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Old 10-18-2012, 09:31 PM   #346
ratbikemike
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border crossing

Well, maybe I got it right. It was the woman in the small white building on the right that asked for my passport, visa and $300. I don't know if she had a uniform but I thought her to be an official. I could not remember that being any part of what I've read, so I declined her offer. I have now checked with someone that knows how this thing works and will try again later. Thank you Paul, for helping me know what is expected. Hey, this noob was right! woohoo! ratbikemike
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:36 PM   #347
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Originally Posted by ratbikemike View Post
Well, maybe I got it right. It was the woman in the small white building on the right that asked for my passport, visa and $300. I don't know if she had a uniform but I thought her to be an official. I could not remember that being any part of what I've read, so I declined her offer. I have now checked with someone that knows how this thing works and will try again later. Thank you Paul, for helping me know what is expected. Hey, this noob was right! woohoo! ratbikemike
i use my UK passport for central america not my US one so it maybe slightly different, but there was a guy standing next to the booth, very well dressed, if he approaches you he is a scam artist watch out, women in the hut, all good...if in doubt ask to see the stamp now you know what it looks like
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Old 10-18-2012, 10:54 PM   #348
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Originally Posted by rtwpaul View Post
off to Guatemala in the AM, all i keep hearing is watch out for the dangerous curves, they are a lot different than Belize...

Jesus Christ.

I would lose my fortune pretty quickly there I think.......
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Old 10-18-2012, 10:56 PM   #349
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i'm posting border information for me as a reminder, i forgot to do it last year and it does change,

so each one i go thru i will try and get good photos if possible and describe the process, once i have been south and come back then i'll link them all together in one post and yes if need be put it in a seperate thread for reference for others so its easy to find...

as its not my first time down here i'm not too intimidated or confused by the process, but generally if you take your time, speak to the guy who is trying ot hustle you, once you decline his services he will point you in the right direction, if not find someone in uniform...they always seem to be outside taking a break
Dude....you ROCK for doing this!

I'm going to keep an eye out for the info - Thanks so much for doing this.
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Old 10-20-2012, 05:38 PM   #350
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I have a simple philosophy on a border crossing day, only plan for one thing, the border crossing itself, don’t look for a long day in the saddle just pick a location that is far enough from the border that you are happy with and find a hotel.

So I left the line of hammocks on the beach in Belize



and headed west to the border with Guatemala (see next post for full details), it was a relatively easy border, nice and quiet and headed off to Flores. Got a cheap hotel with secure parking for the bike for 100 Q’s ($12.75)





I have a walk around and take in the sights…damn!!!



Next I see a motorcycle shop with a few hundred tires hanging outside, I go inside and he has maybe a 1000 more…on the road south of the border if its in front of you buy it is a good rule to live by, I ask for a 17x140 or a 17x130…no senor!



Moral of ‘this’ story if you have the opportunity to have 16, 18, 19 or 21 inch wheel on you bike get them, they had every size in stock for those wheels in this little town …and ‘cause 17’s are a bitch to find here and expensive too.

So Flores and the surrounding area brings me into tuktuk land, ladies carrying things on their heads and cobbled streets. Very cool, but humidity not cool!


















The cops ride around in pick up trucks and their bikes are now amusement rides for kids

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Old 10-20-2012, 06:13 PM   #351
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i have just finished writing a Central America Border Crossing Guide.. "A step by step guide for crossing the notoriously difficult Central America borders, showing pictures of buildings, paperwork, fees, tips...with this book you find your way south a breeze".

Hardback, softback and PDF version HERE

ebook for all Apple products ibooks ipad format HERE




rtwpaul screwed with this post 04-04-2014 at 01:12 PM
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Old 10-22-2012, 10:54 PM   #352
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Left Flores in the morning, good roads, nothing too special until I reached a ferry crossing for 5 Q’s just before Sayaxche,



from there back on a small paved roads heading south thru lots of small towns. As it was Saturday there was a lot of people just walking around, a few towns had markets going on and as they are on the main streets you ride thru the middle of them…



Then into the hills in the rain forest, the paved road just ended heading towards Coban, not sure if I was on the right road or not I just kept riding.





I had to take a photo of this house perched on an outcropping and question WHY? When there is so much space and huts and house were everywhere, why would you balance yourself with a 1000 foot drop under your floorboards



My destination for the day was Lanquin, a small town in the mountains just a few K’s from Samuc Champey (plans for it the next day)

The dirt road was good most of the time until it got high in the mountains then lots of areas were washed out, and one area had just had a landslide I was told later, but the views were spectacular all the same.



Coming down around a steep curve I ended up in a small town with a full-scale market going down the main street. I was waved forward by the locals, I was the only motorized transport on the road, but still I was waved on until the market vendors were having to move baskets of goods out of my way for me to get thru…because of trying to get out of the way quickly I forgot to take photos!!!

Right in the middle of the market was an army patrol and I stopped to ask if I was heading out on the right road (the soldier in perfect English) I was told keep going straight until the road splits in 7 km’s then take the left the Lanquin. The information was exactly what my GPS showed…he reached out to shake my hand and wished me a great ride!!! Very cool.





I got to Lanquin and got a cabana for 120 Q’s on the river…good place to stop La Retiro

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Old 10-22-2012, 11:46 PM   #353
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I'm not sure why, but I really like this photo...I like the corn coming right down to the road's edge...and then the road itself looks so inviting. Enjoying the photos!

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Old 10-23-2012, 06:13 AM   #354
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First of all this is an easy crossing because it’s quiet, there isn’t crowds of people trying to hustle you first of all, on the Belize side there were only two money changers, and no fixers

Guatemala side maybe 10 moneychangers and no fixers

So it goes like this…

To get to the Belize crossing San Ignacio has a one-way system, take it to the right and then less than half a mile take a right turn and go over the one-way bridge. From here drive about 5 miles to the border




First building you go into is on you left, I parked my bike on the right side.



Thru the door the first desk in front of you is the border processing fee, this has to be paid if you are not from Belize, its either $37.50 Belize dollars or $18.75 US, they give you a receipt for this.



Then go to the desk behind this is immigration to get stamped out of the country , they put a triangle shaped stamp “shows departure” next to your entry stamp

Next turn around and take the door to your right, this is for customs, hand in your vehicle import permit and passport, they’ll stamp over the top of your import permit cancelling it out – that’s it your done.

You ride thru the gate; the guard didn’t ask to see anything at all

Prior to doing this I was talking to the moneychangers, they were Guatemalan and spoke perfect English, I asked them the layout over the border so I knew what to expect. I knew I needed some Quetzals on the other side so I changed $30 US with them at a bargained rate, I knew todays rate was 7.84, I got 7.5, so they got me for a $1.90, no big deal, I good info from them and I needed the Q’s anyway, no ATM around either, so kind of have to do it

OK, so I ride thru the gate…

There is a huge fumigation building in front of you DO NOT ride thru it, ride to the right down the pedestrian walkway, park about 20 yards down on your right next to the white building, a guy will come over and fumigate you bike with this machine…it actually smelled like chemicals, a kind of dry powder.





The building to your right is for payment, it’s 12 Q’s, and you get a receipt. Then ride your bike across to the other side of the street and park it next to the building. It’s a big open air place with a long counter.

Go to the counter to the right side, this is immigration, get your passport stamped, this guy tried to hustle me, he asked for a 20 Q’s fee, I told him I will pay on exit liked I’m supposed to, he apologized “my mistake”.



THERE IS NO ENTRY FEE!!!

Next take your passport and get the stamp photo copied, out of the building to your left, past a small open hut and behind the wall to the copy shop.

If you don’t already have you need copies of the stamp, the front and back page of your passport, your title and your driving license as well.

Go back to the counter to the left side this time to do temporary vehicle import, hand over all the copies and the originals as well, he will want to go and see your bike to verify the VIN number, then he will hand you a SAT form to fill out (it’s a customs sworn statement form) he then enters al the info into the computer and makes a print out. Take that print out to the cashier window to your right and behind you if you are facing the desk (there are two windows) pay 160 Q’s and you get your paperwork back.




Now go back to that same counter on the left and hand over the paperwork, the guy takes it into a office (you stay put) for his boss to sign. When he comes out he will give you a sticker to put on your windshield or in you wallet and also give you three pieces of paper 1. Temporary import paper (white). 2. Receipt for the 160 Q’s (pink). 3. Sworn statement form (yellow)…keep all this together with your passport to show on demand.




Next get on your bike go to the barrier and he will want to see all these papers and the sticker. – That’s it you are thru, it sounds like a lot but it only took maybe 20 minutes tops, because it’s a border with Belize most people on the Guatemalan side speak ‘some’ English




Now go over the bridge, it is a toll bridge, I was told it would be 10-20 Q’s but the barrier was up and a local bike in front of me rode straight thru without stopping so I followed, there was a guy there but he made no effort to stop me so who knows if you have to pay, I wasn’t going to ask.




So the money you need is $37.50 B$ and 172 Q’s minimum (toll bridge not included) to clear both borders.

And just so you know there is a gas station immediately on your right as you cross, the next one is about 50 miles if you are heading to Flores. gas in Belize is about $6 a gallon...$5 in Guatemala and Fuel in Guatemala is sold in GALLONS!!!

There is an Army checkpoint 5 miles down the road, I was waved thru but if you are stopped they will want to see all the same paperwork again.
I am from Guatemala and you went through the process with flying colors. I did the same crossing in August. The only cost for us was the exit fee, as my wife is American but rides on a Guate plated bike.

The bridge is FREE, period. If you get waved, don't stop. No one will come after you anyway.

The military checkpoint is not there always. They move around, and will usually not stop bikers. They are not a problem at all, not corrupt, and I think are more afraid of bikers than the other way around.

BEWARE of fixers. A friend that went through the La Mesilla/Ciudad Quactemoc border on the CHIAPAS/HUEHETENANGO border was hustle out of USD$160, by a MEXICAN fixer. He found out later he was suposed to pay Q160....
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Old 10-23-2012, 06:35 AM   #355
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In!

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Old 10-23-2012, 07:02 AM   #356
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The bridge is FREE, period. If you get waved, don't stop. No one will come after you anyway.
thats a good point to know, as i said i wasn't going to ask at the bridge...i was in customs with a customs agent clearing 7 semis, and he spoke perfect English, he told me the trucks have to pay so he tried to calculate against his cost what my cost would be ( a small percentage) he didn't know it was just a guess and the boss of the area didn't know either...thanks for adding that
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Old 10-23-2012, 08:01 AM   #357
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Stunning photography.
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Old 10-23-2012, 12:47 PM   #358
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thanks for coming along

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Stunning photography.
thank you, much appriciated
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Old 10-23-2012, 02:58 PM   #359
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Nice updates Paul, nice to see you are enjoying the trip
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Old 10-23-2012, 06:17 PM   #360
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it was time to be a tourist...i was staying the El Retiro, a recommendation from Chris at CA Tours in Antigua, its a hostel in Lanquin right on the river with beds from 45 Q's, and cabanas from 85 Q's



its the perfect location to head off to Samuc Champey. they had a tour and i am really weary about arranged tours, basically restriced time due to numbers etc. the tour had openings for 20 people, minimum was 5, it left at 9 am, at 8.50 it had 4 people so i added my name and took with a gude and four young Israeli guys.

the road up there only 9 km's took nearly an hours, in the rain trhu the mud and very steep climbs and declines









we had a guide who took us thru the underground caves, you couldn't do this without a guide no photos as some of it is underwater and lots of swimming, and all done by candle light (swimming with one arm trying not to get your candle wet!!!)

then a little tubing down this river




next was a guided hike thru the rainforest to the lookout point



then a hike back down a different way to get in that water and cool off






then a hike back out past some local families trying to make a few quetzals selling fresh picked from and handmade local chocolate



the girl in the red had a serious 50 yard stare if you didn't buy anything






then back along the same road that seemed worse heading in the opposite direction





turned out to be a good day to be a tourist
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