19 May

Big Border Crossing – El Salvador to Honduras to Nicaragua

Two crossings in one day that certainly lived up to expectations! Beggar kids following you around, men riding along on Bruno’s footrests and hanging onto the roof rack, just to help you through the crossing and make a buck. We gave one kid a $1 US coin from El Salvador. His eyes lit up huge and he danced around, rubbing it in all the other kid’s faces. What a sweetheart.

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Imagine stepping into an extreme real-life version of the game Frogger. As you enter the border area leaving El Salvador, the entire right lane of a two-lane highway is backed up with transport trucks. Just about the time that you recognize that the trucks are stationary obstacles on your path to freedom, about five people will swarm you, jumping onto the side rails of your vehicle and aggressively try to become your new best friend. As you attempt to deal with the slugs now attached to your vehicle, you’ll see one or two people ahead in the left lane signaling to you. What are they signaling? They’re trying to tell you to take the left lane, against on-coming traffic and go around the non-moving trucks! You’ll then proceed to dodge on-coming traffic, sneaking up through the line of stationary trucks, all the while having your new (involuntary) best friends still hanging from the side of your vehicle, shouting Spanglish pleasantries at you. If you succeed in not colliding with an on-coming vehicle, not killing your new best friends, and getting your new best friends to politely get the fuck off your vehicle: YOU WIN!

It is very common for overlanders to complete the dual border crossing from El Salvador through Honduras to Nicaragua all in one day. Why? Simply because there just isn’t much to do or see in the 2 hour drive along the southwestern tip of Honduras. We stopped at a gas station to get fried plantains (a healthier alternative to potato chips?), encountered friendly, hardworking Hondurans, and had lunch in their parking lot.

In essence, this is not a legitimate border post, because we are not going to detail our experience. Several other blogs have already published very fine guides of the border process, which we used with a few exceptions.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Leaving El Salvador / Entering Honduras

Border at El Amatillo on the Pan-American Highway.

This guide by Logan and Brianna of PanAm Notes was particularly helpful and accurate for the El Salvador to Honduras crossing. We took a different border for the Honduras to Nicaragua crossing (El Guasaule, not the Pan-American Highway crossing at El Espino), so we can’t confirm that leg.

A couple of updates to the PanAm Notes post:
– Make a few copies of your active El Salvador vehicle permit before reaching the border. This could have been done ahead of time. We had to make 2 copies before it could be canceled.
– There was no fumigation to enter Honduras.
– We crossed on a Thursday, but were not sent to any bank to pay fees. We paid officials directly and received receipts for all payments.

Leaving Honduras / Entering Nicaragua

Border at El Guasaule, NOT the Pan-American Highway.

Two separate posts by Martin and Nicole of MyOverlandAdventure detail the El Salvador to Honduras cross and the Honduras to Nicaragua cross. Both have excellent map overviews, pictures and GPS coordinates of the buildings.

Clarification to the MyOverlandAdventure posts:
– Immigration fees to enter Nicaragua were paid in two separate installments: $10 USD Tourist Card per person and 90 Cordobas for a Border Service fee (~$3.33 USD). Both can be paid in either currency, but these were the advertised costs on signs in the building.

All in all, it was a long day, but we survived to tell the tale. We headed straight from the Guasaule border to the town of León to begin our Nicaragua adventures!

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  • agroster

    Still enjoying your posts and their commentary….thanks for the entertainment while we sit in our drab offices.

    • freedomwithbruno

      Thank you! Offices are the worst!

  • Doug

    Deposit trash in the containers, lest…
    Apparently the pigs are worse than the seagulls in Honduras?
    I am looking forward to reading about your travels through Nicaragua. A lot of ex-pats are settling there now that Panama and Costa Rica are becoming more expensive. Retiring Baby Boomers are driving up the prices (Good for them, I am happy they are realizing their dreams, I am not complaining).

    • Amanda

      Hi Doug! Nicaragua has a lot of unspoiled, beautiful coastline along the Pacific. The beaches within driving distance of cities like León are quite popular, although we didn’t get a chance to visit. We’re in San Juan del Sur on the coast right now. The new construction of large homes and condos in the hills just outside the town are evidence that there’s more money being spent around here.

  • Live.Travel.Play.

    Thanks for all the helpful information on all your border crossings. Gregor and I really appreciate you posting about it. Have fun in Nicaragua!

    • Amanda

      Thanks Janice! Travis & I are also really enjoying your blog 🙂 Your border crossing posts will come in handy when we hit up Belize on the way back north. Have a fabulous time!