Mexico and Central America Ride Planning and Road Wisdom

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Jeff Munn, May 30, 2006.

  1. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town...

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    Hey all,

    I'm planning on running down to Panama from the US next month and into November. I have a couple questions.

    1. My understanding is that I can get a Mexican TVIP for up to 180 days. It appears that one could NOT close out their TVIP when entering Guatemala (or Belize, or back into the US for that matter) to save the hassle of doing it again in a few weeks. Is this the case, or am I missing something? I saw a passing reference where someone had to show their Banjercito paperwork to the Guatemalan entry officials to show they had properly exited MX.

    2. I am unfortunately in need of making time returning north on this trip. My route goes around El Salvador southbound (with less time constraints), but as I am trying to meet some family in Puerto Quetzal in Guatemala, chose a return route along the coast, staying on the Pan Am. Would you suggest going around El Salvador, staying in Honduras to cross directly into Guatemala to avoid the extra crossing, or stick to the Pan Am? Which is more likely to save time?
    Essentially, I'm racing a cruise ship from the Panama Canal (Nov 13) to Puerto Quetzal (Nov 17). If everything proceeds well, is this even feasible?

    3. Are there any other efficiencies possible in Central America for travelers passing back through the other way after a recent transit?
  2. SkizzMan

    SkizzMan aka SkiddMark ;^)

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    Hola ScotsFire,

    I'll respond to the first two questions:

    1. Yes, you can cancel your Mexican FMM and keep the TVIP for your return leg. I have done this in the past and expect to again in
    November. One thing Guatemalan Migracion looks for is the exit stamp from Mexico in your passport so watch where they stamp it

    2. I've yet to ride south beyond Guatemala so I've asked for input from those who have and have decided to save time (I'll
    only have seven days from Austin - San Jose) by skipping El Salvador, entering Honduras at Corinto and Nicaragua at Las Manos

    NB: earlier this year it became known (from a very well-known world rider) that a criminal organization has infiltrated the Panamanian
    Migracion and are preying upon foreign land travelers leaving the country. One known scam is for Migracion to withhold one of several
    required exit forms then catch the unwary traveler trying to exit Panama without the form. Incarceration, interrogation and extortion
    attempts followed in this case. So, be sure you have all required docs returned to you at the Migracion window before exiting the country.

    I'm leaving Austin Nov 2 for Costa Rica. Maybe see you along the PanAm somewhere.
  3. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town...

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    Wow. Seven days makes my timeline look pretty relaxed. I'm planning on leaving North Idaho Oct 20-ish and taking just over three weeks to get to the Canal, then fourteen days back north so I won't miss Thanksgiving with the GF.

    I just saw information on WikiOverland.org that says that once a vehicle leaves Guatemala, it cannot re-enter for 90 days. Have you heard of that at all?
  4. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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    That is true if you cancel the TVIP when leaving Gaute. Do not cancel the permit, keep it open if you will be back north in the time of the permit. This is where speaking Spanish is handy because the Guatemalan aduana usually asks if you will be returning and then allow you to keep it open. The same with Honduras just tell them you will be returning in the next week or 2. When exiting Honduras he asked if I would be returning and if I returned at the same crossing he would keep my paper work open on his desk.....2 weeks alter I returned and they went through the paper work pile and pulled out my permit and said have a nice day. They stamped my passport with a large stamp that showed and said they kept my permit. They said if I returned through another crossing I would have to open a new permit.
  5. BirddogVet

    BirddogVet Anticipating... on the road again.

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    As one who did it solo a couple of years past...

    Would you rush through heaven ?

    Tranquilo.

    Patience at border crossings.

    The fun is in the getting there.

    I'm probably a lot older, too old, than y'all, 'nevermind.'
  6. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town...

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    I know, I know. This trip plan is TOTALLY not the manner in which I want to see places. I’m a firm believer in the slow travel philosophy.

    But I have a window of opportunity (to make my family continue to think I’m a nut) that I’m gonna take if I can. They are taking a cruise that passes through the canal, and were pressuring me to go with, “since you love to travel and all.” I made a few comments under my breath about waving to them as they float by in the canal that they didn’t take very seriously. I’ll show them!

    I’ve put in for a couple of jobs that would make it a moot point in any case, so we’ll have to see how it all shakes out.
    Davidprej and SkizzMan like this.
  7. Grynch

    Grynch Long timer

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    Great
  8. SkizzMan

    SkizzMan aka SkiddMark ;^)

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    Good advice for most travelers most of the time. In my case I can either fly down after my son’s wedding and rent a bike or rush down on my own bike then take my time on the return.

    That’s life.....
  9. SkizzMan

    SkizzMan aka SkiddMark ;^)

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    Good stuff, Cal. So I’ll exit and enter Honduras at Las Manos to make this work. Must I use the same POE’s for Guate as well?
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  10. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    Yes , as Skizz points out , you are free to choose leaving your MEXICAN TVIP in effect for the time you will be in Central America . You will have to cancel the FMM though and get a new one when you come back into Mexico.

    Make it clear to the Migracion of Guatemala, and of every country, that you want to come back within a few weeks and that you need your GUATEMALAN TVIP ( and the TVIP of each country ) kept open and functional for your return passage . Be sure to take that paper and save it along with every other document and receipt they issue at every border and save them all for your return trip processing out and in to successive countries .

    As your target for the return is Puerto Quetzal in Guatemala I see it as a futile attempt to race there from "the Panama Canal " in the FOUR DAYS you have restricted yourself to . Dont kill yourself .
    At WHAT part of the "Panama Canal " are you going to wave at them and at what hour of the day ? Any road you take is going to be slow .
    In this effort it would be as fast to cut through El Salvador on CA2 and hug the coast . There is no time to be gained by riding around through Honduras which would just add a lot more distance away from that coast , distance which woud take up more time than what you will spend at the one extra customs crossing.
    Cross into ES at El Amatillo and take CA1 as far as San Miguel then cut south to begin CA 2
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  11. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town...

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    Sjoerd,
    Thank you for the advice. I fully understand that my timeline is not ideal, and will break from it if things are not progressing as planned. There are any number of things that could delay me (weather being the most likely I would think) and I’ll let them do so.

    The smile and wave at the canal is the key checkpoint, Puerto Quetzal (or any other interactions with the family) would just be gravy. I do not know when they go through on the 13th except that it will be daytime. I was going to try to be at Puente Centenario, or maybe even a little further NW, so as to see them a little sooner and get some miles in after they pass.

    The fam will also be in Punta Arenas CR on the 15th, which may be a safer bet to hit. I would skip Puerto Quetzal in that case, and go slower and see more of what I’d rather see. Do you feel that would be an easier/safer goal?

    Is it required to return through every country at the same port of entry to keep the TVIP open? Specifically Guatemala as they have the 90 day restriction on re-entry?

    While I’d rather not spend the extra bucks to get a new TVIP on the way back through, I might do so to see a different route north if that was a possibility. Obviously I’ll need to make that decision on the way south (and Guatemala has made it for me already).
  12. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    image.jpeg
    That looks like a simpler challenge that might succeed -only one border crossing and all of it on low country , no winding mountain roads to to slow you .
    And will they dock in Punta Arenas for very long ? Scheduled times in you possible arrival ?
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  13. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    Skizz and everybody , lissenup !
    Once you have your documents in order you can cross out of the country at ANY other border crossing you like , and you can come back in at any other official crossing as long as it has the full services for Migracion and ADUANA .
    Do not cross at the tiny crossings where the locals zip back and forth without a hindrance .Most , if not all, have by now an Internet connection to the HQ in La Capital. They can communicate wth the point where you entered their country .

    If that type of restriction was in place how on earth could anybody travel south to the next country , Skizz ? Repeat. :
    You can cross at ANY LEGAL BORDER CROSSING . This is true for every country you travel through .
    And ScotsFire , your MEXICAN TVIP is valid for six months keep it and cross into Mexico wherever you like . They all work on the same set of rules .
    tsimmons, ScotsFire and matthewg123 like this.
  14. Tricepilot

    Tricepilot Bailando Con Las Estrellas Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    Love it when Sjoerd taps the Fireball & Red Bull
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  15. AllSeasonRider

    AllSeasonRider Wandering, maybe a little lost...

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    Can you believe I've read this whole thread?

    I'm starting to seriously plan a CA/SA ride that's been in the back of my head for a while and the info in here is invaluable. I'll probably do a quick long weekend in Baja this winter to get my feet wet. I currently ride a 1090 that's well set up, but looking at getting a 690 to better handle the kind of riding I do.
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  16. matthewg123

    matthewg123 Adventurer

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    I'm planning on doing a CA ride, TX-Panama-TX this winter. My current bikes are a loaded 02 r1150gs and a 1991 dr440, both of which have their merits and detriments. I'm undecided on what to ride- heavy and comfortable, capable and ready to go, or lightweight, simple, basic, and nimble?
  17. AllSeasonRider

    AllSeasonRider Wandering, maybe a little lost...

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    @matthewg123 I'm not sure there's a wrong choice. For me, the 690 is less because I think I'll need it and more because I just kinda want one. My plan is to get the 690, ride it for a bit and see if I like it enough to sell the 1090. I'm confident that either would take me where I want to do, though the lighter bike will be less of a headache if I get over my head.
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  18. matthewg123

    matthewg123 Adventurer

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    I am considering the triumph 800xcx or the 800gsa as an upgrade, although I'd never sell the r1150gs, it was gifted to me and is perfect for Maine's commuting and coastal/mtn roads.

    If I go south, I'll be with a friend on his r65. I have to consider the limitations of his motorcycle when choosing what I ride. He can't go anywhere my r1150gs can, but my r1150 and my dr440 can go where his r65 can't..

    Perhaps he should ride my dr440
    View attachment 1885363
  19. knight

    knight Been here awhile

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    The Buick sized pot holes in the roads of Honduras will make for slower travel times

    You can make better time crossing borders , if you overtake every bus you come upon
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  20. SkizzMan

    SkizzMan aka SkiddMark ;^)

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    Sjoerd,

    My question was directed to @Cal to clarify his earlier post about Honduras and exiting/entering at the same POE.

    I’d still like to read his reply clarifying his post.
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