We woke early to cross the border from El Salvador to Honduras and then on to Nicaragua, 2 border crossings in one day!
We had read that these borders were a bit of nightmare, with lots of photocopying needed, possible RHD issues, an overlanders worst nightmare.
The reality is these borders are no different to any other (apart from the extra photocopies). With time on your hands and a relaxed attitude both borders can be accomplished with ease in a single day.
The only thing you need is patience and time!
- El Salvador to Honduras Border Crossing 1h 30m
- Drive to Honduras border 2h
- Honduras to Nicaragua Border Crossing 1h 30m
- Border crossing to Leon 2h
Total Time to expect 7 – 8 Hours
The border opens at 6am which gives you plenty of time to cross both borders and reach Leon before dark.
How long did it take us?
We arrived at El Salvador customs at 9:10am, arrived at Honduran customs at 9:40am and passed fumigation at 10:30am. The drive to the Nicaraguan border took us 2 hour 10min arriving at 12:40pm. Entering Nicaragua took us 1 hour 20 mins. We left at 2pm and the drive into Leon took us 2 hours and ten minutes.
Total time 7 hours
El Salvador Exit
- Temporary Import Permit (TIP) The Customs office is on the right hand side just after the speed bump here 13.585211, -87.798540 . Park anywhere you can. There is a copy shop opposite the customs hut 13.585270, -87.798667. They will need your passport, registration certificate and the original Temporary Import Permit and two copies. The customs officer will come outside to check the VIN and to remove the sticker in the window. Once the customs officer has cancelled your permit you need to get 4 more copies. If you don’t already have multiple copies of your passport, registration and driving licence now is the time to do it. (There is another copy shop by the Honduran border)
- Drive to the main border, keeping left at the junction 13.597730, -87.767669
- Immigration The immigration window is on your left at the end of the building. You will also need to show them a copy of the cancelled import permit.
- Cross the bridge, on the way you will be stopped by a guard, he will want to check your paperwork. 13.597592, -87.767269
El Salvador Immigration Building
El Salvador Immigration window
- Proceed to the Honduras Border 13.596609, -87.765079, park outside of customs
- Immigration Head to immigration here 596313, -87.764912 and join the queue. The cost of Tourist entry is $3. The copy shop is here 13.596772, -87.765112
- Temporary Import Permit (TIP) Go inside the building and on your left will be the customs office. Give them the paper work below. Give them the following photocopies
- 3 x passport main photo page,
- 3 x passport with Honduran entry stamp
- 3 x cancelled El Salvador vehicle import permit
- 3 x vehicle registration
- 3 x driver’s licence
- 3 x tourist card
(At this point don’t stress, if you don’t have the correct paper work they will tell you!!)
They will enter the information into the computer and give you a customs declaration to fill in. Once they have entered the information, they will give you some paper work and point you in the direction of the Bank to pay the fee (total was HNL 698) and then to the copy shop to get three copies of the receipt.
Go back to the customs officer and give them the copies and pick up the import permit, then go to the copy shop and get four copies of the Honduran import permit. Go back to customs and give them two copies.
4. Vehicle Check The customs officer may or may not check your vehicle, for us they just checked the VIN.
5. Keep hold of all the documentation you have been given as you need to show this when exiting. They will also take a copy of the TIP.
6. You will come up to a fumigation area, however they did not stop us or any other vehicles.
- Carnet is not required to enter Honduras with a foreign vehicle