Guat/El Salv/Hon/ Nic/ Costa Rica borders in three days so a little shell shocked. I may be a bit hazy on a couple of things but still pretty acurate on my experience.
Leaving El Salv...easy. Stamp from immigration then Customs for the bike may have taken all of 15 mins at El Amatillo crossing.
Honduras entry. Touts/helpers/ money changers all over you! Get some Lempiras as the two close by banks do not change $. I actually went in and asked... so had to change with the guys. Negotiate a higher rate...I got 18 to 1 ...they will try 17...think the whole Hon border is corrupt.
$3.00 immigration fee. Then customs. $34.00. No US $. You will need copies of their docs...copy place close by. Two hours in all. A helper did attach himself to me. He actually was usefull ...but do not let them hold your docs.I gave him $1.50 ...30 Lempira's for the two hours he hung with me. He knew what to do and made sure I got the right stamps. I think he may get a small kick back from the changers...maybe even the bank employees get a kick back. Who really knows what goes on. Never seen such BS. He also held my helmet and checked on my bike. All in all it was worth the $1.50. He mentioned $5.00...yeah well it was tax free. My first bribe to cops down the road. Got stopped for crossing the yellow line overtaking a slowing bus. The fine was $15.00 and most probably the run around if I took the ticket so gave him $13.00 and p***ed off. ...laughing to myself. Not bad for almost three months in Mexico and Central America especially considering the speeds that I was at times, the u turns etc. Honduras roads full of pot holes so make sure your tires are well inflated. You will hit some.
Hon to Nic... Cholucteca crossing. Stamp again...immigration and bike documents...pay a $12.00 exit fee. Pretty fast.
Nic entry. Fumigation$3.00 ...have $3.00 as the guy tries to rip you off in change.$12.00 immigration fee...the receipt says $10.00 so maybe the immig guy pockets two.Nothing for the bike. Again I said I was in transit. Had 24 hours to get the hell out. Did not have to get insurance. Don't know if they forgot or because I was in-transit. 2 hours. Mine is not to question but to get the hell out.
Nic exit. Oh how I would like to use profanity here but...
Just before getting to immigration there is a check point where your motorcycle is taken from you and the guys do burnouts on it. Only kidding!
Here you get a stamp on your bike doc. You think great that is done...no way.
Then the exit stamp at immigration. You are charged $1.00US to enter. That was quick.
You think you are free to go so head out to the exit checkpoint. Show your bike doc which was stamped by the first checkpoint. No you need a stamp from the policia and the customs. So back to customs, she signs the form. Then go and find the policia walking around the little market next to customs. He stamps it ...back you go. Free to go? No!The woman that signed it did not stamp it so back you go and get her to stamp it. Back to the second exit checkpoint and you are free. Yell in your helmet 'damn bastards' as you rapidly ride off into the next zone of hell.
Costa Rica...entry...Penas Blancas. So a big difference in appearance. Nice shiny new building lots of professional friendly policia.
Immigration. Easy and professional. Go out and right across is the Customs. You get a form. Fill it out and go and buy insurance...mandatory.Go to the left and you see policia motorcycles and a chain link fence with tractor trailers go through there and follow the road left at the end of the shipping dock is where you get insurance. It cost $30.00. around the corner from that is where you will get your bike permit. Before that however take your insurance doc and your passport and have the immigration entry stamp copied and your insurance certificate. Two copies of each plus the first form to be on the safe side. The copies are paid in Colones. Get $5.00 worth. going rate at the bank is 500 to 1. Use a money changer at the Nic/CR border. Copy place just across from the dock. They cost 50 colones each...10 cents. Take all of this back to where you got the form ...give him photocopies of pp, drivers licence and ownership and show him the insurance certificate. Keep your original safe. He will keep some copies. He will stamp the form and sign it. Now back to the dock where he will go over everything ...he keeps his copies and gives you your certificate of importation. You are at last free to go. This took me 3 hours as I had to go back and forth. The guy who gives the first doc does not tell you squat so after filling the form and trying to find where I had to take it...I then gave the certificate guy my papers only to be handed them back as incomplete and then finding out bit by bit what I had to do. So this will save you a lot of time and you should be done in 90 minutes or so.
So to sum up so far. Have lots of small US bills...1s,5s, 10s,20,s. So you can't get screwed around on change and also do not need to change more than you need.
Have photo copies of your own docs. Some borders wanted them some not.You will still need to get copies of some docs issued to you.
Arrive really early at borders or you will have longer wait time. I did not have any problems parking my bike even though it was out of sight often. Park in full view of people and you will be okay. Of course lock and take off anything that is quickly removed to be on the safe side. Don't forget the stamps and signatures. Man stamp everything ... yourself your bike everywhere you can put a damn stamp...stamp it. Even if you see a guy walking down the street with a rubber stamp get him to stamp something.
Tomorrow CR to Panama. I can hardly wait for more torture. Then on to SA around Jan. 10 th.By the way from the little that I saw in my haste ...Hon and Nic are not nice. CR is beautiful and actually I got a great sense of relief as I rode off from the border.