How to cross to Guatemala at Tapachula, Mexico

Discussion in 'Americas' started by MplsMoto, Dec 20, 2013.

  1. MplsMoto

    MplsMoto Wheels

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    Using this forum for the last six months has been a bit frustrating, most of the established threads like Mexico Trip Planning and the Is Mexico Safe threads have long ago seriously digressed - making it hard to find good info without spending hours sifting through off-topic responses, so I'm just going to make a thread for this info.

    So you want to cross the Mexico - Guatemala border at Tapachula instead La Mesilla? I didn't find it all that hard, but I did it on a Sunday - your mileage may vary.

    This is for the crossing North of Tapachula on 200 near Cacahoatan, Chiapas into El Carmen, Guatemala.

    It will get pretty crazy, both as you enter the area on the Mexico side (groups of men on the road) and when you get to the Guatemala side. Stay calm, stay focused and go about your business - once they realize you know what your doing they will leave you alone. These guys are trying to get you confused and nervous, stay calm.

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    1. If you need to cancel your import permit, go to the Banjercito at the aduana in Huixtla. You will run into fake aduana on both the north side and the south side at the topas - don't stop, and if you do just pretend you're going to pull over and keep going. They will show you fake badges, but if someone isn't in uniform they are not real aduana. They want your passport so they can extort you to get it back.

    You will have to go through customs just as if you are entering the border, you may get searched. Make sure to hand them receipt from the Banjercito. You will be escorted back to the southbound lane when you are all done by a aduana official in a truck. No big deal.

    If you're coming from the north, use one of the turnarounds and go back. You have to enter from the south on 200.

    2. Head towards the border out of Tapachula on 200. I stayed on the south side (Holliday Inn Express - $80) and rode the loop around the city, saving an hour of BS through the city.

    3. Coming into the border on the Mexico side people will try to stop you again at topas, keep going. Stop at the Mexico aduana and get your exit stamp - you will have to get this, despite what others say on this forum.

    Go through on the right over the metal topas and pull up on the right by the guys at the desk with the guns. You will be swamped by money changers.

    4. Go back across the three lanes to the immigration office and hand in your visa and get your stamp. I had to pay about $23 dollars (visa fee) again - they didn't accept my receipt from Discover Baja in San Diego - you may be fine if you paid in MX. You will need Guate money, so know the exchange rate and negotiate - take your time and relax. Just exchange all your money if you get a good rate, your pesos are not good in Guate.

    5. Go over the bridge, half a block up on the left will be the Guate immigration - ignore the "helpers" they will swarm you - park in front of the gate and don't pay anyone to "move a cone, you'll be able to see your bike the whole time so don't pay someone to watch it. Don't pay anyone to do anything. Just say "no nececito" and go about your business.

    6. Hand your passport to the real immigration official behind the gate and get your entry stamp. I can't remember if I paid anything here, but if I did it wasn't much.

    7. Get back on your bike and go one block-in to the fumigation station. You'll get sprayed and and pay the guy a small fee (70Q?). Bring something to clean-off your disks, I didn't and now my disks are squeaking.

    8. Get back on your bike and pull ahead to the Guate customs on the right side under the canopy and park behind the next vehicle. You will be parked here for awhile, but your bike will be in site for the rest of your process and watched by the officials. Don't lock your steering or your bike may get dropped as they WILL move your bike ahead for you.

    9. Go into the office, it's the entry at the end of all the windows, don't go to the windows.

    10. Fill out your paperwork. You'll need title, registration, passport and drivers license.

    11. You'll be asked to get copies of all these, including your passport with Guate stamp. The copy office is 10 steps from here, just go out to your left and look to your right - it's right next to the tienda - right there under the canopy.

    12. Take the copies back to the customs office and get your next piece of paperwork, two pieces of paper for the bank (you will not give money at the office). Go back out to your left, the bank is right there under the canopy.

    13. Pay your fees and go back to the copy office for more copies.

    14. Take the copies back to the customs office and get your paperwork completed. They will hand your paperwork to the guy sitting at the desk outside one of the windows on the street. He'll check the numbers and put a permit sticker on your bike.

    You're done. It took me 2.5 hours on a Sunday. The bank took the longest, there was a line - many vehicle importers taking cars and bikes into Guate.

    PM me if you have any questions.
    #1
  2. oneway

    oneway Tehachapi CA

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    Thanks for taking the time and having the incentive to post this procedure.
    Hope you're having fun down there.
    #2
  3. huguesfrederic

    huguesfrederic HF

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    Thanks:clap
    #3
  4. Cannabinoid

    Cannabinoid Banned

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    Excellent info, thank you very much.
    #4
  5. The Breeze

    The Breeze Been here awhile

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    Great write up:clap

    I especially like the aerial photo with the notations.

    Thanks, I'm going to be make this crossing in a couple of months.....this will be very helpful:freaky
    #5
  6. MplsMoto

    MplsMoto Wheels

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    You're all welcome, thanks for the feedback. I love this forum and hate it at the same time - so hard to find the info you're looking for at times. I'll be posting my other crossings as I work my way to Costa Rica. These are the toughest part of the trip, especially when you're riding solo.

    Let me say that coming into this crossing was very intense. The groups of people trying to get me to stop at the three topas for the 1/8 mile coming into the crossing were very intimidating - one person either pretended to, or did throw a rock at me.

    The helpers will absolutely swarm you, just keep your head down and do your business - they are not dangerous.

    With the longer travel bike I can just blow through topas so I just kept going when in doubt.

    Safe travels, PM with any questions.
    #6
  7. akaDigger

    akaDigger Amateur Adventurer

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    Thanks MplsMoto. I read this thread with great interest because I will likely cross there in a few weeks. "The latest" info is usually better. I will have no need of cancelling my TVIP since I will cross back only days later. Lake Atitlan will likely be as far as I go this trip. I understand that an exit stamp in my passport will be required. Hope I can just keep my FMM for the return trip.
    #7
  8. MplsMoto

    MplsMoto Wheels

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    I've heard of people not having to get the stamp at La Mesilla.

    I'm at San Pedro Lago de Atitlan right now, PM me if you have any questions. You will enter off the Trans Con Hwy and take a pretty sketchy paved ride down the mountain to get here. The other options to the East are more dangerous (bandits), but you can call ahead to the police and they will meet you if that's your plan.
    #8
  9. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    Whoa, whoa!!!!
    " La Merill " border crossing ?!?!?!?!?!?
    Back up there about twenty blocks Mplsmoto.
    Your new thread is well intended , trying to save the impatient and clueless from having to wade
    through and research other threads.
    But in your first post you are already providing a number of unclear, confusing and plain wrong inputs . And some of the trusting uninformed readers are prematurely thanking you for it!
    Please take your first post and do a thorough fact check and edit out all of the errors and straighten up the confusing information points you give.
    Switch off the autocorrection feature of your device , or at least proof read your copy to catch words where it overrode your intended phrase. If you want to use Spanish words switch the language choice to Spanish and it will correct for you in that language

    It would though be easier for you once you get things corrected to in future post all your information for any more crossings on www. borderhelper .com , the site set up by Dr Benny an ADV member . Here on ADV you can simply post a link to that site whenever you have new information added to direct us to cleanly presented new knowledge.

    Borderhelper is well designed to avoid the frustration that you have with research . Borderhelper gives clear direct near instant access to nearly every border crossing on earth by having each point already flagged on a world map.
    All you need to do is click on the crossing of choice and you may add your new ... Well researched and Accurate .... information . ACCURACY must be your prime consideration .

    Your effort is well intended but this thread will soon enough turn into the same bog of trivial comments , thankyous and digressions unrelated to any border which you dislike in the other threads.

    You have a pm.
    #9
  10. MplsMoto

    MplsMoto Wheels

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    And thus, why I hate this forum at times... piss off, you could have just sent me a PM if you had an issue with my post.

    Maybe it's time to ditch this forum and go over to Horizons permanently. I'm not trying to create a knowledge base here - just making an easy find post. I did check the Border Crossings site, and there is only one entry for Tapachula and it's not very good.

    The posting for La Mesilla (so sorry I spelled it wrong once out of 5) is much better and more in line with what I posted.

    "confusing and plain wrong inputs"? Wow, I crossed the border and that's how it went down, do you know something I don't? My points are correct as to my experience, if you see a discrepancy or know something different please let me know what it is and I'll make appropriate corrections.

    And please follow rule number one in life, don't be a dick.
    #10
  11. MplsMoto

    MplsMoto Wheels

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    I just want to add, I've run into many riders along the way and they've all voiced the same complaints with the ADV forum.

    Anytime someone says something slightly critical of this forum they get jumped all over by someone who makes 20 trivial posts a day - so they just go away and find another place to find information.

    "Impatient and clueless"? Well I guess you could say it that way, but we're all at different levels - but I'm not impatient. I spent 5 hours reading through the "Is Mexico Safe" thread and only got through 200 pages - I'm far from impatient. I'm busy, and I'm trying to find the safest route to my destination - that's what I expect to find on a sticky called "Is Mexico Safe".

    And clueless, yes - that's why I'm here. I'm looking for specific information because I'm trying to learn and share the knowledge I've gained. I'm lucky to have a decent wifi connection most of the time - much less having to wade through page after page of useless comments when I should be lubing my chain and visiting local interests.

    I'm out of here. This place has lost another rider, I'll leave it to the trolls and the bored, myopic know-it-alls. Adios (did I spell that correctly?)

    Whoever it is that runs this site really needs to get a handle on the inmates. So much potential here to be a really great site.
    #11
  12. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    Wow , You must be having a really,really, really bad day.
    If you are "not trying to create a knowledge base " then what is that
    "easy to find thread " supposed to be , a new novel?
    La Merill does not rank as a misspelling, it is a totally different word which only happened to share a few letters with your supposed target town. How on earth could anybody who was totally uninformed know what you meant ?
    #12
  13. MplsMoto

    MplsMoto Wheels

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    Wouldn't it have been easier to point out my specific mistake so I could correct it, then to be passive aggressive about it? I will change it to La Mesilla.

    What if you had just said "I think you mean La Mesilla" and we could have moved on.

    An honest mistake, which could have been corrected without four more posts on this thread. I'm not claiming to be an authority, just trying to help my fellow travelers. Your handling if this issue is exactly the kind of BS that many people despise on this forum.

    I've moderated two major forums in the last ten years, and I'm always dismayed that things ultimately digress to a small percentage of the users who seem to revel in antagonizing and trolling other users.

    It's not just this forum, some people like to camp-out on the forum and dominate the conversations - feeling they have to interject for the most trivial of reasons. Your responses are so typical of this type of behavior.

    I'm not exaggerating when I say I've had this conversation 10 times during my trip, and that I had this exact conversation with a fellow traveler just two days ago in San Pedro Atitlan. I say "are you on ADV?" and the response is always the same... "yea, but I don't post there anymore - I only go there when I really need something... too many A-holes on there".

    I fully agree, and this will be my last post ever here.
    #13
  14. slowoldguy

    slowoldguy Tire Tester

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    Uhhh....Don't let the door hit you in the ass ?? It's the interwebz. ADV outside CSM and jomomma ain't that bad. Just know going in that you will be challenged and don't let it bother you. Dust ups are gonna happen.
    #14
  15. KustomizingKid

    KustomizingKid Been here awhile

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    People need to chill the fuck out.
    #15
  16. MplsMoto

    MplsMoto Wheels

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    For those who PM'd me about the Tapachula/El Carmen crossing, I owe you this followup. The following site is very helpful for many crossings. http://wikioverland.org

    The information I've found here is more complete than http://www.borderhelper.com and very well structured in wiki format, although you may want to check borderhelper as well.

    pax maac - the La Hachadura El Salvador information is the most complete I have found.

    I will move the information from this thread to http://wikioverland.com soon and detail my subsequent crossings there as well.
    #16
  17. akaDigger

    akaDigger Amateur Adventurer

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    Thanks for pointing to the wikioverland site. I had never seen it before now.
    #17
  18. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    Nice to see you clarified a few of the points about the border crossing from. Tapachula to Talisman Guatemala, and that you are going to post future info about more borders on that wiki overland site .
    Although , I do suspect that on that particular site it is going to be just as hard to locate the information as the ADV site threads you despise for being so difficult and overladen with unrelated prose.
    I clicked on your link and it got me on there but after clicking and clicking around for 15 minutes I still could not locate your Talisman report. I can't even get to any section related to border crossings.
    I admit readily to not being a computer whiz , clueless in that respect, and I can easily imagine others having similar difficulty.
    I still think the www.borderhelper.com site is more user friendly. One only needs to open borderhelper , look at the map, find the border point flag for the crossing one desires and click on that and you are RIGHT THERE , almost instantly.
    Don't hold a grudge , why not post your concise new information on borderhelper too at the same time , you only need to compose one report then copy and paste it on both sites, I don't think that is illegal , is it .?
    #18
  19. stormdog

    stormdog Long timer

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    I know it is a different crossing point, but I crossed from Belize into Guatemala yesterday and it was one of the easiest crossings ever. I don't speak any Spanish ,but there were plenty of helpful folks to point me in the right direction. It took about one and a half hours in and out.
    #19
  20. MplsMoto

    MplsMoto Wheels

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    I haven't posted anything anywhere other than here. I probably won't get around to posting elsewhere for awhile - I'm busy crossing borders! 4 borders in 6 days, one down 3 to go.

    Also, the original misspelling came from another thread on Lonely Planet (I did a copy/paste), it's one of the threads I used to research my crossing.

    http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?threadID=2284560
    #20