Crossing the border from Guatemala to El Salvador
This was the first crossing that did not go quite as planned.
The "helpers" that are at all crossings can be very beneficial. Here...not so much.
They are much more aggressive on the Guatemala exit, and at the end, discovered that they are there to get as much money out of you as possible. And, giving you the correct information is not all that important to them. They insisted that I owed the officials extra money ($60) because they worked on their lunch hour. We argued, and settled on $25, just so I could move on.
If I did this again, I would go without any helper.
The key leaving Guatemala, when driving your own car, is that when you arrive at the exit lanes, just park in the spaces on the right of the building (which will be next to the far left immigration lane). You will need your car there before it is over. Immigration and customs are in the same building. And, the copy shop is just up to the right.
The helpers, along with what I read online, all said that El Salvador will need nothing but the cancelled Guatemala papers for my car. This is very wrong. I have to assume this changed recently.
El Salvador was the first country to do a thorough entry customs process on my car. Including opening all doors, checking the VIN in the door and windshield.
So, leaving Guatemala, go over the bridge, and you will be asked to pull over immediately on your right. You will leave your car here for the duration.
They are thorough, but very nice. Probably the friendliest immigration so far.
Get your car checked...be patient, we are working on Central American time frames.
Then, you will head to the immigration office, which is across the road, and down a slight hill.
Need copies? You can get them 30 feet to the south of where your car is parked. The "building" (more shack) is marked.
The folks on the Salvador side were very helpful.
Despite what you read online, you WILL get entry paperwork for your car. And, you will hit 2 or checkpoints in the first couple miles, and they will all ask for it. Again, very friendly...the 3rd checkpoint, the officer and I chatted about what it was like to drive through Central America. A smile, a handshake, and a "much gusto" later...I was on my way to San Salvador.