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Travel from North America to South America by Car

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Travel from North America to South America by Car

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11. Posted by marcelkers (Budding Member 45 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

A while ago...1988 and 1990. Simce than I sticked to South America which I prefer.
The ferry between Panama and Colombia, as far as I know does no longer exist. You will have to freight your vehicle and fly yourself.
About importtaxes, that is only when you want to import permantly, yes the south american taxes are high, in most cases 100 +. But as a tourist you can always get a temporary import permit which , in South America, is free. Only at the port you will have to pay for releasing your vehicle.

12. Posted by cedricbrehaut (Budding Member 3 posts) 5y Star this if you like it!

To traveling1 or any other samaritan: you mention a car ferry but everywhere I look I find people telling me that such ferry no longer runs. Did you find information indicating otherwise? I am extremely interested because I drove from California to Costa Rica and our intent is to keep going South, through Panama to South America, spend several months exploring the continent and then drive back. So far this plan is kinda stuck in Panama because of the Darien gap.

13. Posted by marcelkers (Budding Member 45 posts) 5y Star this if you like it!

The ferry existed for some years in the 90´s , unfortunately there is no longer such a service and you will have to put the car either in a container or via RoRo.
You could drive up to Panama and go to the hostal of Panama Passage
They can help out with the shipping to South america too

14. Posted by cedricbrehaut (Budding Member 3 posts) 5y Star this if you like it!

Thank you marcelkers, this hostal seems like a great tip! If you know of a similar place in Colombia or Ecuador that would help with the return trip please share it as well. Happy travels!

15. Posted by marcelkers (Budding Member 45 posts) 5y Star this if you like it!

Hi Cedricbrehaut, Not yet, but we will be travelling north (we live in Brazil) in feb 2012, and will have to find a way to cross into Central America from this side. Buen viaje for you too!

16. Posted by cedricbrehaut (Budding Member 3 posts) 5y Star this if you like it!

I found great information on shipping cars from Panama to Columbia and vice versa. Here is the summary:

"There are two shipping lines that go between Panama and Columbia and are popular amongst overlanders.
- The first is Seaboard which requires that the vehicle be placed in a container or on a flat bed. There is one ship each week doing this route.
- The second option is Wallenius Wilhelmsen which offer a Roll On Roll Off (RORO) service. There is a ship every two weeks."

You can find the full details on this web page from travelers who used these services:

Also, if anyone is interested in sharing a container I'll probably need one from Panama to Colombia in the second half of November, and returning from Columbia to Panama some time in the Spring of 2012 (I know it's a bit vague - I'll post more specific dates when I have them).

For those interested, you can follow my journey on (so far we made it to Costa Rica)

17. Posted by Napoleon1799 (First Time Poster 1 posts) 5y Star this if you like it!

Hi All,

As it is the new year resolutions period, I have started to look for a travel destination for hte whole family for a year and the idea to drive from North to South America came to my mind. Searching through the Net, I found this thread which contains a lot of good and stimulating information. I have a question: We have 2 kids and I am thinking to travel in 3 years time (time to save some money and to get ready) when our boys will be 7 and 10 yo. Do you thing this trip can be done safely with 2 kids?


18. Posted by Patry (First Time Poster 1 posts) 5y Star this if you like it!

Hi, I'm also planning to go to Ecuador by car with my family, but in June. We are a family of 4 too. I have 2 children under the age of 13. We live in Salt Lake City. My husband is a truck driver. We are gathering a lot of information from our friends who already did the trip and from online. I would like to share the information with you when I finish gathering and plannig the trip. Also, if you like to travel in June, we can meet in California and travel together. I will feel better if we can travel with another family. Even though my friends told me that the trip is safe, I have some concern for my kids. We are American citizen, but I was born in Argentina, and my husband was born in Ecuator. My first language is Spanish, but my whole family is bilingual. My husband has doble citizenship; he still has the Ecuatorian citizenship.


19. Posted by rvcampertravele (Full Member 80 posts) 5y Star this if you like it!

Hi... I just returned from driving from McAllen, Texas to the tip of argentina via Pick Up Truck and Camper --- fantastic expedition over good highways. We did the Trekoftheamericas route over the Pan American Highway, over 4 months of travel. After the end, we shipped the vehicles back to the USA via freighter.

I have all the paperwork information and driving hints if you want. Also see my posts here in Travellerspoint - Traveling Texas to Argentina via RV Camper.

Don't hesitate to take this is wonderful!!!;)

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