This is our experience/record of crossing the Guatemala-El Salvador border on Tuesday, 17 February 2015. Our traveling party consisted of two people, two motorcycles, and one dog (Chihuahua).
We arrived at 2:00pm and exited Guatemala by 2:20pm but didn’t finish at the El Salvador side until 4:10pm. This was not due to any difficulty at the border but the official doing the vehicle import paperwork was slow and grumpy. The Guatemala side of the border was chaotic with fixers that were very aggressive and we did end up getting help from one but we would have been fine without him. There were not any fixers on the El Salvador side. There was little to no English spoken at this border. There are NO FEES even though the fixers will try to tell you there are.
Border Name: Las Chinamas off highway CA-8
Cities: Jalpatague, Guatemala and Las Chinamas, El Salvador
Costs: 7.46 USD for one dog, two people, and two motorcycles
- Copies: .92USD / 7Q
- Helper: 6.54USD / 50Q
- Passport plus one photocopy
- Driver’s license plus one photocopy
- Motorcycle title plus one photocopy
- Guatemala import permit – will need two copies of cancelled permit
- Note: we keep all originals in individual plastic sleeves. We labeled these sleeves clearly to avoid confusion as to what was what, to keep original documents clean, and to differentiate what was original and what is a copy. All border crossing officials have respected the sleeve and no one has needed to remove the document from this cover.
- International health certificate from the US
- Health certificate from Mexico
- Valid rabies certificate (not more than one year old and not less than 30 days).
- Vaccination record
- Microchip certificate
Note: We did not claim/declare Ducati at this border. He was in his carry bag and had we been asked to claim him we did have all his paperwork ready. For specific experience with your dog please see Neli’s Big Adventure.
Step 1: Park in front of large building, do not attempt to cross bridge at this time.
Step 2: Guatemala Immigration: Go to window in middle of building and have passports and import permit stamped out of the country.
Step 3: Go across street and make 2 copies of passports and import permits with exit stamps. Must make copies on the Guatemala side of the cancelled vehicle import permit because we did not see a copy shop on the El Salvador side.
Step 4: Guatemala Customs: Hand them the vehicle import form and they will review, sign, and stamp the copies. They will keep the original. No inspection.
Enter El Salvador
Drive over bridge to El Salvador and park to the right immediately after the bridge. You will likely be directed/pointed there.
Step 1: El Salvador Customs:
- Our first step was the vehicle import process. Immediately after parking a customs official brought us forms to fill out regarding make, model, and many other details found on the title. If a mistake is made a new form must be started. He checked our work. Then he re-wrote the information on another form. Another customs official then reviewed everything on the forms. Included in this review is the canceled Guatemala vehicle import.
- Take completed forms to the building across the street (left side of main road) into the customs door. A guard will open the door. Give all paperwork to the official at the window and then sit down. He will slowly re-type all information from forms into computer occasionally wagging a finger at you to come to the window and answer a question but then you must go sit back down. Eventually you will receive the temporary vehicle import permit. No fee.
Step 2: El Salvador Immigration: The door down from customs is immigration. You get in line and officials will look at passports and give you a piece of paper with a number that corresponds to number in your party. Shannon was able to stand in line and show both passports and get the little piece of paper (don’t lose this). No fee.
Step 3: Drive away. We were stopped two times.
- Stopped within 50-feet and asked for the small piece of paper with number on it regarding immigration and passports.
- Stopped 100-feet later and asked to show the temporary vehicle import permits.
Step 4: Insurance. Insurance is not mandatory in El Salvador so we have not purchased it.