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Driving Motor Home from Pennsylvania to Costa Rica

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  • jqpriano@aol.com
    I was wondering if anyone has done this(driven motor home to Cost Rica) and if so how much taxes did you have to pay. I know how much you would pay if it was a
    Message 1 of 18 , May 30, 2005
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      I was wondering if anyone has done this(driven motor home to Cost Rica) and
      if so how much taxes did you have to pay. I know how much you would pay if it
      was a car but is it different for a motor home. Any help would be greatly
      appreciated.

      Thank you,
      Janeen & Staci



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    • David Durkin
      Folks: I have not driven a motorhome to CR and have only driven to CR once; this is a great resource:http://www.drivemeloco.com/ I do not thimk there are any
      Message 2 of 18 , May 30, 2005
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        Folks:

        I have not driven a motorhome to CR and have only driven to CR once; this is a great resource:http://www.drivemeloco.com/

        I do not thimk there are any motorhome facilities after you leave Mexico; in fact I suspect there are few in Mexico. If you park it on a road anywhere south of Texas, it will be like a candy store for every bandido in the area. Put another way, I do not think you can leave it unattended.

        Just my dos centavos or colones, though.

        Regards,

        David



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      • Susanne Alton
        Hi Janeen and Staci, Well, I never thought I would have to write about driving a motorhome to CR but I d like to add my 2 bits. Our experience (Hector,
        Message 3 of 18 , May 30, 2005
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          Hi Janeen and Staci, Well, I never thought I would have to write about
          driving a motorhome to CR but I'd like to add my 2 bits. Our experience
          (Hector, Chrissy, Dan and I) expected to arrive in August of 1996 with our
          MH and 2 trucks. The trucks made it but we had to leave the MH in Mexico
          because it just couldn't make it over one more mountain. Granted, it was a
          1976 class A with some engine problems (we found out on the road!) but I
          guarantee adventure, problems, and nightmares. I don't know how road
          conditions have changed but we agreed when we arrived in CR and drove
          through some bridges, we knew we made the right choice to leave the MH in
          Mexico. (We donated it to a church in Oaxaca, Mexico.) Make sure you have
          a credit card you can use and have good Spanish at your command. Hector got
          us out of some pretty bad situations. Be aware that caravans are the only
          way to travel down if you try it. Make sure you have a deep faith in God
          because we prayed every single minute that we would make it down to CR
          safely. We heard stories along the way of people who encountered bad
          things. We went down the Pan American Highway but Chrissy and Hector told
          me they went down by way of the east side of Mexico in a later trip and
          didn't have any problems--by car. My advice is: get the most recent
          information you can before you try this!
          Susanne Alton, alton@...
        • akitson2002
          To my astonishment I did pass a motorhome site in CR a few months ago. It was between Alajuela and Heredia - was lost at the time so can t say where, but it
          Message 4 of 18 , May 30, 2005
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            To my astonishment I did pass a motorhome site in CR a few months ago.
            It was between Alajuela and Heredia - was lost at the time so can't say
            where, but it was on a major road, maybe even the main one. I was so
            surprised I slowed up and there were quite a few large motorhomes in
            there. Presumably they had hookups but I didn't take notice.

            My reaction at the time was 'who would be so crazy on CR roads', but on
            reflection if you just drive the main highways to make the trip and
            then use it as a base once you've arrived, using the bus or a smaller
            vehicle to get around, I guess it could work. I agree you would be
            unswise to leave it unattended either en route or once arrived except
            in a guarded facility you could trust. Candy store is about right.

            If you make this trip it would be a great travel story that I'm sure
            everyone on CRL would love to read.

            Good luck.

            Alec
          • Randal Weidig
            I haven t driven a motor home either. But, there is a motor home park with hook-ups in San Antonio de Belen. In January and Febuary of each year many
            Message 5 of 18 , May 30, 2005
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              I haven't driven a motor home either. But, there is a motor home park
              with hook-ups in San Antonio de Belen. In January and Febuary of each
              year many motorhomes arrive. There is one large caravan of 10-20 that
              makes it every year also.

              I have driven from us to CR, and from CR to Honduras and El Salvador
              in cars and trucks, and I can only imagine the amount of hassles
              whilst the border tenders look through a motor home. But I am sure
              that for a few gifts the process could go smoothly.
            • Michelle Woodward
              That would be such a great trip. If you ever need another driver or just another passenger I would be more then happy to go just to experience that one. ;)
              Message 6 of 18 , May 30, 2005
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                That would be such a great trip. If you ever need another driver or just another passenger I would be more then happy to go just to experience that one. ;)

                Michelle



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              • David Durkin
                If you could hook up with a caravan, taht would be ideal! ... Do You Yahoo!? Yahoo! Small Business - Try our new Resources site! [Non-text portions of this
                Message 7 of 18 , May 30, 2005
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                  If you could hook up with a caravan, taht would be ideal!


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                • Scott Bidstrup
                  ... Having lived in a motorhome full time for six years, and having lived here in Costa Rica for two, I have often thought about that. Here are some thoughts
                  Message 8 of 18 , May 31, 2005
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                    Janeen & Staci wrote:
                    > I was wondering if anyone has done this(driven motor home to Cost Rica) and
                    > if so how much taxes did you have to pay. I know how much you would pay if it
                    > was a car but is it different for a motor home. Any help would be greatly
                    > appreciated.

                    Having lived in a motorhome full time for six years, and having lived
                    here in Costa Rica for two, I have often thought about that. Here are
                    some thoughts that have come to my mind about the idea.

                    1. The suggestions already made about caravaning with others who have
                    already made the trip, or better yet, snowbirds who do it every year,
                    strike me as a really, really good idea. Traveling with others who
                    already know the ropes down here would be enormously helpful in solving
                    the problems that are unique to RVing that the locals along the way will
                    be totally clueless about.

                    2. Don't expect hookups. Don't even expect motorhome parks or even the
                    campgrounds you are used to. In fact, if you are traveling on your own,
                    finding secure places just to dry camp overnight might get a bit
                    interesting, as most Central Americans have never even seen a motorhome,
                    much less been asked to accommodate one, and even the concept of camping
                    itself is somewhat foreign to most of them. Where to empty your holding
                    tanks or take on water or propane? Good question. Plug in for
                    electricity or cable? Not likely. You won't likely find public dump
                    stations or water hookups anywhere in many miles, if they exist at all.
                    And you will probably be expected to *exchange* your propane tanks
                    rather than fill the fancy, matching-paint ones you have. Forget filling
                    an inboard propane tank - I've never seen a fill station here with a
                    hose hookup. Ready for that?

                    3. The comments about a motorhome being a candy jar for the local
                    banditos is right on target. I've never seen a motorhome that was
                    really secure, and most could be entered rather quickly with some of the
                    rather sharp and aggressive machetes and axes that are ubitquitous here.
                    Expect and be prepared for trouble in some of the less secure areas
                    enroute (especially El Salvador and Honduras, where street gangs run the
                    country). I can't possibly imagine anything that screams "Gringo rico"
                    any louder than a motorhome.

                    4. If you are driving alone, expect that your motorhome will mean you
                    will be gringoed more than most. Especially at border crossings. Yes,
                    "gringo" is also a verb.

                    5. Be prepared for any contingency you can conceive of, and to deal
                    with it in a totally self-sufficient manner. There's no Camper World in
                    these parts. Spare tires in good condition (note the plural - the
                    number of tire sizes here are somewhat limited, and few are of good
                    quality - and forget getting a Load Range E tire for your 14" rims),
                    and RV parts such as water pumps, fuel filters, plumbing fittings and
                    propane regulators (two or three - you never know when you're going to
                    get a load of sulferous propane) come immediately to mind).

                    6. Roads down here are narrow, pothole-ridden and driven by drivers who
                    think anyone can and should be able to swerve around or stop on a
                    one-colon coin, and fully expect them to do so. This is made even worse
                    by the fact that many secondary highways here are just *barely* wide
                    enough for two Mini-Coopers to pass, shearing each other's mirrors and
                    doorhandles off in the process. That's why owners of large vehicles
                    here look for tires with thick, sturdy sidewalls - they know they're
                    going to be running off the edge of the pavement quite frequently. Then
                    there's the bridges - most, even on major highways, are single lane, and
                    it is always a thrill to encounter one of them when coming around a
                    blind corner coming down a hill - with a big, wildly overloaded
                    sugarcane truck barreling down on you from the other end of the bridge,
                    and the "ceda paso" sign staring at *you*.

                    7. In addition, understand that the rear overhang on most motorhomes
                    will cause them to drag on many of the dips here - the highway builders
                    here don't seem to bother to fill in the dips, they just blithly pave
                    right over them. Curb cuts are narrow and deep, too. So recognize that
                    where you can take the Monsterbago with its ten-foot rear overhang is
                    going to be quite limited if you try to drive on any road other than the
                    autopistas, the InterAmerican Highway and a small number of the newest
                    secondaries. Since local drivers throughout Central America totally
                    ignore posted speed limits, speed is often controlled by means of speed
                    bumps - really aggressive, *large* speed bumps - many of which appear
                    out of nowhere with no warning signs, even out on the highways. If your
                    motorhome has a significant rear overhang (more than four feet) and
                    anything less than a ten-inch ground clearance, figure at some point,
                    you're going to leave behind little silvery souvenirs for the
                    neighborhood kids to play with.

                    Have a safe trip (if you go through with it), and try not to worry too
                    much about what you're getting yourself into.

                    Scott B.
                  • olamoree
                    Scott wrote: I ve never seen a fill station here with a hose hookup. Ready for that? With the arrival of very few auto propane conversions, I can say that
                    Message 9 of 18 , May 31, 2005
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                      Scott wrote: " I've never seen a fill station here with a
                      hose hookup. Ready for that?"

                      With the arrival of very few auto propane conversions, I can say that
                      the Tropigas Station in Pavas does have the fill valve for filling
                      built-in propane tanks and measures by volume rather than weight.

                      Ali
                    • Susanne Alton
                      Scott, you conjured up some pretty scary nightmares we had driving down to CR. Yes, those topes -bumps on the road scared the h.. out of us many times-in
                      Message 10 of 18 , May 31, 2005
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                        Scott, you conjured up some pretty scary nightmares we had driving down to
                        CR. Yes, those "topes"-bumps on the road scared the "h.." out of us many
                        times-in Mexico. The "bump" took out the electrical system and we lost all
                        controls for a time. We drove through an earthen tunnel with our trucks in
                        El Salvador..no telling what would have happened with a motorhome! Now,
                        believe it or not, we drove onto a freeway, in Mexico, THE WRONG WAY! I
                        don't know how we did it, but the 18 wheelers drove past us yelling
                        something, and we figured it out right away! That was only 1 of the 3 times
                        we drove onto a one way street. It was very hard to turn the "beast"
                        around!



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                      • marcus collier
                        Scott. Your post gave me the best laugh I have had in a week. You have a way with words. __________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!?
                        Message 11 of 18 , May 31, 2005
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                          Scott.

                          Your post gave me the best laugh I have had in a week.

                          You have a way with words.

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                        • lee swidler
                          what a bunch of naysayers . you are about to embark on an adventure of a lifetime and you shouldn t let all these possibilities scare you. motorhomes travel
                          Message 12 of 18 , Jun 1, 2005
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                            what a bunch of "naysayers". you are about to embark on an adventure of a lifetime and you shouldn't let all these "possibilities" scare you. motorhomes travel the inter-american highway DAILY. as do tractor trailers navigate the "narrow" roads; not to mention BUSES! buses seem to navigate ANY road down here; your rig will, too.

                            propane refills ARE available. even here in JACO, you can pull in and refill your cylinder. NOT the kind that we use for cooking; those need to be traded. but for vehicles running ON propane, or in need of refilling tanks within the confines of the vehicle, there are stations to accomodate you. seek and ye shall find.

                            i would think there are many "groups" on line dedicated to motorhome travel, and i would bet there is more info from THEM (first hand) than from this group; at least as far as what you will encounter on the road.

                            i vote to GO FOR IT; and keep in touch on the way!

                            buen viaje

                            lee

                            (janet or fred; if there is a piggyback on this email, forgive me, but i could not locate it within this strange sight i receive CRL on.)

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                          • Scott Bidstrup
                            ... Sure they do. Won t argue otherwise for a minute. But they DON T travel the Fortuna-Tilaran highway, or the Turrialba-Siquirres highway daily. Even though
                            Message 13 of 18 , Jun 1, 2005
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                              Lee wrote:

                              > motorhomes travel the inter-american highway DAILY.

                              Sure they do. Won't argue otherwise for a minute.

                              But they DON'T travel the Fortuna-Tilaran highway, or the
                              Turrialba-Siquirres highway daily. Even though buses and trucks do, all
                              day long and most of the night.

                              In fact, in my two years in this country, I have only seen two
                              motorhomes NOT traveling on the InterAmerican - and one of those was
                              parked, just two clicks out of Cartago. There's good reasons for that...

                              > as do tractor trailers navigate the "narrow" roads; not to mention BUSES! buses seem to navigate ANY road down here; your rig will, too.

                              People who have never driven motorhomes, or haven't driven them very
                              much, simply don't understand; a motorhome is NOT a bus. And it sure as
                              heck isn't a semi - even though it may be as big. Motorhomes have MUCH
                              lower ground clearance (which is a vital concern in driving here), MUCH
                              smaller tires (and hence are much more vulnerable to potholes and speed
                              bumps). Because of its low ground clearance and small tires, a motorhome
                              CANNOT simply run off the edge of the pavement to accomodate oncoming
                              traffic as buses and trucks do here routinely without giving it a second
                              thought. If a motorhome tried that, the results would likely become
                              the lead story on that night's Noticias Repretel. It simply has to stay
                              put in its own lane, come heck or high water or a crumbling speed bump -
                              and oncoming Tico drivers who are unfamiliar with motorhomes are not
                              likely to understand that and accomodate that need.

                              Motorhomes have lousy ground clearance because of a marketing problem:
                              if it were as high as a semi's cab, the arthritic little old lady
                              shopping with her gray-haired old husband can't get up into the darned
                              thing on the dealer's lot and therefore won't buy it. Hence, the Load
                              Range E tires on the 14" rims - and the six inch ground clearance. The
                              lower ground clearance also helps greatly reduce the tendency to roll
                              over in a sharp, high-speed turn - another important consideration for
                              the old duffers with hard-wired, 60-year old driving habits who drive
                              them, but somehow can't seem to adjust.

                              Just as important, they have those huge fifteen-foot overhangs (with
                              their own special road clearance issues) out behind the rear axle that
                              SEVERELY constrain where you can take the darned thing - especially in
                              turning (imagine what happens to that fifteen foot overhang in a sharp
                              turn), going over dips, curb cuts, potholes and around sharp corners.
                              The word "lever" comes to mind - but think of it in reverse. This is a
                              problem buses and trucks don't face.

                              > propane refills ARE available. even here in JACO, you can pull in and refill your cylinder. NOT the kind that we use for cooking; those need to be traded. but for vehicles running ON propane, or in need of refilling tanks within the confines of the vehicle, there are stations to accomodate you. seek and ye shall find.

                              You may have them in Jacó, but I seriously doubt you'll find very many
                              between Puebla and Liberia. Not all of Central America is like Jacó
                              (which, to my way of thinking is a good thing, but that's for another post).

                              Then there is the problem of fittings. Are these hose-equipped fill
                              stations you talk about equipped with the same fitting type as is used
                              for inboard propane fuel tanks in the States (they're NOT the same
                              fitting as is used to fill portable tanks!!)? Having never seen such a
                              fill station in Central America, I am not sure they are, and I would
                              want to be CERTAIN before I risk getting committed to a life without a
                              stove or a fridge.

                              Scott B.
                            • lee swidler
                              scott easy boy! all i m saying is your doomsday scenario is just that; something you ve contrived up for someone elses ADVENTURE. as i offered, it would be
                              Message 14 of 18 , Jun 2, 2005
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                                scott
                                easy boy! all i'm saying is your doomsday scenario is just that; something you've contrived up for someone elses ADVENTURE. as i offered, it would be smarter to check into "groups" of motorhome owners than this group, where they will find road warriers who have already done this.
                                (i guess i missed the part where they stated their motorhome had a 10 foot overhang and was big as a greyhound, as well as the part that said they were driving the fortuna to tileran highway). it goes without saying that it WOULD be smarter to stay on major (WIDE) roads

                                pura vida
                                lee (n jaco, where the rains are HEAVY and the propane is available at the filling station)

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                              • Fred Morgan
                                One of my favorite quotes: Do you know how to tell the pioneers? They are the ones with the arrows in their backs... Hooking up with people who have been
                                Message 15 of 18 , Jun 2, 2005
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                                  One of my favorite quotes: Do you know how to tell the pioneers? They
                                  are the ones with the arrows in their backs...

                                  Hooking up with people who have been there and done that is a great idea
                                  - and then they can tell you if you have lost your minds. I would
                                  seriously listen to what Susan said - what she may or may not have
                                  mentioned is that they had a native speaker of Spanish with them who
                                  knows Latin American really, really well - since he is from Costa Rica.
                                  He is Hector, our partner. They did not have a fun time of it - be warned.

                                  My thought is this: As long as everything goes smoothly, you will
                                  probably be fine - but, imagine a breakdown. I can promise you there
                                  will not be parts for your vehicle. So, you will end up stuck for days
                                  (if not longer) waiting to get a part, and hoping the local mechanic
                                  knows how to work on your vehicle.

                                  I would assume the caravans know how to deal with this - I suspect that
                                  they just leave your vehicle to be repaired and continue with you in
                                  someone else's motor home.

                                  It isn't the route that will get you most likely (except in Costa Rica)
                                  but the unexpected. I haven't been following this very well either - how
                                  good is your Spanish?

                                  Fred
                                • lee swidler
                                  ... i guess they should have worn arrowproof vests ... i m sure someone said what if you throw a wheel on the buckboard; who will fix it? or if your horse
                                  Message 16 of 18 , Jun 2, 2005
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                                    >
                                    > "One of my favorite quotes: Do you know how to tell the pioneers? They
                                    > are the ones with the arrows in their backs...

                                    i guess they should have worn arrowproof vests
                                    >
                                    > no pioneers, no new world

                                    i'm sure someone said "what if you throw a wheel on the buckboard; who will fix it?" or "if your horse goes lame, then what will you do?" you'll deal with it and have a great time telling the story AFTERWARDS!

                                    COME ON DOWN and don't let the boring folks scare you!

                                    how's this scenario: NOTHING GOES WRONG AND YOU HAVE A GREAT TIME!

                                    seek (fun and adventure) and ye shall find

                                    paz

                                    lee (in jaco where the sun just came out, but the puddles are still VERY deep)






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                                  • Fred Morgan
                                    Being a pioneer type - with the arrows to prove it - I would be the last person in the world to tell people they shouldn t do it. However, those who do not
                                    Message 17 of 18 , Jun 2, 2005
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                                      Being a pioneer type - with the arrows to prove it - I would be the last
                                      person in the world to tell people they shouldn't do it. However, those
                                      who do not consider what might happen end up like the Donner Party...

                                      I see them gathering up information on what it would be like - good
                                      idea. Then they can either do it or not, based on their own comfort
                                      level. If they are discouraged by what has been said - then they should
                                      not do it because they are not ready for the potential problems.

                                      And, I have been involved in some pretty interesting things in my time.
                                      Also I rock climb, mountain bike, ride horses, own businesses, etc. Not
                                      exactly risk adverse.

                                      And I have the scars to prove it....

                                      Lee, they will have a great time as long as they enjoy the process of
                                      getting into scraps, and getting themselves out. If so - go for it.
                                    • kelpguy
                                      here s some links that may be of help i have checked them to see that the sites are still up happy trails... norm :))~
                                      Message 18 of 18 , Jun 2, 2005
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