T – Nothing too much to report today. We woke up and wandered off to find insurance for our bikes and then went and made the required copies of basically every document we had. We weren’t sure as to how we would go at the customs end because we had no proof of how we got the bikes from Panama to Colombia, and we hadn’t officially exported our bikes out of Panama. To be honest this whole thing has been our fault. We should have made sure we knew what we and the bikes needed before ever boarding the boat. But we are here now and so are the bikes so it’s time to stop moaning and get cracking!
There were 5 of us in total that were basically all in the same situation. We knew that there was a slight possibility of our bikes being seized and us facing hefty fines. So we agreed to keep the bikes at our hotels, chained to concrete piers and well out of sight of the customs officials.
We marched into customs, handed our paperwork in, which we had filled out incorrectly, and were told that we would need to return later with the bikes to prove that they existed and be able to have them inspected. The customs lady also told us that the way we had come into the country was not good. They were no longer accepting motorcycles that turned up on the beach after being strapped to the side of a yacht. The fact was that bikes like ours were skipping customs protocols at both the Panamanian end and the Colombian end. Not once had our bikes or documents been inspected by customs, meaning that we could have left with stolen bikes, drugs, animals, people etc etc. Fair point too and we knew that we were doing things potentially unlawfully when we booked the boat by taking advantage of a very grey area in the shipping side of things.
So we will advise people to research it before booking these boats to take your bikes. Sure its an experience, but having lived through the last few days and not knowing whether our bikes would be penned away and never seen again, or we may receive huge fines or be looking at having to somehow return the bikes to Panama and start again kinda sucked. Next time we will send by cargo ship and take the yachts as a passenger. Also means our bikes wouldn’t get covered in sea salt!
As we were leaving the customs building the Customs lady told us that we could just prove our VIN, number plate, and colour of the bikes by just showing her a photo and to return with the photos at 2pm. Suited us as we would have had to push the bikes for a good distance to get them to her otherwise.
We hung out at the hotel for a bit and then returned to show her the photos. She ticked all the papers and told us that they would be ready to go in the morning and we would receive our temporary imports then. I felt so relieved but I decided to not get too excited too early as things can change so fast!
Then it was more chilling out by the pool and a bit of relaxation time before wandering into the old town for some amazing pizza and a well deserved beer!
Tomorrow we should hopefully be legal in Colombia and would like to head out of the city and into the country side. I need to find a new sleeping mat and a Leatherman as I seem to have lost mine on the boat trip over. A shame too as it was a good one!