I took a great deal of time to write up a comprehensive description of what my Guatemala – El Salvador border crossing was like December 31st. If you are a fellow traveler following my log, I hope this helps.
If you are just interested in the process, that I have to go through every time I cross a border, it will be interesting, otherwise you will find it a bit dry…
I just left Antigua yesterday and crossed over at La Hachadura. The entire process took 1.75 hours, and I was the only one in line everywhere.
A few “helpers” tried to tell me where to park, I generally ignored them and parked on my own.
First, Guate Immigration (Migracion). Exit stamp from Guate.
Second, go get 3 copies of that page across the street.
You’ll also need 2 copies of your passport and registration, so get those at the same time if needed.
[The first time I got two copies, it was 1 Quetzal. The second time I got 1 copy, it was 1 Quetzal. I started to argue, but then caught myself.]
I am telling you this because you will need to save at least a couple of Q for your copies…
Third, go to Guate Aduano on the other side of the building. They’ll want 2 copies of the exit stamps from Guate migracion, a copy of your passport and a copy of your registration. They will check you VIN, and then put their own stamp in your passport.
Time lapse: 25 minutes.
Always say thank you and have a nice day.
Total Cost= 2 Q (= 25 cents US)
Ride to El Salvador side.
First, Migracion. Didn’t even have to enter the building…the guard outside asked to see my passport, then told me I did not need a stamp to enter El Salvador (CA-4). Alrightythen. But I wanted one as a souvinir (big mistake!) so I went inside anyway, and after talking to 3 different people, etc. they told me they would not do it. Alrightythen.
Second, Aduano. Here I got 3 forms to fill out. here they asked to see my passport, and asked where my stamp to enter el Salvador was. I explained that they told me that I did not need one (CA-4) and that they would not give me one. But I needed to go across the hall and get a copy of my EXIT from Guate. (Thats why I said to get three, above.) Copy = $0.10
[They use US dollars in El Salvador]
Third, back to Aduano, where they verify all the info on the bike, need a copy of my passport, double check my registration (printed registration from US DMV says the bike is blue–THANK GOD my handwritten copy when I applied for the title says black!!! because I knew Twisted Throttle was painting the bike black instead of blue, and I luckily had the foresight to put that on there–yes I brought a copy of each!)
Mr. Aduano verifies everything on the bike, tells me to wait (if I stand in front of the window in exactly the right spot, I can get some of the AC draft on my overheated body), as he typed everything into the computer. Then he goes and re-verifies everything he has typed on the bike again, and then he hands the paperwork to another woman in the office and motions for me to take things up with her.
Mrs. Aduano re-verifies all my paperwork, then RE-types everything into her terminal, and eventually hands me a piece of paper with a sticker on it, that is my official paperwork for “officially” importing the bike for riding in El Salvador.
Time Lapse: 1:15
Always say thank you and have a nice day.
Total Cost= $0.10 * see special note #1 below!
Note: The Guate officials asked me if I was returning to Guatemala. I said no and officially checked out of the country…however, today I am considering a route that would bring me back through Guatemala and into Coban the back way…I do not know how this scenario would have played out had I said I “might” be back into Guate…one thing is for sure: I would have had to go BACk to Guate and officially check out my bike before leaving the CA-4. So just be sure you know what you want to do before doing it.
BTW, I have had really good luck with showing a laminated color copy of my application for registration in all my border crossings so far. When they start to question it, I point to where DMV has printed the feed paid to register the bike in the top right corner, and I tell them that that is the seal, el sello.
SPECIAL NOTE 1: Once I exited customs, thinking how great it was that I got through a border crossing without paying any fees, other than 35 cents in photocopies, I got stopped at the 500 yards later and was required to pay $5 tourist fee to the “Alcadlia Municipal de San Francisco Menendez Departamento de Ahuachapan”. My escort, an El Salvadorian, was outraged by this and asked them whose idea this way. It was the Mayors. he demanded to see a copy of the article saying I had to pay it, which they happily produced. So I ponied up the $5 while my host went over to the policemen and asked them if this was correct, and they said yes. My host demanded a receipt, which is how I know that I paid the $5 to “Alcadlia Municipal de San Francisco Menendez Departamento de Ahuachapan” .
SPECIAL NOTE 2: I keep all my paperwork in my topbox. During this whole process I was stopped three times to see my paperwork. Each time I had to get off the bike, go open the topbox, etc. You could save yourself some hassle by having the paperwork right handy.