How to bring your car to Panama

Hello everybody,

If you exported your car to Panama, were there any formalities that needed to be completed beforehand? What were they?

What is the best way to export your car? Is there a limit on the number of vehicles, or perhaps the age of the vehicle? Are there limits on emissions or emission controls in Panama?

What are the expected costs of exporting a car? In your opinion, is it worth it?

Once you arrived in Panama, what were the applicable taxes? What was the customs process like?

How do you go about registering an imported car in Panama?

Is it best to buy a car once you have arrived or to bring your car with you, in your opinion?

We look forward to hearing from you!


It is generally recommended that you don't bring your car to Panama. It's a lot of hassle, red tape, and expense. It's much easier to buy a car here, and then they are likely to have the right parts and mechanics who are familiar with that type of car. NOT bring your car to Panama.   Beside the incredible difficulty of getting the car out of customs, you'll find that many of your parts are not available here.   The cars here are made specifically for the Latin market (no emission control....metric instead of inches) you will have a lot of problems with an American car in Latin America.  Sell your car and  buy one here.   If you bring an American car here you will be soooo sorry.

I have to agree with the previous replies above..........Panama used to be the best easiest country to import a car into......or out of for that matter. Now it is neither........Pain inthe butt either way........And as it shakes out now, its cheaper to import an older car into Costa Rica than here in Panama.......And that is astounding..........And try getting your Pana plated car OUT of Panama any more.......Even if you do have an S.A.   Panama is losing whatever advantages it once had.......I am currently cruising Nicaragua looking at options..........

Thank you all for this info.  Extremely helpful!!

New topic