Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. Default Trip to South America

    I moved back to the USA 14 months ago after 10 years in Mexico. Drug wars and kidnapping threats made it too dangerous to continue to live there.

    I want to go by ship (booking passage on a freighter) to South America. Using this mode I can carry my kit with me-- a couple of surf boards, a bicycle and a pack. After arrival I want to buy a truck and then travel South America-- Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Suriname, Guyana, French Guyana and Bolivia. Ultimately what I am searching for is another place to settle where the weather is warm most of the year, there are waves and life is not so costly as in the USA.

    The problem I envision is the purchase of a vehicle. From past experience and travel in South and Central America as well as Mexico, given the correct paperwork, border crossings, while they can be time consuming, arent that big a deal.

    Any comments or suggestions on where might be a good country to arive and purchase a vehicle would be deeply appreciated.
    Carr

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default More Questions than Answers

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    We haven't even been able to figure out the intricacies for a foreign national purchasing a car here in the United States! And we've devoted a fair amount of time to that seemingly simple task. As for a foreign national purchasing a car in any of the 200 or so other countries in the world, we've spent exactly no time whatsoever, so we're simply not going to be able to help you much. I will say that it looks like you plan a complete circuit of the South American coast, and my first thought was to save on the cost of the ship by disembarking as far north as possible in a country with a car culture if possible and thus Venezuela came to mind. But how welcome an American would be there after so many years of Chavez is a question. The other strong possibility would be Brazil, but their fleet is (I think) set up to run on a fuel that has a large ethanol component and may not work as well in other countries. So I guess I don't have any answers for you - just more things to think about.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Interesting - I just did a little reading. In Brazil. 25% ethanol fuel (E-25) is mandated by law, and pure ethanol (E-100) is available at a considerably lower price. Most new vehicles in Brazil are "flex-fuel" which are capable of running essentially anything. However, there are quite a few vehicles running around that can only run 100%. This got me thinking - if you bought an older vehicle that's gasoline-only elsewhere, you may have problems trying to run it on E-25 when you visit Brazil. I know our cars here that are not flex-fuel don't like much more than 10% ethanol. Newer ones should run on 25% without damage, but they won't run very well and won't get good fuel mileage. Older ones without feedback fuel systems won't like it at all, they will be running excessively lean, possibly enough to cause damage.

    A Brazilian flex-fuel vehicle should run fine on any country's fuel as long as it's unleaded.

  4. Default

    Thanks Az Buck and glc for the kind interest and warm welcome....

    Agreed on the flex fuel question. One way around this might be purchase of a diesel truck like a Land Rover or Toyota (their diesel models are quite common in Central and South America) but more research is needed about Brazil and whether or not one of the older diesel trucks might operate on bio diesel. I am finding in looking at different countries that Brazil is really pricey for used vehicles. Ecuador by comparison not so much. Ecuador might be much better place than Brazil to land because of the location as well. Another challenge is the complexity of a foreign national legally purchasing and registering an automobile in one of these countries. Many times their embassies in the US arent that much help. The additional complexity is finding one of the freighter lines that sells passenger space to any one given place. The idea of importing an outside vehicle is even more complex and costly because in some countries, the cost of that can run 135% of the vehicle value. Fun fun eh?? Makes more of a case on just taking a back pack along......

    I also share reservations about Venezuela because of Chavez....likewise with Colombia because of the problems there (although I was there on business in the mid 90's, beautiful place and wonderful people). From what I read in Peru there are areas where one does not go because of the Sendero Luminoso. I think with wise planning a road trip is possible there though. I have contacted a number of places in Brazil about a visit -- hotels at surf spots and the like..... I get the impression the Norte Americanos arent particularly liked , I would guess from the cold shoulder we appear to have given Lula when he was president. Dunno. I never thought I would move from Mexico, perfectly happy there with the culture, the waves, the people and the cost of living. However time and circumstances overtake us all. Thing to do is keep on pursuing the dreams no matter what.

    Carr

  5. #5

    Default Nothing but diesel

    Hello Carr,

    While I haven't a clue what to recommend in terms of where and how to purchase a vehicle in South America, if it were a truck or some sort of SUV-type vehicle I were interested in, I would only consider a diesel. Your thoughts concerning a Toyota or Land Rover diesel are exactly where I'd start, and I'd probably favor the Toyota over the Land Rover. In theory, all you'd need to deal with in terms of fuel is the same fuel all of the larger trucks and buses operate on through the entire continent plus a supply of, say, a dozen or so fuel filters.

    The carnet (car-nay) de passage is essentially your vehicle's passport, and I would imagine you'd have to acquire a carnet for intracontinental travel with a vehicle purchased in SA just as you'd have to for a vehicle brought from the States. Acquiring the bond (paying the bond premium) which gets you the carnet may be expensive.

    It's quite dated, having been published over 20 years ago, but Tim Cahill's "Road Fever" provides much entertainment as well as a look at the vagaries of travels across the entire length of South America. One gets the impression they'd have failed to find adequate supplies of gasoline through much of Chile, Peru, and Ecuador if not for the fact that their trip was sponsored by GMC as a demonstration of the ruggedness of the 6.2 liter Detroit Diesels then new to the American light truck market. A more relaxed pace of travel would seem to eliminate much of the frustrations they encountered.

    If affordable, I'd look closely at acquisition of a vehicle here in the US, where you can spend all the time and money you can afford preparing the vehicle. That leaves you with a US made diesel truck, however, as of course the smaller Toyotas, etc, aren't available with diesel engines here in the States. I'd have to think repair services and parts availability for the smaller Toyota diesels is close to universal throughout SA. The US-made diesels, probably not so much.

    Foy
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 04-17-2011 at 09:36 AM. Reason: added link to Tim' sexcellent book

  6. Default

    Hi, I have just returned from a 5 month overland trip which started at McAllen, Texas, and I finished in Uruguay. Traveled the Pan American Highway with a Ford F250 diesel pickup and Lance Camper on it. Fantastic trip. You can write me for info, xfiles2000br at yahoo. I have the truck and camper in south america, and someone with a foreign passport can buy it, if you are interested - I can tell you more.
    Dont hesitate to do the trip, it is fantastic, and I hope to go again this July.

    Quote Originally Posted by Carr View Post
    I moved back to the USA 14 months ago after 10 years in Mexico. Drug wars and kidnapping threats made it too dangerous to continue to live there.

    I want to go by ship (booking passage on a freighter) to South America. Using this mode I can carry my kit with me-- a couple of surf boards, a bicycle and a pack. After arrival I want to buy a truck and then travel South America-- Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Suriname, Guyana, French Guyana and Bolivia. Ultimately what I am searching for is another place to settle where the weather is warm most of the year, there are waves and life is not so costly as in the USA.

    The problem I envision is the purchase of a vehicle. From past experience and travel in South and Central America as well as Mexico, given the correct paperwork, border crossings, while they can be time consuming, arent that big a deal.

    Any comments or suggestions on where might be a good country to arive and purchase a vehicle would be deeply appreciated.
    Carr
    Last edited by AZBuck; 02-06-2012 at 09:53 AM. Reason: New members may not link to outside websites

  7. Default

    Again.... Returned last month from another south american road trip via pan american highway! I will be going again in july 2015 as a photographer on the trekoftheamericas expedition with 8 rvs starting from mcallen texas to ushuaia argentina.
    The roads and border crossings have improved and the crossing into columbia is now by ferry saving time and mucho dinero!! Anyone wanting info ..contact me

Similar Threads

  1. driving to south america
    By alejandro in forum Off-Shore Roadtrips
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 05-08-2017, 01:36 AM
  2. Road trip from Canada to South America
    By Thehendrix in forum Spring RoadTrips
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 02-26-2010, 05:59 PM
  3. buying a car in south america..
    By el_chulo in forum Off-Shore Roadtrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 12-22-2007, 11:22 AM
  4. From Alaska to South of America
    By heidi21 in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 07-03-2007, 09:22 AM
  5. South America
    By cool in forum Off-Shore Roadtrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 12-20-2005, 12:31 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name

    Loading...



  • MORE STORIES