Given our shortened timeframe, and the warnings by many about traveling Honduras/El Salvador we decided to skip them this time. We know that many, many people have traveled safely into the beauty of these countries, but decided that we would wait until next trip to really explore them.
We were able to travel between Leon Nicaragua, to San Vincent, El Salvador in 12 hours (Leave 5:15AM, Arrival before dark 5PM). We would recommend stopping somewhere immediately after the border though, because after San Miguel there are few towns and fewer hotels. We stayed at a Auto-Motel (*wink wink 3 hours for 10 $).
Borders : Nicaragua to Honduras
When: June 14, 2016
Time Frame: 1.5 hours (early, early morning 7AM)
- Drive up to the border checkpoint, they will check your passport and give you a Customs Declaration to fill out.
- Park on the left in front of the border office, get your passports checked (no stamps) at the exit side of immigration. He will instruct you to pay 45C (or alternately a terrible USD ripoff rate) for exit fee. Pay on the opposite side of the office. **If you do not have exact change, the bank is in the same building and can make it for you.
- Keep exit receipts!
- Once processed, return to your vehicle and find a customs official wondering around to inspect your truck. Again, picture someone dressed for business-casual day at the office. He will sign the back of the customs declaration form for you. You will then need to have a customs official sign the back of your Vehicle Import Document (originally received on entry in Nicaragua). Is this can be the same official or a different one, we are not sure. Both were wandering around the same area.
- Proceed back to the immigration office, down the hallway from the cashier whom you paid the exit fee too.
- Customs will process you.
- Documents Required (no copies):
- Vehicle Import Form(signed by customs officer)
- Customs declaration (signed by customs officer)
- No exit stamp from Nicaragua
- Drive through to Honduras (over the bridge).
- Park on the left side of the road, in front of the Border Offices.
- Get an entry stamp for Honduras. $3 USD, receipt given.
***You’ll also need to have exact change. No banks in this neighbourhood, but they accept Lempiras or USD. Moneychangers can charge you a fee for change.
- Walk through the building to the other side. You will need to enter into the offices (just ask the Transito booths for permission). Someone will escort you to an office, to import your vehicle.
- Vehicle import is $13 USD.
- Documents Required (2x copies needed of everything):
- Passport Entry stamp
- No Insurance required (we did not ask about prices since we are only going to be in Honduras for a few hours).
- You will receive 2 receipts: a receipt for the transaction and for the import itself (a rainbow receipt, hang on to this)
***Copy office located across the large tractor-trailer parking lot from the customs side of the building. We recommend checking it out if only for the lewd pedophile poster and ancient beast of a typewriter.
- On leaving the border zone, again you will be checked by an official to make sure you have everything. They’ll kindly inform you if you need anything else, which we did (the rainbow receipt).
- We were warned by everyone about this border. We were warned about helpers jumping on your car, running after you, yelling at you. We were warned about scams from the officials and about sketchy transactions. We were 100% surprised to find this the easiest border of all time. No helpers to be found, no scams, happy officials, and even some that spoke english.
- One of the warnings is of the police checkpoint in Honduras, immediately after the border. Apparently they typically extort people for not having warning triangles, fire extinguisher which are required in the country. We stocked up in Leon (check out the SINSA hardware store on the way out of town) in preparation. However, there were far more police pylons then police at the countless checkpoints from border to border. The one time we were stopped, he simply asked where we were from. We were also waved through both military checkpoints. Success!