Border crossings Nicaragua-Honduras-El Salvador

Exiting Guatemala at El Espino (20min)

When entering the area you get the customs declaration form.

Proceed to the blueish building, immigration and aduana are both in there.

Pay 2$ at the immigration, no cordobas accepted!

A woman of the aduana came to check my papers and my bike outside, then signed the TIP (Temporary Import Paper for the motorcycle). After that I had to go back to the aduana counter inside, where they kept the TIP and stamped my customs declaration form.

You have to hand out the declaration form at the boom gate when driving to the Honduras side.

Entering Honduras (1h)

It’s all in the one building on the right (except the copy shop).

You have to pay 2$ for immigration. They take fingerprints and a photo, then print a ‘stamp’ into the passport with a matrix printer. They want to check your yellow fever vaccine, so have it ready!

The aduana is also right there, but nobody was at the counter.

One of those shady helpers signaled me to come to the side entrance, where a woman then started to process my papers.

She printed the TIP and stamped my passport with the motorcycle information (huge stamp!)

Now you have to make two copies of the TIP and the stamped passport. I suggest to make three, as you may need a copy when entering El Salvador.

The copy shop is at the border exit on the right, about 200m away, it’s 1.5 Lempiras per copy (~7 US cents).

The TIP includes the insurance and costs 40$.

She didn’t give me a receipt, as the jefe/boss was not there. He just came back when I was already at my bike, but he then made the receipt (took another 10min).

In Honduras there were some road blocks and burning tyres in Choluteca due to demonstrations, but I could get through without issues.

Later I got stuck south of El Comercio. But the road block fortunately dissolved at noon.

I spent one night in hotel sunset in Nacaome. The next morning I left at 8am, hoping to be earlier than the road blocks.

There was one 1km before the border, but they let motorcycles through.

Exit Honduras (10min)

Again fingerprints at the immigration and then give back the TIP a counter to the right. They do another big stamp in the passport for the bike.

Entering El Salvador (2h)

This border looked easy at first, but it took way longer than expected.

At the Immigration, three officers inspected my stamps for about 15 minutes. But then they let me go without any explanation (I later found out when leaving El Salvador, see update below). You don’t even get a stamp in El Salvador.

Just when it was my turn at the aduana the officer took his coffee break. 20min later he started to process the papers. He even gave me an English form for the motorcycle (chassis number, brand, model, etc). But then he wanted a copy of the TIP of Honduras! Which I didn’t have. I had a photo, so he wanted me to print it somehow. I suggested to mail it, but he couldn’t receive emails. In the end he copied the stamps of Honduras from my passport. It took him another 30min to enter the information into the computer and print. But instead of Switzerland he selected Sweden! When I pointed it out to him, he said, Switzerland was not in his computer. But I insisted and showed him that the country code is CH and he needs to scroll way up to find it.

After I finally got this paper I needed to drive about 5km to another aduana, where I had to get my new papers stamped. There were hundreds of trucks there waiting for their paperwork to be processed! But they let me right through to the counter. Then the computer system was down, so I waited for another half an hour… but finally I made it to San Miguel.

Update:

When I left El Salvador, they again discussed my passport for about 15min! But this time I got an explanation:

It’s about the CA-4 (like Schengen, but in Central America). When I entered Nicaragua, I came into the CA-4 area. I got the stamp, but they forgot to write how many days I was allowed to stay (usually 90 days for the whole CA-4 area, not per country!). So basically the stamp was incomplete and officially I would be allowed only 30 days (or even less). And as El Salvador does not do stamps, they could not ‘fix’ it. They told me that the immigration in Guatemala should fix it with their stamp and indicate the remaining days (of those 90), and that’s what they did. I’m kind of proud of myself that I was able to explain my problem in Spanish to the Guatemalan immigration officer 😁

Volcano boarding in Nicaragua

Ok, it was rather sledging than boarding 🙂


 

 

Border crossing Costa Rica-Nicaragua

There’s a lot of bureaucracy to enter Nicaragua, but it surprisingly didn’t take much time, just 1.5 hours for both crossings (including 15min waiting for the Costa Rican customs to open at 9am). Interestingly I didn’t need any copies, as they had copy machines this time!

An online form has to be done one week before entering Nicaragua: https://solicitudes.migob.gob.ni. Without that form, you may be stuck at the border for some hours until it get approved.

I took the smaller border crossing at San Pancho.

Leaving Costa Rica

There’s a big parking lot on the back where you must park. I didn’t really like it because I couldn’t see my motorcycle back there while doing the paperwork. But as it was early in the morning (8:45), there were not many people around.

You have to walk all around the fenced area, as there is no entry from the parking lot. All the buildings are just white containers with the offices in there. The descriptions below (right/left containers) are referring to the entrance of this area from the West.

Go to the first container on the left and pay the 7$ or 5000 colones exit fee. You’ll get a ticket, which is needed for the immigration. Alternatively you can pay at the provided ATM, but I didn’t try it. At this office they also made me a copy of the TIP (Temporary Import Paper) for the customs.

Go to the second container on the left side to the immigration to get the exit stamp. They open at 7am, but the customs (aduana) opens at 9am! I had to wait 15 minutes for the customs to open.

The customs is in the last container on the right. They stamp the original TIP and the copy, which you keep.

Took me half an hour, including 15 minutes waiting for the customs to open.

Back on the main road there’s a police check point on the left and you have to show your stamped passport and TIP before you are allowed to proceed to Nicaragua.

Entering Nicaragua

When I got to the Nicaraguan side I got approached by two officials, both wanted to see my passport and vehicle registration. One guy seemed to be responsible to write down the information of all persons which enter this border crossing area. The other handed me the immigration declaration form and wrote my motorcycle number plate onto it.

Then I had to proceed to the fumigation a few meters further, where a guy sprayed my tyres. After that I could go to the parking on the left side on the road.

There you are supposed to go to the police officers to get your declaration form stamped. They are just sitting there at a small table in front of the immigration office and are looking bored. Not sure what this stamp is for, but without it the customs won’t accept your declaration form later…

Now you have to pay 4$ for the fumigation process. The caja for this is on the left side of the immigration (I needed to ask, didn’t see it at first). You get a ticket, which is needed for the customs.

I got approached by another official (outside of the immigration building) and he started to ask me the same questions as the online form. So I showed him my email with the online confirmation number and he was very happy! He then sent me inside to the immigration. This costs another 12$ (2$ bureaucracy fee and 10$ tourist tax), you get your stamp in the passport and two receipts.

Go back outside to the round building, that’s the customs. You need to give all the papers and tickets to the lady there and she will do copies and give you the TIP. At the same place but at a different lady you’ll get the insurance, it’s 12$.

Finally go back to the police desk to get the TIP stamped. This seems to count as an ‘all done, free to go’ stamp.

When driving out of the border crossing area, there are two other guys which want to see your passport and paperwork again. One guy is the opposite of the very first one and ‘signs you out’ of the area and the second one seems just to be there to feel important.

My luggage never got searched or scanned nor have I been asked if I carry a drone with me (which I did).

There are no shady ‘helpers’ on this border, just officials. And they always help you out when you are looking lost and don’t know where to go and what to do next. So although it’s more complicated than other borders, it was no issue at all and everyone was friendly and helpful.