Hi just read your article on how to deal with bribes on bike trips. I was just wondering, wouldn't it be easier to just pay up and be on your way? HAs that ever happened where you just pay and be done with it? Ta
Hi, I replied to your question on the actual page itself and forgot to reply here too. Here's a link to the page for anyone else that's interested and below is my reply. Cheers! https://www.madornomad.com/bribes-travelling/
Hi! Good question. Yes, it would definitely be easier to pay up and be on your way, but the consensus is to try your best to not pay because paying bribes sets a precedence, leads to bigger bribes and makes life harder for the next traveller. Also, paying a bribe to one border guard can quickly lead to other border guards demanding more ‘taxes’ or ‘fees’ and police road stop fines can lead to more further down the road. It is a tricky one and does depend on your assessment of the situation at the time. Cheers
There are two routes from Buenos Aires to Iguazú Falls - Argentina's most visited natural resource. For political reasons I will not post here which of these routes has check points that regularly demands bribes from foreign over landers. These bribes might be levied for anything from your motorcycle is too wide to where is your mandatory blanket/body bag in the event you run over and kill someone, or show me your fire extinguisher. I agree totally with the article "how to deal with bribes" and can only add that it might be wise to discuss your route with locals to discover if it is notorious for checkpoints with officials demanding bribes or not.
In Argentina, motorcycles are not required to carry fire extinguishers, blankets to cover the dead, and are not restricted to any certain width. Always be extremely polite, recognize that the official demanding the bribe is probably paid a very low wage and is, most likely, trying to support a family.... and be assured the local commandant and local political boss has his back. But, you can print up -in your language - an official looking form - present this form to the official and demonstrate you are writing down the offense of which you are being cited and the amount of the bribe you are being asked to pay. Ask the official for his name and ask to take a photo of his ID in sign language if necessary. Then explain this form will be presented to your embassy and the tourist bureau. Learning and writing down a few appropriate phrases to be presented to officials demanding bribes in the local language prior to travel is advised.
In summary, ask a local about your route and the potential for being bribed, familiarize yourself with the motorcycle requirements of the country you are riding and be sure to conform to these requirements - for example a South American country might require wearing a yellow vest. Create an official looking form to record the name of the official, the offense and the amount of the bribe. Before you pay anything....ask to take a photo of the officials ID and or the official himself. Generally, following the guidelines in the article and being extremely polite but on the offensive with an official looking form will get you on your way sans (without) bribe. If the official declines to show and allow you to photograph his ID just wait it out as per the article.
A dear male friend of mine was stopped because he was riding in flip - flops - he was asked for a bribe because "boots are required"- as far as I know, boots are not required in Argentina- he simply leaned in and told the official - look - I am still drunk - I was with a beautiful woman last night and her boyfriend showed up so I jumped on my moto to avoid a vary nasty encounter and rode off.... - The official understood perfectly and sent my friend on his way without hesitation and without paying a bribe. Perhaps this example might not be with you -especially if you are traveling with a partner, but always try to find some common ground with the official.
This is fantastic advice! It would be particularly handy for anyone visiting Argentina. So, I just made a new forum thread for Argentina, it would be great if you could add this info in there as well. Cheers!
Here's the link to the new Argentina section: https://www.madornomad.com/forum/argentina/