This is a continuation of the series reporting from our Panamerican roadtrip on what to expect when crossing the border by vehicle in Mexico and Central America.
Part 1: Exiting El Salvador and Entering Honduras (see Part 2 for Exiting Honduras and Entering Nicaragua)
Before our roadtrip we deliberated on how long we wanted to travel in Central America before reaching Costa Rica. We ultimately made the decision to skip visiting Honduras and instead traveled straight on through. Between El Salvador and Nicaragua is a small slice of Honduras that only took us two hours to travel, but for such a short drive this border required the most paperwork and the most money. We traipsed back and forth between different buildings and the copy shop before finally settling the paperwork. So without further ado, following is the steps for crossing the border into Honduras.
Entry Point: Pasaquina, El Salvador to Goascoran, Honduras
- Vehicle Title
- Vehicle Registration
- 2 copies each: title, registration, driver’s passport, driver’s Driver License (DL), driver’s passport page with Honduran stamp, driver’s Honduran tourist card, receipt for tourist card, canceled El Salvador vehicle permit, receipt for Honduran vehicle permit
- $3 for Visa
- $45 for vehicle permit
Leaving El Salvador took us longer than anticipated. In San Salvador we got stuck in morning rush hour traffic and then we took a wrong turn near the Honduran Frontera (border), which required some back tracking. The drive from El Salvador and through Honduras to reach our destination – Leon, Nicaragua – ended up being the longest day of driving for our whole trip, we clocked in at 12 hours. Road weary and hungry we arrived in Nicaragua in the pitch black of night.
Leaving El Salvador:
- About 1 km before the border stop at a white shack to the right. An official will take the vehicle permit and sign it to cancel it.
- Drive forward and take the fork in the road towards the left to reach the Oficina de Migracion el Amatillo. Park to the right of the building.
- Go to the aduana (customs) building, present passport, and receive back a stamped slip of paper.
- Drive to the start of the next bridge where an official will collect the stamped slip of paper.
- Continue on to a second stop where an official reviews the canceled vehicle permit.
- Cross over the bridge to enter Honduras. Continue driving until you reach the aduana (customs) buildings to your left. An official will stop you and ask to see your title, passport and DL of the vehicle owner. Receive the documents back and park to the right. (Many guides will approach you to try to help you though the process for a fee. If you are not interested only show your paperwork to officials with shirts that say “aduana”.)
- First go to the Oficina de Migracion (immigration building) which is the Administrative Building to the right of the aduana, with red bars across the windows and doors. Fill out a tourist card and pay the $3 Visa fee. Receive a passport stamp, receipt, and tourist card.
- Go to the copy shop which is a little yellow building to the left of the aduana. Get two copies of driver’s passport page with stamp, tourist card, receipt, and canceled El Salvador vehicle permit.
- Go to the aduana building, which is the large white building in the center. At the row of windows in the wall an official will ask for the copies just made along with two copies of title, registration, and passport, plus the original El Salvador vehicle permit. Fill out a Declaration de Aduana form. A vehicle import stamp will be added to the vehicle owner’s passport. The official will also give you two documents: Permiso de Entrada and Consejo Hondureno de la Empresa Privada.
- Next go to the bank, to the left of the aduana, next to the copy shop. Give them the Consejo Hondureno document and pay the vehicle permit fee. Sign and receive a receipt and they will also stamp the Permiso de Entrada.
- Go back to the copy shop and make two copies of the passport with the vehicle import stamp and Permiso de Entrada.
- Finally, go back to the aduana, give all the copies you made and the receipt from the bank. You are now done.
- Return to car, continue driving past buildings until a guard stops asking to see passports and vehicle permit.
Driving through Honduras only took us two hours. The road up to the town of Choluteca was well paved and maintained. However, once you reach Choluteca and turn onto CA-3, a whole other experience awaits. The road was filled with pot holes and we found ourselves driving on the other side of the road many times to avoid them. The pot hole marked road continued for a while into Nicaragua before a newly paved road took over.