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  #1  
Old 23 Oct 2007
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Anyone go through the Guatemala/El Salvador/Honduras borders recently?

I've found a bunch of info here, but most of it is a couple of years old. I was wondering if anyone has passed from Guatemala to El Salvador or El Salvador to Honduras recently? At the end of the month my Dad and I are headed out of Guatemala towards Costa Rica and we're planning on taking CA2 through El Salvador for our route. We're just passing through El Salvador and Honduras (can't see everything, unfortunately) so we're trying to divine what are the best crossings to take.

Thanks,

Matt Pearsall
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  #2  
Old 24 Oct 2007
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Scuttlebutt is that the crossing in to and out of El Salvador can be tricky. I've recently heard that the quickest crossing out of Guatemala is Copan, just north of the El Salvador border.

I'm in Antigua Guatemala now, and I'm headed to that crossing on Fri or Sat. I'll let you know how it went.

Cheers,
Mitch
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  #3  
Old 24 Oct 2007
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no real dramas

just a bit of time consuming bull shit really ,just have plenty of photo cpoies of all the usual and ignore all the tossers who want to help you for money ,my spanish is rubbish and i did fine,i think they hit me for 40 USD for honduras
cheap aussie
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  #4  
Old 24 Oct 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thecanoeguy View Post
just a bit of time consuming bull shit really ,just have plenty of photo cpoies of all the usual and ignore all the tossers who want to help you for money ,my spanish is rubbish and i did fine,i think they hit me for 40 USD for honduras
cheap aussie
I hate this attitude. First, they are not "tossers" - they are basically good people with little education, living in a hopeless situation, trying to make a couple dollars to feed themselves or their families. Trying to make a couple dollars helping "gringos" cross the border is just what they do - its not like that was their dream job growing up, and its not like they have "unlimited potential" in their situation. If you think that, then you travel with your eyes closed.

Second, paying the kids a couple bucks to help expedite things a bit is in my thinking, pretty damn cheap - if they can help you get through in 30 minutes, as opposed to you stumbling around from line to line with little spanish language skills for an hour or two, then so much the better. It really is just a couple dollars they are looking for. Just don't buy any cervezas that evening and you'll probably more than offset the money you gave the kid...and you can go to sleep with the satisfaction you helped someone that day.

There's a bunch of folks on HU who have to latch onto a cause for their travels. Spending your 1st world money in a 3rd country is cause enough. Spend it wisely, without complaint, knowing that your money is helping others. Spread it out - buy lunch at one roadside stand, some sodas or water at another, snacks at a third. The people will appreciate your visit.

We travelers should be the last ones using derogatory terms for the people of the world.
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  #5  
Old 24 Oct 2007
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Now, about them border crossings...

Crossing from Guatemala to El Salvador, after we finished with immigration and aduana, we were told we needed to pay a $20 road use tax...all official looking and all, printed receipts, a rubber stamp - but this was bullshit.

I paid $50 to get across the Honduran border. The canoeguy paid $40. Its likely a free entprise zone for border officials....whatever they can get away with.

both border crossings, into El Salvador, and then Honduras, took 3 hours time...by far the most time consuming of all crossings in CA.
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  #6  
Old 24 Oct 2007
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borders

If you speak Spanish poorly hire the kid to help you through customs. But do NOT hand him the documents as if he will get everything done for you. You are inviting a rip off if you do, the older guys have this down to an art- they will say it will go faster if you stay put or that it is near closing time and that haste is essential then they come back with a phoney document of gibberish on photocopy and say they spent $X for you and would like you to pay them for it. Nonsense..
The kid should be your guia only , lead you around from wicket to wicket and you hand the papers to the official and pay the required fees and get a receipt. $40 is about right for Honduras entry tax. Agree on a guide fee before starting and pay when completed and you are helping yourself and the locals.
Florido Copan entry from Guatemala is always straightforward and quick, entry into El Salvador from GT can also go smoothly.The crossing between El Salvador to Honduras on CA 2 is about the worst you will encounter, sometimes two hours of buraucratic paperwork and running about for stamps . Start these crossings early in the day and keep a sense of humour.

Last edited by Sjoerd Bakker; 24 Oct 2007 at 20:12.
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  #7  
Old 25 Oct 2007
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Agree all of this. Did each border a couple of months ago. CA2 from El S to Honduras was a nightmare, taking five hours, but in part my fault because I did Antigua to Honduras in a day, and two CA border crossings (El S and Honduras) was a mistake. Much better to overnight in El S and tackle the border crossing the next day.

I would recommend getting help at the Honduras crossing. It´s seriously confusing...particularly in the dark when there is a power cut!

Good luck.

Al
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  #8  
Old 28 Oct 2007
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hey quasidog

yeah they are annoying tossers ,there is a difference to spending money wisely and getting the shit annoyed out of you constantly .telling you a pack of lies ,is not, in my eyes ,a way of making a dollar from tourists,,oh yeah not to mention that one of them stole my title i dropped in all the confusion of ten of them huddling around me trying to get my business .it took the cops to intervene to get it back ,you are more than welcome to use them ,and i am more than welcome to spend my money on what ever i like, i have very open eyes and have gotten through more than 40 countries by bike just fine without your advice on how to divvy up my bucks but thanks any way

Last edited by thecanoeguy; 28 Oct 2007 at 13:47.
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  #9  
Old 28 Oct 2007
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have to agree with Raider and Canoeguy, I dont mind when someone asks to help and when you tell them no, they go away, but people that wont take no for an answer are a pest.
I too just crossed by that way recently. the longest and slowest crossing was El Salvador to Honduras, on the main pan american. Took 3 hours and someone tried the same road tax scam,. was bollox and i knew it. One minute it was 20 dollars then it was 40, but there is a sign up in the office which shows the rates,,, so just point it out and you will have no problem. Actually issue with the crossing is that it is so badly laid out, its busy and there is no idea of who is responsible.
I just heard recently there is a much easier crossing a little more north.. but cant verify this. Else where the rest are easy. i heard too that copan is easy. and from mexico to guatamala i recomend La Mesilla.

Kev
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  #10  
Old 30 Oct 2007
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Thank you all for the feedback. We're leaving Antigua on the 31st and will hopefully get spit out the other end in Nicaragua in a week or so. I'll post an update then of how it all went.

Matt
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  #11  
Old 2 Nov 2007
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I've done a few CA crossings in the last few days, and one thing to help with the "helpers" or "guides" was to be really gracious for their offer, explain to them that this is not your first border, you've done X number before, you know what needs to be done, but if you need help (pick a guy) then YOU'RE my man, Francisco, Felipe, who ever. Helped a bit.

It still sucks when some smelly drunk guy follows you around for those two hours getting in the way, and then he and his buddies surround you and "suggest" a tip at the end of it all.

Mitch
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  #12  
Old 5 Nov 2007
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Borders

Both El Salvador borders take more time than most. The Copan crossing is like room temperature butter on your toast in the morning. It is the smoothest of the CA borders that I went through.

I went through CA twice. I used the "helpers" on a few of them going South and none at all going North. It would have been handy to have some help in Nicaragua as I waited in line in the wrong sequence for an hour. Everyone in line let me back in after I got the three bullshit security stamps that were "needed" to cross.

Thumbs up on La Messia as well. It was a real eye opener after the US/Mex border was my only other border experience at that point of the trip. It is in disarry, with a "duty free" zone that you have to fight your way uphill through.

Belize borders were both easy, Copan being one of them.

As far as the ..... I am searching for a word that isn't a profanity to describe "the helpers". I really have tried really hard to look at from the shinier "I am an ambassador from my country". I can't..... Forget it, it's late and I am tired. Cross the borders have fun, use them, don't use them, but definetly don't get used by them.
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  #13  
Old 5 Nov 2007
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yo

I went with my KTM 640 Adventure from Playa del Carmen south of Cancun, Mexico ( where I live ) to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica then the whole trip back to Playa passing by Chiapas in March this year.

Right now there has been a lot of rain in Campeche and Tabasco, a lot of roads are closed around Villahermosa.

greetings
mattmexico
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  #14  
Old 12 Nov 2007
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agree with canoe guy. in country is no problem. borders are their own animal w/ the lowest form of citizenry the lands have to offer. they're not their to help....they're there for your money. if you happen to shave a minute off your time using them its entirely coincidental. speaking fact is not being insensitive, it's protecting us while we travel so that we can enjoy the people and places we see and avoid negative experiences. you already give all your money to the locals by eating and staying at their hotels. everything u need to cross a border in lat am is already there and you never have to pay bribes or facilitation money.
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  #15  
Old 14 Nov 2007
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Point of view of a Costarrican

Sirs.
The big problem in Central America is that you have to pass many borders in a very short distance. For example, from Guatemala to Costa Rica there are only about 1300 km and you have to pass 4 borders. So I agree that we have to avoid stress when we are passing. We, that live en Central America, know that the most difficult borders are the ones of Honduras.
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