dont speak much spanish but have about 8 months of lessons ahead of us. Are we going to be less safe not being fluent?
you'll be fine. people will expect you to know little spanish, and that you'll know more than a little means you'll do fine. plus, you'll pick up quite a bit just from having to speak it.
The Darien Gap Panama to Colombia is NOT passable by auto nor on foot, nor are there transport ferries to Colombia. Two friends of ours on another travel portal recently shipped their vehicles from Panama over to Ecuador by RORO (Roll on, roll off container). You must fly from Panama to Ecuador and be there when your vehicle comes into port, with the paperwork, taxes and fees added it almost $1,000 USD one way. If I were you, I would plan on flying to Chile and renting a vehicle there. You are welcome to join our user groups and receive more information though.
Central America requires no "carnets" You do require the Title of the vehicle in the name of the owner, who should be present. Insurance not required in Guatemala, El Salvador or Honduras, minimum Insurance must be purchased at borders of Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. Drive slowly and defensively, keep a low profile and do not give out your itinerary to strangers on the road, avoid driving through the major cities, be sure your vehicle is in top mechanical shape, bring essential spare parts, such as oil and gas filters, etc. Extra spare tire. Be sure all your paperwork is in order and expect to spend 2-3 hours at each Central American Border Crossing. Do not even attempt to navigate the Darien Gap once in Panama and since there are security issues in rural Colombia (fairly dangerous for driving outside major cities) I would advise shipping your vehicle to Ecuador ..RORO...container..no ferries, no other way. One of your group should be able to speak basic Spanish or above for communication in remote areas.
thanks for the help guys, much appreciated. does anybody know any good search engines for jobs when we get down there? do we need visas for any of the countries. we plan on trying to stay in chile and work for 6 months if possible, i assume we will need some sort of work visa.
also, just wondering if anybody could inform me of what their budget was like for driving to south america. we would like to go for a year and we are planning on trying to work for at least 6 months. but if we didnt work we would like to get some sort of idea as far as how much we should plan for.
CHILE - *Passport required. Visa not required for stay of up to 90 days. Entry fee of $100 (U.S.) charged at airport. For longer stays, visa requires passport (valid for term of visa), certificate of good health, police certificate, proof of sufficient funds, and 4 recent passport sized photos. Visa fee (student/ temporary resident/work) is $100; Business and student visas valid 1 year and are renewable in Chile. Student visa requires enrollment certificate. Work visa requires contract approved by the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and letter of previous employers. Work visa valid 2 years and is renewable in Chile.
- **Working without a visa, such as teaching English "freelance" is not recommended. There is a highly skilled work force in Chile. Do your homework and contact some prospective employers in Chile before your departure. Remember in Latin America to show up at job interviews well groomed and well prepared, even in less developed countries than Chile, employees are often required to 'dress up' for work. Volunteering is often a gateway to finding a paying job in Latin America, where contacts and connections are very important. volunteersouthamerica dot com has many leads, no fees.
The information below is specifically for citizens of Australia and New Zealand, but should apply to US Citizens as well for the work visa, before you depart contact the nearest Chilean Embassy or Consulate and if you are qualified to do a job a Chilean citizen cannot do or have BA, BS, MA or MS Degree, being certified teacher is a plus, you may be able to teach in English at an accredited "American" or "International" School. Your prospective employer must sponsor you for the work visa. Google or ask dot com search 'working abroad'
www.anyworkanywhere dot com/visas_cl.html
"Chile Visa Information
Nationals of certain countries can visit Chile for up to three months without a visa but will need to be granted a work permit or visa to take up employment. (That includes US Citizens)
These include: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela
All other nationalities must obtain a visa.
To apply for visas please contact your nearest Chilean Embassy or Consulate.
If you are staying for a longer period of time or intend to work or study in Chile you should check with the Embassy regarding visa requirements. For further information on visas that may be available contact you nearest Chilean Embassy or Consulate or visit The Department Of Foreign Affairs Chile Web Site
Working Holiday Visas: Chile currently has working holiday agreements with New Zealand and Australia
The Working Holiday Visa will allow New Zealand or Australian applicants to work temporarily, either part-time or full time in Chile.
You will initially travel to Chile as a tourist, which allows a maximum stay of up to 90 days.
Within this period of time, you will be required to apply for the Working Holiday/Temporary Residence visa to the Ministry of the Interior in Santiago or the Governor's office in the provinces, by presenting the Certifying Letter issued by the Chilean Consul in New Zealand, once all requirements are met.
This visa will be valid for twelve months (12) months starting from the date of issuance.
- Be a New Zealand or Australian citizen currently residing in New Zealand or Australia at the time of application.
- Be aged between eighteen (18) and thirty (30) years of age, both inclusive, at the time of application
- Not be accompanied by dependent children
- Possess a valid New Zealand or Australian passport. Please provide copies of the personal information page of your passport.
- . Possess a return ticket or sufficient funds to purchase such a ticket as well as sufficient funds to meet initial expenses during the period of stay in Chile. Evidence of funds available such as bank account statements, credit cards statements, traveller's cheques or money orders in the name of the applicant will be accepted.
- Provide evidence of holding a medical and comprehensive hospitalisation insurance to remain in force throughout his/her stay in Chile.
- Complete 3 visa application forms and enclose 3 passport size photographs
For More Information Contact The Embassy Of Chile In New Zealand or The Embassy Of Chile In Australia
"This is a brief & general summary, visa requirements and the number of working holiday visas allocated in countries each year can vary and new agreements are being made regularly so we recommended you attain complete and up to date official information from the Embassy or Consulate before making any work and travel plans."
Whoops! For volunteering, the site is volunteersouthamerica dot net (not com)
You've got do to do your own homework and use the search engines for 'working abroad' google and ask dot com are the best
A lot will depend on your level of Spanish and how well you communicate.
thanks for all your help...much appreciated!
This is an old thread, but here is some updated info on questions asked in earlier posts. I am currently in Panama City, and have driven my car from the U.S.
Budget: My wife and I are averaging around $50 on average for our trip, and we could be a lot more careful. We either camp or stay in lower priced but clean hotels.
Spanish: Neither my wife or I knew any Spanish except for a small amount of learning by buying Rosetta Stone software. However, we studied for three weeks in Guatemala, and picked up enough Spanish to ask for directions, cross through borders, and prepare our car to be shipped to Columbia from Panama. I recommend spending as much time as you can taking Spanish lessons in Guatemala, it was $150 a person each week, including room and board.
More Info: I have added other information up on drivetheamericas.com if you are interested.
terileeh, I hope you had a change to drive the Pan-American Highway, it has been great fun.
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It is wonderful to receive a posting like this, someone who has made the trip and at least had the kindness to say "thank you".
Do join the fantastic forum 'poor but happy colombia' http://www.poorbuthappy.com/colombia an excellent site for and by all, ex pats, long term travelers, travelers and volunteers visiting or living in Colombia
Those residing in Colombia should be able to tell you areas to avoid when driving.
Join the Hospex (hospitality) portal, mostly bi, multi lingual locals in cities and towns, DO avoid driving in very remote areas without a native guide or local escort ANYWHERE in Latin America with US plates and your limited Spanish skills.
In Cartagena, becuase of your limited Spanish, you'll need a 'tramitidor' to assist with paperwork..learn that word..tramite.
When you get more or less settled join Live Mocha www.livemocha.com/ free tutorials all levels in Spanish online from native speakers from Spain and every Latin America country.