Corrupt cops: Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras
We just crossed Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras in the last few days and here is what happened to us.
In Costa Rica we encountered one corrupt cop. We were going too fast, 93km/h in a 40km/h zone, but the way he told us that the fine for this was around 400$ it was obvious that for a smaller fine paid on the spot to him would see us on our way. So we talked to him, asked him if he could let us go for this first offence since we didn't know about the rules in CR, that he was the one with the solution to this situation. He did let us go.
In Nicaragua we were stopped a few times after the border with CR on the way to Granada, asked for the motorcycle documents, and were let go. We encountered no problem all the way from Granada to Somoto and the border with Honduras.
In Honduras we were asked our documents right after crossing the border, everything was normal. The bad cops we encountered were at 40km, and 20km from El Salvador's eastern border with Honduras. It seems to coincide with a province border too. The first checkpoint had 3 police officers with one very eager to look serious. Brian gave the documents and we spoke spanish with the guy until he said we had no reflectors on the side of our boxes and we would have to pay a fine. This is the point at which we started to speak to him in rapid French. He did not want to give Brian's driver license back. But after insisting that we were only going to El Salvador, showing that we were not understanding spanish and being (Marie) a bit physical with him he gave the documents back. (Note about me being physical: I wanted to explain to the cop, now in the middle of the road, that the driver license was Property of Canada/Québec, which I don't think is true at all, and to do so I was going to take the DL out of his hand. He held tight to it, very very tight. So I let go, went back to the moto, and took the waiting position next to it. In reality I just did not want him to disappear with the DL and it is why I followed him). They tried to intimidate us, but I guess the technique varies with the culture and it just didn't work for us.
The second checkpoint (20km before the border) had two young police officers. After saying Hola to us he immediately patted our Ortlieb bag behind me. Bad sign. Suddenly we were not speaking spanish anymore. He let us go after a bit without even asking for any document.
This was our experience,