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  #1  
Old 13 Nov 2010
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Central American border crossings

Hey folks, anyone out there with any info on border crossings,corrupt cops, etc..., in Central America? All info that I find in searches seems to be dated, maybe time for a new thread on this one. I'm hearing a lot about corrupt cops in Honduras, and a bitch of a border crossing to get in there too. Any recent experiences at all for there or any other CA, send them on.....
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Old 13 Nov 2010
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Hey Mick,
We're crossing into El Salvador in 2 days from Guatemala and have friends crossing into Honudras from Guat. tomorrow. Will keep you posted. Which way are you heading?
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Old 13 Nov 2010
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Honduras

I crossed about a week ago into Honduras. Took 5 hours to get the paperwork and first corrupt cop was within shouting distance of the border. Within the 140kms across the country I was stopped 5 times. The game is that they ask you to produce your paperwork, when you do. The invent an infringement - No warning triangle or such. You don't get your paperwork back until you cough up. What I did was just wait them out and play the dumb gringo bit. All up the crossing cost me $2 in "fines".

No doubt that it is a beautiful country with its fine points, but the hassle from the coppers does sour your views.

Regards Ben.
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Old 13 Nov 2010
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Northern routes through Honduras are free of corrupt cops, at least in my experience. Along the normal southern route, 5 stops isn't bad at all.....

Most of them do pack it in during torrential rains, so you can actually make better time puttering along soaked to the skin. Some sit around bored under nearby trees, so you need to practice not noticing them when, belatedly, they jump to their feet and try to wave you over. Others go home, wherever that is. But under most circumstances you just need to leave extra time for the obligatory dumb gringo act.

And remember: they really have no interest in keeping your documents, even if you give them the genuine ones (not recommended). They want your money. Unless you show signs you're going to pay them off (not recommended), they'll give your documents back and wave you on your way in disgust.

Mark
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Old 13 Nov 2010
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Copan is a great place to cross in Honduras.

I only got one ticket with extensive exploring all around Honduras in the capital. It was for smoking while driving. lol The cop pointed to the fuel tank.

Talked my way out of a ticket in NIC and had to pay a bribe in CR.

Crossing from MEX into Guat was hard as well as the crossing into CR.
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Old 14 Nov 2010
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Everyone has different experiences. The Mexico/Guatemala crossing at La Mesilla took me all of 30 minutes IIRC. Honduras at El Amatilllo took 1.5 hours, not bad at all and I didnt pay anything to anyone other than the standard $35 aduana fee. The cops in Honduras along the Pan Am left me alone, completely.

I had no problems with the CA border crossings, so its difficult for me to comprehend when people say they are a nightmare. I did have a little issue with the aduana guy in CR, but I think that morning someone pissed in his Cheerios. Yes, the borders can be a PITA because of the procedures, the endless copies, signatures and stamps, the crowds, the heat, the speed (or lack of speed) at which everything happens, but its really not bad at all, and all part of the experience.

Just kick back, relax and dont let it phase you. I actually have a bit of fun smokin and jokin with most of the folks that inhabit those borderlands. Just relax and go with the flow which is slow, :-)
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Old 14 Nov 2010
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For reasons which continue to perplex, some people attract misfortune of all sorts while others do not. Presumably it's mainly attitude; what Vince considers an opportunity to kick back and relax others view as unmitigated hassle, as a result of which they get all wound up and eager to post terrible stories on internet forums. I seem to fall somewhere towards the Crashmaster end of the spectrum myself: I didn't exactly look forward to the Central American borders, but neither did I find them that difficult. Same with the cops, generally. And none of it was even in the same league as other places I've been for corruption, difficulty, fearsome-ness and all-around moral decay.

Or maybe it's the stickers. Maybe the hassle is a function of HUBB stickers on panniers and the absence of trouble a direct result of ADV stickers instead (me, I've got both). This would be worth some empirical research. If there's someone out there with fellowship money, I happen to be available these days.

Mark

Last edited by markharf; 14 Nov 2010 at 23:19.
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Old 14 Nov 2010
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Ok, we just crossed from Guatemala into El Salvador at the Anguiatu border crossing - Sun. Nov. 14th, 2010 - arrived at the first official at 9:30am

Guatemala Side:
Aduna inspection (out on the road) - vin and SAT verified. Had to make a copy of the document after it was signed with the SAT sticker pasted on the back. Copies cost US $0.75c
Aduna (in the office) - SAT cancelled and copies of passport, registration, drivers license needed. I had these.
Migracion - passport stamped
Total time 30mins

El Salvador Side:
Migracion - The official said that an entry stamp in our passports was not needed, however I insisted and didn't want any problems when we exited, so he relented and stamped us in
Aduna - also wanted copies of passport, registration and drivers license and a copy of the page of the passport where we were stamped out of Guatemala. Official made this copy.
Aduna inspection - all details on the vehicle verified.
Total time 90mins - however we were joking around with the guards and officials and taking photos, so it could have been done quicker.
We were stopped about a km after the crossing and our import docs were checked and verified with the bike, stamped, signed and we were let on our way.

Total time at both borders - 2hrs
Total cost for exit from Guatemala and entry into El Salvador - US $0.75c

This is in response to Mick's original post and maybe a mod. could move this to a data base type of thread where it is constantly updated with most recent info.
Daryll
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Old 14 Nov 2010
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Hey there Daryll, good to see ye got over so easily to El Salvador. I'm going that way maybe tomorrow or the next day myself (in Antigua now, may or may not hang around...). It's the crossing into Honduras I've heard is a bit of a nightmare though, 5 hours for an Italian friend of mine on a vespa. 5 also seems to the magic number for stops by corrupt cops in Honduras, as he got the same number there too... Well, anyway, f**k 'em, not a big fan of corrupt cops, and as I've not paid a dime to any yet on my travels, I'm gonna try and keep it that way. More money for the big end of my trip, eh!

Yes, this should be made into a serious thread too. Maybe make a new sticky admin! South too.....
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Old 14 Nov 2010
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Oh, cheers for the detailed post on the border Daryll, that is what we need more of. Of course things can always run a bit different, but good to have a guide.
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Old 15 Nov 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markharf View Post
Or maybe it's the stickers. Maybe the hassle is a function of HUBB stickers on panniers and the absence of trouble a direct result of ADV stickers instead (me, I've got both). This would be worth some empirical research. If there's someone out there with fellowship money, I happen to be available these days.

Mark

Its worth doing a study. If someone has some money I am available as well to do the research when I head back north.

To the OP. dont worry about the cops in Honduras. Dont be intimidated. I just open my wallet with nothing in it and tell them that the last 4 corrupt cops took all my money, so if they want any, they can talk to them. Unless I royally screwed up big time and they caught me, I will not pay.
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Old 15 Nov 2010
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I ccossed from Honduras into Nicaragua today on CA1, very easy! I was on my way in about 1 hour
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Old 15 Nov 2010
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Hey Crashmaster, I've gotta say I've no fear of them, I just don't like hanging around in the heat with all my gear looking at them. But that's a good line you have to say to the cops, how do you say that in spanish please.......
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Old 15 Nov 2010
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A little while ago I made a post about border crossings in Central America in April/May of 2010. Just search my name (scrabblebiker) and you should be able to find it. My experience was almost entirely positive will all the crossings, some of them twice.

...Michelle
www.scrabblebiker.com
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Old 15 Nov 2010
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GT to HN

We crossed (2 BMW F800GSs) at the Northern Crossing (Corinto) 2 days ago.

Guatemala Side (the building is quite a ways from the actual border):
Aduna inspection (out on the road) - vin and SAT verified. Needed vehicle documents recieved when entering GT and passport. Kept documents and stamped passport.
Migracion - passport stamped
Total time 30mins

In between borders there was bridge construction, which set us back 1.5 hrs because we had to wait.

Honduras Side:
We were told to do Aduana first but the girl was on her break so we went to Migracion instead
Migracion - Had to pay 3 USd (there was an official poster stating so and we got a receipt). No stamp only the receipt stapled in the passport.
Aduna inspection - all details on the vehicle verified and pay 35 USD
Aduna - copies of passport X2, registration X2 and a copy of the page of the passport where she put a stamp for our bikes. 1 lempira/copy at the border.

Total time 90mins - The migracion guy gave us a bit of a hard time and the Aduana girl was quite slow. Also the walk to the photo copy place is a little far.

Total cost for entry into Honduras - 3 USD for person 35 USD for bike

There is a police check once you leave the Honduras border area. He didn't want to see any papers he just wanted to know how fast our bikes could go.
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