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Car travel Central America do´s and don´ts

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Car travel Central America do´s and don´ts

1. Posted by MaartenvB (First Time Poster 1 posts) 10y

Next two months we will make a round-trip with a Mexican licensed car through Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador. What are border crossing procedures like with a car? What kind of fees are likely to be asked?
What should we not do while driving through these countries?
Anyone experienced any violence?
Thanks!!!

2. Posted by markmac (Budding Member 60 posts) 10y

I would find out every detail of information from all the countries you plan on driving through. I worked in Guatemala for the last year, and last I know, the person who drives the vehicle into Guatemala, must be the person to drive the vehicle out. They will not let you or the vehicle leave without this person. Also, you have to leave the country with the vehicle. I have been told from locals that if you enter the country with a vehicle, your only option is to leave with the vehicle. Accidents, breakdowns, there are no excuses. This may not be entirely correct, but I would definately look into it.
It can be a bit dangerous in Guatemala. If you stay on the tourist track, you generally will be ok. I dont like to bring it up, but it is a good example. I was chatting with a man from the Netherlands last time I flew home, and his mother was shot and killed while driving down the highway. Rebels had came onto the highway and were stopping and robbing vehicles. For whatever reason, they did not stop, and they were shot numerous times, killing his mother. This is obviously an extreme case, but it goes to show that worst case scenarios do happen.
Enjoy your travels, be safe, Central America is dangerous. Where I worked in Guatemala, in the Alta Verapaz province, the local village of 1500 people averaged between 6-10 murders per month.

3. Posted by bentivogli (Travel Guru 2398 posts) 10y

I'm not talking from personal experience, but from what I've heard, driving a car (or actually not the driving itself, but the fact of having to look after one) is one big, gigantic DON'T in SA. We're talking robberies, scams, violence, etc. You make yourself stand out enormously, a white guy driving, "whoa, he must be rich!".

Plus, busses are excellent, serve every place you conceivably may be interested in, and are much more relaxed.

Hope this piece of non-advice is any good, enjoy your trip,

Niels

4. Posted by dbloom (Travel Guru 586 posts) 10y

Even though I am not a traveller (a resident)and even though I imported my vehicles and got national plates, I drove over 800,000km. or 500,000 miles in Central America (except Belize and Costa rica)and was never robbed (except for spare tires and jacks when I foolishly parked outside overnight)and know dozens of people who have driven from the US/Canada to Central America with foreign plates. For me life is too short to listen to all this negativity..if you need more info. message me.