Border Crossing - Honduras
Honduras - by Gonzalo Figueroa
It has been impossible to obtain official information from Honduras. The Embassy cannot answer because the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tegucigalpa remains silent. Corruption seems to be rampant at Honduran borders and we have for the time being very little opportunity of finding out what the official story is. Therefore, the fees and procedure posted below are based solely on peoples experience. I am almost sure that once we, for example, discover the official fees, they will prove to be only a fraction of what is currently being charged.
Allow 2 hours (or more), arrive early, not at lunch time, avoid weekends & public holidays
Passport, vehicle registration, drivers license + copies of all FEES: Should average out at about 20 US$ for all forms and stamps -most of it in bribes. Many have paid 30 US$ or more. Try to let them have no more than 20 US$ under the excuse that that is all you have.
You will most likely have to pass through Migracion, Registro, Transito, Cuarentena, Administracion, Secretaria and then a police vehicle check. At each stage you will most likely be asked for money -that means, bribes.
Visa/Entry Permit duration:
Apparently 30 days.
approx. 2 US$
I have read of some that have happily paid 30 US$ to enter Honduras -relieved at seeing all "official" fees posted on Anti-Corruption Campaign posters at the Honduran border. Shortly after, I read of a guy that paid US$ 21.00 including an US$ 11.00 bribe. So, did the "official" anti-corruption fee suddenly go down?
Most recently (Oct. 2000) Manou Emringer (LUX) paid a total of 40 US$ to enter Honduras from El Salvador. He also saw the posters... I ask myself, how can it be that not a single report matches another? Everybody pays something different! There is no consistency at all.
I now leave you with a quote from the MoonridersÂ´ trip in 97: "Like Theseus from ancient Greece, we steeled ourselves and entered the labyrinth, our trusty tramitador beside us, ready to face the Minotaur of the Honduran border process. We marched determinedly from window to window and office to office, from one corrupt official to another. We bargained, begged, and put our foot down... we even short changed them. When the dust finally settled, we were only 335 lempiras (approx. US$ 30 back then) poorer but had put ourselves and everyone else through the ringer."
Expect the worst and it'll most likely be a lot better. Good luck.
Travellers Experience, Guidebooks
I think this quote sums up all the uncertainty at the Honduran border: "I'm still not quite sure if we got screwed or not." says Manou Emringer (Oct. 2000).
Official information non-existent. Travellers reports vary considerably. Corruption reported often. Detailed information requested from all travellers.
Recent crossing by JD Smith, USA:
borderentry: Agua Calientes
comments: The Honduras border official and her manager took me for $100 us. Be aware of this crossing. I could have called the managers manager or involved the police but after 2 hours of fun in the heat I just wanted out.
otherdocs: Title only
From: Arthur Seissinger, Jamestown, New York, USA, March 2001, on a crossing to Honduras from East Guatemala at the village of Finca Inca,
"The only time I had real big border crossing problems was from Guatemala to Honduras. The border is in East Guatemala and the village is called Finca Inca. It is a terrible gravel road till Puerto Cordes (Honduras). The Honduran Customs people were insisting to have a fully armed military guy coming with me on my Moto Guzzi. With him, we went straight to a Bank in Bueto Cordes. They asked me to pay US$120 to cross the country (US$20 official, and $100 bribe). After several hours of loud arguments with the Bank Manager and his "friends", they told me either you go back to Guatemala or you pay $120USD. It took me 22 hours to get my transit permit. Very, very frustrating."
Central America border crossings (with 4x4's) - Easter 2000 - by Steve
Our first crossing was at Amatillo between El Salvador and Honduras. The Salvadoran immigration offices worked reasonably well (about 20 minutes).
The Honduran side was one of the worst during the trip. There were about 200 people standing in line in the morning sun waiting to present their passports. It would have taken us about 5 hours to stand in that line. The facilities were decrepit, filthy & dusty.
Upon seeing our relatively new 4x4's, several "helpers" immediately jumped toward us to facilitate our passage. After sizing up the line, we selected the most official looking helper who had a border ID. These guys work directly with the immigration officers and also "reserve" advanced spots in the line that stretched the equivalent of a few blocks. All claim to have good connections but not all actually do so you need to make a quick pick based on a few questions-- if the helper doesn't convince you shortly thereafter it's time to pick another one. At this first crossing we initially made a poor pick (a duo from El Salvador that didn't have connections on the Honduran side) and immediately switched to another who did a good job of shepherding our documents. Even so, the process took about 1.5 hours to clear our passports and the vehicle papers under a scorching sun.
At this crossing we were introduced to another border business--photocopies. Interestingly enough, the borders that require photocopies only have one place that offers them. The charge wasn't excessive, but you have to wonder how the photocopy profits are divvied up. For 12 persons travelling in 3 vehicles, we wound up paying around $60 for official and non-official charges. The officials charges were slightly less than half that total, but wasting another 4 hours in line with the kids in the sun was not an option.
One final lesson learned at this crossing-- many of these borders close at noon-- and not necessarily all the offices close at the same time. You also need to be mindful of the closing hour for the borders. Amatillo closes at 5pm. Others closed as late as 10pm.
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