Border Crossings - Guatemala
GUATEMALA -by Gonzalo Figueroa
Allow 2 hours, arrive early, not at lunch time, avoid weekends & public holidays
Passport, vehicle registration, drivers license + have copies of all.
Official fees seem to be:
- 10 Quetzales for tourist permit -"Permiso 131 rp de Turista".
- 35 Quetzales for Vehicle entry forms and sticker to be paid at "Banrural" for which you will receive a receipt marked SAT.
- 18 Quetzales for fumigation if required.
- Fee for your "Tramitador" (aka "customs broker") if you decide to use one. Agree on it beforehand and watch out for swindlers.
Note: see below for more on a crossing in East Guatemala. Grant
- The first you will meet is a closed gate and fumigation post. They only spray the lower part of the bikes and take you inside for payment of the 18Q it costs. A receipt is issued. Fumigation not always required...
- Visit "Migraciones" and pay Q10 for your tourist stamp/permit ("Permiso 131 rp de Turista")
- Go to Customs ("Aduana") for vehicle entry paperwork. However, payment is at "Banrural", a bank which should be in the same building as Customs. Pay Q35 for your vehicle entry forms, stamps and sticker. Your receipt should be marked Aduana "SAT". Check that all info and numbers on your vehicle permit are correct before leaving. A normal vehicle entry permit is orange. The green one is for those in transit. Total cost of entry should not exceed Q45, excluding fumigation.
- You might have to register with the Police at "Policia Nacional Civil".
Visa/Entry Permit duration:
Orange vehicle entry permit is renewable at Aduana and may take several days to process.
- Exit stamp from "Migraciones" Q5 (apparently Q10 on weekends)
- Surrender of vehicle permit at "Aduana"
My research has shown that what I describe above may be different because of misleading unofficial information and corruption at the border. But knowing how it should be might help you know how much you are deviating from the norm.
I know many that have paid exorbitant prices (if you consider what the official fees are...) to enter Guatemala. Last year Jeff and Linda Anspach paid 46 US$ per bike to enter the country. They were ripped off. In 1997 the Moonriders (www.moonride.org) paid 30 US$ each to enter the country. They were also ripped off.
Most recent reports however are positive: Nat Crewe (UK) and Erwin Thoma (D) paid the official fee. Manou Emringer (LUX) and Dag Jensen (N) have also paid official fees in October 2000, crossing at the Talisman Bridge and La Mesilla respectively. If coming from Mexico avoid the Ciudad Hidalgo-Ciudad Tecun Uman border, try instead the Talisman Bridge at El Carmen (good but beware of short changing says Manou Emringer) or even better the next one north at La Mesilla which has been highly praised by Dag Jensen: "Everyone was friendly and we cannot do other than strongly recommend this border crossing to other travellers. Even the people who hung around were nice and not too bothering. Not a single tramitador approached us, which I took as a sign of how civilized this border crossing is."
Although many use a "tramitador" there are others that do it on their own, so you may politely keep them on stand by. If you hire one, agree on the cost beforehand. They are freelancers and have no official fees.
Embassy of Guatemala, Travellers Experience, Guidebooks
Deviations from the above will most likely be due to corruption. Fees are official.
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