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  #1  
Old 2 Sep 2006
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Post FLY PANAMA - QUITO ecuador colombia, flight price girag, 08/'06, darien gap, shipping


a summary of my findings on how to hop across the gap by plane, and an update on price. includes the possibly obvious-to-some answers i wanted a month ago.. basically an idiots´guide on flying panama-quito (like me), or i assume a similar process, to colombia.

first of all you need to book your own passenger flight, through ´copa air´ or similar. do this on the web. if you can get a date at the beginning of the week, all the better, because customs in quito aren´t open at weekends, so won´t allow you to pick up your bike then. Book a PM flight. This allows you the time in the morning to get the bike to girag at the ´terminal de carga´and do all the paperwork, then get over to the passenger terminal, which can take a little while on the gravelly road, even by taxi.

Have photocopies of your passport, driver´s licence, bike ´permiso´ for panama, bike registration document or ´title´, and any other official shi_te you have. On the day of your flight, drive on over to the well signposted cargo terminal of panama tocumen airport -that´s the international one, not the national one.. which is half an hour away or less from pan city centre. The guys who work there take a 2 hr lunch break, so try and get there early-ish. When you get there ask where Girag is -that´s pronounced shie-rag, not hirag, or with a hard ´g´ at the beginning.

BRING CASH. they do not accept any cards. at the time of writing the cost for my klr650 was $750.85, including all tax +everything. I got the impression it was a fixed price- although they weighed my bike, they had already told me the price without even seeing it, so as far as i know, a GS or even heavier (is there such a thing?) would be the same. Have less than half a tank of petrol when you arrive -a fifth of a tank or even less is ideal. otherwise you may have to drain some.

I had to remove all my soft luggage, but i do not know the score for touratech panniers or similar aluminium hard boxes. my ´top box´ (a milk crate) stayed on, however, and i packed things like tools in there before they wrapped it up tightly with industrial cling film. write down the date-time that the bike will arrive.

Allow them to pry the cash out of your sweaty hand. It will be very, very sweaty . they´ll call you a taxi to the passenger terminal. mine cost two dollars. then your just get on your flight like any other. one note on this-muggins here forgot that flying in a plane is actually a process that adheres to strict regulations regarding what you can take in your hand luggage... a couple of weeks after the england-usa bomb threat, no less... idiot.
two safety flares, a penknife, some electrical tape and a leatherman later
and i´m very F_ing surprised that i got on the flight at all. so shove it all in your main baggage.

the bike arrives two or three days later, in Quito. Quito airport information took amusement in mocking me for even suggesting that a bike could be flown there from another country. Better than enduring this is to walk straight past the passenger area to the far end of the carpark -left end as you look at the airport entrance- where importation and customs are. As i say, they are only open on weekdays. As i´m writing this on a saturday, having just been to the airport and now having to go back monday, i can´t finalise the idiots´guide right now... however the black dude guard, who greets you at customs, was possibly the nicest guy in the world. He said he thought it was roughly fifty bucks total to get the thing out of there.

to be continued..

Last edited by getalexfr; 15 Mar 2007 at 19:12.
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  #2  
Old 2 Sep 2006
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Hope your bike makes it OK! :thumbup1

Last edited by mollydog; 27 Mar 2009 at 19:21.
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  #3  
Old 3 Sep 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog
..........
Any idea if the price is any better flying into Colombia?
it's only half an hour (or so) by air.

Patrick

:
From what I've read (no personal experience), that flight actually goes via Bogota, and is also less expensive than Quito.
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  #4  
Old 3 Sep 2006
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Great post - but don't forget to post it all in the Shipments database too!

Link on left, under Shipping

thanks!
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Old 3 Sep 2006
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Yes - go to Bogotá - Colombia is WELL worthwhile. Contact the Communities too for lots of local info.
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  #6  
Old 3 Sep 2006
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Thumbs up Great Post

Thanks for posting this information, it's useful. Just make sure you update it post-aduana!
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  #7  
Old 3 Sep 2006
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colombia is definitely cheaper, though i don´t have a figure on that . my passenger flight was $413 all-in, booked a week in advance. pleasantly, copa decided to upgrade me to first-class, which was hilarious! everyone in the ´president´s departure lounge´ looked at me like i´d broken in but obviously this didn´t concern me too much.

a couple of complimentary drinks later and i cared even less...
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  #8  
Old 7 Sep 2006
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and the rest..

Right, well I've got the bike now and all is well but it wasn't a walk in the park..

BEFORE you do the quito part of my initial post, you should go to the quito branch of GIRAG. This is located near the airport, but a taxi ride away, so go there FIRST as the airport customs people need a certain form before they can do anything. As their website is a heap of shizit with no details, here is their address and number that i found from another post:
Girag SA Ecuador
Felix Orallobal 599 y Marcos Jofre Sec
Tel (593-2) 243 2714 Fax 243 4588

At Girag I was asked if i would like to pay $50 for an agent to do the work for me, who would take about 2 hours to get the bike out for me. If you have the cash, I would suggest you take this option. For me however, living on about $8 a day, this seemed like a lot and i'm quite a stubborn b*stard. So i just paid the already-unreasonable $20 for the form (it is referred to as 'pagina dos' (page two) of the shipping agreement. by the way, i checked whether i might have been able to get this prior to flying, in panama, but apparently not -you really do have to go to the girag office for this scrap of paper......

if you are getting an agent they will tell you what to do next, right up to paying the $20 permiso fee and driving out of there. if you are not getting one, you need to go to the customs building described above and get your bundle of papers out. if anyone says "come with me, do this, do that", they will expect a 'fee' or a 'tip' when you're done. so you need to make it ABSOLUTELY clear that you really can't pay them at all, and can they please just tell you where to go. the golden rule is that people you want to be talking to are generally sat on their arse behind a window, not walking around with you, helpfully.....

here's the frustrating bit -i filled out about 4 forms, and none of them were scary, complicated or overly long. i think the longest was two or three pages. they are in spanish, but with a basic understanding or a little help from whoever is nearest (again, make sure they don't get the wrong idea about how much help you need), you can do it. they are the usual stuff -title, passport, engine no, reason for entry, etc etc
DESPITE this surprisingly small amount of paperwork, i waited on the corridor sofa for ??HOURS! for them to get the stupid things checked, stamped, photocopied, whatever the * they were doing... every time i asked they said "well, it is really rather a lot of paper..." or "so and so is in a meeting at the moment..." or "ï'm washing my hair....".

incredible. i ended up coming back the following morning, and thankfully someone had got around to it by then! i have no idea how the agent manages to speed this process up but he/she'd save you this long delay. then it's $20 to customs, screw your mirrors and windscreen back on if you've taken them off, and scoot! the nearest petrol station is about 500 metres away. you exit the airport customs lot onto a dual carriageway, so you can only turn right. 500m along in this direction you'll see the 'bomba' (petrol station) on the right.

hope this helps . ecuador is awesome to drive in btw, and cheap -including the 20c toll roads (for a change -beats mexico <$70 pd!!)
alex
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  #9  
Old 12 Sep 2006
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Carnet or no Carnet

Will not having a carnet create any problems flying a bike from Equador or Columbia to Panama? All the Posts I have read would indicate that I can get my bike imported through the South America land borders with no Carnet and I know that Central America will not be a problem. Just concerned if importing into Panama by plane may create a problem with no Carnet. Also concerned about importing into Chile by plane. I do not want any problems getting my bike out of immigration in Panama or Chile.
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  #10  
Old 13 Sep 2006
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No need for a carnet in SA/CA. Chile shouldn't be a problem either.
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  #11  
Old 13 Sep 2006
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Flying bike into Quito - no carnet needed

I will post this on the shipment section as well !

I have just flown my bike into Quito from London. I flew it with a company called Dynamic - contact name Simon Badger. If you google them you can get their phone number, I haven't got it right now. They were really efficient. I took the bike to the packers in middlesex then they crated it. It was around 800 pounds for flight and 250 for crate. The bike arrived in two days, all intact and still with petrol in.

At the Quito customs I had to get an agent as my Spanish isn't good enough to sort it all out myself. It is possible to do it yourself as Alex (earlier post) managed to do it.

I went to the airport, got an agent, handed my passport over, gave the agent the bike information and left. Went back the next day and it took two hours to get the bike out. The warehouse boys got the bike out of the crate and re -attached my mirrors etc. At NO time was a carnet asked for. I had to pay 50 dollars for the agent and around 20 dollars for the customs fee. It all seemed quite easy.
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  #12  
Old 15 Sep 2006
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Panama- Bogota

We flew 2 motorcycles from Panama to Bogota 10 days ago. One BMW 1150GS and one Honda Varadero. First we got a price from Girag which was 480 USD for each moto, then we went to Copa and they gave us the same price which is 350 for the freight, 100 for dangerous goods, and 30 for the airway bill. But they offer to do one airway bill for both motos so we paid 700 for freight, 100 for dangerous goods and 30 for the airway bill. Total 830 for both motos. Girag has daily flights to Bogota while Copa just once or twice a week. Girag takes only cash and Copa takes Credit cards also. The tickets for us was 261 dollars for each person. In Bogota we paid 30 dollars more. There are two cargo areas in Bogota. As you get out from the airport walk on the main road towards the town. You will pass a gasoline station and the area where Girag is, is on your right hand and Copa on the left. Ofcourse once you get outside from the airport ask directions for the cargo area.
I hope this is clear enough

Antonis
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Old 15 Sep 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Antonis Vassiliou
We flew 2 motorcycles from Panama to Bogota 10 days ago. One BMW 1150GS and one Honda Varadero.
Antonis
Excellent info. You can disregard the questions I asked by email, you answered them here. You are moving just a bit faster than me, as I am house and dog sitting on the beach in Costa Rica at the moment. It's a tough job.
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  #14  
Old 14 Nov 2006
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I just went to Gigag today and I was surprised when they told me it was going to cost 550 plus tax, which would be 651. I thought Panama to Bogota was around 400!
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Old 14 Nov 2006
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Here is the skinny on Panama to Bogota, I called Karelia and she said its 550 total. I asked here why it has gone up so much and she didnt really have an answer. Never the less, she is really nice and I hope this goes well.I still cant swallow the fact that someone flew their bike in Jan for 450, someone in oct for 501, and now im at 550.. I also checked out Copa but they only fly once a week on a tuesday. They said its around 400 but thats a small bike.. One guy posted getting to columbia by boat legally, 100 moto 100 person. Thats sounding pretty good rigt now. I'll post the outcome..
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