Palenque to Tikal via moto; possible?

Discussion in 'Americas' started by srileo, Jan 10, 2009.

  1. randyisanomad

    randyisanomad Adventurer

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    Hey Boulder,

    El Ceibo is DEFINITELY the easiest border crossing. The Immigration guy is actually pretty cool, won't gouge you, and was totally easy going about entering ... (I actually entered Guatemala BEFORE I checked out of Mexico because the Mex Aduanas office was closed ... he didn't even check my passport the next day when I came through a second time.)

    The only worry about exiting there is the lack of an SAT office. You could try the office in Flores, but they didn't know anything at all about vehicle permits when I stopped by there, so it's probably not helpful. (But if you need to know where it is, it's up on the hill by the cathedral. Walk up the steps, then turn to your right on the next street. It's a long low building with dark glass windows and a blue sign over top.)

    I have to agree with everyone on the Tikal thing ... It's seriously a must. I don't get too bugged about the OFFICIAL price differences ... for the reasons other people have stated. The government needs money to maintain the sights, and if they charged the amount they needed then they'd totally exclude their own citizens from their own heritage. It's not ideal. We have our own versions of two-tiered pricing going on. It's what's involved in getting travel permission to ENTER the USA. We have it good when it comes to travel.
    #41
  2. bouldergeek

    bouldergeek Filthy, poor KLR dweeb

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    As I noted over on my thread, El Ceibo was the best border crossing of my trip!

    Thanks much for the advice in this thread. The border guy in the Guate office was so nice, we chatted a bit. He said I may be able to remit my paperwork to SAT via mail(?). We'll see.

    By keeping my Mex TVP open, I streamlined the re-entry. I just need to pay my $20 tourist visa at a Banjercito before leaving Mexico.

    Major ADV success in this thread, I went from stressed and confused to happy and safe. What more can one ask from a web community?
    #42
  3. Pedro Navaja

    Pedro Navaja Long timer

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    It's like doing a group ride without the hassles of having other riders ride with you :D
    #43
  4. Eduardo

    Eduardo Eduardo

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    Hola, I crossed from Guatemala to Chiapas via El Ceibo in mid-April.
    The mexican side had full services (immigration/vehicle) in a brand new building but the Guate side had just immigration and no SAT vehicle service. I saw the building it will eventually house about half completed, but that was it. The immigration folks were talking about a multa (fine) for crossing w/o cancelling my sticker but let me slide through. I'm not sure if that's going to be a problem on my next entry or not. Saludos
    #44
  5. jrehm

    jrehm n00b

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    I just crossed into Guatemala via El Ciebo and I can also attest that you absolutely cannot get your vehicle import papers here. However, that should NOT stop you from crossing here. All the roads were well-paved and the border formalities were simple. We ultimately went to the Belize border to get our vehicle permit, but this was only a 1.5 trip from Flores/El Remate (stay in El Remate!)

    when you get to the Belize border, you will have to cross a bridge right before customs. We were suckered into this and had to pay the $6 toll just to get to the customs booth. Park your bike right before this and walk the 100 meters to the customs office to get your paperwork for your bike. The customs guy will surely walk over to check out your VIN (he's not doing anything else) and you'll save the toll (assuming you're heading back into Guat).


    Heading back, you can take a gravel road about 10 km from the Belize border that send you south and it meets back up with the main North/South pavement just north of Poptun. The gravel road is decent and it will save you about an hour if you are heading south from here.

    Bueno...
    Jason
    #45
  6. Eduardo

    Eduardo Eduardo

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    Thanks for the update. I was hoping that they would have completed the construction on the SAT office by now. Your tips on getting the vehicle permit are right on, and El Remate is my favorite place to stay...$5.35 for a nice room adjacent the lake.
    They must have raised the toll on the bridge, for years it's been 20Q/$2.45. This last year he didn't get out of the little shed quick enough to catch me going around his lift bar. :D

    Saludos y bienvenidos a ADV, Eduardo
    #46
  7. Eduardo

    Eduardo Eduardo

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    Hola, Anyone have any current news regarding the availability of vehicle permits on the Guatemalan side of the border? In April last, the Mexican side had full services but the Guate side only had immigration/customs.

    Gracias, Eduardo
    #47
  8. SinOfSaul

    SinOfSaul Loyalist

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    'Bump' Enquiring minds need to know.
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  9. cazevedo

    cazevedo MotoXplorers.com

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    Last March I crossed from Frontera Corozal and I did not have any kind of problems. Ok the bota ride took me 400 pesos (me and bike) but I did not to pay anyting more to helpers or during the gravel road to Flores.

    [​IMG]

    The boat trip is great, but getting land in Bethel can be difficult, you do not have any kind of deck in Guatemala side.

    [​IMG]

    This is the beach in were we border the bikes in Mexico, as you can see it's quite easy:

    [​IMG]

    I did not have to made any kind of importation on Guatemala, the border is simple but we just give the bikes docs and our passports and they did't everyting... fast and with no problems.

    [​IMG]

    I will get more info in October when I pass again in this border.
    #49
  10. Eduardo

    Eduardo Eduardo

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    Hola cazevedo, Although it is possible to cross at Frontera Corazol to Bethel, it is a big hassle with the boat trip, cost, etc. Also, that gravel from the river to Flores is a high crime area. Did you get a vehicle sticker for Guatemala? If not, ya ain't legal.

    The border I am most interested in is at El Ceibo, and if the Guatemalan side has an office for vehicle permits. The Mexican side has full services.

    Saludos
    #50
  11. cazevedo

    cazevedo MotoXplorers.com

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    Nop, nothing, the polices in the border only checked the passports, bike papers and stamp the passport. After that they only said, your ready have a good jorney.

    The gravel road to flores it's not very pleasent, dirt and isolated farms with flat landscapes dry and dusty. I never felt to much worried about my safety in this route...

    I do not know other Mexico/Guatemala borders, just this one. I payd 400pesos to cross the river (me and bike) and thats all.

    Saludos
    #51
  12. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    From the north end the road is quite conspicuous as it heads south off CA13 at the bottom of a hill and a curve to the north in the main highway. Actually it is a bit more like 24km west from Melchor de Mencos because it is at the end of what used to be the last unpaved segment of CA13.
    North of Poptun it is also fairly easy to spot but you have to be alert. A good alternate route for somebody who has already done the main road and is looking for a change .
    #52
  13. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    Your call as to whether you try the gravel route or the paved.
    Being gravel and rather windy ( as in curves and hills) and new farmlands hacked into the jungle in the plain of the Belize River ( called the Rio Mopan inside Guatemala) it will take several hours,much longer even than if you were to retrace your route back through Remedios to the Flores junction and then down south on CA 13.That way you have various towns with hotel options to stay if you run out of daylight. Maybe figure it so you spend a night at the border in Melchor de Mencos and then you will not be facing this dilemma.
    As for having a detailed map check out this Bingmaps site http://www.bing.com/maps/
    Zoom in on Guatemala and click on the aerial photo version, then enlarge it right to a resolution that will give a clear picture and show the road better than the "map".
    You notice that the"map" is junk as it does not give a road in detail, but if you scroll along the road in the photo you get to see all kinds of detail ,where the road twists and trurns and the various small villages before emerging back onto CA13 north of Dolores where there are hotels.This ride about 70km long could take a day!
    #53
  14. SinOfSaul

    SinOfSaul Loyalist

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    I rode from Palenque to Tikal today, they now have El Ceibo sorted, you can get all your moto documentation there :deal
    #54
  15. Eduardo

    Eduardo Eduardo

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    Great, thanks for the update. :clap
    #55
  16. thedomwayround

    thedomwayround on the road

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    I'm going to cross this way later this week so will add my thoughts. But for now I thought I'd just let you all know that a section of the San Cristobel/Palenque road was washed away today (Dec 1st). About 20 miles short of Palenque I was stopped by a traffic jam. It's been raining none stop for 24 hours and two hours before I got there a 10 metre section of the whole road was washed away.
    (I have a photo and will try to add it tomorrow).


    The road certainly won't be open again for a while. However it is possible to detour. About 20-30 miles before Palenque there is a large fork in the road. Turn left to head for Salto de Agua. This road then leads on to the 186 where you turn right for half an hour before turning right again for Palenque. The road to Salto de Agua is tricky. Lots of potholes and bits washed a way but manageable. Mind you there has been so much rain anything could happen. The river that runs along the 199 has totally broken its banks and there is substantial flooding (but not on the road yet.


    I'm in Palenque and its been raining none stop for well over 24 hours.
    #56
  17. thedomwayround

    thedomwayround on the road

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    [​IMG][​IMG]
    #57
  18. thedomwayround

    thedomwayround on the road

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    Today I crossed from Palenque to Flores (near Tikal) on a fully paved road. This route is now totally up and running and will surely become the favourite route for bikes who want to get from Palenque to Tikal. Fully sealed road, 220 miles and the whole thing took us under 8 hours (left Palenque at 8, arrived at Flores 3:30)



    Details below...



    We left Palenque at 8 a.m. A few miles out of town we took a road to the right, signposted as La Liberdad. It's a short cut towards Tenosique. After 30 miles you turn right (signposted Tenosique) and in another 30 miles you enter Tenosique. There is a PEMEX just as you enter town. About 500 metres past the Pemex is a hotel on the left (Don Juan I think) which, from the outside looked OK. It took us just under 2 hours and about 60-70 miles to get to Tenosique. But then we got lost in town for 30 minutes. After the Hotel, at the traffic lights, turn right and then there is a roundabout. I went left (third exit) and went into town. I think I should have just gone straight ahead...



    From Tenosique to the border (El Ceiba) was about 45 minutes and 40 miles. Good road, but no services and nothing at El Ceiba. The Mexican side of the border has FULL services for checking out of the country. A Bancajeto to cancel your temporary import card for the bike in an air conditioned room. Unfortunately I didn't check whether they are open on Mondays, a previous thread said they are shut on Mondays. I was there on a saturday. Perhaps the next person who goes by can check. It took us 15 minutes to check out of Mexico!
    Immediately as we crossed the border a guy stopped me to get the passports stamped. He's in the first (and only) white and blue building on the left. Took 5 minutes, cost nothing. He then points across the road to a parked up lorry on stilts. That's where you get the bike stamped in. The two guys in the “building” were fantastic. Friendly and helpful and absolutely no whiff of bribery at all. They apologized as the electricity wasn't working and I had to jump into a tuk-tuk to go to a photocopy shop as you have to have a photocopy of the Guatemalan stamp that has just been put in the passport. (Other photocopies needed were, driving license, passport photo page and Bike title)



    Once I'd done that he got me my temporary Guatamala bike import papers and a sticker to put on the bike. Cost – 40 Queztals ($6) (There was a little mix up as he was worried about my bike being able to leave Guatamala as my license plate said “Alaska” not “USA” but we sorted that out.) This side of the border took about an hour but 20 minutes of that was me getting the photocopy. When we left they insisted on taking our photo on the bike. THAT'S never happened to me before at a border crossing.


    [​IMG]







    We then had the wheels ceremoniously sprayed with something that cost 20 Q ($3) and we were on our way. Under an hour and a half for the whole thing and actually quite a pleasant experience. The El Ceiba side of the border has nothing in the way of hotels. But on the Guatamala side I did see a hotel on the right 500 meters into the country. Looked OK if you were stuck for somewhere, there's nothing else for 150 miles.



    It took 2 hours 45 minutes to get to Flores, about 150 miles on a really good road (except for the topes). Total mileage from Palenque to Flores – 220. 150 miles from the last PEMEX in Tenosique to the first gas station I saw in Guatamala which was 20 miles before Flores. So fill up in Tenosique.


    [​IMG]
    #58
  19. Eduardo

    Eduardo Eduardo

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    Bravo, great report. The best tip is the fill-up advice. I was going the other direction, but was really wondering if I was going to make it to Tenosique or run out of gas along the road. Pretty remote road.

    It was along this same road from the border to Tenosique that I could look up into the hills and see small groups of immigrants with backpacks trucking through the hills going to Mexico.

    Thanks again, Saludos
    #59
  20. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    Good information Dom ,this route has existed a long time already .However your directions as to Leaving Palenque are very vague . Er , WHAT direction did you go FROM PALENQUE?
    It only becomes clear a few lines later when you mention the road La Libertad, but for folks who do not know enough map reading for the region this means little.
    Any body and everybody , listen up. Please when giving directtions be clear and explicit with COMPASS directions, :deal not the left-right cruise stuff.
    Good to hear all the recent details of the El Ceibo crossing into Guate
    #60