Storing the bike in Central America ?

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Willson, Jan 29, 2012.

  1. Willson

    Willson Adventurer

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    Hola Amigos,

    Wondering if there is any way to store the bike somewhere in Central America (Costa Rica, Panama) for a few months ?

    Left Canada in September and I am pretty much broke so I would like to go back up North get some more money, come back and keep going.

    I know it is tricky with the temporary importation visa for the vehicle and don't know if you can even leave the country without the vehicle (without having to pay a big fine...).

    Did some research and didn't find much...
    This on the lonely planet forum > http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?threadID=1552294

    and another old thread on Horizon from 2001 that is not very helpful.

    Any suggestion ? Maybe "selling" the bike to someone there and buying it back ? What about in Colombia or Venezuela ?

    I am going to try and get some work down in Costa Rica anyway.

    Thanks everyone !
    #1
  2. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial

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    When I left Panamá without the bike I rode in on (I left it with Girag to ship it to Colombia) the migración officials asked for my temporary importation cancellation the minute they saw the land entry stamp in my passport. If you can get the bike to Colombia, it's easy. I left my bike there and migración doesn't even ask. Or maybe Girag might let you store it at their warehouse at the airport for a fee. Or check with inmate bananaman, he knows a ton about Panamá.
    #2
  3. Willson

    Willson Adventurer

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    alright thanks Parcero. So were you able to leave Panama without the bike in the end ?
    I guess the maximum time I can leave it in Costa Rica or Panama is 3 months, if I can exit the country without the bike...
    I heard things are a little easier in Columbia and there are ways to leave it there for longer.
    #3
  4. Willson

    Willson Adventurer

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  5. Willson

    Willson Adventurer

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    Does anyone have more info on this ?
    For now I think I cannot store the bike for more than 3 months (not sure about bonded storage...).
    What about changing the plates ? Is that difficult or expensive ?
    #5
  6. AkMedic

    AkMedic Adventurer

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    From my experience you need a really good excuse to leave your bike longer than 3 months. Such as, it was in an accident and needs repairs, your had some medical problem and needed to return to the states, ect. Then with that excuse in hand find a lawyer or another official to help you with the paperwork and submit that to immigration for them to approve.

    I had my bike lapse in Guatemala over 3 months and it ended up being a bit of a nightmare to get it figured out. They wanted me to pay the full import fee. After making friends with a couple border guards they said I could have just come and talked to them to "work" something out.
    #6
  7. alpiner84

    alpiner84 Been here awhile

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    I'd email Panama Passage and see what Christian has to say (actually, they're moving right now and the website doesn't have an email--try messaging them on Facebook?). He leaves the country all the time with his various bikes and cars still there.

    I sold my bike in Panama, an under-the-table sale with no [legal] documentation, and immigration couldn't have cared less about the bike stamp in my passport when I left. No one asked any questions.

    Another possibility might be transferring ownership to someone in Panama, then transferring it back when you return...

    Good luck!
    #7
  8. Slowphil

    Slowphil REALLY Gnarly Adventurer

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    Try the Colon free zone in Panama for a bonded customs warehouse. If you can locate one you can leave your bike (for a fee of course) in bond there. Might work for you.

    Good luck
    #8
  9. Willson

    Willson Adventurer

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    Thanks for all the replies.
    I think the bonded storage is the best option, if stored there you are able to freeze the TIP at a customs office.
    I will be going to San Jose, Costa Rica in the next couple of days and figure that out.

    Here is a link where there is valuable info on how to do this in Costa Rica>
    http://www.drivetheamericas.com/forums/long-term-vehicle-storage-panama

    He explains the whole process in his blog >
    http://headsouth.travellerspoint.com/19/

    I will post back here once it's done.
    #9
  10. Willson

    Willson Adventurer

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    I did the exact same thing as explained in the link above and was able to leave the bike behind.

    In Costa Rica :
    There are several bonded storage warehouses ("Almecen Fiscal" in spanish) near the San Jose international airport and there is also a customs office, you can get a list of the warehouses there.
    Once the bike is stored the warehouse gives you a paper, with it you go to the customs office and they can freeze your TIP for free.
    Pretty easy and fast.
    I went to the almecen fiscal Coco's, which is pretty close to the aiport, you can park the bike indoors, $3/day. You can pay when you return.
    #10
  11. acejones

    acejones Long timer

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    Neat plan !
    #11