El Salvador, La Libertad, 4 Dec 2011

I left Antigua at 0900 and rode downhill from 1500m towards the coast then along the flat to the border with El Salvador at Ciudad Pedro de Alvarado from cool to hot and humid 35c in the shade, lost my way a couple of times, with no signs or maps for my GPS, I am getting used to this.

Arrived at the border at 1145, there was a mile long queue of trucks waiting to cross, all going into El Salvador, I followed the rest of the traffic on the wrong side of the road through the town to get to the front of the queue, it all works out somehow hahahaha amazing.

At the front of the queue is this guy, stop and show him your Guatemalan TVIP papers he will endorse them with the date and time and a stamp.

Next follow the red car until you get to the end of the building, stop and park your bike in front of or as close to the Immigration window as possible, you can see a bunch of people standing there.

Park here

Give the Immigration Officer your passport and any other Guatemalan papers you have on you. The guy in the yellow top was pestering me so I let him take over and just watched, he gave me his Guatemalan ID card to keep as security, at the end I gave him a tip of Q100 or USD$12.50, follow these instructions and you can do it yourself.

Next take all you papers across the road to where you can see the guy in the yellow top and get 2 copies of everything, TVIP, Title, Registration, Drivers Licence and Passport. Cost Q5 or $0.65c

Now walk back to the Immigration Building to the other side and at the other end and present your papers at the Aduana window or if there is a queue put them at the bottom of the pile in the window, you can see the pile of papers in the window in front of the guy in the red shirt. There were 5 people ahead of me and each one takes about 5-10min, this was the longest wait, when it comes to your turn the Customs guy will check the VIN on your bike and it was all done by 1245 total 1 hour. After this I gave my helper his tip and then changed the last of my Quetzals to USD$ I only had Q60 left and should have got $6.50 in return, the money changer gave me some $1 notes and as I just wanted to get going I did not count them, just stuffed them into my pocket, later I counted them and there was only $4, no big deal but if you are changing a larger sum make sure you count the money before riding off,  now for the El Salvador mob.

Ride across the bridge on the wrong side and hope a truck is not coming the other way hahahaha, at the other side of the bridge there is a check point just give the guy all the Guatemalan papers he will endorse them with the time and date and a stamp, ride on staying to the right of the building up ahead which is Immigration and Customs.

Park in front of the window where the girl in the white top is standing and present your passport, it gets stamped, no charge and away you go.

On your bike and ride about 10m further down and park your bike between 2 cars in front of the Aduana office under cover phew out of the hot sun for a change.

Park here enter through the door and turn right, its air-conditioned Ahaaaaaa

This is the window, the sign above it says in English that all Immigration and Customs is completely Free and to stop corruption and not pay anyone, hand in your Guatemalan document and passport and a copy of your drivers licence, the Customs Officer will process them and check the VIN number on your bike, she will then produce a document which you have to get 2 copies of, the photocopy place which is in the same building was closed for lunch so she very kindly took them across the road to one of their offices and made the copies for me, no charge otherwise I would have had to wait until the photocopy guy finished his lunch and got back to work, Thank You Senora. When she handed me the completed documents she pointed to the Notice above the window about corruption and asked me to read it. On my bike glad to get moving, next stop is the final checkpoint before you enter the country to make sure you haven’t just ridden past all the offices without getting the right stamps and papers. There was a guy and a good looking young woman at the checkpoint, I handed the guy my papers and the girl kept asking for something and I did not have a clue what she wanted so I kept saying NO ESPANOL, finally he said “Ticket $5”, the first instance of Corruption I have come across, I said NO collected my documents and rode off, total time for both exit and entry procedures 1:45 hours and total cost about $13 (tip and photocopies) not bad at all.

Great ride along the coast, the mountains come down to the sea and the road is about 100m above the ocean, a few tunnels and villages, looks poor but the road is wide good overall and there are some road signs, arrived in La Libertad at 1500 after covering 297km, this is the Surfing capital of El Salvador, the beaches are made up of Black Volcanic sand like parts of Hawaii and New Zealand

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One Response to El Salvador, La Libertad, 4 Dec 2011

  1. I like how the pictures and text shows up very neatly in an e-mail– since I subscribed to your blog– but need to come here to post comments. No complaints about that either, since it is another chance to see all the lovely sights. The sunrise is an absolutely fantastic one! Happy riding and viewing!

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