Driving from Honduras into Nicaragua
As usual, getting out was the easy part, getting in is the hard part.
Approaching the border, trucks will be backed up for nearly a mile. Pass them all and go to the border.
I reached a rope crossing. Someone will move the rope for you, and let you pull through. (to show the informality of this part, I realized after that the rope mover this time, was the money changer.) Immediately, park on the left in front of the orange building with about a dozen windows. Go to immigration first, on the right side, and get stamped for exit - no fee here.
Then, move to a window farther left to customs, and get your car permit cancelled. You will need to fill out a customs form for this. There is no fee for this either.
If you need copies, as you always do; there is a shop for this down the hill to the left in the little white container, pictured here.
These 2 steps and you are out of Honduras.
Move about 100 feet down the road from the Honduras offices, and stop at the black and yellow barrier. Before crossing, show your exit papers to the Honduras official there.
At this point, I had to wait for about 10 minutes. There was an obvious staff motivation session going on in the field to the left that involved clapping (you can see all the light blue shirts in this pic). So, with no staff, the border was closed for a few minutes. No problem...except for, you know, waiting in the near 100 degree heat.
10 minutes later...Meeting over, barrier lifted, good to go.
Go past barrier, and immediately park on left. There are a number of buildings here of different colors. Plus, a place to eat. The place to eat always concerns me...that tells me people spend enough time here, that they need a meal at the border.
Here is he 10 step process I went through on the Nicaragua side.
For reference, these are the little buildings you will see and visit. You can start by parking at the bottom of the steps in this pic, or a bit around in the parking area where the gray truck is.
1 - go to Aduano (customs) - the pale yellow building. There is 1 window here (and 1 door). this starts your car entrance paperwork.
2 - go the police officer that is standing nearby for his sign off on the papers.
3- At this point, to my surprise, I had to take my car through a huge scanner that I had not seen before. It is directly across the road. And, this is 1 at a time, and it takes a few minutes, and you will wait in line, and there is only 1 scanner for north and south bound. So, be patient. The officers there will direct you. When it is your turn, they lead you in like an airplane. Stop your car...leave all bags, even backpacks, in the car and move to the waiting area in the corner. No pics, and no phone use here. I was scolded when I took this picture of it.
When done, pull out of the scanner bay, and take an immediate U turn to park right where you were before.
4 - Go the immigration. this is the second white building in the group. This will take a bit of time. The employees here were VERY nice. Just working on Central American time...slow.
5 - Back to the nice policeman to sign off on the immigration docs, too.
6 - Go to customs for your car permit. This is in the first white building. The great news is that, so far, you have not bene charged a penny.
7 - Back to immigration, and the nice, slow folks. Finally a fee...$12 US - and ONLY U.S dollars. I had to see a money changer to get US dollars. I mean, going from Honduras to Nicaragua, why would I carry US currency??? Fortunately, if you do these crossings, you know you are never far from a money changer. Back with my 12 US, up to the window and pay.
8 - Back to your car, and go directly across the street, a tiny building, for fumigation. Fee - $3 US
9 - Go down the road a bit, and be stopped informally, sort of. You almost feel lime you could go right by without a problem. However, they are here to collect a $1 fee to enter
10 - and also to let you know that car insurance is mandatory, and $12.
Got your insurance? all right, drive on finally! Enjoy Nicaragua!!