to cover accidents. I also have MedJet assist.

I carry the yellow card with me. I carry ciproflaxcin with me as well.
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Old 2 Dec 2009
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Thanks for the advice. It is greatly appreciated.

Ride safe & enjoy the ride!
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  #7  
Old 31 Dec 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freewheelin frank View Post
Thanks for the advice. It is greatly appreciated.

Ride safe & enjoy the ride!
+1 great thread. bump worthy!
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  #8  
Old 7 Jan 2010
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good info in this thread thanks! We are planning to leave around August headed to central and South america. I understand some of the above vaccinations are a series of shots/pills etc.. how long before we leave do we need to start geting these treatments?
Also whats the best way to carry such pills on the moto? obviously I will leave them in the original prescription container so the cops dont think they are drugs. won't all the heat/cold damage the pills? We plan to travel for about a year.. will they expire and will it be easy or even possible to get replacements on the road?
Thanks, 911racer
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  #9  
Old 7 Jan 2010
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I would keep any pills in blister packs to minimise vibration damage which could turn them into unidentifiable powder.
I got 12months of Doxy from my GP, some of which was out of date in 3 months(!), and all loose in tubs so asked them to swap for longer dated blisterpacks which they didn't like but did do. That does create a lot more volume!
Loose pills in tubs could be anything as far as an over-suspicious cop's concerned!
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  #10  
Old 7 Jan 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 911racer View Post
good info in this thread thanks! We are planning to leave around August headed to central and South america. I understand some of the above vaccinations are a series of shots/pills etc.. how long before we leave do we need to start geting these treatments?
Also whats the best way to carry such pills on the moto? obviously I will leave them in the original prescription container so the cops dont think they are drugs. won't all the heat/cold damage the pills? We plan to travel for about a year.. will they expire and will it be easy or even possible to get replacements on the road?
Thanks, 911racer
From what I recall from my Dakar trip, the Hep B was "ideally" a series of jabs over a 3-4 month period. I was late asking so they put me on an accelerated 4 week regime. All the others were fine.

I
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  #11  
Old 15 Jan 2010
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If the pharmacy does not have blister packs plastic seran wraping the pills in a row like blister packs works well. You may have to explain the reason to border officials but once you do they seem to get it.
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Old 27 Jan 2010
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Thanks for sharing
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  #13  
Old 27 Jan 2010
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My advice; skip the expensive prophylaxis. If you feel sick, find a doctor and get the blood test. You'll save money and won't have any side-effects to worry about. So few people get malaria there, its not worth taking the prophylaxis.

I came down with malaria probably from a mosquito bite in or around Pelenque, Mexico in 2006. (I was in Guatemala when I got sick, but I wasn't in any malarial zone in Guat.). For me, the doc appointment, blood test, and anti-malarial meds was around $70 total (I also had a stool test done at the same time included in the price along with another med; I had a parasite that came alive when the malaria kicked my ass). In less than 48 hours, the sickness was gone; physical fatigue lasted about a month though. Worst part, couldn't take the anti-parasite drug for a week until the malaria meds were done, so the diarrhea was around for awhile.
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