The drive from Palenque to the border ended up taking almost the whole day. What we thought would be a two hour drive through the mountains from Palenque to San Cristobal became an excruciating five hour drive going from 5 to 25 miles per hour to accommodate the vast number of speed bumps strewn along the road. Finally dropping out of the mountain, feeling irritated and road weary, we decided to risk the oncoming evening and continued to the border. We arrived to the border at dusk, stressed but relieved to have made it into the next country.
Entry Point: Cuidad Cuautemoc, Mexico
- Vehicle Registration
- Vehicle Title
- Driver’s License (DL) of vehicle owner
- Canceled Mexican vehicle permit
- 18Q ($2.35) for fumigation
- 160Q ($20.90) for vehicle permit
- About 3 kilometers before reaching the border you will pass through an area with a large cement building with an overhang to the left. There are guards standing about, but no signs stating that this is the area where you cancel your vehicle permit, but rest assured it is.
- Pull into one of the parking spaces in front of an one story building with barred windows and doors.
- Then walk towards the large cement building with the overhang, where you will see a small sign stating you are at the Banjercito. Inside the building, on the left, is the office of the man who will cancel the vehicle permit. Give him the vehicle permit paperwork you received when crossing into Mexico. He will check the paperwork, then go outside to check the VIN on your vehicle, take a picture and remove the permit sticker. After processing the paperwork you are done.
- Next got back to the building with the bars, heave open the sliding glass door, greet the grumpy man behind the counter. Present passports and tourist cards, he will stamp the passport and keep the tourist card. You are done.
- Continue driving to the border past a burning dump on the right. The border crossing is just a single lane with a gate on either side.
Note about the deposit: since we paid the $200 deposit by credit card there was nothing to do except wait for the money to be credited back to my card which took a few weeks.
- Pass through the gate and pull into the orange coned area on the right hand side to fumigate. At this time people with fannypacks, known as “cambios,” will ask you if you would like to exchange money. We exchanged the last of our pesos to quetzals to pay for the fumigation and vehicle permit, but the exchange rate was not the best.
- A man with a uniform will come out to your vehicle to tell you he will fumigate, make sure to roll up your windows. When done get out your vehicle and walk into the small fumigation office to pay the fee and receive a receipt.
- Next get back into your vehicle and pull into a parking spot immediately after the fumigation office. There is a row of parking spots available.
- First, go to the building that is immediately next to the fumigation building. Here they will stamp your passport and give you the form to fill out for the vehicle permit.
- Take the completed vehicle permit form past a windowed kiosk to an office with two barred windows and an armed guard. Stand in line to present passport of vehicle owner, DL of vehicle owner, registration, title, and canceled Mexican vehicle permit. The official will make copies of the documents and check the VIN on the car. He will process the paperwork and then give you a “bolete declaraguate” to take to the bank just next door to the right.
- Inside the bank pay the fee for the vehicle permit and receive a receipt.
- Return to the official at the barred window, hand over the receipt. He will have you check over a document for accuracy of information before having you sign several copies. Then he will give you the vehicle permit paperwork and receipt. The official will walk to your vehicle to place the sticker on the windshield.
- Before leaving the parking area, a second official will come by to check the documents you just received.
- Pass through the second gate and head out of town.
Have you experienced a border crossing, what was it like? Any questions about crossing the border into Guatemala? Leave a comment below or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.