I'm planning a PanAmerican route all the way to Tierra de Fuego from Mexico, but I can't get idea what could be better, if rely on public transport or take my car on the road. We are 3 persons, my wife, brother and me, and the idea to camping is not likely for my wife. So the winner combo of camping with the car is not an option.

Beside to comfort to have your own car and move to whatever your want, whenever your want... Is better the own car versus bus? As side note, I don't really want to drive from Argentina back to Mexico, but sell the car in Argentina is not good idea right?

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    One thing to consider is that you cannot drive (or take a bus) from Central America (Panama) to South America (Colombia), due to the Darién Gap. You'd have to fly or take a boat. (I'm not sure if there are ferries there that can carry cars.)
    – Jonik
    Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 15:50
  • Oh yes, that's is one big issue, because I would need to import the car in a ship to Cartagena, and it isn't cheap. I already read about it. Ferries doesn't exist yet.
    – Geo Perez
    Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 16:05
  • It was all private yachts that you had to sign onto a waiting list for when I was in Panama about six years ago. Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 19:55

1 Answer 1


The choice is about: freedom of movement vs hassle & costs.

The good thing about your own vehicle is that it will take you wherever you want to go, whenever you want to go. Even to the places that are not served by public transport. The downside is that crossing borders with a car increases hassle, this will be most notable when shipping your car around the Darien Gap.

The good thing about using public transport is that is easy and (likely) more expensive*.
*) Although public transport is considerably more expensive per mile traveled, I calculated that the costs for shipping (+handlings and border duties) around the Darien Gap is a big factor in the overall costs of doing this trip with your own vehicle. So driving your own vehicle may turn out to be more expensive. The more miles you travel, the cheaper driving your own vehicle will be. I did my calculations for 2 people, so I estimate it would turn out to be cheaper to drive your own car, if you do the calculations for 3 people.

Most travelers I talked to told me that by selling a car in the south that you bought in the north, you will likely not lose too much money, maybe even make a small profit. (selling a car in the north that you bought in the south is going to cost ya).

  • I'd need to make some calculation, because if the public transport becomes expensive for 3 persons. Thanks.
    – Geo Perez
    Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 18:52

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