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Driving from Central to South America??

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Driving from Central to South America??

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11. Posted by jindy (Budding Member 46 posts) 9y

hey JRobyn,

i am intent on doing it all by road, no flying even if it is cheaper. i want to see every little place i can in between.

im not in vancouver yet, this is all in the pipeline...just doing my research. i am currently backpacking around turkey, been here 3 months and love it. best place i ever been to! next is syria, jordan, egypt... see as much of middle east and north africa as i can before running outta cash... then back to a london pub job to save more.

looking at being based in europe until around april 2008, travelling a bit, then going to work a winter season in the whistler resort before doing this road trip.

12. Posted by ChubbDub (Full Member 132 posts) 9y

Jindy, I'm doing the same trip but from Calgary down to S.A. but on a motorbike. From all accounts, the Darrien Gap is like a South Pole expedition... damn near impossible. I'll be ferrying my bike across to Colombia from Panama.

[ Edit: Edited on Dec 13, 2006, at 7:24 PM by Delthefunk ]

Post 13 was removed by a moderator
14. Posted by kalimero (Budding Member 50 posts) 9y

i did belize to costa rica by chicken buses .... humm very interesting indeed ... it was very cheap ..for example from El Salvador to Nicaragua it cost me $7 in total. But they takes ages always double of what they say depends how much time you want to spend in Central America. If you're just going through then i would take Tica Bus.


15. Posted by AndrewGW (Full Member 42 posts) 9y


Just to clarify - there is no overland route to Colombia from Panama even with a great 4WD. You can go by local flight to Puerto Obaldia cross the border and then go by small boat to Turbo and further on to catch the bus to Cartegena. Or you can hang out at the local yacht clubs and try to catch a yacht heading to Cartegena - summers are not the time for this due to hurricane season and there are some not so nice operators doing this route to make money of unsuspecting travelers.

If you have the time busing from US through Mexico and Central America can be okay - if you look at the distance and think it will take 8 hours - double that and you will be closer to the truth. You would then need to boat (as above) or fly to somewhere in SA.

Have had two friends drive back to the US from here and had relatively few problems at the borders but they all spoke very good Spanish which makes a huge difference. But to be aware that you can't just dump your car in Panama - you would need to import it and then sell it or drive it back to where it came (same for any CA country) - it is marked in your passport and you can't leave without the car being cleared as well - so keep that in mind if you do decide to drive.

As for ferries - there are no ferries to the islands in the Caribbean from Central America with the exception of ferries to the Bay Islands in Honduras but forget about getting a boat to Jamaica or Cuba. It's a long way - may not look it on a map but it really is - Panama to Jamaica is a 2+ hour flight.

Hope this helps.


16. Posted by cesar sas (First Time Poster 1 posts) 9y

can anyone tell me how long(days) can a trip from mexico to costa rica take by car? passing by guatemala, belize, salvador, nicaragua and costa rica, and spending one day in each country


17. Posted by sameul (First Time Poster 1 posts) 9y

Im in panama currently and its been a really easy trip so far (i speak spanish well). It is possible to cross the darrian gap but the only people who ive read who┬┤ve done it lost two jeeps and one person was shot and killed in 3 attempts. So yeah thats out. Ive read an account of someone getting one of the smaller costal boats and going to colombia that way. That person ended up paying $100 per person and $100 for the car. That is the cheapest ive heard of anyone doing the trip. If you want to come down and sell the car here, you can sell it in costa rica or anywhere else if you are willing to do the paperwork and pay the taxes. People regularly send truckloads of car and trucks that have been wrecked from the us to central america to fix and sell. One guy i met made $6000 doing just that. You could even have a car delivered to central america and then fly down to get it. I met a guy who charges $800 for small cars and $1200 for larger trucks to take them to el salvador. All of the gas prices are slightly higher than the US if that helps give you an idea of the cost(it was $2.40 a gallon in California and here in panama its 2.80) Diesel is usually about 15% cheaper than gas here also...of and for the love of god dont bring a car thats low! They make speed bumps from hell here...if i had a nickel for every time my camry scraped bottom!!! Here is also a good website of a couple who took an rv down from texas Hope this helps!

18. Posted by kombi (First Time Poster 1 posts) 9y

check out and

[ Edit: Edited on Mar 20, 2007, at 4:07 AM by kombi ]

19. Posted by jindy (Budding Member 46 posts) 9y

lots of excellent new info here, that you so much guys! i have been out and about, travelling europe, so i havent been on here for ages. im still planning this south america trip, looking forward to it sooo much!! thanks again for all the info all of you!!

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