After spending the night at Choluteca, Honduras, I tackled the border from Honduras to Nicaragua at El Guasaule.
Having crossed the border into Honduras, I rode to Choletuca. There was A LOT of construction on the road. I could see why when I road the parts where there was no construction. The road in these spots was littered with crater like potholes that could do serious damage if you hit one. So my eyes were peeled on the road.
I reached the hotel I booked and was pleasantly surprised. It looked new and was very clean. As I checked in the clerk, who was about mid 20s, she spoke perfect English! I asked her where she learned and she said she was educated in a bilingual school and then her mother sent her to Naples Florida for more school.
Anyways, I enjoyed the hotel and a beer on the patio.
It was then time to study for the El Guasaule border. I heard from many that this was the worst border they had encountered on there ride to Argentina. I got mentally prepared for it.
Honduras Border at El Guasaule
Ok …. here is a map of the entire border. My first step was #1 at the Honduran border.
As I rode close to the border people started yelling at me and waving their arms. At one point I encountered a gang of them. One even tried jumping in front of my motorcycle. I didn’t slow and rode straight through them as they jumped back. As I rode past I noticed out of the side of my eye the customs building I had been looking for. I was almost past it.
I quickly made a left turn turning into the exit. The fixers must have been gathering at the entrance driveway to the building. It turned out to be a good plan to enter through the exit ha ha. As I turned I almost ran over a fixer who had been chasing me on his bicycle.
When I parked the bicycle fixer approached me along with a couple others. They said the usual that this was the hardest border to cross and I couldn’t do it on my own. I politely said I didn’t need their help. I didn’t want to be too rude for fear that they may do something to my bike while I was inside.
First, I went to immigration on the far side counter to have them stamp my passport out of Honduras. Easy. While I was there one of the fixers who was following me asked if I had been to Central America before. I lied and said yes. He immediately disappeared.
Next was Customs. Here I presented my passport, drivers license, motorcycle registration and entry form into Honduras. One thing that is strange is that here, like at a lot of the borders, they asked me if the one page motorcycle registration form was all I had. I guess there is a lot more paper to register a motorcycle in theses countries. It wasn’t long and the import permit for my motorcycle was cancelled.
Onto the Nicaragua border.
This is where things took a turn from what I studied the night before.
Step #3 was fumigation. I pulled up and spoke to an immigration official who wanted to see my papers. He then handed me a medical form to fill out. It was then I was approached by another immigration officer who spoke English. I was now singled out for “special” treatment. He took my passport and told me to meet him at Immigration across the round about. I hated seeing him disappear with my passport but I didn’t have much choice.
After he left I paid $3 US, pulled ahead and had my motorcycle fumigated at point #4. I have no idea what was in the liquid but it made me cough.
I then rounded the roundabout and pulled into the Customs building at #5. The English speaking Immigration Officer wasn’t there. Turned out he was waiting for me across the street and came over to talk to me. He escorted me to the Immigration building across the street and interviewed me.
Some of the interview questions were: where was I going? where did I come from? where did I live? how much money did I have on me? how much money did I have in the bank? and what did I do for a living? The money questions concerned me. But nothing came from them.
After the interview he escorted me into the building across the street where I parked my motorcycle. He told me to sit down while he talked to another Immigration officer wearing a white shirt. I gathered that this was his boss. After the short conversation I was then escorted to an immigration booth where I signed a few forms, had my passport stamped and paid $12 US.
As would be normal, I figured my next step was Customs to get a permit for my motorcycle. So I went to the Customs booth. This is where the confusion started. I handed the usual to the Customs officer and as he went through the paper he got this confused look on his face. He spoke to me in Spanish but I didn’t understand what he was saying. The English speaking Immigration officer came over and said no …. everything had been taken care of at immigration. What?! He directed me outside the building where I needed to have some clerk sign the back of the medical form I also needed to fill out.
I quickly filled out the medical form and had one of the people wearing baby blue shirts sign the back of it.
The English speaking officer then directed me to the very back of the building at #6 where there was an xray machine and a tourist booth. There I handed the clerk all my paperwork and the medical form. Eventually, she handed me a completed form and requested $12 US. OK. With that it was on to the the last step, mandatory insurance for my motorcycle.
I exited the building looking for an insurance agent who was suppose to be outside somewhere. Finally, a woman selling drinks came to me and said I’ll show you. She walked me across the street to a courtyard behind the building.
At this point I was somewhat confused. This building, where I was interviewed too, appeared also to be a Customs and Immigration building. There were two?! And it was this building that I had studied about.
Anyways, in the courtyard were some women behind tables. I purchased insurance for …. you guessed it …$12 US.
I followed the woman back to her drinks and bought one and left a tip for her help. I was finally done!
The whole process was somewhat confusing due to my “special” treatment. I have no idea why there were two custom buildings. In some ways having the English speaking Immigration officer escorting me made things a lot easier. In other ways it made it more confusing. But in the end, as usual, it all worked out fine.
The first thing I noticed about Nicaragua were the roads. They were unreal good. The best roads I’ve seen since the US. No potholes and so smooth. Some sections were even done in cement.
Besides the roads the landscape was beautiful.
What a great ride to Managua where I would be staying for a couple of days.