Shout Box

Who's Online
0 registered (), 13 Guests and 3 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Page 4 of 6 < 1 2 3 4 5 6 >
Topic Options
#35636 - 02/20/08 11:02 AM Re: Central America trip blog [Re: andrew]
oenophore Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/24/01
Posts: 5979
Loc: 212 land
The El Salvador/Honduras border crossing at El Amatillo was really bad - avoid it(everyone i've talked to has had a problem there, and i guess its considered the worst border crossing in central america). I got the big time third world intimidation/shake down experience there, but got through it for $160 and 3 hours. The Honduras/Nicaragua border at Guasale was also unpleasant on the Honduras side - that country has really screwed up immigration officials. Had to pay a small bribe here in Panama to keep my truck from being searched(which would have taken hours), but not such a big deal.

At the risk of being characterized as an I-told-you-so schmuck, I'll ask you to compare this paragraph with your optimistic post about this subject far above.
_________________________

Top
#35637 - 02/20/08 01:12 PM Re: Central America trip blog [Re: oenophore]
andrew Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/15/99
Posts: 1816
Loc: Denver, CO
Well, it was basically what I was expecting. $160 is not really that bad for one bad crossing(its legitimately $40 anyway there), and other than that i only had to bribe one guy $10 in panama not to search my truck. Not too bad considering that i've crossed 8 borders in my truck so far, sometimes in fairly remote spots. I think the total for amount i've paid for border entry/exit fees for 2 people, vehicle importation/exportation/mandatory insurance, vehicle fumigation fees, and bribes has been about $300.

I will say that if anyone else wants to drive down here, you absolutely must have your original vehicle title in your exact name, and its best if it is registered in the same state that it is titled. That is the excuse the Hondurans used for the shake down - my truck is registered in Utah and titled in Colorado. Also bring 10 copies of your passport, driver's license, title(front and back), vehicle registration, and make a copy of the vehicle circulation document you get at the border before you get to the next border.

You must also speak Spanish or you will get fleeced at crossings. I bargained hard with the police demanding the bribe in Honduras, and got the "fee" reduced from $400 to $160. It also helps to ask for a factura(receipt) if you are asked to pay any fees that sound like bullshit. It hasn't really been that much worse than the usual latin america land border crossing hassle(i've crossed a lot of land borders in south america over the years on buses) - just a lot more paperwork.
_________________________
This isn't an office. It's Hell with fluorescent lighting.

Top
#35638 - 02/20/08 02:34 PM Re: Central America trip blog [Re: andrew]
empicard Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/29/01
Posts: 2957
Loc: LI, NY
Don't want the truck searched, huh?
whatcha hidin?
_________________________
tOOthless

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

Top
#35639 - 02/20/08 02:50 PM Re: Central America trip blog [Re: empicard]
andrew Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/15/99
Posts: 1816
Loc: Denver, CO
Well, I am a spy you know...

Actually, when a customs guy asks for a fee to avoid a search and you don't pay it, it means you will spend at least 5 hours taking everything you own out of your truck so it can be examined by his underlings under the broiling sun while he sits in his air conditioned office.

On a side note, I caught a couple of peacock bass in the Lago de Gatun part of the Panama Canal between my last post and this one. The I got chased back inside by the hardest rainstorm i've ever seen. When it starts raining in the jungle, it doesn't fuck around.
_________________________
This isn't an office. It's Hell with fluorescent lighting.

Top
#35642 - 02/20/08 04:46 PM Re: Central America trip blog [Re: andrew]
oenophore Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/24/01
Posts: 5979
Loc: 212 land
I think the total for amount i've paid for border entry/exit fees for 2 people, vehicle importation/exportation/mandatory insurance, vehicle fumigation fees, and bribes has been about $300.

And how much is it going to cost you to return?
_________________________

Top
#35643 - 02/20/08 04:55 PM Re: Central America trip blog [Re: oenophore]
andrew Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/15/99
Posts: 1816
Loc: Denver, CO
not sure. maybe $100 or so. the biggest expenses have been the mandatory costa rica insurance and the mexico vehicle import fee, and both are good for multiple entries.
_________________________
This isn't an office. It's Hell with fluorescent lighting.

Top
#35644 - 02/20/08 05:05 PM Re: Central America trip blog [Re: andrew]
oenophore Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/24/01
Posts: 5979
Loc: 212 land
Yes, I seem like a devil's advocate here. My guess is that border personnel are easier on southbound gringos, since the latter could always say "Screw it; I won't go into your *^%#&$#* banana republic." Northbound gringos can't say that.
_________________________

Top
#35645 - 02/20/08 05:13 PM Re: Central America trip blog [Re: oenophore]
andrew Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/15/99
Posts: 1816
Loc: Denver, CO
I don't think it matters too much. Lots of people go back and forth, and its easy enough to catch a car ferry back to texas from panama or honduras if you get stuck. It would be even easier to sell the truck and the surfboards and fly back after making a tidy profit.

It really isn't nearly as corrupt or difficult down here as people think. Most of the border guards have been really nice and helpful - the one in Honduras was the only bad one, and it is apparently well known to be a bad place to cross. I've been stopped at around 20 military checkpoints, and after a few questions and a quick search they shake my hand, pat me on the back, and tell me good luck and safe travels. I got pulled over by one policeman while I was speeding in Panama 2 days ago, and he just wanted to know how long it took me to drive there and if I liked Panama, and then he sent me on my way without a hint of a bribe being necessary.

Not too many people drive here though, that is for sure. I saw a few US plates in Guatemala, 1 in El Salvador, 1 in Costa Rica, and none in Nicaragua, Honduras, or Panama. I think I get stopped more out of curiosity than anything.
_________________________
This isn't an office. It's Hell with fluorescent lighting.

Top
#35682 - 02/24/08 02:47 PM Re: Central America trip blog [Re: andrew]
andrew Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/15/99
Posts: 1816
Loc: Denver, CO
Well, I am in Granada, Nicaragua now. 10 border crossings down and 6 to go. The two northbound crossings i´ve done have so far been easier than the way down, but mostly because they were the same ones I took then so I know which unmarked building to go in to.

Weirdly, I ran into some friends of mine from Utah at a bar last night. The chances of that happening can´t be good.
_________________________
This isn't an office. It's Hell with fluorescent lighting.

Top
#35710 - 02/26/08 08:54 PM Re: Central America trip blog [Re: andrew]
crackers Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/21/01
Posts: 3424
Loc: pdx
 Originally Posted By: andrew

Weirdly, I ran into some friends of mine from Utah at a bar last night. The chances of that happening can´t be good.


Continued good luck to both of you!

Now, the spray: Do you mean the chances of Utahns being found in the bar when they're out of Zion? Or the chances of you having friends?



Looks like a great trip...thanks for posting the eye candy.

Top
Page 4 of 6 < 1 2 3 4 5 6 >


Moderator:  webmaster 
Sponsored