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Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Brian & Deya met in Vancouver Canada. After a few years together we were married and made choices. One was not to have children the other was not to take life for granted. The rest is yet to come.

August 29, 2011

Border details compliments of Deya II

 

Names of border crossings.

Costa Rica (exit)-Sabalito

Panama (entry)-Rio Sereno

Panama (exit)-Porvenir Comarca de San Blas

Colombia (entry)-Cartagena

Colombia (exit)-Puente Internacional de Rumichaca Ipiales

Ecuador (entry)-Puente Internacional de Rumichaca

Ecuador (exit)-Macará

Peru (entry)-La Tina

Exiting Costa Rica.

A simple process except for the fact that the offices for Immigration and Customs are not marked properly. The office, for both, is located at about 100 metres from the end of the road before turning right. Likely you will ride into Panama before you know it; if you find yourself turning right at the end of the road and going down a really shitty piece of road then you have gone too far because Panama’s roads are nicely paved.

The sign indicating Costa Rica’s Immigration and Customs reads:

Ministerio de Gobernacion y Policia

Direccion General de Migracion y Extranjeria

OFICINA REG. SABALITO

Coming into Panama you maybe able to see a sign that says: M.A.G. SABALITO CUARENTENA AGROPECUARIA. That is it, you made it to where you needed to go, get in there… The trees don’t allow the proper sign to be seen.

***Immigration:

Original passport is required and a stamp of exit is placed. A form called Sistema de la Integracion Centroamerica (SICA)/Comision Centroamerica de Directores de Migracion (OCAM)/Registro Migratorio is filled and handed to the Immigration officer as a proof of exit before the stamp can be obtained.

Zero fees are charged.

***Customs:

-Passport: original.

-Permit of entry to Costa Rica for the vehicle: original.

With these requirements the permit is cancelled or suspended and they keep the cancelled or suspended permit. However, a document is produced called Comprobante de entrega a la Aduana de XX (XX depending on the aduana you are at); you get to keep this document which is required if you come back into Costa Rica in the period you were given initially (3 months), that is if you mark “Suspendido” otherwise they will completely cancel it and you will have to get a new one. There is an important note: after having a 3 month permit, the vehicle needs to be out of the country for 3 months; I am sure the laws and regulations are more complex than that, there is more information than what I am just describing, but it is an idea of what is expected.

Entering Panama.

Pretty friendly and helpful people in this border.

***Immigration: Original passport is required and a stamp of exit is placed. In this specific border they require a copy of the passport only because sometimes the system does not capture the information (due to the location they are at) and they have to re-enter everything for which they need the copy.

They also require financial proof, either $500.0 USD cash or just by showing a credit card. This was not applied to us. For Canadians they provide 6 months stay.

***Customs:

-Passport: original & copy.

-Title or Registration of the vehicle: original & copy.

-Vehicle insurance for which you need your passport and the title or registration of the vehicle. The insurance provider gives you the original insurance and a copy for Customs. Cost=$15/vehicle and it is valid for one month. It is important to mention that you can name a second driver and if you do then you have to get a copy of the passport of that second driver for Customs.

-There is no fee to import the vehicle.

This is how you get the document that will allow you to circulate through the country. However before you get it you still have to do couple of things. Here we go. You go to Customs office with the documents mentioned above. They stamp your passport with the permit number and the name of the person who authorized it. A document called Control de Vehiculos is produced and it is valid only for one month which means that if you plan to stay longer you have to visit a Customs office later on before the permit expires. The Customs officer provided me with her phone number in case we had any problems: 722-8452 (Rio Sereno border). The boss usually signs the bottom of this document but since there is no actual boss in this border that space remains blank. Before finally getting your permit (Control de Vehiculos) you need to visit another agent to get a document called Factura de Fumigacion (receipt for fumigation fees and the actual fumigation). This is $1 USD/vehicle and they spray your tyres mainly with a liquid or any parts that may show dirt. After the fumigation takes place, an agent from “Fiscalizacion Aduanera” (working with Customs) comes to inspect your bike and belongings (more out of curiosity than anything) and signs the Control de Vehiculos in the back side of the sheet and you are now DONE… Very thorough process but simple and clear. Like they said, they are there to help, facilitate and ensure you come back through that border.

Note: insurance for the vehicle is also good for only one month, which means that if your stay becomes longer than one month and Customs authorizes another period the insurance has to be renewed. The insurance agent provided me with her email in case we needed an extension later: gblanco1006@hotmail.com

Exiting Panama.

Exiting Panama is actually quite absurd. The instructions on what to do are in the back page of the Permit of entry to Panama for the vehicle, but since we entered through Rio Sereno and the paper was elaborated manually we HAD NO BACK PAGE. Therefore exiting Panama was a mystery. Some people said we just had to show up at the boat and Immigration would sign our Permit of entry to Panama for the vehicle as a proof of exit and that will be enough. Some said we had to go to the Police station and actually start a complicated process. As simple as we want it to be, we also want to ensure that we DO NO VIOLATE any laws since we will be coming back to all these countries one day and besides RULES ARE TO BE FOLLOWED NOT TO BE VIOLATED.

Here is the actual process to be followed regardless of the method you use to exit Panama, you can cross the Darien Gap if you like and it will remain the same process:

1) You need to go to the Policia Nacional-DIJ (Direccion de Investigacion Judicial) and bring your motorcycle at 9 am so the motor and chassis can cool down. At 10 am an officer will start looking at your bike and ensuring that documents match motor and chassis. At 11 am they will be done looking at your bike and by 2 pm you can pick up a document that will allow you to properly exit Panama, this document is picked up right in front of this office in the other side of the busy road where DIJ is located.

At DIJ you need:

-Passport: original & copy.

-Title or Registration of the vehicle: original & copy.

-Permit of entry to Panama for the vehicle: original & copy.

These documents are sent to Comunicaciones Interpol to check for any issues that the vehicle may have at an international level. If there were any serious issues then the vehicle will remain under the jurisdiction of DIJ.

In our case we had to add an extra step. Therefore if you end up following our path make sure YOU DO NOT DO THIS ON A FRIDAY, just in case you run into inconveniences.

As beautiful as Rio Sereno was we had problems with our Permit of entry to Panama for the vehicle because the VIN # was not written fully due to the lack of space in the sheet and even though I asked the lady to complete it she said it would not be a problem. Well, it was a problem as the police would not accept an incomplete VIN # and they sent us to Customs to fix this little problem.

When in Customs we looked for the “Control Vehicular” department and asked them to fix the document. Mr. Pinilla is an old grumpy man who could not care less and was abusive and angry when I asked him to do it properly this time. It took several hours before I was able to retrieve the document from this office because surprisingly our entry WAS NEVER recorded which means we never entered the country. Because of this they had to elaborate another Permit of entry to Panama for the vehicle with a new entry date and make several notes to ensure that this would not be a problem. I basically forced them to explain in the paper THEY had made a mistake.

In order to get this document I had to deliver:

-Passport: original & copy.

-Title or Registration of the vehicle: original & copy.

-Permit of entry to Panama for the vehicle: original & copy.

Anyway, finally I got a new Permit of entry to Panama for the vehicle attached to the old one and I had to get another photocopy of this to deliver to DIJ officer; the DIJ officer was actually helpful because while I was doing this on a Friday he was getting the final exit document from Panama with the promise that I would bring a copy of the new Permit of entry to Panama for the vehicle once I had it.

We went to deliver this copy to the DIJ officer exactly at 2 pm and we went across the street to Secretaria General to receive our final exit document. Before we got it we had to deliver:

-Passport: original & copy.

-Title or Registration of the vehicle: original & copy.

-Permit of entry to Panama for the vehicle: original & copy.

Along with the documents that DIJ sent to them: Inspeccion Vehicular.

This is how we got our exit document called: Salida with a legend on top reading:

Republica de Panama / Ministerio de Gobierno y Justicia / Viceministerio de Seguridad Publica / Policia Nacional / Direccion de Investigacion Judicial. This document is only good for eight days after it is produced. In the event that you do not exit the country within those eight days you have to renew it by going to the Secretaria General again (only).

In addition we had to sign a document with some details of our exit method which you are not required to know exactly. Also, we had to sign a book with some repetitive information about our exit.

With all these steps we felt a bit safer about our exit. It is always better to follow your instincts even if people say: THERE WILL NOT BE A PROBLEM, perhaps not for them but for you…

We chose to go by boat on the Stahlratte and here the second part of the exit procedure takes place.

***Immigration: Stahlratte is the only boat that gets Immigration to come on board to stamp the passports. Simple process. Normally people would have to go to a little Island named Porvenir if leaving from Carti. Immigration also stamps the Permit of entry to Panama for the vehicle as a proof of exit.

From here you can now enjoy San Blas as we did; Stahlratte is your best choice.

Entering Colombia.

Because we travelled with Stahlratte they took care of everything for us including Immigration and Customs. However, I needed to find out what is done and how is done, I am never content when someone does these processes for us and this will be the first and the last time this happens. Nothing against Stahlratte, it is just the way I like to operate. In fact, it is easier and better for people if someone else does it, especially if you do not speak Spanish.

***Immigration:

In our case passports were sent to Immigration for the stamp and we were given 60 days. In any case you just need to jump of the boat and go to the Immigration office.

***Customs:

In our case Stahlratte used an Agent to do the process. We just had to provide:

-Passport: original

-Title or Registration of the vehicle: original.

-Stamped by Immigration (cancelled) permit of entry to Panama for the vehicle: original.

-Some details as colour of the bike and model (which sometimes may not be in the title or registration).

In any case: you get Immigration dealt with (preferably by foot because your vehicle does not suppose to go anywhere but from the boat straight to Customs). Then you go to Customs, in Colombia called DIAN (Direccion de Impuestos y Aduana Nacional). Look for Grupo Importacion., they are pretty helpful.

A) If you are arriving on a boat like Stahlratte and you can ride your vehicle in DIAN the process is pretty simple and fast.

You deliver:

-Passport: original & copy of the picture page and the stamp of entry to Colombia page.

-Title or Registration of the vehicle: original & copy.

-Stamped by Immigration (cancelled) permit of entry to Panama for the vehicle: original & copy.

The period for the permit given for the vehicle will depend on the period given by Immigration, in our case 60 days.

A document is issued with the name of: Importacion Temporal de Vehiculo de Turista. An inspection needs to occur before you can actually have the document but it never did, why? Just because, don’t ask.

B) If your vehicle is arriving on a large vessel/container then the process is different and I don’t know the details but I know enough to get everything started:

You need all documents related to the transportation of your vehicle from the country of origin. You also need to know which port your vehicle is at for the following reason:

-If your vehicle arrives through the “Muelle El Bosque” then you can be assisted only once a day, in the morning, which means that you will not get anybody to look at your vehicle until the next day.

-If your vehicle arrives through another two muelles (I did not write the names) then you can be assisted in the morning or afternoon, two times a day basically.

***Insurance:

Insurance is necessary and you have to get it right after Customs. Sura is the company that sells the insurance and for it you need the original Permit of entry to Colombia for the vehicle and money in Colombian pesos, US dollars are not accepted anywhere.

The insurance is only sold for a minimum of three months and it cost approximately $85,000.00 pesos which is equivalent to about $47.00 USD.

Exiting Colombia.

One of the border crossings with less hassles, except for a Colombian decided to bump me with his car, what an idiot.

Offices are marked properly and the only people hanging around are money changers smoking pot.

Here we go.

***Immigration:

Immigration is run by DAS (Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad) and they require:

-Original passport and a stamp of exit is placed. Fingerprints are required.

-Zero fees are charged.

Worth mentioning that in one full consecutive year, a tourist gets a total of 180 days in Colombia regardless of when they are used or how.

***Customs:

-Passport: original.

-Permit of entry to Colombia for the vehicle: original.

-Vehicle inspection to ensure the information in the documents match with the vehicle.

With these requirements the permit is cancelled and they keep the cancelled permit. However, you can ask for a copy of the cancelled permit for your records, you never know when they are going to forget to enter the information in the system.

The vehicle can enter again anytime under the Immigration terms that a tourist may get at the time on entry, but remember you can only stay in Colombia for 180 days in a full consecutive year.

Entering Ecuador.

Again offices are marked properly and the only people hanging around are money changers, these ones look older and they don’t smoke pot in front of you.

***Immigration:

Immigration is run by Policia Nacional y Servicio de Migracion and they require:

-Original passport showing the exit stamp from Colombia. A stamp of entry is provided.

-Zero fees are charged.

Worth mentioning that in one full consecutive year, a tourist gets a total of 90 days in Ecuador regardless of when they are used or how. There is an opportunity to extend that period for 90 more days.

***Customs:

-Passport: original & copies of the picture, stamp of exit from Colombia and stamp of entry to Ecuador.

-Title or Registration of the vehicle: original & copy.

-International Driver’s Licence: original & copy.

-Vehicle inspection to ensure the information in the documents match with the vehicle, i.e. VIN (Vehicle Identification Number).

-Zero fees are charged neither insurance for the vehicle is required.

As well as with Immigration we were given 90 days permit but it can extended for another 90 days if necessary in the respective offices.

Exiting Ecuador.

An incredible border crossing. As usual we find certain things that should have happened or little surprises.

We were supposed to get an Andean Immigration Card at the entrance of Ecuador but we did not so the Immigration officer prepared one at the exit and filed it.

***Immigration:

-Original passport and a stamp of exit is placed.

-Zero fees are charged.

Worth mentioning that we spent 17 days out of the 90 days we were given. So we still have days we can use in our return.

***Customs:

-Passport: original.

-Permit of entry to Ecuador for the vehicle: original.

-Title or Registration of the vehicle: original.

-Vehicle inspection to ensure the information in the documents match with the vehicle.

-No fees are charged unless the period of the permit has expired, then charges will apply.

With these requirements the permit is cancelled and they keep the cancelled permit. However, you can ask for a copy of the cancelled permit for your records, you never know when they are going to forget to enter the information in the system.

The vehicle can enter again anytime under the Immigration terms that a tourist may get at the time on entry.

One thing we found out is that some borders may not have the system to capture information for the vehicles in transit and later on in the return to Ecuador this can be a problem. We were told that Zapotillo border for example does not have the system and although you maybe able to leave the country the legality of it is in doubt.

Also, the ATM in Macara does not accept foreign debit cards so come prepare with money for the next part of the process. At least $100 USD.

Entering Peru.

Again offices are marked properly and the only people hanging around are money changers. People were extremely helpful and clear, nothing I was expecting to be honest.

***Immigration:

-Original passport showing the exit stamp from Ecuador. A stamp of entry is provided.

-Tarjeta Andina de Migracion (Andean Migration Card). It needs to be filled and just to make sure it will be safe staple it to your passport. You will need to return at the exit point.

-Zero fees are charged.

A tourist gets a total of 183 days in a consecutive year in Peru regardless of when they are used or how. The officer will provide the amount of days requested so make sure you request a little bit more than the necessary period otherwise you can end up paying $1 USD per day you exceed over the given period.

The service in this particular border is 24 hours as well as Customs.

***Customs:

-Passport & Andean Card: original.

-Title or Registration of the vehicle: original.

-International Driver’s Licence: original.

-Zero fees are charged.

-Insurance for the vehicle (SOAT) is mandatory and you will avoid a lot of hassles with the police if you just get it. It is $35 USD per month per motorcycle and you buy this insurance right in front of the Customs office with your passport and title of the bike.

Photocopies of all documents are taken by Peruvian Customs.

As well as with Immigration we were given 90 days permit. A document is produced called “Certificado de Internacion Temporal”.

With these we can roll into Peru without having to worry about corrupt cops unless we do something stupid like speeding or not obeying signs.

I am quite impressed with the Peruvian process, it was easy and clear. Good job people!!!

Deyanira Mendoza Dominguez – Adventure Researcher

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