I am with Sam Salmon 100%! Best of luck to you....start learning basic Spanish and Portuguese auto-didactica on line from native speakers Google 'Live Mocha', best 3 months before departure get a native speaking tutor at home for your fmily and get all your documentation, visas in order, make 10 photocopies of everything for border crossings, contact your frieight forwarder in Panama (RORO or space in container), have airline tickets ready Panama to Colombia or Ecuador, wherever your vehicle being shipped (3-4 days) you'll need to be at dock to meet your vehicle. No ferries. Last one closed in 1999. Join all of the "Driving to South America" forums (Google) and take advices from those who have made the trip US or Canada to South America........not those who "want to". Always delete bad advice and go on to the next person.....never waste time! Practice for your road trip. LOL.
Here's a first. Sam and DBloom have my vote. There's no way you make that run. Good luck, Smokey and the Bandit. Bring bribes. Have routes meticulously planned out, including backup alternate routes. Hound locals for secret backroads. Every time you ask a question and get it answered, ask the same question again at least twice more. Some folks don't like not being able to help a stranger, and will make stuff up to compensate.
Good Luck Out There.
Have a back up plan.
Thanks again Piecar......
From the 'grapevine' If you happen to wind upwrong place, wrong time these days in parts of Mexico ...well, pray not!
No body cares if you are "Canadian" one is judged on appearance and attitude, smile and keep smiling, never argue with natives, show anger in public, level playing field ends when u cross US border into Mexico.
You cannot should not drive at night in Latin America
You cannot should not 'park on the street' overnight where there is no security even if locals tell you it is ok.
Locals pay bribes to corrupt cops as well..way of life in Latin America.
Hide your valuable stuff,
really hide it, laptops, cash, credit cards, cameras, whatever in your vehicle at border crossings. Having a dog who despises strangers helps a lot.
never allow any one else alone in your vehicle at any time. Especially cops or customs officials.
If uniformed cops ask you for a ride from border crossings or checkpoints, give em one, they will get you thru other checkpoints.
If you have an accident, locals will probably testify against you, blood thicker than water. Be prepared to pay damages.
Never drive exhausted, or after dark.
One day at a time.