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  1. Default Road trip from Canada to South America

    Hi, I'm looking for some advice/maybe joiners along the way.
    Plan is from May 4 to June 30th.
    We either want to drive down to South America from Canada or fly down then buy a car and drive back up. We are wondering if it is simply enough to buy a car in South America and what kind of papers you need to cross borders and whatnot. If you have any experience it would be awesome or know anyone that does please let us know. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Complicated matter

    Chances are that the car you would be able to buy in Brazil would not meet the safety, inspection, and other requirements that are needed to be successfully licensed in Canada. This is equally true even for cars between the USA and Canada, despite the vehicle similarities.

    I'm a bit confused as to why, if you have a vehicle already that you can use to make the trip, you'd purchase another vehicle in another country?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Far more than you are planning for

    I think your plans are going to require a whole lot more work, time, and money than you are currently planning for. This certainly isn't the kind of thing you just slap together on a whim, and quite frankly, with just 2 months to plan, I suspect it might not even be possible.

    A few of the major problems which you need to think about include:

    Transportation Home. Simply put, if you do this as a one way trip, you need to plan to ferry your car back to Canada. You will not be able to purchase a car in South America for transport to the US or Canada. It will not meet safety and emissions requirements, so it can not be sold here, and even if that wasn't an issue, you'd be looking at major taxes and tarriffs for importing a car. On the flip side, you can not sell or even abandon your Canadian car in South America. Most countries will make note of your car on your passport and you will not be able to leave until your car also leaves.

    Transportation from Central to South America, aka The Darien Gap. There is no road connecting Panama with Colombia so you'll need to figure out how you'll overcome that physical roadblock.

    Getting Between Countries. Simply put, I have no idea what sort of paperwork you'll need to drive across the border, and this is not the sort of information you can get from an internet forum. You need to have the facts about what paperwork and fees you need to cross the border - especially has you get deeper into Central and South America - and you need to get it from the customs office from each country. Don't forget, some countries may require visas, which can take several months to process. You'll also have to figure out what you can do for insurance, as you'll likely need a new policy for each country.

  4. #4

    Default Great thought but...

    Maybe planning a trip from Canada to the Mexico border may work better?

    This is an exciting thought but I'm afraid it can only be that. There are friendly relations between Canada and the US so border transfer would be simple.

    Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia are all of the countries that you will have to go through.

    The US Department of State recently put a travel warning on Mexico. I'm not familiar with rural Mexico but I doubt it will be the safest place. Colombia has rural terrorist problems by anti-government agents. Going through developing (according to a UN Human Development Report) and 3rd world nations ( according to a map I found on the subject) is extremely dangerous in my point of view.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    You should not have any major issues driving a Canadian car from Canada to Panama and back. That's about the extent you can count on. There will be a certain amount of permits and expenses (insurance, etc.) involved, and the car must come back with you, you can't leave it anywhere.

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