Another border crossing, another little adventure. It is frustrating to have to pay people to help you through these crossings, but getting the car through can be a little complicated, so it can be well worth it.
It feels like greasing palms, and I am probably right. These helpers at the border make a living doing this, so I don't feel too bad about paying them.
They get you early leaving El Salvador because approaching the border, the one and only lane is backed up with trucks that are not moving. The border helper (mine was Rene today) will guide you around the traffic and get you to the front of the line.
Leaving El Salvador, you stop just after the speed bump, and park off to the right. At the little shack with a window, you get your car permit cancelled. Then, drive ahead 2 kilometers. At the new bridge, veer left (the new bridge is for trucks only). go one more kilometer, passing thru a little village, and park on the right side of the blue and white building for immigration. Get your passport stamped , and a little white piece of paper that you will need later to finally get out. That is it for exiting El Salvador.
Drive on for Honduras. Over bridge, and park on the right side at the blue and white building for immigration and customs.
This is where my helper really started to shine.
First, as you come over the bridge, a Honduras official will take your passport and cancelled Salvador car permit. He leaves with those, and you drive forward and park. This seems odd, but it is normal.
After parking, you need to go thru the Honduran process. This is the first time I needed a car title, instead of just registration. This is also the first time I had photo and fingerprints taken.
My helper got my passport back, and took the rest of my papers, and handled everything while I waited by may car. 30 minutes later, I had all my docs, and was ready to go. I only has to enter the immigration building for about 5 minutes for immigration. I was not involved at all with customs.
My helper asked for 65 dollars to handle car permit, and customs. And to pay for the inspection and fumigation...that never actually happened.
Thanks to Rene, I was through both sides and on my way in less than an hour. Record time!