New Cruiser: Expedition from Vancouver to South America

Names: Robin and Raenelle
Hometown: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Date started: July 19, 2008
Date returned home: January 2009. It was 6 months nearly to the day.

Destination: Vancouver to Argentina. Previously we had done separate road trips to the Baja in Mexico and to Central America.

Vehicle: A completely rebuilt Cruiser made of aluminum that we did on our own over a two year period ending in 2002.

Top 3 campsites:

1) Anywhere in Patagonia, Argentina.
2) Northern Peru on the coast - beautiful pacific ocean beaches.
3) Along the Sea of Cortez on the Baja Peninsula

Preferred guidebook(s): We use Lonely Planet, though we're not the guidebook type travellers. The most useful bit of information we get out of a guidebook are the little city maps that help us get our bearings once we're in a populated centre. It's also interesting to read a bit on the history and culture sections, but only if you spend the time talking to the actual countrymen for their version. For us, true history is no where near as important (or interesting) as percieved history.

Top 2 travel gadgets/devices: Hard to say. The compact single shot espresso maker was pretty nice to have.

As far as mission critical, high powered off-highway driving lights quite literally saved us a few times. Driving at night isn't usually the best thing to do but sometimes can be unavoidable. In countries where unlit donkeys and carts share a lane with a 100km/h highway, vision is pretty important,

not to mention our escapade getting hopelessly stuck in the Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.

Worst border crossing: Most frustrating - Argentina to Chile, west of Barriloche. They wouldn't recognize the dog's papers and Chile is in the worst kind of 2nd world bureaucracy. For us there are 3 kinds of bureaucracy.

The kind at home which is strict, sometimes annoying, but always logical, and usually makes some kind of sense and usually has the systems in place to back it up. For exmaple health laws in a restaurant are enforced by a health officer actually checking for dirt in the kitchen, not just charging a fee and signing a piece of paper.

The other extreme is the really poor country beaurocracy, completely ineffective, and designed to line the pockets of the officials enforcing it. This type is easy to navigate around in the form of a small bribe, or if you are savvy enough, a kind smile with a bit of solid argument can work too.

But Chile has the worst kind, good policy, too much pride to entertain a bribe, but no money to back up the systems and make them work. So when a border guard sees a dog, he asks for a certain peice of paper, and lets the dog in. We didn't have the peice of paper he wanted but we had proof of shots and vaccines. We went back to Argentina and paid someone a few dollars to forge up the paper the Chilean's wanted. Instead of using his head and seeing that the dog was no threat to his country, the border guard just wanted paper.

Back to border crossings, all the rest in South America were very simple. In Central America, the El Salvador to Honduras crossing took a while, and had some bad police at the check points.

Best piece(s) of practical advice for someone following in your footsteps: Keep your patience hat on, and keep smiling. Grin and bear the bad stuff, there will be some, maybe a lot. And it doesn't really matter where you are - the best thing about a country are it's people.

Highlight of the road trip: The parrilla in Arentina. The parrilla is like a BBQ, along with the party (not just the thing with hot coals in it). The meat is incredible, the wine is really good (and often just a bit more expensive than coke). The pasta is fresh, cheese is wonderful...Argentina learned how to eat!

Most challenging part of being on the road/living out of a vehicle: Probably keeping the vehicle in good condition. The roads can be rough, and especially if you leave the beaten track, damage is inevitable. Typically you will leave a south american mechanic with 2 more problems than you came with, so doing your own field repairs is important.

Robin and Raenelle website:

how did the panama to

how did the panama to colombia workout? could you tell me what are the cheapest options?

Hi there.. It sounds like

Hi there..

It sounds like you had a fantastic adventure! Like the others in this section, I am interested in traveling from Panama to Columbia and wondering what you found transport your vehicle?

I have heard about the possibility of getting my 4x4 loaded onto a "banana boat" that Chiquita apparently loads in Panama. Do you have any knowledge about this?



I am planning a trip from

I am planning a trip from South Carolina to South America (via Canada) in about a year. I am also very interested in getting my vehicle (a heavily modified 1936 Ford School Bus) from Panama to Colombia. Any thoughts?

im planing a trip from new

im planing a trip from new jersey to ecuador south america
about january next year
we are going about 6 cars
the only problem is in panama to colombia
i was talking to some agents that ship your car from panama to colombia
the price is about 800 per car
there is some other ways to ship the car.the ro ro and the roll off
the charge about the half but it takes about 3 days to get your car from panama to colombia and you have to fly to colombia to meet your car .if you have any ideas can you share with us
we will more than happy to travel toguether if you like.

Hello My name is james and I

My name is james and I am traveling with my VW Rabbit from Washington State. I am presently in Panama and am looking for information about getting the car from Panama to Colombia. Any help would be greatly appreciated. ny email address is

Goog day! i read all history

Goog day! i read all history about your trip, congrats!
I have a question: How did you cross the border between panama and colombia?
my email is: I am from Venezuela
Thanks you

any ideas how to cross the

any ideas how to cross the border from panama to colombia
if you know can u share with us please
my email is