International Drivers License
Replies: 11 - Last Post: Jun 24, 2012 3:17 AM Last Post By: BOOMER1
Jun 21, 2012 7:44 PM
Jun 21, 2012 8:33 PM
1No, you dont need a IDL for your personal vehicle, this applies to some countries in the world when renting a car.
You also should be using the motorcycle forums, Horizons Unlimited or ADV Rider, they have all the info you need. Driving the Americas website is good for the borders/issues/insurance.
You do know there is no road connecting Panama to South America? You need to either ship the bike, take a sailboat that can handle the bike,thats takes 4-7 days via San Blas islands, or take a series of cargo boats, not easy nor fun but cheapest. There is a ferry debuting for the Panama/Colombia route but its not yet running and seems to be tied up in a legal limbo of sorts, if it does go by the time you go, its $200 for a person, not sure for a moto, and it takes 12 hours and departs at 6pm from Panama arriving 6am Colombia.
But I would use the adventure moto forums.
You will also need to secure the bike every night, either in a guarded secure lot or put in in the hotel hallways/ courtyards.
I assume you know of the crime risk/issues and poor roads, rainy season and road safety issues in this region. As there are no highways, its mostly two lane, mountains, cargo trucks, and nutty drivers on the Pan Am Hwy...
Also, Sept to Nov is peak rainy season, so afternoon showers are the norm, Oct/Nov in Costa Rica/Panama is best avoided IMO.
Jun 21, 2012 10:42 PM
2I needed my IDP only in Guyana. Most don't go there, and therefore don't need the IDP. On the other hand, I don't know where you're from: if your home license is written in Cyrillic, for example, I'd recommend getting an IDP in Spanish, English and Portuguese.
Note that it's not a license.
Mr. Hobo is correct about the overland riding sites. Your question is asked there more or less weekly, and the answer has never changed.
Jun 22, 2012 4:00 AM
3The IDP is a joke. I can't tell you how many years I've carried one and in how many countries where it is "mandatory". The only mistake I've made is actually showing it to any official. They have no idea what it is and look at you as though you are trying to fob them off with some home made piece of garbage. Its a bit like if you were wearing a medal made from the lid of a cocoa tin..at the Olympics....
Jun 22, 2012 6:54 AM
4word of advice, get it, it never hurts. i have travelled through the states to panama by land several times, hitch hiking and sharing rides and the international license has saved a few skins of various expats driving. if you are from the states with a valid drivers license you should have no problem. if you are from the uk, europe, asia, etc. get the license so that it can explain to the officials where you are coming from and that your document is actually valid. i have driven in guatemala, honduras, and nicaragua with my us license and have had no problems. but honestly, best to be safe than sorry, it's cheap and may come in handy!
Jun 22, 2012 7:44 AM
Jun 22, 2012 5:25 PM
Jun 22, 2012 9:21 PM
Jun 23, 2012 3:31 AM
8Well, officials in Guyana are making it up because they are not signatories of either the 1926 or 1949 agreement with respect of IDPs. I'd agree it makes sense to carry one in countries where it is still considered "mandatory" but last time I checked this was only Taiwan and Nepal! ....if it is only "recommended" then forget it.
(They were common for Brits because UK driving licenses did not use to include a photo and this caused problems overseas. In fact the non photo driving license is still in circulation but you don't see many of them...)
Jun 23, 2012 5:21 PM
Jun 23, 2012 5:50 PM
10There also a lot of issues regarding what drivers license you need in a given a country if you involved in a accident as a foreigner, as insurance requirements can mandate it, like Vietnam has a very gray area, with so many foreigners renting mopeds for long journeys from private parties, then having a medical claim after an accident, and travel insurance denying coverage due to improper legalities to operate a vehicle as a foreigner, so it depending where you are, can also effect your liability if an accident occurs, on compensating the owner of the damaged vehicles, or other people properties/injuries.
Many places you can be thrown in jail until you compensate all parties, which can be negotiated by the local police, and as a foreigner, your at their mercy. I had a buddy wreck in CR years ago, and it was not pretty, a bad situation.Get ready to use the ATM a lot.
Jun 24, 2012 3:17 AM
11Without wanting to drag this out it is worth mentioning again that the IDP is NOT a license to drive (and will have nothing to do with insurance or even your legality to drive). It came about purely as a attempt to have a standardized document between certain countries since it repeats driver information in numerous languages. For authorities it is a long forgotten format but it is kept alive by agencies charging large fees to arrange one for you and complicated guidance over whether you actually need one or not....
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