Taking the truck back

The decision is to turn back. I looked into Jim’s suggestion about buying a truck in South America. I had assumed it was not possible. I had looked into buying one in Ecuador or Peru, but it is not possible for a non-resident to buy and register a vehicle in those countries. Well, it turns out that’s it’s a fairly straightforward thing in Chile.

A number of things have led to this decision. First, I hardly ever use the camper. I actually have not used it at all this year except for once when Marilyn made some salsa for lunch. It is difficult to sleep in as it has no toilet and is very hot at night. There are also no campgrounds or RV parks in this part of the world, unlike North America or Europe. A camper, which works fine in Canada, the US and Europe, is just dead weight over here. And it’s a real pain to get around in, uses up a lot of gas, and is very difficult to park. I have now hit roofs three times.

I was unhappy with the camper for a while and have looked into replacing it with a canopy. However, despite an extensive search, I have been unable to find a canopy that would fit my full size pick-up anywhere in Central America. Mexico seems to be as far south as one can go for anything related to a full-size pickup. So I’ll probably ditch the camper and get a canopy in Mexico.

Another reason is the difficulty of leaving the vehicle anywhere for any length of time. Not that it’s hard to find places to leave it, it’s just the temporary importation permits are usually no longer than three months and generally not renewable. We’re talking major fines or paying the taxes and duties on the vehicle, or face its confiscation. It cost me $450.00 last time I did that in Panama. In Costa Rica, it would mean a $500 fine plus paying the import duties which I estimate at $3,000. So I had to come back to Costa Rica in late April just to deal with my vehicle although I would rather have stayed home at this time of the year.

So my scheme of doing a couple of months in Latin America, going back to earn some money, and then returning to continue the adventure is not working; I would much rather spend the summer months and moose hunting season in the Yukon. If I shipped my truck to South America now, it would mean ending up in Chile and Argentina during the winter.

Finally is the disposal of the truck. I would practically have to give it away as the only place it could be sold is in the Magellanes region (capital Punta Arenas) in Chile, which is a duty-free zone. From what I read, it would cost about $2,000 to “import” the vehicle in Chile so it could be sold. That’s about what a 1990 Chevy pick-up is worth.

So, it makes a lot more sense to buy a truck in Chile and tour South America from there. No problem leaving a Chilean-registered truck in Chile, so I can easily go back and forth between Canada and Chile and leave the new truck there. It’s still Patagonia or bust, but in a more comfortable way.

So I will head out to the end of the road in Yaviza, Panama, and then head back. We’ll see where I get to before the end of the month when I have to be in Montreal.


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