I have been asked how it went with shipping the bikes over to Santiago. Well, it was easy. We used a company called Motofreight who did the packaging and handling for us so getting the bikes there was a doddle. They took delivery and crated them up before sending them via Air Mexico who had the best price at the time.
Getting the bikes through customs at the destination is always where the real fun is though. I have read some stories where people have had real problems but although it did take six hours, it wasn’t simply a waiting game. Some of it was our fault.
Firstly we had to get back to the airport and that involved an Uber driver who really embraced the Latin driving spirit. There were moments of heavy braking, wheel spins and a lot of social media use as we drove.
We did get there though. We found the shipping agents office. Paid a fee in cash to them of around £70 and then we were offered help by Philip. He spoke good English and offered to take us all the way through the process. We would be there all day otherwise. So we walked up to the customs building half a mile away only to be told that although three days earlier that was the right place, we needed to go to another building. We did that and it was the wrong place too. We went to another building which was right outside the shipping agents office.
No problem, one of the customs agents would go and look at the bikes, he would be an hour. We went and had lunch and returned an hour later while Philip went and did some work. The customs agent came back another 45 minutes after that. Taking the advice often given, we sat and smiled and watched other people waiting for their stuff getting worked up. It wasn’t surprising customs took so long, the bikes were even further away than the first building we had been to, in another warehouse.
Anyway, we finally got all our papers stamped! Hurrah! It must be nearly over. Nope! We met Philip again at the first building and walked on to the warehouse around the corner where our bikes were. We went to a window where we handed over our papers which were duly inspected and processed and then to another window where we discovered we had to pay cash. We were short because we had paid the shipping agent earlier. We went back to the shipping agents office where there was a bank. It was closed. So then we had to hop an airport shuttle bus to the airport to get the cash from an ATM where we accidentally left the card in the machine.
Back on a bus to the warehouse and we paid. And that was it, after a total of 6 hours the bikes came out on a forklift. I had a screwdriver handy which I waved at the forklift driver to indicate I wanted to uncrate them there and he kindly put the bikes down and dropped some cones around us to make us feel safe. An hour later we rode away. Easy! So it was back to Santiago, stopping for fuel as the bikes have to travel nearly empty. A good end to a long hot day.
In summary, Philip was brilliant and translated everything for us. No one was giving us a hard time, its just the usual thing where a lot of bits of paper have to be correct. We should have taken more cash, it would have saved us over an hour. Wear a hat if its sunny.