The borders at Honduras are kind of insane. Read more here for people's individual experiences. Don't let the border officials push you around - don't overpay! Several people have reported much better border experiences crossing the more Northern border between Guatemala and Honduras, rather than the southern borders near the Pacific. Food for thought if you're planning your trip.
Esquipulas, Guatemala to Aqua Caliente, Hondura
December 14, 2008
Our experiences crossing the Guatemala-Honduras border was not a particularly pleasant one. We first crossed the border at Esquipulas-Aqua Caliente. When we neared the migration station, we passed tens of parked cars along the side of the road and entered into utter chaos with 10 men swarming around our car, directing us to parking spots, and shouting that they would take us through the process. Since we didn't like their attitude and figured that we could do it ourselves, we largely ignored them (although I did tell one of them to callate when he was speaking over the migration officer who was trying to describe the process).
After showing our passports, we proceeded to a very unofficial waiting room, where un-uniformed people were busily working away and ignoring us while surrounded in stacks of papers piled on the floor. We waited at the window for about 10 minutes until one of the workers asked for 4 copies of the above necessary documents. Four copies seems quite extreme, and given the huge stacks of paper surrounding them, I think they probably serve no more than a fire hazard, but we handed them over. We also needed 4 copies of several stamps in our passport, so they directed us to a nearby tienda that charged 2 lempira per copy. Luckily they also took Guatemalan quetzales at 1Q per 2 lempira. This process took quite a while as they continued to shuffle papers, stamp them, then need xeroxes of the freshly stamped documents. They also stamped our passport to indicate that we were traveling with a car.
After 4 separate trips to the photocopy tienda we had our vehicle import permit (permiso de entrada y salida temporal de vehiculo) filled out with one slight catch. We had neglected to look online ahead of time to find out the true cost of this permit. They first told us it would cost us $100 (US). We immediately and somewhat aggressively told them this was not correct and that we would head back to Guatemala before we were extorted. They quickly relented and said it would cost $40 (US). Still believing we were probably being ripped off, we agreed to pay since we didn't actually know the true cost. Later on we realized that price of the permit was printed in the upper right-hand corner of the permit: 135 lempiras, closer to $7 US. Lesson learned - never hit a border without looking this up ahead of time. They also (erroneously) claimed that our permit would be valid for 90 days, whether or not we left the country (as were planning to do). However, this is not correct. At the El Salvadoran border, they had to take our Honduras vehicle import permit away, which means we will have to go through this nightmare a second time. Shame on the Honduras migracion officials.
--Posted by Kristin
December 21, 2008
We next crossed the El Salvador-Honduras border at El Amatillo. It was a similarly hectic and dirty situation, but most of the officials at this crossing were at least wearing uniforms. We first had to pay $3 to enter the country, which we had not needed to do when we entered Honduras from Guatemala. The procedure at this crossing was slightly different than the crossing at Agua Caliente, but was somewhat more organized, we were given receipts for every transaction, and the prices for any fees were posted (but we're not sure we believe them, since they were on a stained half ripped piece of paper) After an un-uniformed official sitting in a urine scented cement box slowly filled out or vehicle import permit, he handed us our paperwork to proceed on to the immigration building. Once there we went through the same procedure of getting stamps, getting xeroxes, and paying fees as previously experienced. While you are getting xeroxes made, it is a good idea to make several copies of your completed vehicle import permit, as we a official down the road needed this, requiring us to backtrack a to the border to make additional copies.
--Posted by Kristin
March 23, 2010
We used the far north Guatemala/ Honduras border crossing at Corinto to enter Honduras. There was no waiting at all on either side of the border. We payed 640 Limpiras for each motorcycle and 60 Limpiras for each person. It was quick and with no hassles. The Guatemala exit station is about 10 km before the border and the Honduran station is right at the border. It probably took us about 1 hour to cross here. The guy in charge of our doing the paperwork for our motorcycles was at first a bit confusing as he told us we couldn't actually import the bikes here (or so I think) but after a while it all happened and everyone was happy. Stay in Omoa about 50 km past the border for a relatively pleasant beach experience (unless it is the weekend).
--Posted by Marshall
El Florido Border Crossing from Guatemala to Honduras
January 4, 2011
After leaving Guatemala, proceed to Honduran migracion. Then you go over to the Honduran Migracion which at the moment is in the same building as the Guatemalan one, as they are still building the new structure for Honduras. The lady will stamp your passport and give you receipts for the $3 entry. Do not lose this receipt!
You then cross the border to the Honduran Aduana. You need 3 copies of passport, title, registration, driver's license, cancelled Guatemalan permit. You can make copies on the Guatemalan side.
The gentleman asked me for $35 USD but there are no signs up to indicate this is true. However, I found out later at the Honduran/ Nicaraguan border that these are the official rates (as posted on their board). For Costa Rican and Panamanian plated cars, it costs $13, and all others, $35, broken down as follows:
L135 / $7 for Form 9A-1
L407 / $22 for Foreign Plates
L99 / $6 for Aduana
The system was down even though they tried several times to fix it, but the usual procedure is that all the information is entered into the system, they print a bulletin/ form for you, which you take to the bank across the road, pay and bring it back in order to obtain the permit for the car. Since the system was down, I paid him L650 directly and he annotated the photocopy of the permit he gave me (two copies- one for the police as you cross the border, and the other for showing if stopped in Honduras along with original permit). He couldn't give me a receipt because the system was not working and it is the bank that usually provides the receipt.
Another gentleman was given the paperwork and passport etc, he checked our VIN number, didn't even look in the car and off we went! So easy actually!
At the time, I thought he was messing with me, but only because I had read so many negative comments about the Honduran border crossing. In the end, he was being honest and complying with the requirements, and processed the papers quite promptly, and politely. So I actually had no problems with this customs officer and the Honduran crossing in general. We were not approached by anyone trying to help us either, it was quiet and we went about our own business. Be careful of having this mindset that everyone is out to cheat you, because it can make the whole experience way more stressful and negative!
We did get stopped six times when we got onto the Panamerican heading towards Guasale (the same road you would take if crossing from El Salvador). 3 times we were waved through, and the other three times they tried to extort money from us. There were four of us in the car and we all pretended not to speak a lick of Spanish, showed them our triangles and fire extinguisher. One tried to get us for not having our seatbelts on in the back and told us we would have to follow him to an ATM to get money but we just feigned ignorance, so he let us go. Another tried to tell us we needed reflectors for the side of our car, but again the ignorance worked well. That tactic really works! Another guy gave up pretty quickly when we showed him all our stuff.
That road is very potholed and has many shadows from the trees that can be deceiving, as well as a lot of trucks, so drive carefully!
EL AMATILLO - (El Salvador to Honduras)
April 6, 2012
We did the full run from San Miguel, El Salvador to Leon, Nicaragua through the 80 mile stretch of Honduras in one day. Left San Miguel at 7am and arrived in Leon by 3pm. All of this on Good Friday (Semana Santa week). Some copy shops were closed, but otherwise we think the crossing was easier because less people were loitering around. We had no hassles at either border. A few touts, and the typical slow bureaucracy, but no bribes, no run-arounds, just over an hour at each crossing and a crap-load of photocopies.
It is worth noting that there were 14 police checkpoints in the 80 mile stretch of Honduras. We were stopped 3 times. Every time the officers asked to see the driver's license and the permit. Only once did they ask about warning triangles and fire extinguisher. Speaking spanish, being polite, and providing actual document rather than copies, seemed to make things go faster. No bribes or false tickets were attempted.
Full report on our the El Amatillo crossing is here includes timing, costs and photos of the border buildings.
-- Posted by Life Remotely
El Poy, Honduras to San Ignacio, El Salvador
December 14, 2008
Leaving Honduras to enter El Salvador was pain-free compared to entering Honduras. We simply had to show our passport and Honduran vehicle import permit and they waved us through. We were glad to be done with Honduras after our border crossing experience.
-- Posted by Kristin
Honduras/ Nicaragua Crossing at Guasale
January 6, 2011
This crossing was quite easy.
Getting out of Honduras was straightforward. We did not pay any exit tax at all (even though we've heard they officially have one!). The Migracion guy just stamped us out, and the Aduana guy asked if I was going to return, and when I said no, went ahead and cancelled the permit (which they keep) and made a notation in my passport.
Honduras/ Nicaragua Crossing at GuasaUle
April 6, 2012
We had the same experience as the post above. Easy crossing, although very difficult to find the correct offices. We were here on a holiday and te place was pretty barren. The exit was easy. No fees, just stamp the passports and take the vehicle permit. They also stamped the drivers passport the cancel the vehicle permit as well.
It's just less then 2 hours from this crossing to Leon. Here is our full report with photos of the area.
-- Posted by Life Remotely