From N.Y to Buenos Aires by car.....

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean From N.Y to Buenos Aires by car.....

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1. Posted by Sombrero (First Time Poster 1 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Hi guys!
Im planning a trip and am looking for information that could help me.

The idea is to fly from Sweden-New York. Buy a car and drive to Buenos Aires. As far as I can understand, it´s a bit of a hassle to buy a car as a foreigner in the usa. But i know some ppl i N.Y and maybe they can take ownership of the car and i "borrow" it, insurance covers that right?? What would the cheapest insurance cost for about 2 months in the usa...roughly?? Do you have to pay for a whole year, or montly??

Ok, so i drive as far as possible, and when i reach panama, it seems almost impossible to drive any further....i understand that you can ship the car....but im not sure i wanna pay 1500$ for that service. I think that i will have to go by bus down to argentina. Or any other sollutions??

If there´s no smooth way to cross into south america, and I have to dump/sell the car, will the registered owner in usa have any problems??

Is it expensive to get car insurance in latino do you aquire the insurance.

Lots of q´s. But all in all. I just wanna know how difficult/expensive it would be to go to Buenos Aires by car. And then contemplate how much it´s worth....and change plans if necessary.

Any help would be greatly appreciated

2. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Quoting Sombrero

Ok, so i drive as far as possible, and when i reach panama, it seems almost impossible to drive any further....i understand that you can ship the car....but im not sure i wanna pay 1500$ for that service. I think that i will have to go by bus down to argentina. Or any other sollutions??

No driving from Panama to Columbia. There are a few other threads on this topic - do a search for PAN-AMERICAN HIGHWAY to see what you can find.

Frankly, while I understand the urge to drive, the buses in North, Central and South America are SO GOOD and SO INEXPENSIVE, I'd wholy recommend that as a method of travel.


3. Posted by alteran (Budding Member 7 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

I would be very careful having someone else buy the car and you "borrowing it", then you taking it out of the country.
I can think of all sorts of problems with insurance, crossing borders, mechanical problems or accidents with the car, disposing of the car where you can drive no farther......
It could very easily turn your dream vacation into a nightmare. VERY bad idea in my opinion.

4. Posted by john7buck (Respected Member 458 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

This doesn't offer a lot of practical advice, but it shows it can be done (kids from my hometown):

EAGLE COUNTY - Like Butch and Sundance, a group of local men is headed south to a new frontier. The outlaws went to Bolivia. These locals are now on the road to Chile.

The men - Robbie Giardino, Brett Fleishman, Slade Cogswell, Justin Bradshaw and Mike Hovey - are school chums from Vail. Now they're partners in adventure and real estate. As a group, they own a piece of property in Huila Huila, in the Chilean state of Patagonia.

To get there, the group has decided on a novel form on transportation: a 1974 Pinzgauer four-wheel-drive vehicle formerly owned by the Swiss Army.

Bradshaw built a fiberglass hard top for the vehicle, and, after paint, new tires and a thorough going-over, the "Pinz" is ready to tackle the roads of Mexico and South America.

"It's really simple mechanically," Bradshaw said. "If we need parts, most of them are either Volkswagen parts or generic ones you can get at NAPA."

Rugged simplicity will be a plus traveling to Chile, since many roads in that part of the world are more path than highway.

With five men and their gear jammed into and on top of the Pinz, there won't be a lot of room in the Pinz, but the group is eager to head south.

At the end of what should be a three- or four-month journey lies Huila Huila, a private nature preserve in one of the world's only "temperate" - meaning it has seasons - rain forests.

By the time they arrive, it should be summer in Patagonia, which means the group will have a year's worth of summer weather. But, Cogswell said, there's a glacier nearby that has year 'round skiing,

When they hit Huila Huila, Bradshaw plans to start building a house on a lot he owns with another partner. Bradshaw also owns property along with his four traveling mates, who all plan to work at the preserve.

The plan

When asked if beer was involved in planning this adventure, the five partners just laugh.

"It was a college decision," Bradshaw said.

In school at Colorado State University a couple of years ago, Bradshaw and Giardino started talking about Chile. The country has an open market, a friendly government, and foreigners can own land. And there's desirable property for sale that's within reach of partners who are still on the sunny side of 25 years old.

With land relatively cheap and available also comes opportunity. The developers of Huila Huila "are trying to help shift the focus of the country from logging to tourism," Bradshaw said. "It's a great place to invest."

The adventure

Once the idea to buy land in Chile and then drive to it was hatched, Bradshaw and his partners have spent the last year or so planning the trip. One of Bradshaw's friends sells Pinzgauers, so the vehicle was easy enough to find.

Planning also included research about how to get to Patagonia, and what parts of South America to avoid. "We just going to ship around Columbia," Bradshaw said.

Otherwise, though, it's all driving.

"And there are no short cuts anywhere."

Predictably, the partners' parents are less than thrilled about their sons taking off on a months-long trip to the southern end of the hemisphere.

"Mom's not so happy," Fleishman said.

"Our parents are freaked," Bradshaw added. "But they're supportive."

But driving is by far the most daring way to get to Patagonia.

"We've all flown a lot," Fleishman said. "This is a lot more exciting than flying."

While there aren't a lot of Internet portals between Vail and Huila Huila, the partners have a Web site so family and friends can track their progress. And, once they arrive in Chile, there's no telling when they'll come home.

"We don't have a definite return date," Giardino said. "We're thinking about coming back in April or so, so we'll have a year of summer."

5. Posted by Macachae (Full Member 240 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

For more inspiration: On September 11, 2003, the Zapp family - Candelaria, Pampa and Herman - arrived at their destination in Alaska. They departed Argentina on January 25, 2000, traversing three Americas in their 1928 Graham-Paige car.

6. Posted by dbloom (Respected Member 586 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

It is easy to purchase and register a vehicle in the USA as long as you have your State Insurance card, there are also many auctions where you can bring a mechanic, buy a junker 1999 model up with good motor and fix the dents. You may have to get a US drivers licence in some states to insure the vehicle, but that is far easier than in Europe. I returned to live in Central America in 1985 and drove my own vehicle down in 1986, got national plates and drove over 800,000km. in Central America in 14 years. To avoid the older polluting used cars, pick ups and buses being imported some 4 years ago the Central American countries passed laws only vehicles 6 years of age or under (now 1999-2005 models) may be imported and sold, except Guatemala which imposes double import taxes on older vehicles. Some farm vehicles are excepted. When you arrive at US Mexican Border you can purchase Mexican Insurance. Your US insurance no longer valid. When you cross into Guatemala you'll have no insurance, you can purchase Central American Insurance in Guatemala City but it is very expensive for used car, only new car owners, tour operators, international bus services and the like drive here with insurance. If you have an accident anywhere along the way and there is damage to other vehicles or persons it could be a very unpleasant situation for you, even if you did'nt cause the accident locals could testify you did, hit and runs are common here as well. also remember mechanical failure, spare parts are usually only available in the big cities, so you could be stuck 2 or 3 days in a hot dusty town waiting for a gas pump that fits. If I were you I would go in a convoy, 2 or more vehicles, through Mexico and into Central America. Don't purchase an International Drivers licence they are useless your Swedish or a USA Licence is valid. Again, never drive at night outside cities and towns and start practicing that Spanish. I would recommend the luxury buses that will take you from US Mexico border through to Panama City with stopovers, Panama fly over to Quito then easy down to Buenos Aires by luxury bus system. Remember S--- happens this is life in the tropics.

7. Posted by smackerszj (Full Member 94 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

sombrero lemme know if u go i am in to do this if you need a partner.....

8. Posted by NORIEGDI (Budding Member 17 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Wow! I would love to do the same.
Please let us know how you did...
Whatch out in Colombia...and be prepared for everything.
Good luck

9. Posted by dbloom (Respected Member 586 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

These people, the Amunches, drove into El Salvador last week, enroute from Argentina to Alaska by Jeep and return..they were featured in one of the country's daily newspapers...for those who are able to read in Spanish view their weblog..they have a dog with them***

As well here in El Salvador now are John and Harriet Halkyard The '99 Days to Panama' writers and explorers, they also travel with a dog***

  • **If you plan on an extended Latin American Trip in a vehicle with US or Canadian plates, which attract attention, there are times you will not be able to be in your vehicle or able to watch your vehicle, this is where 'man's best friend' comes in.
  • **Secondly, make sure the vehicle is in tip top mechanical condition, nothing is worse than a mechanical breakdown or failure in a remote area where no spare parts are available. The owner of the vehicle or one of the partners should have some mechanical skills, remember the owner of the vehicle cannot leave the country without offical permission. (the vehicle authorization is stamped in the passport)
  • **Just in case, assualt or robbery, have a list of your country's embassies or consulates in each country view
  • **Cellphones, there are cellphones now that work worldwide, having a cellphone working along your journey gives one a great advantage in case of emergency

I drove 15 years in Central America, however with a fairly common model and national plates. It's very easy outside the capital cities and in general most people are very friendly and helpful. Make sure at least one person along is able to understand and be understood in Spanish, most disputes arise from misunderstandings.

10. Posted by dbloom (Respected Member 586 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Driving or otherwise travelling in Colombia: