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Trip Paperwork Covers all documentation, carnets, customs and country requirements, how to deal with insurance etc.
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  #1  
Old 19 Oct 2006
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Question Crossing borders of Central and Latin America

Hello there,

I'm getting some plans in order to head off on my first serious adventure.

I'm a british guy who has been working for an american company for the last 4 years - their HQ's in Seattle. I've built up some good friends out there so I'm intending to use Seattle as my starting point. Plus its cheaper for bike and equipment.
Then I'm pointing south and travelling for a year, down the west coast of the US (christmas vegas, new year san fran) and onto Central and Latin America.
And definitely tierra del fuego on a Triumph Bonneville.

I don't see any problems in buying and registering a bike out in Washington State. Or finding US insurance.

My concern is how easy is it to obtain travel visas throught the central and latin american borders? - or do I have to obtain these from the consulates prior to showing up?

I've never really been one for total organisation so if you can just show up on the borders and the travel visas and temp vehicle import papers are all available that would be quality.
Please could you let me know if it is possible?
What problems have you experienced?
Can you travel trough these countries easy enough? i.e. in the northern border and out the southern border?

I've a full EU drivers licence, and an international drivers perimit. As I've read on this site - official paper work is good.

Is it possible to avoid dodgy geezars hanging around borders...... or do they make the journey?

Thankyou
Knowledge is Power!
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  #2  
Old 19 Oct 2006
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Visas

If you travel on a British Passport, you do not need Visas for South America, except perhaps for Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana.

You can get insurance for the bike at each boarder.

You do not need a Carnet either, this is the bike travel document required by some countires.

In a nut shell, buy a bike, save some money and then head off, you just roll up at each boarder, get stamped and by your insurance.

One tip, I would look at a trial type bike, KLR or XT600e as the bike to ride, but you people do trips on all sorts, so if you really are set on a Triumph, it can be done. Panniers and a big tank help too.

You need an international driving license.

You have to get a boat between Panama and Columbia.

I hope this helps, it's all very, very possible, just save up and away you go.

Iain.
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  #3  
Old 19 Oct 2006
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trip paperwork

re: Mexico and Central America
Your UK driver's license is fine, an international driver's license will be acceptable but rarely if ever asked for at borders.
Make absolutely certain that you have your motorcycle ownership and registration papers in order in YOUR name, the same name as appears on your passport and credit card or you will have a lot of problems entering Mexico and end your trip right there.
All formalities for Mexico and CA countries can be completed at the borders when you show up. The major highway crossings will be open 24/7 but the small roads off the main tourist and trade trails will have restricted hours of service. Find out by asking around if you plan to take one of those small crossings so you won't give yourself a s urprise. In any event plan to make all your border crossings early in the day so that you will not drag the process into the post sunset hours and get panicky for finding aplace to stay the night.
Liability insurance for Mexico must be bought before entering.Belize ,Nicaragua and Costa Rica sell such compulsory insurance at the entry points.For the other CA countries you can arrange buying it in the States also.
As to your choice of bike- " run what ya brung" and stick to the routes that suit it .All of Mexico and Central America can easily be done on any street bike, lots of asphalt to choose from.
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Old 19 Oct 2006
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Classic

This is exactly the sort of news I needed to hear. Thanks guys.

My head says do it on a Honda (Built for the job, reliable, loads of parts, easy to fix...........)
My heart says do it on a Triumph.

Just to make sure.......My friends in the US have told me that I will have no problem registering a bike in the US, I have a valid passport, US travel visa, EU licence, and International Drivers Permit.

How does the registration work? I have heard that if I bought a bike through a dealership they'll run the registration paperwork by default. But if I bought private I'd have to go down to the local vehicle licencing office to sort it out - and it'd take a few weeks to recieve the ownership/registration papers.

Do you see it being difficult as a tourist to register a bike and take it out of the US?
I don't need some sort of a social security number to register a vehicle do I?
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  #5  
Old 19 Oct 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iain
If you travel on a British Passport, you do not need Visas for South America, except perhaps for Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana.
Only need a visa for Suriname if you're on a UK Passport, costs 30 Euros from the consulate in Cayenne (F.Guiana).
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  #6  
Old 20 Oct 2006
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Brasil

Quote:
Originally Posted by tommym
Hello there,

I'm getting some plans in order to head off on my first serious adventure.

I'm a british guy who has been working for an american company for the last 4 years - their HQ's in Seattle. I've built up some good friends out there so I'm intending to use Seattle as my starting point. Plus its cheaper for bike and equipment.
Then I'm pointing south and travelling for a year, down the west coast of the US (christmas vegas, new year san fran) and onto Central and Latin America.
And definitely tierra del fuego on a Triumph Bonneville.

I don't see any problems in buying and registering a bike out in Washington State. Or finding US insurance.

My concern is how easy is it to obtain travel visas throught the central and latin american borders? - or do I have to obtain these from the consulates prior to showing up?

I've never really been one for total organisation so if you can just show up on the borders and the travel visas and temp vehicle import papers are all available that would be quality.
Please could you let me know if it is possible?
What problems have you experienced?
Can you travel trough these countries easy enough? i.e. in the northern border and out the southern border?

I've a full EU drivers licence, and an international drivers perimit. As I've read on this site - official paper work is good.

Is it possible to avoid dodgy geezars hanging around borders...... or do they make the journey?

Thankyou
Knowledge is Power!
Hi,
you do need an international licence BUT there is a diferent one for Brasil. They look pretty much the same but the normal one does not have a Portugese translation in it.
A couple of months ago I got someone to renew my Brasil licence, they got it wrong and I got another copy of the one for everywhere else in SA. I decided that I would chance it, got stopped in a 24ton truck full of passengers and very nearly was going no further. The guy that stopped me wanted to throw the book at me but after an hour or so he radioed the boss who thought it was more of a headache to deal with it than to let me go. So there you are, it's worth getting.
Fraser
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  #7  
Old 20 Oct 2006
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Brasilian Driving Permit

The international permit I have follows the 1949 conventions.
Thats what I believe is the necessary convention around Central and Latin America.

So where can I get a Portuguise translation of the drving permit in the UK?
Or can I pick one up on the way round? From a Brasilian consulate around the Americas?
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Old 20 Oct 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tommym
The international permit I have follows the 1949 conventions.
Thats what I believe is the necessary convention around Central and Latin America.

So where can I get a Portuguise translation of the drving permit in the UK?
Or can I pick one up on the way round? From a Brasilian consulate around the Americas?
For Brazil, you need the IDP that follows the 1926 conventions. You can get it from the AA but wouldn't think you'll get one from a consulate.

http://www.theaa.com/getaway/idp/motidp005.html
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  #9  
Old 29 Oct 2006
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question about insurance...

so if i need insurance for certain countries and i can get it here in the states, what are the websites?
also, how do you determine the amount of time your going to be in each country?
and what about the liability limits?
how much is it roughly for each of these countries?

thanks a bunch for any help.

i'm leaving reno, NV in a few days and i'm shooting for brazil. get in contact with me if any of you want to ride along the way....


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  #10  
Old 31 Oct 2006
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Location: Norwich,Ontario,Canada
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insurance

for example, try www.sanbornsinsurance.com or search for Oscar Padilla or Bajamex Insurance. Sanborns handle Mexico and Central America and maybe they can help you for South America too.You can arrange their insurance online or visit one of their agents e.g. in Tucson
How much time? it's up to you--- how much time have you got ?You could make a rapid transit in a few weeks or you could take months and months as you wander where the mood might dictate.How good are you at setting a schedule and sticking to it ?- difficult if you discover all sorts of side trips you can't resist, time flies by.
All insurance comes at a cost, the blanket CA coverage was about $148US for two weeks in '05, kind of expensive compared to what BZ, CR and NIC charge at their borders for their compulsory liability insurance, so figure out when/if you will be in those countries so you won't double up insurance for the time there.Too bad not every country offers it for sale right at the border posts
I can't remember the exact liability limits, but that is prettywell fixed, you either buy the insurance for the max or do without. Only liability is offered for motorcycles anyway.
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  #11  
Old 31 Oct 2006
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Location: La Paz, Bolivia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tommym
The international permit I have follows the 1949 conventions.
Thats what I believe is the necessary convention around Central and Latin America.

So where can I get a Portuguise translation of the drving permit in the UK?
Or can I pick one up on the way round? From a Brasilian consulate around the Americas?
You can get them from UK post offices that have either an RAC or AA stamp on the front left hand corner of it has DL95 whereas the other has DL96. On the inside cover it has countries covered and Brasil is listed and no other S American county.
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  #12  
Old 28 Feb 2009
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Smile Driving Licence

I think that I am correct in writing that I went through 60 border post in riding to Tierra del Fuego and back to New York. I was never asked for a driving license, nor did I have an International. In fact from Buenos Aires north I didn't have any license having had my standard UK license pickpocketed in BA. In 60000 Ks I was flagged for speeding once (an achievement on a Honda 125), reproved for overtaking on double yellow lines once. These were the only occasions on which I was asked for my license. Otherwise I was never stopped other than to ask if I was OK.
Nor did I have a carnet.
You do need registration documents proving your ownership of your bike and lots of photocopies - also photocopies of the information page of your passport.
You might find something useful on my BLOG at cover
Message me for any specific information.
Have fun, ride safe...
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