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Central America Border Crossings

USA – Mexico

Tecate Border (6 September 2016)

Total time 1 hour

We picked Tecate crossing instead of Tijuana due to its less volume compare to Tijuana. We were glad to make this decision. It was much faster and easier. The border personal helped a lot.

Special thanks Gadi our friend from Israel that passing border at the same time. He speaks Spanish fluently and translations made easier for us.

1. Pass gated area to park motorcycle (Guards showed where to park)

2. Go to Aduana to get your Tourist Card (fill the form)

3. Go to Banjercito (next small building) to pay Tourist visa ($21.86)

4. Go back Aduana to get your stamp

5. To get TVIP you need copies of ;

a. Tourist visa

b. Passport page that has picture and information

c. Title or registration

6. Pharmacy has a photocopy down in the road ( go out from gate and walk through Tecate sign you see pharmacy on the left)

7. Go to Banjercito with copies

8. They prepare the paper work, pay about $400 deposit (with credit card/cash)

9. You get TVIP

10. You are free to ride now

11. Careful with tops and stop signs 🙂

Here is the map for Tecate border;

Tecate Border Map
Tecate Border Map

Mexico – Belize

Chetumal Border (20 October 2016)

Total time 2 hours (Mexico 30 min, Belize 1,5 hours)

First you need to exit from Mexico;

  1. Stop by the immigration booth. They need your tourist card (FMM) and receipt. They stamped your passport.
  2. Now, you need to cancel TVIP for motorcycle. Banjercito is on the left side of the immigration booth. Go inside and hand your documents. (TVIP, passport, title) One of the officer come outside to take a picture of your VIN than go back inside to finish the paperwork to have your bond back. You will get a receipt. We received money within couple days to our credit card account.
Mexico Border
Mexico Border

Now, you can ride to Belize immigration

  1. You are asked to park the bike right side of the immigration booth. You also need to pay 15 Belize dollars. It is an entry fee. (You can pay Mexican pesos as well)
  2. You can go inside the custom and immigration building. You will get a form to fill. They need an address to stay in Belize. We put an address for one hotel in Orange Walk.
  3. Once fill the form, go to immigration booth to get an entry stamp. Custom police asked how long ad where we stay in Belize.
  4. Next step, go to Aduana behind the immigration booth. You need to hand your title and passport. Officer asked us how long and where we stay in Belize. The officer at Aduana did not come outside to check my VIN but other officer came out to check VIN number for another rider.
  5. No photocopies and fee required at this time.
  6. You need to go back and spray the bike. The location is about couple hundred meter back. Officer let me to ride on the wrong side to go back spray area. It is 9 Belize dollars. (You can pay Mexican pesos)
  7. Now come back to the immigration booth, hand your documents than continue to custom area.
  8. You will be stopped by custom police after immigration to check your passport and documents. They were searching some cars. Officer was very nice and wish us a great trip. Now, you are in Belize and free to ride.
  9. We have been told to do motorcycle insurance. I think it is not mandatory but we want to have it for couple days just in case.  The white building on the right side after you cross the custom is where you can get your insurance. We got one week insurance for 26 Belize dollars. (You can pay Mexican pesos)
Belize Border
Belize Border

Belize – Guetamala

Melchor de Mencos Border (23 October 2016)

Total time 1 hour 5 min  (Belize 30 min, Guetamala 35 min)

It is very straight forward at Belize side.

  1. Park you motorcycle before the immigration building.
  2. Need to stamp your passport. Exit fee is 40 Belizen dollars (or 20 USD)
  3. Walk the Belize entry side from inside the building to get exit stamp from Belize for motorcycle.
  4. You are good to leave Belize now.
Belize-Guatemala Border
Belize-Guatemala Border

We were very worried about entering Guetamala but it turned up very easy.

  1. You see 2-fumigation (Spray) areas like car wash. You do not need to take your bike into these areas. Just proceed the empty area (small gap for pedestrian) from right side of the spray building.
  2. Stop first building on the right side. You need to pay 2 USD and get a small piece of paper. Someone spray your bike right away.
  3. Move your bike in front of immigration/aduana building.  Get your entry stamp. Customs and Aduana are side by side.
  4. Aduana asks copies of passport, driver licence and registration. It is helpful if you have them handy. Aduana officer asked a stamp from immigration for passport.
  5. Aduana officer walk with you to your bike to check plate/tag and VIN.
  6. You need to pay 160 quetzal on the cashier which is in the same building.
  7. Than back to Aduana and get your sticker and paperwork.
  8. You are good to go now.
  9. Once you cross the bridge, you need to pay 10 quetzal. We don’t know why.
  10. If you need ATM and gas just pass the first gas station on the right. You will see Tecate gas station right away once you pass the hill.

Note about insurance: I think that insurance is not mandatory in Guatemala. We obtained an insurance which covers whole Central America except Panama about $40 USD. Unfortunately, Nicaragua and Costa Rica did not accept this insurance and we end up obtain mandatory insurance at the border of these countries.

Guatemala – El Salvador

La Hachadura Border crossing (2 November 2016)

Total time 2 hours (Guatemala 30 min, El Salvador 90 min)

Guatemala side;

1. Proceed to immigration to stamped out passport
2. Proceed to Aduana (entry side of Guatemala) and get export stamp for motorcycle documentation
3. Get at least 2 copies of exit stamp (passport) and motorcycle export documentation
4. Copier is just cross the street

Now you can proceed to El Salvador customs

Need to have one copy of registration, driver license, passport, title and 2 copies of Guatemala export documentation

1. Stop at the entry for officers to check Guatemala motorcycle export doc
2. Stop in front of the custom building. Officers check passport and no stamp required
3. Go to Aduana and fill the form for motorcycle. (Form is in Spanish)
4. Officer check VIN and plate/tag
5. Officers prepared import documentation
6. El Salvador motorcycle import is free of charge.
7. Good to go now.

Once you left customs building you stopped by police of the city and asked for $5 USD for municipality. We argued but paid at the end.

Motorcycle insurance is not mandatory in El Salvador

El Salvador – Honduras

El Amatillo Border Crossing (3 November 2016)

Total time 2 hours 25 minutes (El Salvador 45 min, Honduras 1 hour 40 min)

1. Stop one km before the border to cancel the motorcycle import permit. You see a small office on the right. Officer check your VIN and plate/tag and he needs a copy of your El Salvador import permit.
2. Officer cancel the permit than cross other side of the road to get 3 copies of the El Salvador canceled motorcycle permit.

Ride till road splits two and continue to left for immigration.

3. Officers stop you to check passport.
4. Go to immigration window to give your passport for exit. Officer check passports and give you a small piece of paper.
5. Drive to the exit. Officer get a copy of your canceled motorcycle permit.

Now you drive to Honduras customs.

You need 3 copies of driver license, passport, registration, title for Honduras border.

1. Stop and park before the big blue building looks like jail.
2. Go to immigration window to get entry stamp for Honduras. $3 USD per person for entry stamp. Officer accept USD.
3. Go to Aduana in the same compound for motorcycle import permit.
4. Aduana officer gives you a form to fill.
5. Give your title, registration, driver license, passport and El Salvador canceled permit along 2 copies to officer.
6. Officer walk with you to motorcycle to check VIN and plate/tag.
7. Officer back to office to get your permit.
8. Officer prepare documents than give you couple documents including payment information.
9. Need to get Honduras currency to pay motorcycle permit. I exchanged $35 USD. It was enough for photocopy and permit.
10. You need to get 2 copies of stamped permit, 5 copies of permit (piece of paper) and 2 copies of bank documentation.
11. First go and get your photocopy because bank sign copies of permit (piece of paper). Copier is at the left side of the customs building. It is a small market.
12. Go to right side of the custom building for bank. (You see Pepsi sign, bank is one or two building next to market)
13. Pay the motorcycle permit
14. Go back to Aduana and give the copies that you had.
15. You get El Salvador entry paperwork and Paperwork needed in Nicaragua.
16. Proceed exit with bike. An officer get your import documentation.

Now you are free to ride in Honduras.

Insurance is not mandatory in Honduras.

Honduras – Nicaragua

Guasaule Border Crossing (3 November 2016) 

Total time 2 hours (Honduras 30 min, Nicaragua 1 hour 30 min)

Custom building is on the left side of the road. Park in front of the building.

1. Go to immigration window (inside the building but window looking other face of building). Stamped out from Honduras.
2. Go to Aduana and office chance your permit. ( fastest one so far, took couple minutes)
3. You are good to leave for Honduras

No fee involved on Honduras side.

Ride to Nicaragua side.
1. Officer stop you at the entrance to get your bike spray. $3 USD is cost. Officer accepts USD.
2. Go to custom building on the left side.
3. Couple officers reach you once you park your motorcycle. They give you a form which needed for motorcycle import. Fill the form and officer sign back of the form. We think that the form is called “circulation form”. ( side note: you see circulation form in Spanish in the Aduana window)
4. Go to immigration window for entry stamp. One person is $12 USD and you can pay USD.
5. Go to Aduana which is on the right side of the same building.
6. Hand the form that you filled and signed, driver license, registration, title and passport.
7. Officer prepare the motorcycle import documentation. Officer handed you 2 documentation. One of them is the form you filled and other one is your import permit.
8. Nicaragua requires mandatory insurance. $12 USD and you can get it in front of Aduana. (We do have insurance covers Nicaragua which we bought in Guatemala but they did not accept it so we have to buy insurance here)
9. You can ride to exit from customs. Officers stop you to check passport and take the form that you filled.

Insurance is mandatory in Nicaragua.


Nicaragua – Costa Rica

Penas Blancas Border Crossing ( 9 November 2016)

Total time 2 hours (Nicaragua 45 min, Costa Rica 1 hour 15 min)

Approached Nicaragua border around 9:30.

Pass all trucks close the border. You see a blue gate on the left side the road. You need to enter from this gate. An officer check your passport and let you ride in Customs zone.

1. Stop and park your bike at the building on your right side. (About 100 meters after the gate)

2. Park the bike and get a piece of paper to fill from an officer. You need to show the Moto import paper from Nicaragua entry.

3. Fill the form and stamped it to an officer. These officers are walking around, checking vehicles, etc. They wear an uniform.

4. Go inside and find the officer. This officer check your driver license and give you an export form.

5. Go to immigration to stamp your passport. Costs $3 USD. They do accept USD as well.

6. Now, you can continue to Costa Rican side.

Costa Rica side

1. Stop by immigration building. Go to immigration, get a form to fill and stamped your passport. No fee required.

2. Aduana control is cross the immigration building. Show your title, driver license and passport. Officer give you a form to fill than walk with you to motorcycle to check VIN and tag/plate.

3. Hop on your Moto and go about 50 meters. You see many trucks in the parking lot. Turn right and go between trucks till you see end of the building on your left side.

4. Aduana and insurance is side by side. You need to do mandatory insurance. Cost is $30 USD for 3 months. We asked to have an insurance couple weeks or a month but they did not accept. So, you have to pay. You can pay USD here.

5. Go to small building to have photocopies.

– Driver license, passport, insurance, title ( if I remember correctly, Aduana asks 2 copies)

6. Go to Aduana window. Hand over the copies and originals. Officer give you the import documentation within couple minutes. No fee required.

7. You are free to ride into Costa Rica now.

Insurance is mandatory for Costa Rica.

Costa Rica – Panama

Paso Canoas Border Crossing ( 16 November 2016)

Total time 2 hours (Costa Rica 40 min, Panama 2 hour 15 min)

Note: Bus unloaded passengers couple minutes before us. The line at immigration caused the delay. We have friends crossed quicker at the same day.

  1. The Costa Rican customs and Aduana is on the left side of the building.
  2. Go to immigration exit window. Need to $8 USD. They do accept credit and debit card. Stamped out passport.
  3. Aduana is just by the restrooms/banos. You need to fill the small form. Hand import permit, passport and form. Officer cancel your permit.

Now you can ride Panama side. Finally, you are at the last border for Central America if you are going South 🙂

  1. Park your bike left side of the curb.
  2. You need to do mandatory insurance before heading to immigration. You see insurance office at the small buildings on the right side. It is $15 USD. Get a copy of your insurance. Aduana wants a copy of insurance.
  3. Go to immigration window once you obtain insurance. Immigration asked our insurance to check. Stamped your passport.
  4. Go to Aduana and hand your passport, copy of the following; title, registration, driver license, passport, Panama insurance. Officer prepare vehicle import permit within 10 minutes and handed to you.
  5. Do not forget to check your VIN number and other information on vehicle permit.
  6. You see some officer between the vehicles. They have to sign for final departure. You can find one of them and check your moto and signed off.
  7. Go to fumigation area to pay $1 USD. Officer asked you to get your bike spray area. He sprayed the tires and you are off to ride about couple hundred meters to the gate.
  8. Police/Custom checks your passport and vehicle permit and you are good to ride in Panama

Insurance is mandatory in Panama. 

Insurance Information 

Note about insurance: I think that insurance is not mandatory in Guatemala. We obtained an insurance which covers whole Central America except Panama about $40 USD. Unfortunately, Nicaragua and Costa Rica did not accept this insurance and we end up obtain mandatory insurance at the border of these countries. El Salvador and Honduras did not ask about insurance at the border.

Motorcycle Insurance Information

4 Yorum

  1. Hi, Thanks for this post, it is EXCELLENT. We’ll be crossing to Belize from Mexico next week, and then continue to the rest of central America. We’ll probably post something similar on our blog (r-atw.com) and we will put a link to this page as a additional reference. Thanks again!

    PS: I had Turkish friends long time ago, in Istanbul and Ankara… Lost sight of them unfortunately…

    • ayferonur ayferonur

      Hi Phil,

      Thanks for the comment. We will follow you guys as well. Have fun on the road. We do have some information in English and the rest is in Turkish but let us know if you need anything.
      Safe travels.
      Please let us know if you are planning to cross Turkey.
      All the best!
      Ayfer & Onur

  2. Hocam keşke Türkçe yazsaydınız 🙁

    • ayferonur ayferonur

      Vakit buldukça Türkçesini de yazacağız. Teşekkürler

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