A blog to record our motorbike adventure through the Americas

Costa Rica > Panama

Paso Canoas Border

November 2012

The Costa Rica immigration office is on the left as you approach Panama.

Immigration require you to fill out an exit card before handing it over with your passport to gain your exit stamp.

Around the back of immigration is the Aduana office. They require you to fill in a simple form and hand it over with your Costa Rica vehicle permit.

They stamped the form to confirm the permit has been cancelled but they retain the permit. I think they are supposed to do a visual check of the vehicle but they didn’t on this occasion.

Ride towards Panama immigration. There is a large white building and someone will likely guide you where to park. If not, you can park up next to the curb on the left side.

We cheated a bit with this one as a helper did most of the running around and telling us where to go but he didn’t ask for any cash and wasn’t pushy like you see with helpers on some borders so we flicked him a few bucks to say thanks…

First of all get your insurance sorted. It will allow you to get your immigration stamp with less questions as you can prove that you are an overlander.

The insurance building can do your photocopies at the same time. You will need a copy of your registration, driving license, passport and your newly acquired insurance document. This only took 15 minutes max to complete. Cost of insurance was $15.

Head over to immigration next and get your passport stamped. You get a sticker in your passport for $1. There is a separate queue on the right side for drivers which had less wait time than the usual queue. They asked to see my credit card which I refused as I couldn’t understand their reasoning. They gave in eventually and stamped my passport.

Lisa joined the other immigration queue and they asked to see her credit card also. I was loosing my cool at this point so I gave them an old expired credit card. That did the trick and they stamped her passport too 🙂

Next stop is the transport office above immigration. They will need to stamp the insurance document.

Take you insurance document, vehicle registration, passport and the photocopies to Aduana. There is a separate window for “Turismo” and they will process your new permit. This takes a few minutes to complete so in the meantime it is possible to pay the fumigation fee of $1. All they require is the license plate of your vehicle to generate a receipt.

Once you have collected your new permit, an official checks the VIN number and license plate matches the vehicle permit before directing you to fumigation straight ahead.

Once that is done, you are free to ride into Panama but keep your papers handy as you will be asked for them again at a military checkpoint further down the road.

Also keep an eye out for speed traps in Panama – there are plenty of them around!

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