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How i cross central america without paying/getting any 'helpers'

Discussion in 'Latin America' started by singaporedream, Jun 30, 2009.

  1. singaporedream

    singaporedream Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2009
    Oddometer:
    60
    Border crossings of <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on">Central America</st1:place>, from South to North.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Panama</st1:place></st1:country-region> entry<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I arrived by sail boat from <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Columbia</st1:City></st1:place> thus the captain didn’t gave me a proper import permit for the bike. We have to obtain 1 from <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Panama City</st1:place></st1:City>.<o:p></o:p>
    CURUNDU edficio 1009 frente a las instalaciones <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:State w:st="on">del</st1:State></st1:place> MOP<o:p></o:p>
    The phone number is Control Vehicular 506-6466 506-6467
    Central Telefónica 506-6400 506-6406<o:p></o:p>

    N8 58.410 W79 32.846<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    How:<o:p></o:p>
    they didn’t check my bike.<o:p></o:p>
    I showed them my vehicle registration details from <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Singapore</st1:place></st1:country-region> and Passport. they gave me a proper import permit 15minutes later. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:country-region w:st="on">Panama</st1:country-region></st1:place> exit.<o:p></o:p>
    Paso Canoas.<o:p></o:p>
    N8 32.043 W82 50.300<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Immigration: was straight forward where they have a proper counter. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Custom: I had to look for a guy to obtain a stamp or signature on the import permit as it is a ‘permission to exit’. Produce it to the Aduana office in the same building and it is done.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:country-region w:st="on">Costa Rica</st1:country-region></st1:place> Entry<o:p></o:p>
    Paso Canoas.<o:p></o:p>
    N8 32.104 W82 50.450<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Immigration: on the left of the road. Straight forward with filling up immigration form and health+declaration form.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Custom: <o:p></o:p>
    1) I had to go thro a gate to get ‘fumigated’ and get a piece of paper to show that I had been ‘fumigated’. <o:p></o:p>
    2) Buy a 3<SUP>rd</SUP> party insurance from the only company there, which is behind the immigration counter. Produced my Vehicle Registration Details (VRD) and paid US$14.<o:p></o:p>
    3) Go to the Aduana, an office where there were many bike traveler’s stickers are on the glass window. Gave them my photocopy of Driver’s License (From Singapore), Passport, VRD and the entry stamp where the immigration just stamped on my passport few minutes ago. Photocopy shop is across the street. Answer some questions from the officer and they will issue a computer printed import permit. I can’t remember paying anything. They are closed for lunch hours.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Costa Rica</st1:place></st1:country-region> Exit<o:p></o:p>
    Penas Blancas<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    N11 12.727 W85 36.660<o:p></o:p>
    Immigration: It was chaotic due to the swine flu. The official do not allow anyone to enter the immigration hall and everyone was queuing up outside the building. Make sure you are in the correct queue. Fill in the exit form, from the security guard that was filtering humans from entering the office. The officals will come out of the office with a box and collect passports from those queuing on the line or anyone that was not on the line with longer hands or money stuffed in the passport. After queuing up for 3 hours, we noticed that it was not necessary to queue quietly. After the officals had collected about 40-50 passports, they would bring the box in to process and we have to wait outside the building for one hour before they bring out all the stamped passport and will shout individual’s name for collection. BEWARE that someone will just say yes to the officals when your name is being called. I did not pay any money.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    N11 12.590 W85 36.704<o:p></o:p>
    Customs: Located before the immigration. Enter the building, 2<SUP>nd</SUP> door on the left where there is an old guy with long grey hair sitting alone in the office with temperature that will keep an ice-cream. Give him the import permit, he made some stamps and I got back nothing. It is done, so call the permit is cancelled. I did not pay any money.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Nicaragua</st1:place></st1:country-region> entry<o:p></o:p>
    Penas Blancas<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    1) Get a Declaration form from an officer that is standing on the middle of the road, helping vehicle owners to write the form. I didn’t pay any money.<o:p></o:p>
    2) take the written form and bring it to a cashier (Caja) in front and pay US$3.00. Keep the recipt and the declaration form.<o:p></o:p>
    3) ride pass the cashier, will reached a ‘fumigation gate’ but don’t go thro it, (400meters). Stop after it as an officer will spray some chemicals on the bike’s tires.<o:p></o:p>
    4) will ride pass an unmanned custom (it’s the old office) then turn right into the new building where the buses stopped. <o:p></o:p>
    N11 13.097 W85 36.744<o:p></o:p>
    5) will be approached by some well dressed young ladies trying to sell the 3<SUP>rd</SUP> party insurance. I agreed on one of them and enquired about other information from her. then I went to the immigration.<o:p></o:p>
    6) Immigration: filled up the form, paid US$7.00 for a $5.00 tourist card (where the other US$2 goes?) the passport is still with the officer.<o:p></o:p>
    For me, as a Singaporean, the officer had not seen a passport like this and was unsure about my entry. he redirected me to another building to seek for permission to enter the country. It was a pretty hard process for me because I couldn’t understand Spanish well. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    7) Went to the health counter to declare health statues. got the stamped health statues card and show it to the immigration officer then he released the passport and immigration card back to me.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Customs: <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    1) Have to look for 1 officer to sign/stamp on the declaration form which I got earlier. (I enquired from the insurance lady about which was the man.) <o:p></o:p>
    2) take the form, look for another officer, he was supposed to check the bike and sign/stamp on the declaration form.<o:p></o:p>
    3) buy the 3<SUP>rd</SUP> party insurance form that lady. US$12.<o:p></o:p>
    4) Aduana was along the same building as the bank, which is also opposite to the immigration. I handed over my VRD, Singapore Driver’s license, passport and the 3<SUP>rd</SUP> party insurance which I bought earlier to the counter. After printing out the import permit, the officer passed all the documents to the next table where a policeman checked on my insurance that I have bought and put some stamps on the import permit before giving all the documents back. I did not pay any money. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Before getting out of this place, I had to show my passport with the valid stamp, import permit and the declaration form some officers at the exit gate. They will keep the declaration form and return the rest. Off I went before paying US1.00/person at this gate with a proper receipt.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    <st1:country-region w:st="on">Nicaragua</st1:country-region> Exit + <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Honduras</st1:place></st1:country-region> Entry<o:p></o:p>
    Las Manos.<o:p></o:p>
    N13 47.523 W86 34.191<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    1) I was stopped by a ‘string gate’, got off the bike, walked to an officer (with uniform and tag) with my bike import permit. He took it and wrote some stuff in a book. CLEAR! for the bike.<o:p></o:p>
    2) Ride the bike in for 20 meters where the <st1:country-region w:st="on">Nicaragua</st1:country-region> and <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Honduras</st1:place></st1:country-region> immigration share the same office. Paid Nicaragua US$2/person to exit, paid US$3/person to <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:country-region w:st="on">Honduras</st1:country-region></st1:place> for entrance. They did not give me an exit stamp nor an entry stamp on both countries. They just took note of the details in their computer/notepad.<o:p></o:p>
    3)Aduana: I rode further down the road where on the left with an orange wall with some windows, above the windows is written: Transito, Entrega de Documentos, Importaciones Exportacion. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    there is a clear instruction on how to pay written on the window: <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Note to all tourist:<o:p></o:p>
    In this customs, the steps to obtain a temporary the permission of entry and exit of the vehicle (Form 9A-1) is personal.<o:p></o:p>
    The whole of Dollars when sound of $42.50, removed this way:<o:p></o:p>
    1) $20.00 of filming (right of traffic of the vehicle in the national territory)<o:p></o:p>
    2) $1.50 for inspection of the vehicle.<o:p></o:p>
    3) $7.00 this one is the value of the form 9A-1 that is paid in the bank<o:p></o:p>
    4) $14.00 these are paid in Aduanet’s window for the fingering of the form 9A-1.<o:p></o:p>
    5) It must present 2 copies of: passport license of driving, traffic in force registration, the plate of the vehicle and any another document related to the autorail<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    ---A receipt will spread over the payment of the payment of the form 9A-1 and the filming and inspection, which you will pay at the bank.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    When this enclosure the bank, there was paid to the official that this of shift.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    It does not have to do any payment extra, if it is like that denounce it in the office of the administration.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Anyway, it was an easy Sunday. I showed up, gave the officer 2 copies of my passport, VRD and license. In return, he had a big stamp on my passport that filled up 1 page and the filled form 9A-1. I have to go to the copying shop to zap 2 copies of these new documents for the officer. I paid US43.00 direct to the officer as the bank was closed. It was a Sunday. I did not get any receipt. Done! the officer didn’t request me to buy an motor insurance. There was a ‘helper’ that wanted to lead me to buy an unnecessary motor insurance. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:country-region w:st="on">Honduras</st1:country-region></st1:place> exit and El Salvador Entry.<o:p></o:p>
    El Poy<o:p></o:p>
    N14 22.451 W89 12.571<o:p></o:p>
    12 June 2009, weekday.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I recived a form to be filled up at the first Gantry. the form is for <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Salvador</st1:City></st1:place>. The officer made a signature on this form.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Riding for 20 meters, an officer of <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Honduras</st1:place></st1:country-region> checked my passport that I had a stamp coming into the CA4 country.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:country-region w:st="on">El Salvador</st1:country-region></st1:place> and Honduras Aduana together. I went to submit the temp import permit from <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Honduras</st1:place></st1:country-region> to the officer. He made some typing, checked my VIN number on the bike, made another big stamp on my passport that filled up one page. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I hand over the form I recived from the first gantry (filled up by now) to the El Salvador Aduana. She passed it to another man to do some check on my motorbike and it was being passed back to her. she did some typing together with my VRD, and photocopies of VRD and passport. In return she gave me the proper computer printed Temp import permit. there was a mistake on the capacity of my bike but she doesn’t want to change it, kept saying ‘no problemo’, then she asked an English speaking officer to tell me in English ‘no problem’. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Done, ride the bike to the last gantry of <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:country-region w:st="on">El Salvador</st1:country-region></st1:place> where an officer checked the passport and temp import permit. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I didn’t pay any money. No ‘helpers’ hassling around. We didn’t have any entry/exit stamp on the immigration part.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Exit <st1:country-region w:st="on">El Salvador</st1:country-region>, entering <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Guatemala</st1:place></st1:country-region><o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    La Hachadura<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I handed the temp import permit of <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">El Salvador</st1:place></st1:country-region> to the officer at the first gantry with a photocopied (for cancelation). He gave me the photocopied back with a stamp and I could proceed on. <o:p></o:p>
    N13 51.541 W90 05.186<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    There was a check on the bridge. the officer wanted to see our passport and the photocopied piece of temp import permit with that stamp. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    On the <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Guatemala</st1:place></st1:country-region> side, I stopped before a gate where the aduana had a small window. I presented the photocopy of my passport, license and VRD. I passed him my original passport, VRD, license and that copy of temp import permit from <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">El Salvador</st1:place></st1:country-region> with a stamp. N13 52.083 W90 05.535<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    He made some typing and handed me a paper, asked me to pay 40 quetzals (US$6) to the bank. I went to pay to the bank with exact US$6.00 and I had 2 out of the 4 papers back. I present it to the officer. He gave me the proper computer printed import permit and a windscreen sticker. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The bank is a door next to the aduana window. it was a Sunday (14 June 2009), it took me about 1 hour to process everything. no hassles except to look out for some kids around. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Exit <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Guatemala</st1:place></st1:country-region><o:p></o:p>
    Ciudad Tecun Uman<o:p></o:p>
    N14 40.521 W92 08.560<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    There were some helpers around. I chosed to ignore them and it straight to do the immigration work first. We paid US$4 for 2 person to leave the country and we had an exit stamp because we got out of that CA4 country. The officer didn’t want to issue a receipt for the payment until I persisted. Then we rode back to the Aduana which we had just passed.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I need to return the sticker which I got when I enter the country. I gave them my import permit document and passport. The officer gave me my passport back with a stamp ‘cancel’ on the import part. I was free to go and did not pay any money.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Enter <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Mexico</st1:place></st1:country-region><o:p></o:p>
    At CA1, most western border.<o:p></o:p>
    N14 40.627 W92 08.932<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    We are the only alien there to do the entry. We were granted 180 days and had an entry stamp on the passport. The officer gave us a tourist card (Don’t lose it!) and we had to pay 262pesos at any banks in <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:country-region w:st="on">Mexico</st1:country-region></st1:place> before we get out of the country. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Customs:<o:p></o:p>
    N14 54.435 W92 19.550<o:p></o:p>
    Had to ride about 80-100km away to Highway 200 to look for a Banjercito. it’s kind of a toll and inspection for all the vehicle. The import permit was handled by Banjercito. the Aduana at the border do not issue import permit. I gave the officer at the Banjercito my photocopy of VRD, passport and entry stamp into <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Mexico</st1:place></st1:country-region>. They return me with some papers and a sticker (I did not paste the sticker on my windscreen) and I paid the fees using a Debit Card, from Masters. I can’t remember how much was it. There was also a feedback form on the service of that officer. Try to tick ‘Malo’ if you don’t want to get a proper import permit. (Not recommended)<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Exit <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Mexico</st1:place></st1:country-region><o:p></o:p>
    <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Matamoros</st1:place></st1:City><o:p></o:p>
    N25 52.336 W97 28.531<o:p></o:p>
    The immigration and custom office is at the same hall. I had to make some illegal turns to get to the office as it is on the opposite side. Immigration was straight forward. I did not pay any money.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Custom: the officer went to check the bike VIN and requested to get all the documents I was issued when I enter the country, especially the sticker. He made a scan on the stickers and printed out a recipt from his pocket. I kept the recipt as a proof that I had ‘checked out’ of the country. I did not pay any money. I had to ride I an opposite direction of traffic flow for a few meters to the <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">USA</st1:place></st1:country-region> side. DONE!<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Conclusion:<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    There is no need to seek help from helpers. Those helpers are usually there to make the process more complicated and thus we had to pay special fees to get special clearance. They would usually whistle at you, shout for your attention or run towards you when you are riding into the immigration area. then they will instruct you where to park. IGNORE THEM. by following their fingers it meant that we had given off our defense from them. I would usually park at some place to my own comfort. Then those helpers will still come to the bike and tell us what to do. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Some of them persisted to follow me around and I told them I don’t understand Spanish. If they speak English that would be even better. I told one of them:<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I can’t afford to pay him anything. even US$1.00. If you are a nice man you can help me for free and we could be friends.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Sometimes the money changer at the border had better rates than in the town. Beware that they would mix some special notes in all the real notes. Don’t be attracted by those that came to you, shouting a good rate of exchange. I would usually go to those bossy type of money exchanger. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Visit the custom first, then the immigration. if not, then it’s the other way round. just have to make an extra ride for less than 1 minute. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    There is always the case where the custom officer makes typing mistake. Please check the document when you had recived. espically the name, plate number, VIN number and what ever numbers. There are cases where their computer only allow limited digits to key in information. If this happened, request them to make a special note and stamp on in. Upon exiting, the officals loved to see stamps and stamps. also all the blanks were being filled up.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    About CA4 that concerned <st1:country-region w:st="on">Guatemala</st1:country-region>, <st1:country-region w:st="on">El Salvador</st1:country-region>, <st1:country-region w:st="on">Honduras</st1:country-region> and <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:country-region w:st="on">Nicaragua</st1:country-region></st1:place>. Upon entering one of that country I would get a immigration stamp for 90days (depending on my country of origin) and this 90 days is valid for travel within this 4 countries. But crossing from one to another also requires paperwork. For example the Nicaragua-Honduras border, I still had to queue up to have my passport checked and registered, pay money to exit and entry but didn’t get a stamp. CA4 is not ‘friendly’ towards our vehicle import. I still have to import the bike, pay, get papers and export the bike, pay and get papers when we travel within these 4 countries. I only got an exit stamp in my passport when I exited <st1:country-region w:st="on">Guatemala</st1:country-region> to <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Mexico</st1:place></st1:country-region>.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    You may view my blog for some videos of how these ‘helpers’ reacted. <o:p></o:p>
    http://singaporedream-rtw.blogspot.com<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    #1
  2. kennyanc

    kennyanc Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,857
    Location:
    Asheville, NC
    Probably some good info there, but damn, that black type is hard to read.....
    #2
  3. Tricepilot

    Tricepilot Bailando Con Las Estrellas Super Moderator Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Oddometer:
    11,071
    Location:
    San Antonio
    We shall have this fixed

    [​IMG]
    #3
  4. Lobby

    Lobby Viel Spass, Vato!

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    Oddometer:
    30,220
    Location:
    San Antonio, Tx
    Cleaned up text:



    Border crossings of Central America, from South to North.

    Panama entry

    I arrived by sail boat from Columbia thus the captain didn’t gave me a proper import permit for the bike. We have to obtain 1 from Panama City.
    CURUNDU edficio 1009 frente a las instalaciones del MOP
    The phone number is Control Vehicular 506-6466 506-6467
    Central Telefónica 506-6400 506-6406
    N8 58.410 W79 32.846

    How:
    they didn’t check my bike.
    I showed them my vehicle registration details from Singapore and Passport. they gave me a proper import permit 15minutes later.

    Panama exit.
    Paso Canoas.
    N8 32.043 W82 50.300

    Immigration: was straight forward where they have a proper counter.

    Custom: I had to look for a guy to obtain a stamp or signature on the import permit as it is a ‘permission to exit’. Produce it to the Aduana office in the same building and it is done.

    Costa Rica Entry
    Paso Canoas.
    N8 32.104 W82 50.450

    Immigration: on the left of the road. Straight forward with filling up immigration form and health+declaration form.

    Custom:
    1) I had to go thro a gate to get ‘fumigated’ and get a piece of paper to show that I had been ‘fumigated’.
    2) Buy a 3rd party insurance from the only company there, which is behind the immigration counter. Produced my Vehicle Registration Details (VRD) and paid US$14.
    3) Go to the Aduana, an office where there were many bike traveler’s stickers are on the glass window. Gave them my photocopy of Driver’s License (From Singapore), Passport, VRD and the entry stamp where the immigration just stamped on my passport few minutes ago. Photocopy shop is across the street. Answer some questions from the officer and they will issue a computer printed import permit. I can’t remember paying anything. They are closed for lunch hours.

    Costa Rica Exit
    Penas Blancas


    N11 12.727 W85 36.660
    Immigration: It was chaotic due to the swine flu. The official do not allow anyone to enter the immigration hall and everyone was queuing up outside the building. Make sure you are in the correct queue. Fill in the exit form, from the security guard that was filtering humans from entering the office. The officals will come out of the office with a box and collect passports from those queuing on the line or anyone that was not on the line with longer hands or money stuffed in the passport. After queuing up for 3 hours, we noticed that it was not necessary to queue quietly. After the officals had collected about 40-50 passports, they would bring the box in to process and we have to wait outside the building for one hour before they bring out all the stamped passport and will shout individual’s name for collection. BEWARE that someone will just say yes to the officals when your name is being called. I did not pay any money.

    N11 12.590 W85 36.704
    Customs: Located before the immigration. Enter the building, 2nd door on the left where there is an old guy with long grey hair sitting alone in the office with temperature that will keep an ice-cream. Give him the import permit, he made some stamps and I got back nothing. It is done, so call the permit is cancelled. I did not pay any money.

    Nicaragua entry
    Penas Blancas

    1) Get a Declaration form from an officer that is standing on the middle of the road, helping vehicle owners to write the form. I didn’t pay any money.
    2) take the written form and bring it to a cashier (Caja) in front and pay US$3.00. Keep the recipt and the declaration form.
    3) ride pass the cashier, will reached a ‘fumigation gate’ but don’t go thro it, (400meters). Stop after it as an officer will spray some chemicals on the bike’s tires.
    4) will ride pass an unmanned custom (it’s the old office) then turn right into the new building where the buses stopped.
    N11 13.097 W85 36.744
    5) will be approached by some well dressed young ladies trying to sell the 3rd party insurance. I agreed on one of them and enquired about other information from her. then I went to the immigration.
    6) Immigration: filled up the form, paid US$7.00 for a $5.00 tourist card (where the other US$2 goes?) the passport is still with the officer.
    For me, as a Singaporean, the officer had not seen a passport like this and was unsure about my entry. he redirected me to another building to seek for permission to enter the country. It was a pretty hard process for me because I couldn’t understand Spanish well.

    7) Went to the health counter to declare health statues. got the stamped health statues card and show it to the immigration officer then he released the passport and immigration card back to me.

    Customs:

    1) Have to look for 1 officer to sign/stamp on the declaration form which I got earlier. (I enquired from the insurance lady about which was the man.)
    2) take the form, look for another officer, he was supposed to check the bike and sign/stamp on the declaration form.
    3) buy the 3rd party insurance form that lady. US$12.
    4) Aduana was along the same building as the bank, which is also opposite to the immigration. I handed over my VRD, Singapore Driver’s license, passport and the 3rd party insurance which I bought earlier to the counter. After printing out the import permit, the officer passed all the documents to the next table where a policeman checked on my insurance that I have bought and put some stamps on the import permit before giving all the documents back. I did not pay any money.

    Before getting out of this place, I had to show my passport with the valid stamp, import permit and the declaration form some officers at the exit gate. They will keep the declaration form and return the rest. Off I went before paying US1.00/person at this gate with a proper receipt.

    Nicaragua Exit + Honduras Entry
    Las Manos.
    N13 47.523 W86 34.191

    1) I was stopped by a ‘string gate’, got off the bike, walked to an officer (with uniform and tag) with my bike import permit. He took it and wrote some stuff in a book. CLEAR! for the bike.
    2) Ride the bike in for 20 meters where the Nicaragua and Honduras immigration share the same office. Paid Nicaragua US$2/person to exit, paid US$3/person to Honduras for entrance. They did not give me an exit stamp nor an entry stamp on both countries. They just took note of the details in their computer/notepad.
    3)Aduana: I rode further down the road where on the left with an orange wall with some windows, above the windows is written: Transito, Entrega de Documentos, Importaciones Exportacion.

    there is a clear instruction on how to pay written on the window:

    Note to all tourist:
    In this customs, the steps to obtain a temporary the permission of entry and exit of the vehicle (Form 9A-1) is personal.
    The whole of Dollars when sound of $42.50, removed this way:
    1) $20.00 of filming (right of traffic of the vehicle in the national territory)
    2) $1.50 for inspection of the vehicle.
    3) $7.00 this one is the value of the form 9A-1 that is paid in the bank
    4) $14.00 these are paid in Aduanet’s window for the fingering of the form 9A-1.
    5) It must present 2 copies of: passport license of driving, traffic in force registration, the plate of the vehicle and any another document related to the autorail

    ---A receipt will spread over the payment of the payment of the form 9A-1 and the filming and inspection, which you will pay at the bank.

    When this enclosure the bank, there was paid to the official that this of shift.

    It does not have to do any payment extra, if it is like that denounce it in the office of the administration.

    Anyway, it was an easy Sunday. I showed up, gave the officer 2 copies of my passport, VRD and license. In return, he had a big stamp on my passport that filled up 1 page and the filled form 9A-1. I have to go to the copying shop to zap 2 copies of these new documents for the officer. I paid US43.00 direct to the officer as the bank was closed. It was a Sunday. I did not get any receipt. Done! the officer didn’t request me to buy an motor insurance. There was a ‘helper’ that wanted to lead me to buy an unnecessary motor insurance.

    Honduras exit and El Salvador Entry.
    El Poy
    N14 22.451 W89 12.571
    12 June 2009, weekday.

    I recived a form to be filled up at the first Gantry. the form is for Salvador. The officer made a signature on this form.

    Riding for 20 meters, an officer of Honduras checked my passport that I had a stamp coming into the CA4 country.

    The El Salvador and Honduras Aduana together. I went to submit the temp import permit from Honduras to the officer. He made some typing, checked my VIN number on the bike, made another big stamp on my passport that filled up one page.

    I hand over the form I recived from the first gantry (filled up by now) to the El Salvador Aduana. She passed it to another man to do some check on my motorbike and it was being passed back to her. she did some typing together with my VRD, and photocopies of VRD and passport. In return she gave me the proper computer printed Temp import permit. there was a mistake on the capacity of my bike but she doesn’t want to change it, kept saying ‘no problemo’, then she asked an English speaking officer to tell me in English ‘no problem’.

    Done, ride the bike to the last gantry of El Salvador where an officer checked the passport and temp import permit.

    I didn’t pay any money. No ‘helpers’ hassling around. We didn’t have any entry/exit stamp on the immigration part.


    Exit El Salvador, entering Guatemala

    La Hachadura

    I handed the temp import permit of El Salvador to the officer at the first gantry with a photocopied (for cancelation). He gave me the photocopied back with a stamp and I could proceed on.
    N13 51.541 W90 05.186

    There was a check on the bridge. the officer wanted to see our passport and the photocopied piece of temp import permit with that stamp.

    On the Guatemala side, I stopped before a gate where the aduana had a small window. I presented the photocopy of my passport, license and VRD. I passed him my original passport, VRD, license and that copy of temp import permit from El Salvador with a stamp. N13 52.083 W90 05.535

    He made some typing and handed me a paper, asked me to pay 40 quetzals (US$6) to the bank. I went to pay to the bank with exact US$6.00 and I had 2 out of the 4 papers back. I present it to the officer. He gave me the proper computer printed import permit and a windscreen sticker.

    The bank is a door next to the aduana window. it was a Sunday (14 June 2009), it took me about 1 hour to process everything. no hassles except to look out for some kids around.

    Exit Guatemala
    Ciudad Tecun Uman
    N14 40.521 W92 08.560

    There were some helpers around. I chosed to ignore them and it straight to do the immigration work first. We paid US$4 for 2 person to leave the country and we had an exit stamp because we got out of that CA4 country. The officer didn’t want to issue a receipt for the payment until I persisted. Then we rode back to the Aduana which we had just passed.

    I need to return the sticker which I got when I enter the country. I gave them my import permit document and passport. The officer gave me my passport back with a stamp ‘cancel’ on the import part. I was free to go and did not pay any money.

    Enter Mexico
    At CA1, most western border.
    N14 40.627 W92 08.932

    We are the only alien there to do the entry. We were granted 180 days and had an entry stamp on the passport. The officer gave us a tourist card (Don’t lose it!) and we had to pay 262pesos at any banks in Mexico before we get out of the country.

    Customs:
    N14 54.435 W92 19.550
    Had to ride about 80-100km away to Highway 200 to look for a Banjercito. it’s kind of a toll and inspection for all the vehicle. The import permit was handled by Banjercito. the Aduana at the border do not issue import permit. I gave the officer at the Banjercito my photocopy of VRD, passport and entry stamp into Mexico. They return me with some papers and a sticker (I did not paste the sticker on my windscreen) and I paid the fees using a Debit Card, from Masters. I can’t remember how much was it. There was also a feedback form on the service of that officer. Try to tick ‘Malo’ if you don’t want to get a proper import permit. (Not recommended)

    Exit Mexico
    Matamoros
    N25 52.336 W97 28.531
    The immigration and custom office is at the same hall. I had to make some illegal turns to get to the office as it is on the opposite side. Immigration was straight forward. I did not pay any money.

    Custom: the officer went to check the bike VIN and requested to get all the documents I was issued when I enter the country, especially the sticker. He made a scan on the stickers and printed out a recipt from his pocket. I kept the recipt as a proof that I had ‘checked out’ of the country. I did not pay any money. I had to ride I an opposite direction of traffic flow for a few meters to the USA side. DONE!


    Conclusion:

    There is no need to seek help from helpers. Those helpers are usually there to make the process more complicated and thus we had to pay special fees to get special clearance. They would usually whistle at you, shout for your attention or run towards you when you are riding into the immigration area. then they will instruct you where to park. IGNORE THEM. by following their fingers it meant that we had given off our defense from them. I would usually park at some place to my own comfort. Then those helpers will still come to the bike and tell us what to do.

    Some of them persisted to follow me around and I told them I don’t understand Spanish. If they speak English that would be even better. I told one of them:

    I can’t afford to pay him anything. even US$1.00. If you are a nice man you can help me for free and we could be friends.

    Sometimes the money changer at the border had better rates than in the town. Beware that they would mix some special notes in all the real notes. Don’t be attracted by those that came to you, shouting a good rate of exchange. I would usually go to those bossy type of money exchanger.

    Visit the custom first, then the immigration. if not, then it’s the other way round. just have to make an extra ride for less than 1 minute.

    There is always the case where the custom officer makes typing mistake. Please check the document when you had recived. espically the name, plate number, VIN number and what ever numbers. There are cases where their computer only allow limited digits to key in information. If this happened, request them to make a special note and stamp on in. Upon exiting, the officals loved to see stamps and stamps. also all the blanks were being filled up.

    About CA4 that concerned Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. Upon entering one of that country I would get a immigration stamp for 90days (depending on my country of origin) and this 90 days is valid for travel within this 4 countries. But crossing from one to another also requires paperwork. For example the Nicaragua-Honduras border, I still had to queue up to have my passport checked and registered, pay money to exit and entry but didn’t get a stamp. CA4 is not ‘friendly’ towards our vehicle import. I still have to import the bike, pay, get papers and export the bike, pay and get papers when we travel within these 4 countries. I only got an exit stamp in my passport when I exited Guatemala to Mexico.

    You may view my blog for some videos of how these ‘helpers’ reacted.
    http://singaporedream-rtw.blogspot.com
    #4
  5. Lobby

    Lobby Viel Spass, Vato!

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    Oddometer:
    30,220
    Location:
    San Antonio, Tx
    There are several ways to clean up posts like these:

    1. Quote the post, then edit the quoted portion to remove the formatting info. But this is a long post and it would take over 30 minutes to do this.
    DAMHIK :bluduh

    2. Select the text in the post with your mouse or keyboard, copy it, paste it into a text editor, then re-paste it into your own post. That's what I did, and only took about 15 seconds.

    :bmwrider


    Excellent post, btw. Really good info. :thumb
    #5
  6. Tricepilot

    Tricepilot Bailando Con Las Estrellas Super Moderator Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Oddometer:
    11,071
    Location:
    San Antonio
    Thanks for...

    [​IMG]
    #6
  7. singaporedream

    singaporedream Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2009
    Oddometer:
    60
    Thanks lobby! i didnt realised its not easy to read.
    #7
  8. candohome

    candohome Notta Poser

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2004
    Oddometer:
    255
    Location:
    Earth Usually
    Appreciate the time to document your travels. Great help in my planning to moto to Ecuador. Tried to donate but alas me and Paypal do not get along. If you make it to Minnesota I will deliver a Tiger.
    #8
  9. westnash

    westnash Long timer

    Joined:
    May 9, 2004
    Oddometer:
    3,827
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    should be filed under "stupid print color"
    #9
  10. subcomm

    subcomm adrenaline junkie

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2008
    Oddometer:
    212
    Location:
    San Marcos, Texas
    Wow! Sounds like the Customs procedures are a real breeze, kinda of makes you think twice about doing multi country Latin American trips.
    #10
  11. Tricepilot

    Tricepilot Bailando Con Las Estrellas Super Moderator Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Oddometer:
    11,071
    Location:
    San Antonio
    Subcomandante:

    To breeze through, just keep a low profile and don't attract attention as an obnoxious American. Here's how to do it:

    [​IMG]

    Bob :jose
    #11
  12. Nata Harli

    Nata Harli Accidental Tourista

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,566
    Location:
    Kansas City, MISSOURI
    Give the guy credit for all the work he put into this. Besides, he's a relative noob and Lobby fixed it for him.

    Thanks, singaporedream, for taking the time to post this. :super As Lobby stated, if anyone has a problem reading it (and I did) it's an easy fix.
    #12
  13. damasovi

    damasovi Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    3,095
    Location:
    Ensenada, Baja California
    singapur dude!

    thanks for posting this, for me it is very valuable, If you are coming north to BAjA give me a PM

    Damasovi
    #13
  14. luciosiq

    luciosiq Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    Oddometer:
    378
    Location:
    Santos - Brazil
    Great Report, Singaporedream !!!! :clap

    One additional thing that we should clarify :

    Most Riders believe that we MUST take our Vehicle Title with us while riding in Latin America.
    I have just finish our ride from USA to Brazil and we only had the Vehicle Registration with us.

    You can take your Vehicle Title if you want, but it is definitely NOT mandatory.

    Thanks a lot for your effort.
    Take care.
    #14
  15. Eduardo

    Eduardo Eduardo

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    Oddometer:
    689
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Hola Sinaporedream, Excellent post. You had the best luck I've ever heard crossing into and out of Honduras....much better than my nightmare. [​IMG] Saludos, Eduardo
    #15
  16. daveg

    daveg no longer homeless

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2006
    Oddometer:
    789
    Location:
    KC MO
    He's only a noob on this board. He and his wife have been traveling RTW for a couple of years on an Africa Twin. I met them in Ushuaia and they're now staying at my house in Houston trying to get a new motor for the AT.


    dg
    #16
  17. singaporedream

    singaporedream Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2009
    Oddometer:
    60
    hi candohome,

    thanks for the invitation. i will keep it in mind.

    hope the 'singlish' i used was not too difficult for u.

    goh
    #17
  18. candohome

    candohome Notta Poser

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2004
    Oddometer:
    255
    Location:
    Earth Usually
    We may have to settle for an american lager between here and Texas. Should be heading out in the next couple of weeks. Leave your troubles at home at home and forge ahead with what you have where you are.
    #18
  19. ruedaloca

    ruedaloca just me

    Joined:
    May 23, 2008
    Oddometer:
    446
    Location:
    That little country at Central America
    Do not pay to anyone else than a officer at the borders !!, at least pay to the corrupts police men when you pass the border because they ask for some money for their "cocas" (coca cola)... usually at Guatemala, a little in Honduras, too.

    A lot of people (children and old men) will try to assist you when you arrive to the border and you show your foreign look, don´t let them to confuse you, just look for the ¨Migra¨ offices, or some police man, so they give you the right information to do the papers.
    #19
  20. Pedro Navaja

    Pedro Navaja Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,590
    Location:
    USA
    Singaporedream,

    Great post and welcome to ADVrider :thumb

    Mike
    #20