Europe to USA (By Boat) / Buy car in NYC & Drive to Panama

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#1 Sat, 05/11/2013 - 05:26

Europe to USA (By Boat) / Buy car in NYC & Drive to Panama

Hi Guys,

So in a few months, my dog & I are embarking on a relocation to Panama. I am not interested in her traveling by Cargo and because she is a French Bulldog (Snub Nose) its pretty impossible for her to fly into a location with high heat...

So our mission is to get to NYC from Finland. This we can do but my biggest question right now is simple. When we get to NYC by boat, we will stay there maybe a month or so. This is where we plan to prepare our vehicle. Buy a 4WD, set it up, get all the relevant camping / cooking gear and so on...

Question. We want to buy in NYC but we will only be in the USA for no more than 3 months. Then we will end up in Panama after a few months driving through Central America. 


- What are peoples experiences with buying a car as a "Tourist"?

- Can I buy without permanent address. If I buy from a dealer will they take care of all this stuff for me?

- Are you able to get 3 months insurance only? I am sure having insurance in Central America is irrelevant. I have not driven through there but traveled and know that most things are "cash business".

- If I have a car registered in USA, any input on reactions in Central America & also, do I have to do anything with the license plates etc...

Looking for overall ideas, advice & help as its a big mission for me & my little pooch to relocate permanently :)

This is one amongst many things we are exploring. 

And please, serious responses only ;)


Mike & Sonny

Sun, 05/12/2013 - 16:44

Dogs and borders

The dog may cause some trouble at the borders.

An American couple down here in Bolivia had to bribe their way through a number of borders with theirs and actually got turned back at the Chile-Peru border after getting caught and not being able to bribe Chileans.

Sun, 05/19/2013 - 09:08

Your questions about buying car in USA

hi there, we have experience of buying our car as tourists in the US. We used the address of a friend to register the car. You do need. have an address of some kind, I believe in some states you can 'buy' an address like a PO Box. But you have to be sure that the DMV will accept that as the address. Each state is a bit different. 

We bought from a dealer and they did most of the DMV registration paperwork for us. I think, if I remember right, they would have allowed us to register the van at their address, so it is worth asking dealers about that.

You can buy 3 months of insurance in the US. Not everyone will insure foreigners though. We use a company called State Farm, which insured us on our foreign licences. 


Most countries have mandatory insurance policies, which you have to buy at the border. They are usually cheap.  You can easily buy insurance for Mexico from lots of US companies, if you want extra cover beyond the standard liability insurance you buy at the border. If you want cover for all of Latin A merica, a company called Sanborns provides this. 


You don't have to worry about having US plates and driving through Central America, lots of people do this without problems.

But if you are staying in Panama permanently you will have to import the car. Check the rates but this is usually very expensive, they take a large proportion of the value of the vehicle as import taxes.


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