Driving Central America & South America.

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Misc. things I wish I had done

Tcat Left 2
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Tcat Right 2
sameul11's picture
Joined: Dec 6 2006

Im down in Panama right now and I have a good list of things I wish I had brought with me or done.. First get your windows tinted asap(cops cant see you coming and people cant easily see the stuff in your vehicle-and almost anyone in central america has their windows tinted. I paid $35 for a cheap tint job in nicaragua. A car alarm is definately a good idea, I had at least 2 people "check" my doors within my sight-so for sure they are doing it alot when I wasnt there. If nothing else the alarm will keep people from sitting on your car!! Consider pulling off your license plates (or at least your front ones). There are plenty of people running around without plates, its better to look like one of them than a foreigner. And I understand the plates get stolen every so often. Triangles and fire extiguisher..aparently required in honduras..I had a cop try to shake me down for $50, which got negociated down to $5. A cheezy aerosol fire extiguisher and triangles cost me $18 in the next town. I wish I had made a couple of color fotocopies of my international drivers license and made them look like the real thing. If and when the cops threaten to confiscate it, you can act miffed and just drive off. I have to confess I had very few problems on the trip, I didnt have any border crossings that took me over an hour, and only had to bribe one border guard(you will most likely have to bribe the officials in honduras to get through) and one cop (again in honduras). Lastly, if a cop pulls up behind you with lights flashing, you better think three times before pulling over, there are lots of corrupt cops, or thieves posing as cops who would be glad to relieve you of your car. Generally you are only expected to pull over for police checkpoints or for the military. As with everything in central america, its a negociation...not black and white like the US