We left Popun with the intention of taking a leisurely drive towards Honduras. It turns out that we are either very skilled riders or very dumb. We breezed through the traffic, overtaking trucks and cars with ease but the roads were definitely starting to get more crowded. Many, many trucks hauling north and a lot of Dole trucks… guess they need to get their fruit to places fast. The roads themselves were in good shape and we unintentionally made it to the Honduran border within 4 hours. We passed another adventure rider on a BMW GS but he was wedged in between two trucks and was going so slow that I just rode beside him for a minute and then passed all the trucks in about 5 seconds. I guess he doesn’t understand the whole concept of driving in Central America! It would take me 2 years to get to Argentina with the way he was driving. Anyway, we arrived at the border and bumped into the Kiwis we met in Tikal. They had already started the crossing process so Alex and I had lunch before trying to catch them up 🙂 Alex used his speed Spanish and before long we caught them.
The border crossing process near Copan goes like this. Go to the Guatemalan import/export office with three copies of your Guatemalan bike import permit. They do some magic with them and your passport and before long your bike has been exported. No fee. Then you go 100 yards up the road and give your passport to the Guatemalan immigration office who stamps you out of the country. No fee. Then you need to deal with the black market currency exchange guys to get some local currency to pay your fees to get into Honduras. There is an ATM in Copan 5km up the road so you only need to change about $50 US at the border. Keep some Guatemalan Quetzals handy for the copies since the Honduran photocopiers are off limits. Then you move to the next window which is Honduran immigration. They stamp your passport (and you) into Honduras and you pay a small fee. Then you go two doors up to the Honduran import/export office. There you need a 3 copies each of your passport, bike registration, drivers license and bike title. Once you get your original Honduran bike import form, you then need to photocopy 5 copies of it and you need 3 copies of your passport stamp (that you just got from Honduran immigration). You have to run back and forth between countries to make copies and they cost 1 Quetzal a page. Once you return with your copies you pay about 662 Limpira to import your bike for up to 3 months. Off you go on your bike and don’t lose your original import permit or you will face a hefty fine to get a new one! Easy right? Just wait until have to cross the border into Nicaragua by myself with my non-existent Spanish… Alex has been spoiling me 🙂
We drove into Copan and bumped along its rough cobblestone streets. Our Kiwi friends, Chris and Allan, had told us where they were staying and given us rough directions but we couldn’t find them. Looking lost, we headed across the bridge and were on our way out of town when this Rickshaw driver rolls up next to us yelling Chris, Chris, Chris!!! Apparently, they had told the driver to keep a lookout for us and to bring us to them. So we whizzed back into town following this guy and were soon in a little courtyard of a small guest house. We gave the guy a tip and got unpacked before the four of us headed into town for dinner and a beer. Not a bad day of traveling but we didn’t do a lot of sight-seeing and I stupidly did not stop at the first two pineapple stands on the side of the road… they would be the last two I saw in Guatemala 🙂