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Old 05-21-2020, 03:05 PM   #1
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Anybody ever driven a skoolie to South America

I'm curious how possible it is... I've read of people shipping skoolies to Europe and driving them there, but never to South America.

You couldn't drive further than the Darien Gap in Panama, then you'd have to ship it on a cargo ship to Columbia. What about further south? Are the roads big enough and good enough for a bus to travel to most places? Would spare parts be available? Any legal issues driving a giant modified bus? What about fuel prices? How bad of a problem is contaminated fuel? How hard would it be to find camping spots for such a large vehicle?

Yes, I know security is a major concern, but I would rather not discuss that here. In other words, I'm asking "is it possible?" not "is it wise?"
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Old 05-21-2020, 03:58 PM   #2
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I guess with all the political unrest I'm in the unwise camp, so even wondering about it will never happen for me. The big trip I want to plan for is driving to Alaska and back. Maybe when that's in the bag, South America will be more interesting!

Anything is possible, you proved that working on your bus when it was -30 then driving it to Georgia. I say lock and load and hit the road! I'll faithfully follow your trip thread this time too!
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Old 05-21-2020, 04:51 PM   #3
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Kidnapping gringos is big business south of the border. No bueno.
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Old 05-21-2020, 04:58 PM   #4
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I'm aware. I have a security clearance and have travelled to Mexico on an official passport.

Anyone come across a story of a skoolie making the trip? Does anyone have first-hand insight into the roads, fuel, maintenance, logistical, and other challenges that are likely from a trip of this type? Anyone considering a trip like this?
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Old 05-21-2020, 05:07 PM   #5
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https://uproxx.com/life/selma-felix-bus-life/


Here's an article about a couple that was planning such a trip, but I don't know if they made it all the way or not.
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Old 05-21-2020, 05:13 PM   #6
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I have read numerous journals on CrazyGuyOnABike.com of people riding all of the Americas from Fairbanks to Tierra Del Fuego by bicycle. Even a 21 year old Korean woman did it.
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Old 05-21-2020, 05:13 PM   #7
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Look up "The Nomadic Movement" on youtube they have been in south America( from America) for a while now, and just bought a piece of land in Panama
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Old 05-21-2020, 05:17 PM   #8
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Learn Spanish starting now
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Old 05-21-2020, 05:24 PM   #9
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Awesome resources! I'll take some time and look through them.

I found a guy called Sustainabus that wants to do it, but all he has is one news article and a kayak video from Canada:

https://www.sustainabus.com/
https://www.theoutbound.com/jacalyn-...ble-school-bus

And a person who posted twice on skoolie.net then disappeared:
https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f6/va...ome-11291.html

And this guy, @rustytravels who is Costa Rica right now
https://m.facebook.com/rustytravels/
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Old 05-21-2020, 05:27 PM   #10
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It sounds like one of the biggest obstacles is the expense of the Darien Gap in Panama. Shipping a bus costs somewhere between $1200 and $10,000, depending on which source you believe.
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Old 05-21-2020, 06:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biscuitsjam View Post
It sounds like one of the biggest obstacles is the expense of the Darien Gap in Panama. Shipping a bus costs somewhere between $1200 and $10,000, depending on which source you believe.
You could take one of a couple bridges instead...


Edit: Woops! I thought you meant crossing the Panama Canal...
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Old 05-21-2020, 08:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biscuitsjam View Post
It sounds like one of the biggest obstacles is the expense of the Darien Gap in Panama. Shipping a bus costs somewhere between $1200 and $10,000, depending on which source you believe.
Vanlifers that have done it rent a shipping container and make sure they have a van that fits.

A bus is a whole other can of worms, though...
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Old 05-21-2020, 09:03 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Biscuitsjam View Post
I'm aware. I have a security clearance and have travelled to Mexico on an official passport.

Anyone come across a story of a skoolie making the trip? Does anyone have first-hand insight into the roads, fuel, maintenance, logistical, and other challenges that are likely from a trip of this type? Anyone considering a trip like this?
Having looked into before and researched it,.. there are certain countries that don't allow diesel vehicles, like Bolivia. Typically people use a vehicle that will fit in a cargo container (for crossing the Darien Gap), runs on gas and is ubiquitous, so that parts are available down there.
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Old 05-21-2020, 09:12 PM   #14
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Having looked into before and researched it,.. there are certain countries that don't allow diesel vehicles, like Bolivia. Typically people use a vehicle that will fit in a cargo container (for crossing the Darien Gap), runs on gas and is ubiquitous, so that parts are available down there.
Bolivia doesnít allow diesel vehicles? I have not been but in Peru almost everything was diesel. I wonder about the high sulfur fuel though.
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Old 05-21-2020, 09:14 PM   #15
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I saw thT they have roll on roll off service for oversized vehicles. I also saw there were shipping agencies that make
The arrangements. Only an email away.
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Old 05-21-2020, 11:24 PM   #16
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Bolivia doesn’t allow diesel vehicles? I have not been but in Peru almost everything was diesel. I wonder about the high sulfur fuel though.
I looked it up and found this:

Since December 2008, Supreme Decree 28963 has gradually reduced the age of vehicles that may be imported. Since December 2014, the maximum age of cars permitted for import is one model year old. Additionally, Bolivia has prohibited the importation of diesel vehicles with engine displacement smaller than 4,000 cubic centimeters, all vehicles that use liquefied petroleum gas, and cars with right side steering.

https://www.privacyshield.gov/articl...Trade-Barriers

Those are restrictions for residents. Not sure what the rules would be for visitors...
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Old 05-22-2020, 12:13 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Biscuitsjam View Post
I'm curious how possible it is... I've read of people shipping skoolies to Europe and driving them there, but never to South America.

You couldn't drive further than the Darien Gap in Panama, then you'd have to ship it on a cargo ship to Columbia. What about further south? Are the roads big enough and good enough for a bus to travel to most places? Would spare parts be available? Any legal issues driving a giant modified bus? What about fuel prices? How bad of a problem is contaminated fuel? How hard would it be to find camping spots for such a large vehicle?

Yes, I know security is a major concern, but I would rather not discuss that here. In other words, I'm asking "is it possible?" not "is it wise?"
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Old 05-22-2020, 06:55 AM   #18
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I'm still in the Army right now, but when I retire in about 8 years, I may consider it.

I found an interesting company - I don't think I'd go this route, but it's good information.
120 Day South America - Adventuretrek RV Tours & Treks RV CARAVANS TO MEXICO & BEYOND!
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Old 05-22-2020, 09:14 AM   #19
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Vanlifers that have done it rent a shipping container and make sure they have a van that fits.
It would be interesting to build a tiny house that fits exactly within an unaltered shipping container with a removable roof. You could have it shipped anywhere in the world (Newark to Hong Kong for a 40 footer was about $500 a year or two ago), then on-site you remove the roof, raise the tiny house up so it's resting on top of the walls, then use the container roof as a deck on a couple of extra pillars. Your house would have 9-10 feet of flood protection and you'd have a lot of storage space in the container underneath the house, even room for a garage, I think. And you wouldn't be surrounded by hot metal.

I'll bet somebody's done this before.
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Old 05-22-2020, 09:27 AM   #20
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That sounds awesome. The difficulty, of course, is navigating the legalities of setting up your tiny home at the destination... Most communities in the U.S., for instance, would have to dig deep in their ordinances to decide if it's legal. I suspect that would be true of most of the world's major port cities also.
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