My goal was to ship the bus from Santa Marta to Houston.
We’ve still got vague plans of going all the way around the globe, but timing and math dictated a layover in the USA.
And, the Santa Marta port is small with everything located within a few blocks. The DIAN (immigration/DMV), the port offices, downtown, restaurants, hostels, shipping agents, etc are all right next to each other. Taganga is 5 minutes over the hill. Compared to Cartagena, this would be a much better location for dealing with the logistics for shipping your vehicle.
I think I contacted 10 or more companies requesting a quote for container service. Zero replied. A friend who happens to live in Santa Marta and deals in shipping recommended an agent to me and provided her info. Nearly 20 emails into the chain and she still hadn’t provided a quote or any meaningful details. So, I went to her office. Face to face seems to be the only way to get business done – at least here.
This finally got the the ball rolling, but it was another 3 days until she got me the quote. $5000 USD to ship. Via Los Angeles! What the hell? Maybe I should have brought a map to her office.
I delicately pointed out that this must be some kind of mistake and provided her with the names of shipping lines and their exact routes to see if we could get a more direct shipment and lower price. Maybe 20 more emails ensued and I never received another quote.
Skip ahead to agent #2 – a random person I found online and she indicated she could help. Twenty emails later and still no quote. I knew where this was headed…
After dropping off Angela and Bode at the Santa Marta airport (beach bars right next to the runway), I relocated to a campground at El Rodadero. This gave me an opportunity to really strip everything out of the bus and figure out what goes and stays.
All of Bode’s remaining toys and his bike went to a local school via a Peace Corps volunteer we met earlier in the week. Random ‘just in case’ car parts that maybe didn’t work anyway went into the trash. What’s left of my clothes rapidly entered the realm of the rags. I gave much of our kitchenware to a neighboring camper (who was screwed over by the Braniff Airlines bankruptcy and is still bitter).
Now we know what to replace, what to repair, and what we probably don’t need for the next trip.
Here’s something you absolutely shouldn’t bring: bulbs. Amazingly, none of them broke after 4 years of bouncing around, but I also never needed a single one. And, of course, you can buy them anywhere. Something to keep: the wi-fi range extender. This is mandatory.
So, with everything down-sorted and the bus cleaned out, we’re ready to ship. All we need is a boat.