Globus Around the World in 3300 Days

Shipping our Camper
by Container Vessel to South America

(from Los Angeles to Iquique, Chile - 5082 Sea Miles)

Our Personal Experiences

Originally we had planned to ship our Vanagon with a Rickmers vessel (chartered by CCNI) from Miami to Guayaquil (Ecuador) or to Arica (Chile). Unfortunately their service was suspended in the last minute.
So we investigated the possibilities from San Francisco or Los Angeles. In the Internet we searched with the keywords  +Container +"Los Angeles" +Chile  and found among others Hamburg Süd, P&O Nedlloyd, CSAV, and two travel agents dealing with freighter travels worldwide.

The freight rates are comparatively high.
When comparing prices it is mandatory to ask for any additional charges (e.g. Terminal Handling Charge THC, Bunker Adjustment BAF, Vehicle Stuffing Charges, Personal Effects Stuffing Charges, Customs Document Handling, Ocean Charges (?), insurance). Some of these charges are mandatory others can be avoided (e.g. the insurance).
The Bill of Lading, the negotiable freight document, is only prepared after departure of the vessel. It has to be sent to the port of destination by courier, which involves additional expenses. Without the BOL the container is not handed over.

Altogether these charges may easily double the original freight rates.

Container sizes are found in the Internet (e.g.:

At the port of destination additional charges are required. At the port of departure nobody is able to predict them. In unsafe harbors (e.g. Barranquilla, Cartagena) "unofficial" charges have been requested, sometimes ridiculously high (globetrotters tell stories of up to US$2000 in Barranquilla).

Freight ships only rarely call at Guayaquil, as the harbor and the approach are considered unsafe. For the approach to Buenaventura (Colombia) and to Callao (Peru) our charterer engaged a team of armed guards, esp. against pirates.

All harbors in Chile are considered safe. Iquique is especially well organized.
All entry formalities were smooth and without problems. In the harbor area all offices are situated next to each other.
For the temporary import of the Vanagon we required passport copies, the original title, and the international driving license, but no carnet.
The temporary import permit is valid for 180 days.
The vehicle is not mentioned in the passport.
We had to pay no fees and no charges at all. (Dec-5-99: Other travelers report the same).

We highly recommend Iquique as a port of destination.
Iquique has:

An attraction is surely the new, paved Carretera International, that connects Arica (Chile) with La Paz (Bolivia) across the Western Andes (323 Miles), where some of the most spectacular landscapes of the Andes can be found.

Our Cost (June 1999)

(With MV CSAV Atlanta from Los Angeles to Iquique)

VW-Vanagon (width: 1,78m   length: 4,52m   height: 2,32m, release air before stowing):

Our Recommendation (Panama to South America)

The harbor area of Balboa (Panama City) and the well organized, private harbor of Buenaventura (Colombia) are considered safe.
From Balboa taxis run to Panama City or to the modern shopping center Dorado Mall in 20 minutes for US$2,50.
The city of Buenaventura begins just outside the harbor gate. In 10 minutes one can walk (at least during daytime) to the fairly agreeable city center. There are a well stocked, inexpensive supermarket, a nice hotel in colonial style with a swimming pool at the seaside (US$72 per room) and a guarded, fenced parking area, and the main shopping street (developing of 24 pictures in 1 hour costs about US$9). The road from Buenaventura to Cali is not considered fully safe, though.

We recommend to ship with CSAV from Balboa (Panama) to Buenaventura (Colombia).
Contact CSAV in the USA long before and ask for freight rates from Matty Wong, Panama (see below). The voyage takes about 22 hours.

We can not give any recommendations about the flight from Panama to Buenaventura.

At this time there is no chance to accompany the container on the same vessel (unless you are a shareholder of a ship of the same owner).

Cargo ships easily encounter delays of several days. So your schedule should be flexible.

For the short distance from Balboa to Buenaventura it might be possible to transport a too high camper on a flat-rack container on top of the normal containers.

If departure from Mexico is considered we can recommend the harbor of Manzanillo. The voyage takes three days more and one or two extra days in the harbor of Balboa.

We can not recommend looking for a smaller freighter that might take the vehicle to Colombia for a cheaper rate. The risk seems to be very high to get stranded in Panama. We never heard that one of those vessels would carry passengers, too.


(with MV CSAV Atlanta from Los Angeles (Long Beach) to Iquique)

CSAV Long Beach:

Eric K. Chang (Vice President)
Chilean Line, Inc.
249 East Ocean Blvd. #1000 (corner Long Beach Blvd.)
Long Beach, CA 90802
Tel: 562-983-7699
Direct Line: 562-590-6666
Fax: 562-983-7698

[Sabine "Sabi" Bergmann (no E-Mail replies in November 1999)
e-mail: ]

Container Storage

Logistics 2000
Don Swartz
1241 Watson Center Rd.
Carson, CA 90745
Tel: 310-233-7250 Fax: 310-522-3086

Forwarding Agent (incl. Customs clearance)

Jim Herbold, VITAL INTL
1926 E. Maple Ave.
El Segundo, CA 90245
Tel: 310-414-8383

CSAV Panama (represented by an agent)

Norton Lilly International
Masonic Temple Bldg.
11th Street
Bolivar Ave.
Cristobal, Colon
Phone: +507-447-2606
Ms. Matty Wong (ask for "quotation")

Norton Lilly International
Balboa (Panama City)
Edificio Maheli, locales 4 y 4E,
Transistmica y Via Brazil
Phone: +507-2290777

CSAV Buenaventura (represented by an agent)


CSAV Cartagena (represented by an agent)


CSAV Guayaquil (represented by an agent)


CSAV Iquique (Sub Agency)

Patricio Linch 145
P.O.Box 145
Mr. Fernando Ugarte (Agent)
Mr. Victor Gonzalez (Operations)
Mr. Daniel Olivares (Receptor de Naves)
Phone: +56-57-407700
Fax: +56-57-429035

For world wide freighter voyages (round-trips only):

Freighter World Cruises, Inc.
180 South Lake Ave., Suite 335
Pasadena, CA 91101
Tel.: 626-449-3106
Fax: +1 626 449 9573

Maris Freighter Cruises
215 Main Street
Westport, CT 06880
Tel: +1-203-222-1500
Fax: +1-203-222-9191

In case of mistakes and new information please e-mail:

Globus To the report about our voyage on sea:              

Sea Voyage

Pictures of Sea Voyage
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