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Texas to Panama (Bunch of Questions)

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panamaheat's picture
Joined: Feb 21 2009

Hello All, this is a really cool forum!

I currently am living and working in Panama City, and my wife (who currently lives in Texas) is about to join me with my 2 kids, 3 dogs, and a 1 Fat Cat.

We were planning to fly everyone here (including the pets) and we ran into a serious problem. The airlines (Delta and Continental) will not take English Bulldogs. My wife would rather leave one of the kids then her sweet bulldog, SO we are considering making the drive with the entire zoo.

I have a few questions:

1. Our car is financed and has a lien. I am wondering if it is possible to drive it through all these countries with this lien (or will it be a big deal).
2. Has anyone just driven STRAIGHT THROUGH C.A. with minimum stops for gas, rest? What is the fastest time anyone has done this?
3. We were thinking about just keeping the car in Panama and paying the duty.

Also, I have lived in Panama for some time now, so let me know if any of you have any questions regarding Panama.

Thanks to all!

admin's picture
Joined: Feb 11 2009

Liens: You need the title, or

Liens: You need the title, or proof of ownership to pass through the borders. Usually that means that if you don't have the title, you need a certified letter (translated!) from the lien holder, since of course they won't give you the title until you pay the loan. The only way around this is to contact each embassy before you leave, and get the paperwork done before hand.

I think that the actual law reads as "proof of ownership" and that's generally accepted to mean, "title". We helped a canadian get travelling earlier last month, and they don't have titles. Obviously, they have something else, and that worked.

Straight Through: Yes people have done it, and the last time we talked about it I think we agreed it would be around 1.5-2 tough weeks, assuming normal amounts of rest. I've driven Guatemalan border to Texas border in about 36 hours driving time, but.. You really shouldn't drive at night. Then, borders will take hours and hours...

Paying the duty:
That might work, you should check around and see what the country's import duty is. In some countries it was 100% of the value of the car. I never have checked panama's. I'm curious, so please update me.

Best of luck and keep posting!

YnotNjoyLife's picture
Joined: Jan 16 2010

question on Panama

My husband and I played with the idea of applying for jobs down there and moving. I hear half and half: it's a wonderful country/it's very dangerous right now.
What's the job market like down there? My husband does logistics and I do system administration or massage therapy.

Also, did you ever make the trip? Our parents are devastated we're driving through Mexico and C. America because they think something horrible will happen to us. The funny thing, my parents are mexican! Mostly, people are telling us we're crazy for doing this and, instead, fly to a resort where it's safe in one of these countries. I guess they don't understand what we're trying to accomplish... freedom of travelling countries and the adventure.

robertdjung's picture
Joined: Oct 31 2006

oh my god --- "go to a

oh my god --- "go to a resort"....

That couldn't be a different trip than what you're planning. I've done mexico/guatemala by bus, and i've done here to panama by truck. I've stopped at, but never really been interested in the resort thing.

COULDN'T BE MORE DIFFERENT. Even in a bus, you can't stop where you want. Believe me, it's town to town, no stopping at the cool little roadside place selling baskets, or pineapple, or whatever. Nope, a bus mean moving on, moving on.

It was the stopping, the enjoying, that made driving yourself the ONLY way to see it. Do you want to go to a resort for 3 months? Resorts could be anywhere. Why bother going to mexico, just go to vegas.

I have a friend that spent $3000 to go to a belize resort for a week. 3 months driving to panama cost around $6000, give or take, and that's with a boat, diving, etc etc etc etc etc. The 3 months were worth every penny.