23 days in, Goodbye Mex…Hello Guatemala!

Posted by on Feb 7, 2015 in Chris' BBB Moto Adventure, Uncategorized | 0 comments

23 days in, Goodbye Mex…Hello Guatemala!

This post is dedicated to crossing the Border, which I almost did correctly today.   I mean, well, I’m here. I’m in Guate.   So, I guess I did something right, but there were a few glitches.  After 23 days,  I bid farewell to Mexico.   It took me much longer than I thought.   I will say this:  Mexico, you get a bad rap.   You were good to me.   I was not robbed, stabbed, kidnapped or extorted.  I had my share of trials and tribulations, but as I always said from the beginning, be careful what you hear in the media.  Sure there is danger, but there is danger everywhere.   You could get offed anywhere, you could get offed in a movie theater in the US, it could be gang violence, and a cartel can off you in Mexico, somehow here, it seems like it is less “Random”, the violence.   I don’t know,  I could go on, but the bottom line is, don’t be swayed to not visit this country.  Make your own decisions, do your own research, the country is good, the people are good.   She has a lot to offer.  My recomendation is, just learn some Spanish.

Anyway, as I studied the web last night, here is what I found on how to cross from Mex to Guatemala in ADV Rider:

Using this forum for the last six months has been a bit frustrating, most of the established threads like Mexico Trip Planning and the Is Mexico Safe threads have long ago seriously digressed – making it hard to find good info without spending hours sifting through off-topic responses, so I’m just going to make a thread for this info.

So you want to cross the Mexico – Guatemala border at Tapachula instead La Mesilla? I didn’t find it all that hard, but I did it on a Sunday – your mileage may vary.

This is for the crossing North of Tapachula on 200 near Cacahoatan, Chiapas into El Carmen, Guatemala.

It will get pretty crazy, both as you enter the area on the Mexico side (groups of men on the road) and when you get to the Guatemala side. Stay calm, stay focused and go about your business – once they realize you know what your doing they will leave you alone. These guys are trying to get you confused and nervous, stay calm.

1. If you need to cancel your import permit, go to the Banjercito at the aduana in Huixtla. You will run into fake aduana on both the north side and the south side at the topas – don’t stop, and if you do just pretend you’re going to pull over and keep going. They will show you fake badges, but if someone isn’t in uniform they are not real aduana. They want your passport so they can extort you to get it back.

You will have to go through customs just as if you are entering the border, you may get searched. Make sure to hand them receipt from the Banjercito. You will be escorted back to the southbound lane when you are all done by a aduana official in a truck. No big deal.

If you’re coming from the north, use one of the turnarounds and go back. You have to enter from the south on 200.

2. Head towards the border out of Tapachula on 200. I stayed on the south side (Holliday Inn Express – $80) and rode the loop around the city, saving an hour of BS through the city.

3. Coming into the border on the Mexico side people will try to stop you again at topas, keep going. Stop at the Mexico aduana and get your exit stamp – you will have to get this, despite what others say on this forum.

Go through on the right over the metal topas and pull up on the right by the guys at the desk with the guns. You will be swamped by money changers.

4. Go back across the three lanes to the immigration office and hand in your visa and get your stamp. I had to pay about $23 dollars (visa fee) again – they didn’t accept my receipt from Discover Baja in San Diego – you may be fine if you paid in MX. You will need Guate money, so know the exchange rate and negotiate – take your time and relax. Just exchange all your money if you get a good rate, your pesos are not good in Guate.

5. Go over the bridge, half a block up on the left will be the Guate immigration – ignore the “helpers” they will swarm you – park in front of the gate and don’t pay anyone to “move a cone, you’ll be able to see your bike the whole time so don’t pay someone to watch it. Don’t pay anyone to do anything. Just say “no nececito” and go about your business.

6. Hand your passport to the real immigration official behind the gate and get your entry stamp. I can’t remember if I paid anything here, but if I did it wasn’t much.

7. Get back on your bike and go one block-in to the fumigation station. You’ll get sprayed and and pay the guy a small fee (70Q?). Bring something to clean-off your disks, I didn’t and now my disks are squeaking.

8. Get back on your bike and pull ahead to the Guate customs on the right side under the canopy and park behind the next vehicle. You will be parked here for awhile, but your bike will be in site for the rest of your process and watched by the officials. Don’t lock your steering or your bike may get dropped as they WILL move your bike ahead for you.

9. Go into the office, it’s the entry at the end of all the windows, don’t go to the windows.

10. Fill out your paperwork. You’ll need title, registration, passport and drivers license.

11. You’ll be asked to get copies of all these, including your passport with Guate stamp. The copy office is 10 steps from here, just go out to your left and look to your right – it’s right next to the tienda – right there under the canopy.

12. Take the copies back to the customs office and get your next piece of paperwork, two pieces of paper for the bank (you will not give money at the office). Go back out to your left, the bank is right there under the canopy.

13. Pay your fees and go back to the copy office for more copies.

14. Take the copies back to the customs office and get your paperwork completed. They will hand your paperwork to the guy sitting at the desk outside one of the windows on the street. He’ll check the numbers and put a permit sticker on your bike.

You’re done. It took me 2.5 hours on a Sunday. The bank took the longest, there was a line – many vehicle importers taking cars and bikes into Guate.

Well So, that’s it, it’s that easy.   Yes, just 14 simple steps.  Add in no Spanish, and you have the makings of a great day.-Patience….I could have been better, but what a Pain in the ASS!    Yes I was swamped by “helpers”, money changers, and bike washers.   I got fumigated, I had to make copies, and more copies, yes is was a hassle, but I made it.  I knew the exchange rate.   I started the day trying to cancel the TVIP, but that never happened because it was closed, so I didn’t start of on a good foot.  I did not have the Banjercito paperwork.   Maybe there is another way to cancel it and get the money back, but I’m out of Mex now so most likely that I lost that money.     Onward and upward.   Not sure what’s up with the spot tracker today??   I am actually now at Lago de Atitlan’ but it is not showing that.    It’s a really cool little spot in a town called Panajachel.   Look it up.   The lake is amazing. No pics, great video getting here, but internet is too slow for that.   Not sure what tomorrow holds in store.

“Lefty can’t sing the blues, anymore like he used to, the dust that Pancho bit down south, ended up in Lefty’s mouth.   The day they laid poor Pancho low, lefty split for Ohio.   Where he got the bread to go there ain’t nobody knows.  Poets tell how Pancho fell, and Lefty’s living in a cheap hotel.   The deserts quiet and Clevelands cold, and so the story ends we’re told.   Pancho needs your prayer’s its true, but save a few for Lefty too, he only did what he had to do and now he’s growing old.   All the Federales said, they could have had him anyday, they only let him slip away, out of kindess I suppose.”  -Pancho & Lefty….the rest of it.

Out, Pancho.

Pics:   Morning planning,…My first meal in Guatemala…..some sort of stew?   New money, new climate.   A long,  but overall a successful day.

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