Shipping vehicle to Buenaventura, Colombia

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#1 Tue, 09/13/2011 - 12:59

Shipping vehicle to Buenaventura, Colombia

We are looking to ship a class C motorhome from Panama to Colombia, and are interested in a route that can get us to Buenaventura. After speaking with one agent, we know this possibility exists, but is not encouraged by the agent. Does anyone have experience shipping a vehicle to Buenaventura?

We could consider departure from Panama or Costa Rica...

Any advice or experience would be greatly appreciated. Paz! -Ryan

Wed, 09/28/2011 - 15:38

Ryan How are-you doing? 


How are-you doing?  Where are-you now?

I don't know much about shipping to Buenoventura.  I can tell you that right now, everyone who passes through Panama on their way to Colombia is shipping to Cartagena.  I am sure that can be arranged, but it's probably a bit more challenging as it is not a traditional route, so most people won't know how to handle the paperwork on the Colombia side, especially with RoRo.  But everything is possible!

If you want, I can ask our agent here to see.



Tue, 10/25/2011 - 09:48

We shipped from Nicaragua

We shipped from Nicaragua (near Leon) to Buenaventura, Colombia.  All I can tell you is this route is never used to ship private vehicles so we had to do everything ourselves, from loading, finding someone to strap our van in, to customs etc etc and unloading on the other side.

We organised the shipping container with a big shipping company, and they assured us it included everything, including port costs.  However, on arrival in Buenaventura (which is not a very nice place), we were told that we had to pay about 600 bucks more to have the container taken off the ship and driven to Aduana (across the road) and then driven to the shipping line's warehouse after it was emptied. The shipping line office in Buenaventura would not help us at all and demanded a 500 USD cash deposit (which technically would only be returned as a cheque- useless! I had to call head office and bug them about it until they agreed to hold the cash in the local office until the end of the day) until the container is returned, undamaged, to their warehouse. Getting through customs was a whole other complication which we had to maneuver ourselves.

Also, I have no idea how we would have achieved all this if it wasn't for the fact we accidentally wandered into the Port Authority's office and were adopted by them, they pretty much organised everything for us paperwork wise and found the right people to offload the container- but this was all out of the goodness of their hearts!  Thus, we got our van after 2 days, which is a rarity.

So all in all, I suggest you ship from Panama to Cartagena as there are many brokers used to shipping overlander vehicles, you can easily find someone to share a container with, if you are organised you could find RORO (which I hear is not much cheaper these days, and less safe), and probably if you go with someone established everything will be done for you on both sides, and costs will be all inclusive.  We only shipped from Nicaragua as we couldn't enter CR or Panama (we are South African and Malaysian). 

If you choose to do it to Buenaventura, let me know at [email protected] and I will send whatever specific info I garnered.

Good luck!


Wed, 10/26/2011 - 08:03

I don't think a camper woould

I don't think a camper would fit in a container, but a Flat rack which is more expensive.

Best thing to do is get in Panama and ship on a RoRo from NYK Lines on the West Coast routes. Guayaquil, Ecuador is the closest port of service.Contact me if you need more information on NYK schedules. Or look at NYK RORO page, West coast route.

Another option is shipping RoRo from Panama to Cartagena (Wallenius) which you have more schedule ship option (ea 7-10 days). They have fix rate for around $600 plus port and docs fees ($150 or so)

Mon, 11/28/2011 - 15:44


Thank you all for your responses, in the end we shipped from Limon, Costa Rica to Cartagena, Colombia, LOLO service with Seaboard Marine. While in the end everything was fine, dealing with Seaboard directly was a pain in the [email protected]@...

We couldn't find any info to get us from Costa Rica to Buenaventura... so we chose to leave from Costa Rica (as opposed to Panama) due to time restraints, and the fact that the price is exactly the same, making it functionally cheaper to leave from Costa Rica because we saved ourselves 800-1000 km driving, not to mention an extra border crossing. In Cartagena, we hired the customs agency Enlace Caribe to help us liberate the camper, and did it in an intense day and a half (it is TRULY worth the money to hire an agency to help you with this process... we are fluent Spanish speakers and still highly recommend it).

For anyone going this route, we camped our 24 foot motorhome in Cahuita at Cabinas Safari without a hitch. We used Sogalca as our customs agents in Costa Rica. Contact us for more information... Peace - Ryan