San Pablo, Peru – An insurance question

We don’t get far today. Right behind Bagua a police control stops us. The absolutely friendly officers aren’t used to foreigners, but they have a book showing them samples of how strangers’ documents have to look like. Unfortunately their International Driver’s License sample sais “International Driver’s Licence for Peru”. It takes a while to convince them that we are just travellers, transiting through the country, and that our German International Driver’s License with the Spanish translation inside should be fine. But we don’t have a third party insurance yet, since we arrived yesterday, on a Sunday, in a very remote area of Peru. I show our European insurance to the officer, knowing it’s not valid for Peru – but at least I’m full of good intention. He recommends getting insurance in Lima, but how to get there with all those police controls on the road he doesn’t know. I tell him I’ll try in the next town, a thousand thanks, shaking his hands, good-bye, and before he could even think about fining us we are already gone.
In Bagua Grande we find an insurance office, but things are more difficult than expected. It takes us four hours to finally receive a SOAT contract. The main problem is that our vehicle runs (also according to the customs paper) as a motorhome. This class simply doesn’t exist in Peru. Eventually I had the idea to insure the truck as pick-up. We had the same problem in Colombia and Ecuador, but they were less bureaucratic there and simply wrote camionetta in the insurance contract. That helps us now because we use these papers as a proof, which is accepted by the insurance company. The only bitter pill is that we have to pay 247.50 Nuevo Soles for three months during a local pays around 225 PEN for a year. That’s foreigner surcharge, we get to know. Admitted, it is still cheaper than any insurance we could have taken out from home.
We only receive a temporary SOAT, the original contract has to be sent from headquarter, and they only can send it to the branch in Bagua Grande. We don’t intend to stay any minute longer in this ugly, loud, and incredibly hot city, so we agree upon forwarding the papers by collectivo (microbus) to the bus station in Chachapoyas where we shall pick them up tomorrow around midday.
We continue east on # 5 and then south on # 8A. Between Pedro Ruiz and Chachapoyas we find the bridge over Rio Utucumba, turn left right before that bridge, and follow the dirt road for 6 km. The road is o.k. for bigger rigs; it is narrow, but there is not much traffic. The road ends in San Pablo at the plaza, and the tourism office is to the right. People in this tiny village with 200 inhabitants are so delightful – tourism is here only since 2008, and it didn’t spoil the people yet – that we decide to take a guide for our tomorrow’s hike to the Gocta Waterfall – despite our guide allergy. We can camp in front of the health centre beside the church (S 06°02’33.2’’ W 77°55’10.3’’) or anywhere else on the sleepy plaza.

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