crossing central america on a moped!!?

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean crossing central america on a moped!!?

1. Posted by rune_dh (Budding Member 4 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!


Ill be traveling from Texas all the way through central america to Columbia.

I have been thinking about buying a moped, scooter or a small m.c. for tranportation in Mexico and use it all the way..

Do anyone have experience with something similar? Especially considering crossing borders and the need for insurance on the way?

Hope to hear from you..

Rune Henriksen

2. Posted by vanessa (Travel Guru 257 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

even it sounds cool (there r famous movie "South America by bike" / "Diarios de motocicleta" , 2004 about young 'Che' Guevara) - i dont think it's good idea. Exsept of Costa Rica, where roads are exsellent, other Central American roads are really difficult, often uncovered (no aphalt), and, with no doubt dangerous. I dont speak about "adventure", but mean real risk there.
I dont think moped would survive this trip.

3. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

I tend to agree with Vanessa about a moped not necessarily making the trip well. A small motorcycle may have a better life span. The other obstacle will be getting to Colombia from Panama as the pesky Darien Gap is in the way. There are basically no roads through the Gap and will require you to either abandon the bike at that point or arrange cargo transportation which can be prohibitively expensive. It can also require waiting times in Panama of days to weeks until ship sails. Car ferry service between the two countries was suspended in 2002.

The main roads through Panama can be quite good but any "off the main drag" driving/riding can be quite daunting even in a 4-wheel drive vehicle.

4. Posted by Piecar (Inactive 1218 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

While I have the same concerns about the Darien Gap..(though I have ideas...more on that later) I have every expectation that you can pull off the rest of your trip on a scooter...Though not a moped, only because I have not seen one of those in years. I try to cross every border on land, if I can, and I have seen not one, not two, not a dozen....but thousands of scooters going to and fro over the years....It can be done....My only caveat is that Latin American drivers suck the bag....those who DO have licences bought them without actually having to test. No one has insurance, and will be shifty about covering what they did to you or your scooter....But, my friend, it can be done, and it is an adventure worth attempting for the right person.

As to the bike and the Darien Gap. The actual small size of the little scooter may make this idea possible. To go from Panama to Colombia, there are HUNDREDS of ex-pats(and not those "I'm smart, you're dumb" kind) with sailboats. The passage takes a couple of weeks, as I understand it. But a small scooter lashed to the bow or stern seems to me to be a possibility, again.....for the right person, with a gift of gab....oh, this is on the Caribbean side from Colon or Portobello to Cartagena.

Hope you do it, kid. Good luck out there.


5. Posted by rune_dh (Budding Member 4 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

hey guys,

thanks alot for your great answers - very helpful!

but do any of you have more specific knowledge about crossing boarders as a foreighner with mobile transportation??
- do they care about licence for the scooter?
- do they care about insurance?
- do they care about registration? and if so, is a mexican resgistration valid in honduras fx.?

im most worried about border control and weather they'll let me through without me having to pay them off or something like that!? :)

- Rune

[ Edit: Edited on Nov 17, 2008, at 5:29 AM by rune_dh ]

6. Posted by rpbroz (Budding Member 15 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Hey Rune,
sounds like a great idea. About boarder crossings in central america most countries will give you 90 days for you US drivers license and you will need to have photocopise of the regristration. In some countries you will have to pay a transit fee and will recieve a stamp in your passport showing that you have entered and left with the vehicle. The fee is not much. You could check with the consulelate offices in the US to see what is required for each country. My only recommendation is to have at least 2 photocopies of your passport, drivers license and registration for each boarder.
If you get to El Salvador look me up in Suchitoto and I can fill you in on what not to miss here email me directly for more information on El Salvador.
Again have a great trip.

[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]

7. Posted by i c e (Full Member 326 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

'Che' meets Nepoleon Dinamite!LOL.

Any thing can be done but I would not reccomend it. Dish out the extra money and get a good dual sport Motorcycle. (i.e. Suzuki 650 V-Strom or the likes).
Then you would have a blast!!
Boder crossing a a major pain but every thing you need can be purchased at the border. Incl. moto insuranse. for south America you will need visas, from what i hear, for some of the counrties.

Pura vida, I hope you do it kid! Be careful and have fun.

Che lives,


[ Edit: Edited on Nov 25, 2008, at 1:42 PM by i c e ]