Wowsers, in one day: three countries, two border crossings, 11 hours on the road, 450 kilometers, 857 potholes, 4 happy travelers and the one and only Mopelia! We are back home in our favorite El Tunco, El Salvador!
Easy? – No!
Logical? – No!
Straightforward? – No!
Quick? – No!
Did we get through? – Yes!
Border crossings in Central America are complete gong shows!
We woke up early with the turkeys in El Salvador and hit the road. We had a big day ahead of us, as we were to cross two borders in one day.
In order to leave El Salvador and enter Honduras with a vehicle the following events had to take place:
– Recognize which unmarked building on the El Salvadoran side you must go to to get the registered to leave the country.
– Find another unmarked building to have vehicle importation permit cancelled.
– Drive through no-man’s land and wonder which country the people you see belong to.
– Approach Honduras’ border, get stopped by border patrol, hand over passports and title of vehicle. Vehicle VIN is checked.
– Be lead to unmarked office number one. Get our passports and title of vehicle back.
– Be told to go to unmarked office number two. Have our passports stamped.
– Return to office number one. Be told to go get copy of passport stamp, passport and vehicle title.
– Return to office one with copies.
– Fill out form outside office.
– Return with form to office one. Be told to go to the bank to pay vehicle importation fee.
– Walk across border area and over a pile of rubble to enter bank. Bank only accept local currency and only cash.
– Go outside to shady guys with big wads of cash to exchange money.
– Go back to bank. Pay vehicle importation permit fee. Get change from different teller before getting the receipt from teller one.
– Return to office one. Be told to get copy of form and receipt of payment.
– Go to copy shop (again!)
– Have passport stamped with car importation permit (two pages!)
– Two hours and a lot of head scratching later: Good to go!
We drove through Honduras in three hours. The road was horrible, at best. Deep, crater like pot holes covered the road in both directions.
The border crossing between Honduras and Nicaragua went by in a similar fashion. In addition to the time consuming, illogical events of entering Honduras, we had to buy a specific third party insurance, fumigate the vehicle and have a curious, non-thourough vehicle inspection by a chatty police officer.
We are in Nicaragua!