We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Having a Return Ticket

M M
Vancouver, Canada
5 posts
1 review
Save Topic
Having a Return Ticket

Hi all,

In January I'm starting a 6 month trip of Central and South America starting in Panama. I plan to travel down the west coast of South America and don't have a return flight back to Canada because I don't know when I will be leaving. I've heard you must have a ticket out of the country to enter most countries. What is the best way to go about this? Some people have said to just buy a $10 bus ticket out of the country so if you don't use it, that isn't a big deal or loss of money. If I had a return ticket from, say Venezuela to Canada, would that work in every country I visited or would I need a specific ticket out of each country. For example, when entering Panama having a ticket to Colombia, then when entering Colombia having a ticket to Ecuador, etc etc.

Thanks for your help!

Mentioned in this post
Panama
Panama
Central America
Colombia
Colombia
South America
Ecuador
Ecuador
South America
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
333 posts
88 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Having a Return Ticket

Hi remembering crossing from costa rica to Panama they were interested in a ticket out of Panama, hence the $10 bus ticket.Not sure that I would want to risk immigration having a good day and letting you use the venezuela/ Canada ticket. This was a few years ago though so maybe things have changed, Alison

Mentioned in this post
Panama
Panama
Central America
Isla de Margarita
Level Contributor
1,187 posts
34 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Having a Return Ticket

Most South American countries require a round trip ticket as part of their entry requirements but, in all of the countries here that I have traveled in (especially the ones you will be visiting-Colombia, Ecuador and Peru) I have never been asked to show a ticket leaving that country.

I would think a return ticket from any of those countries would serve as proof of exit so why not purchase a round trip with an open return.

Edited: 03 August 2013, 12:09
Mentioned in this post
Colombia
Colombia
South America
Ecuador
Ecuador
South America
CDY
Medellin, Colombia
Destination Expert
for Panama City
Level Contributor
3,906 posts
99 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Having a Return Ticket

Usually it is not immigration/customs wanting to see a return ticket but the airline.

I have flown coutless times into Colombia, Panama and a few other LA countries, never been asked to show a return ticket, but almost all the airlines will ask to see it, ( in the States and I assume Canada)before boarding plane.

I have flown from Panama to Colombia, was not asked by Copa,

Mentioned in this post
Colombia
Colombia
South America
Panama
Panama
Central America
Panama City, Panama
Level Contributor
19,727 posts
27 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Having a Return Ticket

I strongly suspect that a ticket from some other country would not satisfy the legal requirement - they want to see that you will leave their country not that you will return to your own.

As mentioned many people aren't asked.

M M
Vancouver, Canada
5 posts
1 review
Save Reply
5. Re: Having a Return Ticket

Thanks everyone! I have already purchased my flight into Panama and do not have a return ticket. I figure I'll just go without a ticket out of each country and if it's a problem hope they let me buy a bus ticket?

Mentioned in this post
Panama
Panama
Central America
Mi Wuk Village...
Level Contributor
1,600 posts
Save Reply
6. Re: Having a Return Ticket

I have been to just about every country in Central and South America over the decades. Crossed borders by plane, bus, truck, boat and wading across a river into Nicaragua in 79, I have never once been asked for an onward ticket by immigration. Don't know any of my friends who have. Here is the deal.. most countries have onward ticket laws... original intent to keep out riff raff backpackers. But they soon learned that even trailer park trash from the US and Europe were pretty high up the economic ladder by local standards. So this law never go enforced by immigration..unless you do something really nasty. A few years back the airlines saw this as a great scam. You show up at the airport and they refuse to let you on. Choices... an expensive refundable ticket that at least they get the interest on your money for awhile... or a cheapie non refundable that you may never be able to use. There was a scam at one of the Panama crossings. Turns out a local immigration official had a relative that ran the bus station office. Guess what...you got escorted over to the station to buy a ticket. Both ended up in jail. Show up at the airport nice and early so it they try something you can scream until a higher up comes.

Mentioned in this post
Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Central America
Panama
Panama
Central America
Level Contributor
3 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Having a Return Ticket

I entered Panama by bus from Costa Rica recently, and they were interested in seeing a ticket back to my home country (not just out of Panama into another country). In my case the border official didn't make an issue of it after I explained I was travelling throughout Latin America without a return ticket, but I assume that in my case it was just a matter of luck in having a friendly official, not official policy.

Mentioned in this post
Panama
Panama
Central America
Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Central America
Level Contributor
51 posts
62 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Having a Return Ticket

Hi I am currently in Galapagos and came from Isla Margarita to Venezuela to Colombia to Ecuador and then finishing in Peru.

We got asked from Caracas to Cuctua and Colombia (santa marta to quito) and will probably from Quito to Lima. They demanded we showed them or we couldn't fly. Up to you to chance it.

Luckily flight booked back.

Not sure about buses.

Mentioned in this post
Margarita Island
Margarita Island
Coastal Islands, Venezuela
Colombia
Colombia
South America
Ecuador
Ecuador
South America
Caracas
Caracas
Capital Region, Venezuela
Quito
Quito
Pichincha Province, Ecuador
Lima
Lima
Lima Region, Peru
9. Re: Having a Return Ticket

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 08 September 2014, 06:25