Raleigh, North Carolina to La Ceiba, Honduras

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Be Gone For Good, Dec 14, 2016.

  1. Be Gone For Good

    Be Gone For Good Been here awhile

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    Has anyone here completed a trip across the eastern edge of Mexico, through Guatemala and into Honduras?

    We are planning a trip for September 2017 and would appreciate any advice anyone could offer. It will only be two of us and I have never ridden before. There are a few trips planned before then to get me better acquainted with the bike and the miles. I will be riding a 2015 Honda CB500X.

    We are thinking 14 days down should be sufficient but we really don't know. I have obtained Chris Scott's Adventure Motorcycling Handbook which seems to have a lot of great info but we would love to hear from someone who have made a similar route.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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  2. Be Gone For Good

    Be Gone For Good Been here awhile

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    Alright, we have made a couple of changes. First off is a definite stop in New Orleans because my riding mate has never been and I could use a Hurricane. Second, I think we are only going to do 7 days down and we have a hook up to get us across the water to Roatan.
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  3. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    Noobs on bikes , noobs to riding in general and noobs to Mexico and Central America ... AND you want to ride from Raleigh NC to LA CEIBA , Honduras in SEVEN ( 7 !!!!!!!) DAYS

    . Here we go again

    THAT IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN

    You are biting off too much , . Either revert to a much longer time space or forget it . .
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  4. AndyT

    AndyT Been here awhile

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    I once rode from Rio Dulce Guatemala to San Antonio TX in 4 days, but I hope to not have to do that again. That was riding pretty much all the daylight hours, and I speak reasonable Spanish and know the area. If you could get from NC to south TX in 2 days, then 4 days to Rio Dulce (which would be on the most direct route), then one more day MIGHT get you to La Ceiba, but everything would have to go perfectly. Give yourself at least 10 days, and that is without stopping to smell the roses.
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  5. Be Gone For Good

    Be Gone For Good Been here awhile

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    I have a big ride from NC to MN coming up in May. I should have a better idea of how I fair after that ride. My mate is an experienced rider and between the two of us we figure we can make it.

    Aside from the clear disbelief do you have any suggestions about a more manageable time table?
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  6. Be Gone For Good

    Be Gone For Good Been here awhile

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    We have the time to extend and once we do the planning we might move up to 10-14 days if it makes sense. I appreciate the advice because we would like to make it on time. I will have some Spanish background if for no other reason than to ease communication with the locals.
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  7. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    Good that you are getting more riding experience , it will help getting familiar with the bike .However riding to Minnesota will still do little to prepare you for the different situation of riding in Mexico and CA . It is not so much disbelief on my part as it is a worry about your safety if you dive into Mexico and try to apply the US habits of riding re: long days , many hundreds of miles . Certainly I was not being snide or trying to get you riled ( as happened unintentionally in a certain other thread recently )
    Are you prepared to be riding down a two lane highway with curves and having oncoming traffic doing passes even though you think you have the lane ? Are you ready for city driving where signage and driving practice differ from what you know or recognize ?
    Do either of you have a route idea yet - will you stick to toll roads and freeways in Mexico wherever possible. or do you want to ride the two lane highways? Where do you intend to enter eastern Mexico?

    Mex 180 from Brownsville / Matamoros or McAllen/Reynosa is about the simplest most direct route around the Gulf of Mexico , then cross into Guatemala at El CEIBO , arc across the Peten and pick up Ca 13 south across the Rio Dulce , cross into Honduras at Corinto and follow the north coast road east to
    La Ceiba
    NO riding after sunset . Figure on at most covering 400km in a day , if you are lucky.
    Think 4 days MINIMUM in Mexico , 2 days to cover Guatemala and 2 days to do the Honduran leg.
    That will still be rushing it , no time for much sight seeing .
    If you can manage it get back to your 14 day schedule , have a more relaxing ride so you don't drown of fatigue while diving ( obviously that is the aim for getting to the Honduran islands?... just a guess )
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  8. Be Gone For Good

    Be Gone For Good Been here awhile

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    You nailed our route almost exactly as it stands right now. We have really only done preliminary work on the route (i.e. Google Maps and some cursory research) but we will be getting into it more heavily as I move past this May trip.

    I will admit I was also getting a little "riled" and I really appreciate you setting the record straight. I guess I just really don't like being told no...(obviously not what you did but it certainly sounded like it as I was taking it in). No harm. We hadn't talked much about goals for the trip other than making sure we were in Roatan once our significant others touched down. My wife would be very unhappy if I missed the first day(s) of our vacation because of poor planning. We weren't as worried about sightseeing on the way down as we have pretty much unlimited time for the return journey.

    We are indeed diving when we get there so I am all for making it to the island without having to sleep for several days in recovery. Thank you again for your advice as I will now be getting in touch with my mate to make sure he is expecting a 2 week lead time. This forum is incredibly helpful.
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  9. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    Be gone ,,, since the main reason for the ride down is to meet up with the wives you are putting yourselves in the unenviable position of having to stick to a tight schedule and reservations made much too soon. These are the death knells for a pleasant motorcycle trip.
    Riding north from Saltillo earlier today enjoying the blue sky , the warm sun and the lovely spring green all over the desert I had some thoughts about your proposed trip.
    Think about this . Do not ride the bikes there just as two wheeled transport in a mad rush.
    Re arrange your time for the trip setup. You would be riding south during rainy season AND hurricane season so you are sure to hit some dirty roads and drab skies , possible road closures and other delays to sit out crummy weather.
    Take the time alotted for the ride to Honduras and bank it.Use the money ( wasted?) that would have gone to gas and hotels to pay for your airline ticket .
    Fly down together with the wives and have your diving vacation . Fly home.

    Then you and your friend set off on a different motorcycle ride , route set up for maximum tourist value with NO strict scheme for travel, no reservations , no deadline . You can pick any part of Mexico that you like but you will be free to seek out more dry climates , more mountainous areas , or whatever interests you
    . You will be less stressed and can take the time to learn about travel in Mexico
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  10. Be Gone For Good

    Be Gone For Good Been here awhile

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    Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how this turns out, the trip is a go. I can however increase our allotted time before the run. There are, of course, always things that could happen to blow a hole in any timeline we have but I think if we step out to 14-21 days we should be more than able to attain our goal.
    #10
  11. denverscoot1

    denverscoot1 n00b

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    Hey Be Gone for Good. Check my post from today, "Denver to Managua, Nicaragua". I don't know if our dates crossing into MX are similar, and our destination is a little farther down the isthmus, but, maybe we can discuss meeting up in TX, if the dates are similar. Safety in numbers. My PM contact info is in my profile. DenverScoot1.
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  12. Be Gone For Good

    Be Gone For Good Been here awhile

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    Sorry I just got back from a three week trip to prep and practice for Honduras. I will definitely be hitting you up about dates.
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  13. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

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    I will chime in as I am from Seven Springs NC near Goldsboro NC, which is about hour from Raleigh. I think you will need to allow yourself at least 2-3 days from Raleigh to Mexico Border. Put into account the time you might have to deal with the traffic of getting into Mexico border.. then the waiting time to get visa and TVIP for Mexico. I can tell you this that riding on a BMW F650GS, the topes still bite my frame a lot.. Topes can slow down your traveling time and there is a zillion of topes if you are staying away from the toll road. If you do ride down on toll road, it gets expensive real fast! There are many toll booths than you will imagine so expect to be ready to spend money. Do yourself a favor and Google up Zeta cartel (click on Images) so you will understand why Bakker recommend getting a room around 4pm. Mexico is OK to travel through but it will be more safer if you are not on the road after 4-5pm. Animals also walk or lay on the road at night to stay warm and they will not be easy to see in the dark for you to brake. Mexico is a huge country and you will have to cover a lot of miles to get to Guatemala. The best I could do was about 650 miles a day and I was gunning 85MPH most of the day, and that is because there was so many toll booth. I could do a lot more than that in USA (I am Iron Butt 1,000 miles 24 hours). After few days I decided it was too much and slowed down.. I was glad I slowed down to see more of Mexico once I was out of Sinaloa.

    Plan on few hours for each border crossing! Don't cancel your TVIP when exiting Mexico because it will save your time/money if you are planning to return back to USA after Honduras on the motorcycle.

    Plan on zigzagging many potholes in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras! Oncoming vehicles will get in your path to avoid potholes so be ready for that too. Unlike in USA you need to expect that they expect you to share the road even if it means you getting on the shoulder so they could avoid potholes by getting into your lane. Motorcycle can't beat buses or big truck so you don't have a choice but to get out of the way.

    Other than that, good luck and be safe!
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  14. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

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  15. CO-or-bust

    CO-or-bust Been here awhile

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    Not to get too carried away with the common "Is Mexico safe" question --- which OP, I know, you did NOT ask, but...

    Roatan is beautiful and safe and awesome for diving, etc. La Cieba, which you will go through to get to Roatan, is by many international studies the most dangerous city on the planet. The Columbian drug cartels have been using la Costa de Mosquitos (the Mosquito Coast), to the east, for boat and sea-plane drug smuggling for many years now. They have got much bolder over the years and have moved up the coast and into La Cieba, taking effective control of much of the city. It is a pretty brutal city --- think of the MS13 gang, on steroids.

    And for those of you ready to jump down my throat about being panicky or overly dramatic, #1 take 10 minutes to Google La Cieba and read a couple articles (I found this link from the US State Dept. in 5 seconds www.osac.gov/pages/ContentReportDetails.aspx?cid=19281 ) and have read many other similar reports, etc., and #2, and hitting closer to home, I have been dating a woman for the last couple of years who GREW UP IN La Cieba AND STILL HAS FAMILY THERE. The Locals do not even report the murder of a Family member to the Police because the gangs take that as an insult and a threat to them --- so if you DO report a Family member getting murdered, they come back and kill another person in your Family. This well-known pattern has effectively shut down murders even being reported... Think sticking to the "Tourist areas" will keep you safe? Safer, yes. But the gangs run most of the Taxi companies, have thugs posted at the airport, etc. and target the Tourists --- yes, it DOES happen. Trust me, she is VERY happy NOT to be living in La Cieba. OP, it sounds like an AWESOME trip and I applaud your taking it on! But with what sounds like pretty limited experience #1 on a long distance bike trek and #2 traveling through areas like this, ride into town, get on your ferry, and get over to Roatan... Sit back, have a few drinks, enjoy the diving, and savor having taken on an epic journey. Then, turn around and ride back home!

    Good luck, and post up a RR!!!
    #15
  16. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z Long timer

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    My border crossings generally went pretty well in Mexico and Central America. An hour or so to get all the paperwork and inspection and whatnot.

    Except for Honduras. It took me the better part of a day to enter Honduras. For one, there was a long line of other people. So perhaps I picked the wrong day or wrong crossing... but then even when I got the process started, it was still another three or four hours. If I remember, I was at the border to enter Honduras for a total of about six hours. For most of that time, I was just sitting and waiting. Waiting for someone to return with my passport. Or waiting for someone to get a document initialed by someone else. Or waiting for the entire staff to take a 2-hour lunch.

    Jamie
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  17. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

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    YMMV,, but better to expect the unexpected.

    Mexico, if I had got to the immigration and TVIP before two tour bus did, it probably would have taken me 30 minutes to process give or take but oh well! Check out was a breeze, 10 mins.

    I crossed El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua in same day but that's because we were close to the first border in the morning and it took us about hour to get through Honduras. We got to Managua at 11pm and shared sex motel room for $7 each. Costa Rica and Panama was the longest of all for us because police officer verifying our VIN were asshole and gave us a run-around(me think he hates gringos), and just too touristy at Panama border.

    edit: We were hightailing it to Panama because we had appointment to get our bike inspected by Dept of Justice officer to get document for shipping moto via cargo so our trip thru CA from Mexico Border to Panama City took 3 days
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  18. aesull

    aesull n00b

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    Having lived on Roatan, Honduras on and off for the last five years before moving back to Atlanta (luckily soon leaving again), and having traveled a lot of the Central America mainland by bus, car and plane again and again, just feel I need to chime in a little on the safety issue mentioned. Yes, the country has a crime problem and yes, you can find it rather easily if you go looking for it. And of course, like anywhere, trouble can find you even if you don't go looking for it. But speaking only for myself, I feel threatened by the perception of danger much more in Atlanta than I ever have in Honduras.

    I've been to La Ceiba a few times and there are some nasty parts - I didn't stay in them. My travels in that city were to the airport, the cargo shipping dock, a couple of restaurants and a hotel (La Casa de Nery, which I recommend heartily), and driving my car through the city coming from Tegucigalpa. Speaking for what fellow Roatan scuba instructors have told me, I've never heard from one of them of having trouble in La Ceiba. But like me, they don't go looking for it by hanging in bad parts of town, dealing with people that your senses tell you not to, staying out really late or generally not using common sense. Of course it goes a really long way having a grasp of the Spanish language, or at least the basics.

    As for US State Dept. warnings, over my years of traveling to some pretty sketchy places as a photojournalist, I say if you cut in half the paranoia factor generated by those reports, you are approaching reality. YMMV.

    In five years living in Honduras, the only true crime that ever happened to me was being bribed by a Roatan cop at a roadblock for some imagined motorcycle paperwork issue. I would've made a stink about it more, but was on my way to my scuba instructor exam and paying $25 to be done with it was worth it to me that day.

    Sorry to continue the slight hijack of the post...if the OP would like any tips or info about Roatan, feel free to send me a message.
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  19. Be Gone For Good

    Be Gone For Good Been here awhile

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    Thank you so much for all the advice. I had never heard about these "topes" but I am excited to learn about a whole new kind of riding. We are still getting prepped for our scheduling process so all these posts are really going to help us to figure out exactly how we are going to acheive this goal. I am all for getting off the road early and heading into a hotel. I am sure there will be a million little things that pop up and must be dealt with along the way but it is incredibly helpful to have so much extra info about other's experiences on these roads. The oncoming vehicles is something I have seen in other's travel vids. It seems like a great reason to always keep your head up and remain aware. Anything can happen right?
    #19
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  20. Be Gone For Good

    Be Gone For Good Been here awhile

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    I have been doing a lot of reading about La Cieba and luckily have a contact in Roatan that has been helping us with the travel arrangements so we can get across right when we get into town. I have always thought there are "smart" ways of doing things and then there are dangerous ways to do it. I hope to always stay as smart about our travel process as possible. Thank you very much for helping out with the knowledge side of this process.
    #20