Friday, October 25, 2013

Selling a Vehicle with USA Plates in Panama

I've successfully driven all the way from Napa Valley, CA to Panama City, Panama.  Though my original plan was to ship my car to Cartagena, Colombia, I decided instead to sell my car in Panama City and buy a bicycle or motorcycle in Colombia.

It took me 8 days to sell my 1999 Toyota 4Runner in Panama City.  I posted it on the following websites:

http://panama.es.craigslist.org

http://drivetheamericas.com/forums/vehicles-salewanted

The third one (below) is very popular in central/south america (the site is in Spanish) and costs $14.98 to list you car for 60 days with 18 photos & a video.  All the emails I received from this site were in Spanish so speaking some Spanish is very helpful.

http://m.encuentra24.com/panama-en/classifieds


I ended up selling it on Craigslist to a Costa Rican guy who lives in Panama City, Panama and buys/sells cars for a living.  I was originally asking $4500 but soon lowered it once I learned how high the import taxes are for foreign cars, which you can see here:

Panama Vehicle Import Taxes

For example, the import taxes for selling a $3,000 car would be around $1,700...a lot.  I did sell my car for $3,000 cash and the process was quite easy.  I gave the buyer 4 copies of my passport photo page & 4 copies of the page with my entry stamp into Panama.  The buyer also took all of my paperwork (Panama vehicle import paperwork, Panama insurance and original California title, which I signed over to him) and gave me a stack of cash...transaction completed.  I didn't have to go to any office or do any paperwork.

So, what do you do with a big chunk of cash while in Panama City?  Get it into a bank as fast as possible!   I went to Western Union the next day (yes, walking through Panama City with $3K in my backpack made me a little nervous), gave them all the cash, and they transferred the money into my AmEx savings account.  I just needed the account # and a photo ID (license or passport).  The transfer is supposed to take only one day and it cost $16.05 for the transfer.

Now I am car-less and even more free.  Off to Colombia via the San Blas islands...

26 comments:

  1. Nicely done,

    Didn't they ask you anything about the "entry with vehicule" stamp on your passport? when going out of Panama?

    Good luck for your trip,
    Julien

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    Replies
    1. Julien, I was actually afraid of that when I was leaving Panama. Since I took a sailboat to Colombia, the captain handled the passport exit stamp from Panama & the entry stamp into Colombia and there were no problems. I asked the guy who bought my car too at the time I sold it and he said it would not be a problem, which it wasn't. Good luck to you

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    2. Hi Damon, I hope you're having fun in Colombia! question: Im thinking of buying a car in Texas and drive it to Panama, but i live in Oregon, do you require to have the title in your name or can it be just signed by the person that sold it to you? (it takes up to 4 or more weeks to get the title in my name).
      Also how much did you pay in all the countries you went through? just around how much? I'm also looking to get a 2001 4runner :)

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    3. Zion,

      I made the trip from Alaska to Costa Rica. Yes, have the title in your name. There is nothing more to say on that.

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  2. Hey Zion, I'm very sorry for the late reply! Very cool that you're gonna drive and the 4Runner was the best car I ever owned - good choice.

    As for the title being in your name, I would recommend it but don't know if it is absolutely mandatory. My title was in my name and they certainly asked to see it or a copy at the borders. If you're name is not on the front, I imagine you will have toto explain every time.

    In regards to money spent at border crossings, I didn't keep that info. I did track my gas from Napa Valley to Panama City, Panama and spent $2014 on gas over 10 months. For border crossing costs I used www.liferemotely.com, a fantastic site for all sorts of useful information about the drive.

    My one tip - take less "just in case" shit. There are stores with everything you need and a million Toyotas and people who know how to fix Toyotas all through Central America. Good luck and have a blast! (I would now recommend going by bicycle depending on your time factor - haha)

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  3. Hi Damon,

    We are trying to sell our car with US plates in Panama right now, and read your blog discusion with a lot of interest. The guy you sold the car to sounds perfect actually, any chance on getting his contact?

    Fabian and Danielle

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    Replies
    1. Hello Fabian & Danielle, I looked through my old emails and the guy's name was Jorge Gamboa but he sent me a message through Craigslist so I don't have his email unfortunately & I did not get a SIM card for my phone in Panama so do not have his number. Sorry! I also told him about the site http://drivetheamericas.com/forums/vehicles-salewanted of overlanders sellimg their cars there too so you could list your car on there as well if you haven't already. Best of luck to you with the sale!

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  4. We're looking to buy a car in Panama with CA plates to drive it back up to the US after having sailed to Panama (selling our boat). We can't for the life of us figure out to transfer title and registration while in Panama. Any hints or tips? Many thanks!

    Harmony
    www.taketothesea.us

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  5. Hey Damon,

    I just got here in Panama and I'm looking for a motorbike with US plates to ride back to the states. Any idea on how to do that? Craigslist wasn't showing anything interesting.

    Thanks,

    Gab

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  6. 1991 silver Isuzu Trooper 4X4 SUV. 5 Speed manual transmission, High and Low gears for different terrain, large fuel tank which will give you well over 400Mi (600km) miles range, 2.8L V6 engine and 23-25 MPG on regular gas if you are easy on the accelerator and drive below 60MPH. It does not need anthing at this time. However it comes with many accessories and spare parts including:
    Spare wheel with near new tire
    Spare new tire
    Spare break pads
    Spare front rotors
    2 gal fuel can
    Extra engine oil
    New air filter just installed
    "Slime" tire sealant in all tires and some extra left over
    Compass
    Spare fuses
    GPS for all Central America and US
    The car has only 155k miles. The Troopers are known to run well over 200k MI. The Trooper did very well on this trip and it is one of the most reliable cars I have ever owned. This is why there are still many Isuzu Troopers in Central America. That ensures availability of parts/service and easy blending in with local traffic. In great mechanical condition with minor dings and scratches. The rear seats easly fold and you have 4X5.5ft cargo space. Pics are coming soon.
    $3100. Contact info: flyhigh2@msn.com

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  7. I have a Honda CB1 125cc motorcycle that I am selling. 4,000 kilometers, bought brand new in Guatemala with Guatemalan tags/paperwork. Bike is only been on the road a month. However, I am looking to sail around the world a bit and don't need the bike anymore. $1500 o.b.o. Contact: kevinlrupp@gmail.com

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  8. Hi, I have a 1998 Ford Explorer with 93000 miles, with US plates. I'm selling it for 3000$. I am in Panama City. contact : fdelperie@hotmail.com

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  9. Hi , we sell our honda odyssey ( 2003 ) in june 2016 in panama . For 2500 usd .
    Maier.aitrach@gmail.com

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  10. Hi !! We are selling a 4x4 Toyota 4 runner in Panama in 1 month.
    Very good car with indestructible motor ;)
    If you are interested, let me know : melissouh@hotmail.fr

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  11. I just completed my drive from Arizona to Panama City. I spent 4 months stopping around in all the countries. I have also decided to sell the car here opposed to shipping it to colombia because of the very high costs. I have a dumpy 2000 caravan and title is NOT in my name and made it all the way to Panama so it is possible but an extra pain and would not recommend it. Thanks for the car selling advice in panama cheers.

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  12. Hello!

    We are selling a 2000 Nissan Xterra in Costa Rica right now!
    It has taken us from California to here and is a great car.
    We are in San Jose, Costa Rica.
    Let us know if you or someone you know is interested!

    Contact us at cybillcarrillo@gmail.com or gilbastos@msn.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hello!

    We are selling a 2000 Nissan Xterra in Costa Rica right now!
    It has taken us from California to here and is a great car.
    We are in San Jose, Costa Rica.
    Let us know if you or someone you know is interested!

    Contact us at cybillcarrillo@gmail.com or gilbastos@msn.com

    ReplyDelete
  14. 1. Can i buy a car with mexican plates in panama and sell it in mexico? Do i have to import the car in panama and pay the impprttaxes?

    2. Whats abaout the "smog certificate" to import the vehicle to CA?!?

    Thanks

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  15. One can choose them according to their budget and other necessities. Shipping motorcycle overseas is not an easy task. The international auto shipping service providers have a set of trained professionals who help in packing all the possessions and shipping it to the new location in an ordered manner. car shipping

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  16. It only has 9,000 miles and was traded in by an older man after about 10 months of ownership. Best of all she is able to get the vehicle for $21,000. automoves

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  17. Oh, at least that's a fair price for a used car. In Virginia, buying a car for 3000 is generally just as simple, but when I had a choice between a new and expensive or a used with bit price, of course, I chose a used Mazda. Also, I managed to bargain with the dealer and check
    https://vincarhistory.com/license-plate-lookup/west-virginia. In result, my purchase was really successful. Is it worth to say that I saved a couple of thousand?))

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  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  19. Make it your ultimatum and if the car seller does not agree with the price, then move on.Resources

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  20. The farther the destination the higher the vehicle shipping cost would be. The quantity of vehicle to be shipped will also impact the vehicle shipping cost.Home Page

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  21. Selling vehicle is made easy with the arrival of internet. So many automobile manufacturer's have ventured in car segment. Some of them Auto companies sell certified cars which are popular among all around the world like Bentley Exporter.

    ReplyDelete