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Old 9 Sep 2009
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 7
Carnet cost verses temporary import charges

Thanks to those who responded to my thread "Getting a carnet on the road".
To follow on from that I would be interested to know whether the costs associated with getting temporary import documents for most of the countries in South America could be greater than the cost of a carnet for 12 months. I intend starting in Venezuela and traveling clockwise exiting from Ecuador.
I saw on one blog that the customs people in Venezuela increased the value of the guys Landrover from 3000 to 10000 pounds. I am guessing that this increase would be reflected in the amount the guy had to pay for his temporary import document, or are they a flat rate that is not dependent on the value of the vehicle. The blog was a bit vague on the implications of the revaluation.
Has anybody done a comparison of the costs and benefits of one or the other?
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Old 9 Sep 2009
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Montreal
Posts: 104
Hi Rob,

We were in South-America last year and started in Colombia and went down via Ecuador (counter-clockwise). The following information I copied from our website. It will give you an idea of what to expect for some of the countries you will be going to (I forgot to update Chile and Uruguay). But in a nutshell, there were no fees for temporary import documents for us. And on a note related to getting a carnet on the road, we got ours via the CAA while we were in Buenos Aires. We felt it was not worth it to spend 500$ to have a valid carnet while we were in the americas. If you can also get yours on the road, do so. It will save you money (at least it did for us).

Now, the info...


Border crossing: We (and the bike) arrived through the International Airport in Bogota
Cost for bike: 1$ for a photocopy
Cost for us: 8$ paid at Tocumen airport in Panama
Time it took: 2 hours


Border crossing: Near Ipiales
Cost for bike: Free
Cost for us: Free
Time it took: About 45 minutes


Border crossing: Macara
Cost for bike: Free
Cost for us: Free
Time it took: About 45 minutes
Comments: Border officials on the Peru side lack proper training. Make sure your temporary vehicle importation permit is properly filled out and signed by the official.


Border crossing: Copacabana
Cost for bike: Free
Cost for us: Free
Time it took: About 45 minutes


Border crossing: Asuncion
Cost for bike: Free
Cost for us: 45$ per person for visa (required for canadians)
Time it took: About 45 minutes

Border crossing: La Quiaca
Cost for bike: Free
Cost for us: Free
Time it took: 6 hours!!!
Comments: Everything went well until we were asked to show our insurance papers (we did not have any). The official would not let us through until we purchased some in the neighboring town (1 kilometer form the border). Problem was that the 3 insurance offices were all closed. In the end, we convinced the official to let us go on without the insurance and promised to by some the following day (we did).

Hope this helps,

By the way, although they are rare in South-America you should avoid using helpers as they only serve to drive up costs (avoid using them anywhere for that matter).

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