Vehicle shipping (excluding the Darien Gap)

If you need to get your car to South America to start your trip, or you want to get your vehicle back to your home country after you're done with your traveling, this article has the information you're looking for.  

Shipping from Buenos Aires to the United States

Like the options for the Darien Gap above, you can chose between a RORO or container service.

Below are a few options for companies and prices from Buenos Aires


Crowley Auto Transport 

Crowley Auto Transport Inc has several options available from South America/ Central America and Los Angeles USA. The company offers roll on/ roll off service as well as container shipping.  Depending on the ports, costs are usually around $1000.  You can call or email 24 hours a day for a free quote. 


K-Line has ships sailing about twice a month to Jacksonville (among other possible destinations). Their agent (Capricorn) in Buenos Aires is very helpful but does not speak English. '''

Beware! Really think twice about leaving anything in your car - we put our belongings in boxes that had two padlocks and one regular lock and bolted the boxes to the inside of our car. Despite these precautions, when we received our car the boxes were gone.


  • All costs in USD
  • Shipping fee: $600/vehicle
  • Document fee: $50
  • Terminal fee: $7/meter cubed (vehicle volume)
  • Wharfage fee $8.35/vehicle
  • Bill of Lading fee: $35

Contact information in Buenos Aires'

  • Reconquista 672 3rd floor - B(C1003ABN)
  • PHONE: (0054) 11 5031 4015
  • FAX: (0054) 11 5031 4015
  • email:  [email protected]


NYK has ships sailing twice a month to Baltimore, Houston and Tampa. The ships take about 20 days to reach the US. The car must be empty during the shipping (customs requirement). However, they are not used to dealing with individuals shipping their cars (they deal with large shipments) so aren't very helpful with the details.


Shipping costs depend on the height of the car:

  • Up to 1m60m, $835
  • From 1m60cm to 2m, $970
  • Above 2m, $1020

Additional costs:

  • The car can sit at the sending and receiving docks for up to 5 days without any additional fees
  • $70 terminal handling fee per car in Buenos Aires, plus $7 per cubic meter
  • $45 plus IVA for Bill of Lading
  • $50 terminal handling fee in the US, plus additional $50 for a car or $90 for an SUV, plus wharfage fee if $2.25 per every 2000 pounds (with a minimum charge of $25)

Contact information (both speak English)


San Martin 483 (5th floor), cross street is Lavalle, Buenos Aires

Container Shipping

If you have some extra cash after your trip and want to treat you and your car right, you can send it through Argentina International Moving by container and have it delivered to your door. Contact Noelia for a quote, as costs depend on locations, but included below are the price options for shipping a Honda Element from Buenos Aires to Miami Florida.


  • Option 1 - "Door to door" services:
  • Picking up the automobile
  • Loading into a 20' container
  • Customs in Argentina
  • Ocean freight to Port Everglades
  • Customs Clearance in the United States of America
  • Delivery in Tampa, FL
  • Price : US$ 5.040,75

Option 2 - "Door to warehouse" services:

  • Picking up the automobile
  • Loading into a 20' container
  • Customs in Argentina
  • Ocean freight to Port Everglades
  • Customs Clearance in the United States of America
  • Price : US$ 4.390,75

Contact information (speaks English)

Noelia Oviedo
[email protected]
+54 11 4325-0500 x107

Shipping from Costa Rica to the United States

If shipping to the US, you can't ship things inside the vehicle, only the vehicle itself. This is a policy of Seaboard Marine due to DEA enforcements in the US.

If using Seaboard Marine on the Costa Rica side and JP Reynolds on the Florida side, you have to have a customs broker in CR to sort out the aduana, shipping etc.

First contact the company in the US and in CR. You just need your title, copy of passport and Costa Rican car permit. The cost of the customs broker in Costa Rica was about $300. The RORO is about $650. The broker on the US side is $250 plus a $35 fee for customs.

In Puerto Limon, contact Customs Broker Fabio Rodovi. He speaks some English but speaking Spanish helps.
His contact information is:

Fabio Madrigal
JOMAR Asesores Aduaneros
Cell: (506) 813-8585
Tel/Fax: (506) 758-4840
[email protected]

In Miami, contact Carroll, the customs broker at JP Reynolds:

J.P Reynolds Co.
2801 N W 74TH AVE
MIAMI, FL. 33122
Carroll J Quant
Import Supervisor
Ph: 305-592-9916
Fax: 305-592-9948
[email protected]

In Florida, contact Suzette, the customs broker at Crowley Auto Transport:

Crowley Auto Transport
6601 Lyons Road
Suzette Cardozo
Import Supervisor
Ph: 800-467-3066
Web site: Car Shipping

Thanks to Jennifer and Matthew for the Costa Rica shipping information

Also check out for additional international shipping options


Agent recommendation: from United States to Ecuador


Of the five US-based agents I was in touch with in September 2015, Stephen Aron was the only one who was both knowledgeable and helpful. Stephen's e-mail is [email protected] and his full details are below:

Stephen Aron

International Freight Experts, Inc.

7725 261st Street East

Myakka City, Florida 34251-5107

Tel (941) 322 9464

Fax (941) 322 9465

Cell (941) 321 8744

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 17:18

Updated info needed for shipping car from Buenos Aires to Canada

Hi there,

We finished our fantastic journey from Toronto to the end of the PanAm (Isla Chiloe) and are now in Buenos Aires arranging to ship our car (Subaru Outback) back to Toronto in a container.

We have agents who are responsive (which is great) but the cost is far more than we expected (over $7,000) plus they now say it is extremely difficult to ship our personal effects back in the car (or if we did so, it would be another $1,600).  

Anyone have any recent experience with this (if not to Canada, to US)?  

We are wondering if we should try to sell our car instead.  We hear that really we can only do that by selling to other foreigners here.  Any recent experience with that too? 


Thu, 02/20/2014 - 12:24 (Reply to #1)

Shipping to NAmerica


I was just wondering if you ended up shipping the vehicle to Canada as we are also looking at options to ship home. Any info would be great ;)



Wed, 06/01/2011 - 17:38


That seems crazy - I would suggest you go RORO, it will be MUCH cheaper.  Just don't leave anything in your car - it will get stolen (as our stuff did).  We didn't leave anything valuable in the car just in case, but it still sucked.  When we got quotes for container shipping about 1.5 years ago, it was over $5000 so I don't think that's ever a cheap option.  

Selling the car in Argentina to Argentinians isn't an easy option - if you can find other roadtrippers (post in our our forums) that would be much easier.  Selling to someone who will be taking the car back out of Argentina on their trip isn't so impossible.  

Tue, 11/22/2016 - 21:03 (Reply to #3)

emptying the van for RORO??

I'm wondering how others have emptied their vehicles in order to ship it RORO?  How do you get all your stuff home, if you can't keep it in the van?  Kitchen, bedding, tools, clothes, etc for 3 people for a year trip = a lot of stuff!

If we ship in a container, instead of RORO, then is it correct that we *can* leave all our belongings inside?  

This question is twofold:  first, for shipping from Panama to Columbia; then subsequently for shipping from Buenos Aires back to the US 

Thank you for any tips!

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 14:17

RoRo services

SamericaXplorer (Miami), has been providing shipping logistics and advise  to moto adventurers and caravan riders all along the americas, whenever is crossing the caribbean or the darien gap from S.A. or N.A. to many destinations.

Mainly we use RoRo service between Panama & Colombia or viceversa, as well other ports covered by the same route as far as California and Tacoma Washington on the North bound and Brazil and Argentina on the south bound RoRo service.

There are  other RoRo routes along the West Coast of S.A. , N.A. East Coast and East of S.A.. Options are many.

Our service cover 1-1 logistics , including customs procedures and contact with many agents on each country.

Contact me at

Gaston E. /SAMX


Sun, 03/04/2012 - 00:02 (Reply to #5)

Hi Gaston,  Can you offer

Hi Gaston, 

Can you offer anything from Florida to Cartagena for late October? A container is a must (20' or shared 40'). It is for a T3/Vanagon VW Westfalia camper. Pricing, schedule, etc. 

Thanks in advance. 


Sat, 05/26/2012 - 12:09 (Reply to #6)

Florida to Cartagena

Hey Chris:

Just yesterday left my jeep cherokee at Miami Port for Cartagena destination. Im using Seaboard, the cheapest here, 900 dollars up to 570 cubic/feet. Im gonna do Cartagena to Santiago, Chile starting June 11. Let me know if you need details.


Fri, 10/05/2012 - 12:43 (Reply to #7)

Florida to Cartagena

Hi Henry,

Would you please make a sumary of all your steps you have taken in order to see your car inside the container before shipping and all the paperwork done for you and also the job of your agent.

Would you please state all your costs. And if you are at the moment in Cartagena approximate cost to get your vehicle out of the port?

Thanks in advance,






Sat, 10/06/2012 - 10:04 (Reply to #8)

Service enquire (Samericanxplore)

Hi Gaston,
I sent you a personal email.
Do you provide service to ship my Mitsubishi Outlander SUV from Miami to Cartagena (Colombia) in a 20’ container?
Does your company provide person to person communication to agree ways of shipping (e.g. freight, Bill of Lading, container stuffing, other expenses, etc).
In a previous shipping I took the broker papers and my car title to the USA customs office and prevented that my car title be hole punched because we where not exporting our car out of the USA. After one year in South America we brought our car to the USA again.
Please instruct me on what is how the best way to communicate. I am very serious about this contact.

Mon, 06/06/2011 - 14:30

Selling a tourist vehicle abroad

Selling a tourist vehicle is not an easy task, unless the VAN could be sell it as 'used vehicle' in Argentina, Chile allow importation of used recreational campers if you think that is an option. The buyer should nationalize the vehicle paying duties and other formalities. You should end the temporary permit for the vehicle at customs in the current country you are right now.

If the plan is selling the vehicle to another tourist, that is doable but a little work must be made. First both you and the buyer must meet between borders. Urguay and Argentina for ex. , because you must exit the country with your vehicle (exiting and finishing temp. entry). Before everything is finished you must send the title to Canada or U.S so, the new owner gets new registration and plate.

It is simple and not so simple

Sat, 10/08/2011 - 17:03

Shipping from lower South America to Europe, Asia or Australia

This might be of interest to people who would like to ship from South America To Europe, Australia or Asia. My friends had there land rover and trailer container shipped from Montevideo (Uruguay) to Rotterdam (Holland) for $1800 (all included). I recently recieved a quote to ship my truck to Western Australia for $2800 (All included). This is good value in my opinion. Its the cheapest quote i've had by far. My friends said the company was very professional and they speak very good English. It's only a 4hr car ferry ride from Buenos Aires. I'm not sure about shipping to North America. They probably have ships stopping in Florida on route to Europe.

Here is the website.

Contact Susana: [email protected]

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 14:36

more information?

Hi Jon,

Could you give us more information about contact information, shipper name, prices, websites etc?  We'd love to add more information on this option to the shipping page.


Thu, 12/15/2011 - 06:34

K-Line Updates

As of December 2011:

The K-Line agent ( [email protected]) does speak (some) english!

The shipping fee (BA to Florida) is $1,900

They only ship to Jacksonville Florida.

Wed, 12/19/2012 - 15:37 (Reply to #13)

Is this RoRo service?

Is this RoRo service?

Wed, 12/28/2011 - 08:31

I am trying to find out on shipping a car from US to Santa Marta

Good Morning:

I am trying to find out info on shipping a car from US to Santa Marta Colombia or close by?

Can you point me in the direction of the best company and any tips for best value?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Thu, 05/24/2012 - 18:15 (Reply to #15)

Panama to Cartagena ferry

I have heard that there will soon be a ferry running from Colon, Panama to Cartagena, Colombia on a 3 times a week schedule. What I have received in emails with the company is that they are charging $99 for you plus 85-95 taxes per person and when I asked about my bike they told me about $180. These prices are for return tickets(only return tickets possible).  If I remember right, it was about $350 for a car.  They have a website ( but it has nothing.

This is one of the people who answered my emails but it is difficult to talk with the same person twice and the information is vague.  Here in Panama, that is normal.

Raisa Salceda

Agente de Reservaciones

Panamerican Ferry

Tel.: 380-0904

Good luck in your travels.



Thu, 05/24/2012 - 18:16 (Reply to #16)

Panama to Cartagena ferry

I have heard that there will soon be a ferry running from Colon, Panama to Cartagena, Colombia on a 3 times a week schedule. What I have received in emails with the company is that they are charging $99 for you plus 85-95 taxes per person and when I asked about my bike they told me about $180. These prices are for return tickets(only return tickets possible).  If I remember right, it was about $350 for a car.  They have a website ( but it has nothing.

This is one of the people who answered my emails but it is difficult to talk with the same person twice and the information is vague.  Here in Panama, that is normal.

Raisa Salceda

Agente de Reservaciones

Panamerican Ferry

Tel.: 380-0904

Good luck in your travels.



Sun, 05/27/2012 - 17:51 (Reply to #17)

no ferry yet

There has been a lot of discussion in our forums (see this thread on the Darien Gap ferry) and on the Panama to Cartagena Ferry article we published - looks like right now no ferry until July, and it seems a little iffy.  

Wed, 12/28/2011 - 17:19

Hi, Depending on your place


Depending on your place now in the US , I would recommending shipping RoRo , either from Houston, Galveston or Tampa to Sta. Marta or Catagena a few kilometers away.

Houston January 17 ------Jan 26 Sta. Marta

Houston  January 21  -----Jan 27 Cartagena

Tampa  January 20 -------Jan 28 Sta. Marta

Galveston TX January 20------Jan 25 Cartagena

Houston February 15---------Feb 26 Sta. Marta

Tampa February 18----------Feb 26 Sta. Marta


Thse are the closest shipments for Jan-Feb 2012.

Get in touch with us and we could coordinate with you your shipement and clarify your intentions



[email protected]


Thu, 12/29/2011 - 09:09

2nd Round of more questions?

Shipping from Galveston? Around 04-28-12: To preferable Santa Marta or Cartegena,

1. Then is it unloaded and stored? Who keeps keys and notifies us?

2. What would all costs and fees be and how does it work?

3. Is there an issue if I am financing it and its not 100% paid off, only have bill of sale?
On export or import?

4. Where do you go and pick up?

5. Any special insurance needed or paperwork to be completed?

6. Is there any fees or additional issues to be wary of etc we should know? Times delays, etc., possible?

Thu, 11/01/2012 - 02:41

Shipping to Argentina or Uruguay

Hey guys,


I am wondering if someone can help me out. I am looking at purchasing a Van which will be situated in Guatemala and would like to get it shipped to either Argentina or Uruguay. Because I am on time constraints I can't drive it from Colombia through to the east, so I need a second option. Any information you may have would be a world of help.



Fri, 12/07/2012 - 10:05

Shipping from Buenos Aires

I want to ship my Westfalia from Buenos Aires to Florida in march 2013.
Can anyone update me on how and how much

I will check CAPRICORN ARGENTINA S.A but real customer experience and feedbacks would be appreciated

Also I do I do to get the vehicule off the boat knowing that it will have Chilan plates on and that I am Canadian?

Thank you

Pierre   [email protected]

Wed, 12/19/2012 - 15:28

Shipping from anywhere in SA to Mexico or USA

Hi travellers!

We're looking for information on companies, prices and possibilities to ship our van from anywhere in South america to Mexico or the USA. We've seen there's possibilities from Buenos Aires and Sao Paolo -this we haven't really investigated yet- to and from Ecuador to the pacific coast of Mexico in Manzanillo.

We're also looking for people who would like to share container expenses.

We dont have a fix date, but it would be happening around April 2013.

If you happen to know anything please let us know!



Mon, 09/14/2015 - 14:45 (Reply to #23)



Did you end up shipping either to or from Ecuador? Would you be willing to share contacts with me? I am trying to ship my truck from California and having a hard time finding decent information.

Many thanks!

Dan (dctopatagonia)

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 13:11

Costa Rica to West Coast of USA?

Hey there,

Thanks for all the great info! It looks like every shipping route from Costa Rica goes up the Caribbean side to Texas or Florida. I'm looking to ship a car to the West Coast, with a final destination of the Pacific Northwest. Aren't there any routes or companies that ship up to California?


Wed, 06/19/2013 - 22:39

Shipping from Panama to Peru or Chile


Wwe are coming down from Canada, and we will be in Panama around 25 of July. Looking to pass our vehicle from Panama to Peru or Chile, could someone give information about?



Sat, 06/22/2013 - 18:02

enviar un automovil de venezuela a chile o argentina

deseo saber si alguien tiene informacion de cuanto cuesta llevar un automovil desde venezuela a chile o argentina y cual es su costo o el nombre de empresas que proveen este tipo de servicio.


Sat, 10/12/2013 - 13:54 (Reply to #27)

Placer darle informacion

Placer darle informacion

El problema con Venezuela hoy en dia ud. lo conoce mejor que yo, burocracia, red tape, dolares, etc....

Mi recomendacion es que llegue a Cartagena, Colombia, no lejos de Venezuela y embarque desde alli, ay sea RoRo , container etc.. Se lo digo porque llevo en esto mas de 4 anos , embarcando vehiculos , motos , etc.,. en le campo de la aventura por el mundo y especialmente hacia y desde los paises sudamericanos. 

No quiero decirle que de Venezuela no se pueda, si se puede, pero particularmente no lo hago con nadie a menos que sea una carga o vehiculo que solo arriba a Vzla.

Si quiere embarcarse desde Cartagena, con gusto lo ayudaremos a hacerlo y logisticamente le ofrecemos todaslas facilidades. Con nosotros nadie se pierde. Particularmente le recomiendo RoRo (solo barcos que transportan vehiculos). porque lo interesanrte es que se lo entregan en el puerto y no tiene que asumir los gastos , a veces muy grnades y engorrosos de lo que significa un container. 

Nosotros exportamos e importamos muchos autos y otros tipos de vehiculos desde y hacia Cartagena al resto de Sud America, USA y Europa. Dependiendo del tamano dle vehiculo, pero si es estandard (hasta 20 m3) y una altura maxima de 2.10 mts, lo mas probable es que logre una tarifa flat, que varia netre $600 a $1,300 mas otros gastos de puerto dependiendo el destino. Hablo de America en general. Siendo un container, agregue a esos costos 2 veces y medio mas.

Fletar ele vehiculo con efectos personales por RoRo es posible pero algunos robos han sucedido. Hay que asegurar lo mas posible las cosas y si es posible crear cajas o bins con seguro y llave. 

Desde Cartagena al igual que desde Pto. Cabello hay servicios RoRo a Argentina, pero no a Chile y la costa Oeste de S.A. 

Atentamente para servirle

Gaston E.



Mon, 09/30/2013 - 10:14

Buenos Aires to Jacksonville FL

Shipping our Vehicle-  South to North America

I wish I had had somewhere to look with regards to shipping as when we set out on this trip we had NO IDEA whatsoever of what it would take to get our vehicle 1. Across the Darien Gap (Panama to South America) and 2. From South America back to North America so that we could drive it home.  I thought this info might be beneficial for those of you wishing to ship your vehicle.

As we had one year planned for our journey and were on a budget we had two goals in mind: get the vehicle to the destination as CHEAP as possible and make it so we didn’t have to wait too long for the shipping process to happen. I can say that we were successful in finding the cheapest rates after discussing with many many travelers, while the timeline didn’t go as perfectly as possible- I will outline this in both the Darien Gap and South to North America section later.

We had done some basic research and knew only two things; that there is container shipping and RORO (Roll On Roll Off) shipping. With countless hours researching on the road (which is not very fun), it became apparent that RORO shipping is for the most part, a cheaper way to move your vehicle while Container shipping seems to be more secure. RORO shipping is exactly as it sounds, they roll (drive) the car onto the boat and then when it reaches the destination they roll (drive) it off. This means that you are handing over your keys and thus the security of everything inside your vehicle. Container shipping is different but fairly straightforward; your vehicle is loaded into a container, put on a boat, shipped, taken off the boat and then removed from the container.  Silly as it sounds, remember that a container has certain dimensions, not all vehicles will fit in a container! Be sure to check the dimensions of your vehicle to ensure that it will fit in a container early on in your process to save time and frustrations later. 

We had no idea where to look for shipping companies but started our search on line. Very quickly we realized this is not an easy task as it is not easy to source out which company does RORO or Container shipping, which company goes to and from which ports, what dates they travel and finally how much they cost. The way we did it was a painstaking process, and by no means would I say it was efficient. I am still at a loss of a better way to do this, but what I can offer is word of mouth of the experience we had in both locations, which I will outline in each shipping process.

Below is an outline of exactly what we had to do from start to finish in order to get our vehicle from point A to point B in both locations.


South to North America

As mentioned above, our goal was to get our vehicle back to North America from South America as cheap as possible with minimal wait time.  First of all, we spent a lot of time doing research online looking for the cheapest way to get the vehicle back to North America from either Santiago, Chile to the western States or Buenos Aires, Argentina to the eastern States. We did look into getting our vehicle direct to Canada as we live in Alberta, but very quickly realized that this was not really an option after seeing prices that were MUCH higher than getting our vehicle to the USA. Many of the companies that we contacted simply did not get back to us at all- very frustrating. In the end we found a good price from a guy in Argentina. His contact info is as follows:

Martín Flores


Reconquista 672 3ºB

PH. 54 11 5031 4015

ID. 54*190*5319

Martín Flores [email protected]

He spoke English very well, was extremely helpful and took the time to answer our many, many questions.

When we initially contacted him, he organized a date for us to ship our vehicle RORO on a ship that was heading to the east coast of USA, specifically Baltimore MD. The process was remarkably easy. We had to send him our vehicle info (ownership and vehicle import permit- both scanned and sent via email) along with a copy of my passport (also sent via email). He had one page of paperwork we had to fill out and send back to him (similarly via email). He gave us the date when we had to drop off our vehicle (minimum 72 hours before ship departed) and asked us to pay his fee which came out to be $120 USD. For this we had to pay cash at his office. He also gave us the shipping time of the vehicle: 30 days. The actual payment of the shipping ($945 USD) only had to be made to K-Line via wire transfer before the ship arrived at the destination. He then contacted the port (which was in Zarate, easily found on a map, to the northwest of Buenos Aires) to inform them that all was in order to drop off our vehicle.  Since we were doing RORO, one of the requirements is that the vehicle be shipped with NO PERSONAL BELONGINGS inside the vehicle. This is done for two reasons from what I gather: to protect your things from getting stolen (From the port directly in Buenos Aires , I have heard many stories of this occurring), and it makes things much simpler for the customs process. After a year of living in our van, we had to organize all of our things so that the van appeared to be empty. On the highway in Zarate, we stayed at a gas station for 3 days organizing our things. We had a hard time finding a shipping company to ship our personal belongings but quickly realized that we could downsize our things substantially. At this gas station we were easily able to find some people to buy this things we didn’t want to take back with us- a couple of bikes being the main things. We took a risk and hid some things in the vehicle (which we were willing to lose but wanted to get home with us) left the bike rack on the back of the van, and packed the rest of our things into a few bags. This worked out quite well as the airline only charged us $30 USD a bag to take on the plane with us- much cheaper than any shipping option we found. By the way, everything we stashed in the vehicle did make it to the USA, but noticed that 2 of the straps off of our bike rack were stolen somewhere enroute.

We took the van to the port and this was also a very painless process. Since Martin had already contacted the port to let them know we were coming, we went in to see the customs man. There he stamped my original vehicle import permit, and sent me on my way. This was the only paper I had at this time, which made me a little nervous but was assured by Martin that this was all I would get until the ship was sailing. At that time Martin would send be a copy of the Bill of Lading. We just rolled with it.

It was at this time that our shipping experience went a little bad. It turned out that the ship was delayed. Not only was it delayed but also there was a cancellation in one of the major shipments upon that vessel. There was a shipment of 400 cars that was supposed to go to Baltimore but at the last minute it was cancelled. This meant it was no longer financially viable for the ship to go to Baltimore. Martin assured us that the ship would still go to Jacksonville FL and would be leaving in a few days. We had the opportunity at this time to get our van back and try to find a different option  if we wanted, but decided to stick with what we had as it was so cheap. The ship ended up being very delayed and finally left the port 16 days late, which meant it was arriving 16 days late as well. While this was frustrating, we took it in stride and simply rearranged our plans- changed our flight to Jacksonville on a later date.

The customer service girl with K-Line was super helpful as well. Coming into Jacksonville we paid the $945 USD shipping fee and she told us about the process of getting our vehicle back. With a car coming from South America, it is very common to have an Agricultural hold on it when it arrives in customs in the USA. Luckily, we had washed our car before it left Argentina so the hold was quickly removed. As we were now 16 days behind schedule, we were in quite a rush to get our vehicle back and get on our way back to Canada. The K-Line lady suggested that we go to the Customs office to see if we could speed up the customs clearance at all. We went and had a talk with the customs officers. They asked us a few questions and decided they wanted to search the van with dogs for drugs (a couple of surfers with a VW van, who woulda guessed) but assured us that it wouldn’t take long. He took our phone number, told us to go have lunch and would call us in an hour. 40 minutes later he phoned and told us that it had cleared customs and we could get our van!!!!!  

As Canadians we did have one other issue. When we made the wire transfer to K-Line from our Canadian bank account, somewhere along the way another bank fee of $18 was taken out of the $945 USD we had sent. They weren’t going to release our vehicle to us until we paid that extra $18, but the lady at K-Line recognized we were in a rush and just made us sign an email saying that we would pay this extra $18. After this she released the car and we sent a cheque to them for the $18.

To enter the port of Jacksonville you need to have an escort (I guess for security). K-Line provided us with a number for an escort and all we had to do was call him and he met us within an hour and took us inside the port to get our vehicle. This cost us $50. We got our van and were on our way!!!!!

So to summarize to get our van from Buenos Aires (Zarate port) to Jacksonville FL it cost us :

$120 USD Martin fee

$945 USD shipping fee

$18 USD sneaky bank fee

$50 USD escort fee

For a total of  $1133 USD.


I should also note that the delay in shipping seemed to be quite rare. Upon discussion with the K-Line lady, she noted that occasionally there is a delay of a day or two but had not heard of such a big delay.

One other note: I have heard many other people say that they used a broker to get their vehicle out of customs and the port on the USA side. Given that our experience was SO SIMPLE, I would recommend saving yourself the couple hundred dollars and just do it yourself as we did. 

Thu, 12/12/2013 - 11:31 (Reply to #29)

Roof Top Tent

Wow!  Thanks for the great write up!  I'm planning on doing the same thing with my Subaru, ship from Buenos Aires to Baltimore, which is perfect since I live in Washington, D.C.  My only concern is that I will be carrying my roof top tent and they would not allow my to have it bolted on my car for RoRo.   I'm curious to know if you had a similar situation, if you had stuff on your roof.  

Thu, 12/12/2013 - 11:36 (Reply to #30)

I can't English

I guess my question is if the RoRo service would allow me to keep my roof top tent on my roof during the shipping process.

Mon, 10/24/2016 - 16:09 (Reply to #31)

Very useful info...thank you

Very useful info...thank you very much for sharing!

Wed, 10/02/2013 - 04:52

USA (Galveston) to Panama

I have driven twice from USA to Panama, so I am expirienced in how Latin American ¨laws¨work.  I am curious about shipping a vehicle to Manzanillo Panama from Houston.  I like the Wilhiem Williamson (sp?) RoRo company for their service and rates.  Although, my quoted rates were doubled going south as opposed to north using the same ports.  Maybe this is a Latin American tax?  Does anyone have experience who can say whether the rates are the same or different depending on the direction of travel?


My primary question is, if I were to ship RoRo to Panama will I be forced to pay import tax in Panama even though I do not intend to stay there longer than the 90 day tourist visa?  I know driving in and shipping in are two different things, therefore, does a shipper have less rights (as in avoiding duty tax) than a driver?  How can I avoid the tax?

Sat, 10/12/2013 - 13:32 (Reply to #33)




We are SamericaXplorer,  shippers and logistic adventurers based in Miami, Fla. We work solely wit hthe adventure and overland trnasporting across the Americas and Europe , highly experienced with South America exporting matters. 

Our repsonse to your quesiton is, rates from shippong lines (RoRo and others) varies upon destination , regardless of being the same route for example Hosuton to Zarate or Zarate to Houston. All goeas with the amount of cargo, season, port costs , fuel etc.. etc.. 

I never heard of paying  taxes on importing or exporting  in Panama or other country , being  under Temporary admission permit. (As a tourist). I don't know excatly what type of tax are you refering to, but, Freight charges on export are exempted of taxes worldwide. However, all related cost, loading, storage, port charges, even local documentation are taxed with a % IGV, IVA  depending on the % tax on that particular country. Commonly between 12% -19% .

If you intend to nationalize and register  the vehicle at any country , then you must pay duties and taxes of course.

About rates on RoRo and containers

THe   size and volume , plus the height are the main factors for a rate.   RoRo rates work with flat rates up to certian height and volume. It  varies from port to port even if your are doind a round trip usinfg the same ports.  We cannot rely on one rate, we must request a rate everytime we ship a  vehicle and are good only for 30 days.

You can request a rate, but the shipping line needs  an agent on your behalf in order to process the documentation. You cannot do it alone. Talking RoRo type of shipment.

On containers , forget doing it by yourself   becuase of their complications and risk , handling and paperwork requiere knowledge and experience. 


Always at your service

Fri, 10/25/2013 - 16:26 (Reply to #34)

Entering as a Tourist?

Thanks for responding.  I am wondering whether a vehicle can be shipped to a foriegn country for tourist purposes?  I know it sounds decadent but it is a solution for shedding months off my trip.  I would like to buy a USA vehicle and ship it dry on a roro to Panama and drive back to the States.  Has anyone ever looked into this or done it?  When the vehicle arrives at the port can I pick it up and drive away or will I have some restrictions to import the vehicle because it came in by sea and NOT land? 

Fri, 06/20/2014 - 19:57

Ship or Drive to Chile?

We are planning to go to the very Southern tip of Chile/Argentina and our start point will be Arizona.  We have from October 2014 to June 2015 to do this.  The questions we are considering is should we drive from AZ to Chile, arriving there by April so that we avoid winter, and then plan to ship our vehicle from Argentina in May or June? OR, should we ship our vehicle to Chile in October and drive North, then giving us October through June for the entire PanAmerican highway trek?  Differing shipping costs/difficulties/weather - any experiences, advice, and comments on this?  Thanks!

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 15:12

Share a 40' Container to Chile?

We are looking for another vehicle to share a 40' container from Los Angeles to Chile.  We need to pick up in Chile around October 6 or 7 and are working through Gaston with SamericaXplorer, who has been very helpful thus far.  He says we would need to drop our vehicle off in Long Beach by September 3rd.  They offer full service, agent broker on both ports (U.S. and Chile).  They promise to keep you informed all the time and coordinate with the brokers on both countries.  Any takers?

Thu, 08/14/2014 - 09:02 (Reply to #37)

Updated Information

We found someone to share our container and I just wanted to post some updates on how this company is doing, in case anyone else is looking for help in shipping their vehicle.

If everything through the shipping process and at the end goes as promised, we will highly recommend SamericaXplorer as a company to work with.  Thus far, Gaston has been GREAT with communication and has provided a lot of detail on what he needs, what to expect, and how each step of the process works.  If I email him a question, he has an answer within an hour or less.  I hope the entire process goes so well, to the end!

Our approximate cost per vehicle on this trip from LA to Chile is $3700.

Some answers to questions we had (edited for clarity):

"There is only one AGENT BROKER in Chile , who will be in charge of the container process and release. Also he does the electronic import for your vehicle with Customs. However, there is one step in the process that you must do in person (with the Agent)., 2-3 days after the container arrival, you will be appointed to be in Valparaiso at Customs. Once there with the agent , you will be process the TEMPORARY ADMISSION PERMIT  (TITV) for your vehicle. It takes 1/2 hour. Then you will go with the agent at the place where the container is located and the cargo will be unloaded in front of you. You also must pass a Customs inspection on the spot in your presence after unloading.
All of this happens in 1 day , about a few hours at Valparaiso. We will coordinate everything from here with the agent. AND YOU WILL BE INFORMED ACCORDINGLY.

The only extra charge could be a fee for the inspection or any extra day storage (if happens). Normally extra storage doesn't happen because we start the process before ship arrival and we coordinate everything by appointment for the day at Valparaiso process with you.

About fumigation. Nope you cannot go to that. The fumigation is performed once all the vehicles are inside and strapped to container. Then there is a  a fogging application inside the container, not inside the vehicles.
We are not sure if the container will be fumigated at the loading place or should be trucked at the fumigation company for its application.

If you are worried about your belongings or equipment. I can guaranteed you that nothing is lost. The loading company is 100% responsible that whatever is loaded, it will all be on there. Of course, personal effects must be carried inside your vehicle, except for those little items such spare tire or bike racks , that we could need to put it aside in order for the vehicles to fit well inside the container.

If for any reason there is an extra charge in the U.S. or Chile it will be documented. We are estimating all the charges as what we commonly have to pay based on our past experience.

Charges such as Customs Xray inspection or extra inspection in the U.S. , are not estimated but could occur. Inspections are randomized by U.S. Customs.
Charges roll over the container in L.A. , because a documentation issue with your papers, it could happen and we are not responsible for that. We have the experience and should not happen. All the documentation submitted is the one needed for the export."

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 17:31 (Reply to #38)

Nervous, but excited - about to drop off

We drop our van off in Compton, Los Angeles tomorrow at a warehouse to be fumigated and inspected and then loaded into a container.  Very nervous about this, as I don't hear from anyone else who has done this.  We are keeping our fingers crossed that the van gets loaded into the container on a ship bound for Chile, with all our belongings and that we meet our home in Valparaiso in October - still filled with all our belongings!!  We are also very excited, as this gets us to the real part of our journey and adventure.  Updates to follow about how these next steps go, so we can hopefully continue to recommend Samerica Xplorer!

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 09:00

Shipping our motorhome from S.A. to Mexico, USA or Canada


We are a spanish family traveling around the world with our motorhome. (

We need to send the motorhome from Ecuador or another port of the north-west cost of S.A. to Mexico, USA or Canada.

Someone knows if there are possibilities to do this?

We travel with two children and we do not want do this at the end.

Best regards,


Wed, 07/30/2014 - 19:49

Shipping from uk to Uruguay -roro

Hi I'm planing and already booked the roro from uk to Uruguay. Done this so there are no excuses to pull back this trip!... But now the details.... What documents will I need in Uruguay? What port fees can I expect? Where can I get car insurance in advance? I want to arrive there and in the minimal tem get the car and drive! Planing to stay only a couple of days in Uruguay then Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil all the way to NY, then maybe ship back to uk or drive the other way around.


all this on a very small budget so I must cut costs. Getting the car in South America as cheap as possible (ense Uruguay quoted £425 all in roro London-Uruguay) excluding Uruguay bits....


all help it's really appreciated!!!


Sat, 08/30/2014 - 18:26 (Reply to #41)



whats the name of the company shipping your car from Uk to Uruguay for only 425£ ?? We are thinking about sending our van back to Uk, but so far, everything's around 5000$......

Most of the time, you can expect to pay around 1000$ on arrival. Don't know about Uruguay, but if the vehicle title is on your name, it's easy, you need your v5, passport, international driving license, and maybe proof of insurance. You can get car insurance at Lasegunda in Montevideo (or Buenos aires), they provide insurance for the mercosur.

Get plenty of us dollars in Uruguay and change them in Argentina at the blue rate, and don't miss Ecuador :)




Mon, 11/24/2014 - 03:58

Shipping from Venezuela to Spain/Europe


In few weeks we are going to finish our travel and we need to ship our vehicle (VW kombi) from Venezuela to Spain with RO-RO, does anyone has a good tip about companies and the cheapest ports? Thank you.

[email protected]


Wed, 01/28/2015 - 18:08

Samerica Explorer! Use Gaston for South America!

Hello - 

We shipped a car via container - houston to Valpraiso chile using SamericaExplorer (Gaston).  I can tell you that I am (or can be) a real pain in the ___ - but Gaston took care of me.  He is a very great supporter of people doing these trips.  Driving here is easy.  The car arrived without issue - our local agent worked out all the paperwork, etc. without major problems.  Be prepared to spend some time getting your vehicle out of customs, etc.  It was an all day process - met at Customs in Valpraiso around 10 a.m. - then had to come back at 3:00 to inspect the car.  It's about a 4 hour process.

this is what the yard looks like in chile.




Wed, 05/20/2015 - 07:21 (Reply to #44)

We had the same experience

Our experience with shipping our van from LA to Valparaiso, Chile last September was the same.  Smooth, no big issues, he had everything taken care of and kept us updated on all steps of the process.  He also found someone to share the container with us, which was a huge cost savings!


We are now headed back to the US and using Gaston to help us ship from Cartagena to Houston.  If anyone wants to share a container with us back to the US, we are shipping out on June 20.

Fri, 11/06/2015 - 12:39 (Reply to #45)

Driving to Patagonia



Was there any import fees when you sent from LA to Chile? I heard those can be very high. What is the trick to avoid them? Do you have to have you "return" shipping already booked? We are looking at doing the same next year.


Thanks for your help!

Mon, 08/28/2017 - 11:30 (Reply to #46)

Be aware that Gaston got into

Be aware that Gaston got into the habbit of not paying the shipper or paying extremely late, delaying delivery, just look online. I am one of his victims. He provided me a list of references which unfortunatly I contacted late. While his references from previous years checked out, the seven people who got back to me from 2017 transactions all had serious issues, including five of the seven he still owned significant amounts of money to or he didn't do his job at all. These are people he provided as a reference and none of them had a good word to say about him. I recommend that this recommondation be taken down from the webpage to prevent others from falling into his trap.

Mon, 08/28/2017 - 11:29 (Reply to #47)

Fraud Alert South America Explorer Gaston Etchart

Be aware that Gaston got into the habbit of not paying the shipper or paying extremely late, delaying delivery, just look online. I am one of his victims. He provided me a list of references which unfortunatly I contacted late. While his references from previous years checked out, the seven people who got back to me from 2017 transactions all had serious issues, including five of the seven he still owned significant amounts of money to or he didn't do his job at all. These are people he provided as a reference and none of them had a good word to say about him. I recommend that this recommondation be taken down from the webpage to prevent others from falling into his trap.

Mon, 05/07/2018 - 10:30 (Reply to #48)

Thank you kindly for the

Thank you kindly for the heads up.
I will be shipping Roro next year and this post probably saved me huge headaches!

Sun, 03/01/2015 - 06:28

Shipping car from Argentina or Chile to USA

Our trip is winding down, and we're looking to ship our Toyota RAV4 back to the US from either Argentine or Chile in late May/early June of this year. We're flexible about both departure port and arrival port. If someone is interested in sharing a container, we'd be interested. I'd also be interested in working with a broker to find the best deal and smooth the process.