Hi all I just joined the forum. A friend and I are planning a trip through Central and parts of South America. At this point we are doing lots of research and I have tons of questions. Right now I have been thinking most about crossing boarders. We are planing on flying into Southern Mexico and making our way south. What should I know about crossing boarders. I am assuming we will be doing most crossongs by bus, Does anyone know and of the bus stations or routes that I would/should take from one country to another? ANy country in Central/South America??? Or do any of you have any other tips?
Generally you won't have to worry too much. Most border crossing, especially over land, are pretty easy.
Pick up copies of Lonely Planet's South America on a Shoe String and Central America on a Shoe String. They will have information about points to cross borders and the process (as it stood at the time of printing).
For any country you are going into, you might also want to check out that country's government website for visa and tourist information. Also check out your own country's website they sometimes have information as well on visa requirements.
You will probably need to get shots - yellow fever for sure - many countries will require this to cross the border.
If you are ever uncertain, you can always check at the embassy of the country you are going to. These are usually located in the capital city of other countries. Seeing as you will be in the capital city of most places, you should be able to wander down to the embassy of the next country on the list, and see what the requirements are and if you can get a tourist visa ahead of time.
Here is a great site that gives you the visa requirement for US citizens for almost all countries...
For example, you will need a visa for El Salvador if you are traveling on a US passport.
The only place where you won't be able to take a bus will be between Panama and whichever South American country you decide to go to. There are no roads connecting Panama with the south, you will have to fly.
Otherwise, border crossings using the major buslines are very easy as long as you have the correct visa.
Hope this helps
In Central America--land crossings are easy--just go to the bus station and say "La Frontera". Youll be ushered onto some random bus that will take you where you need to go--just watch your bags. Bring american dollars--small bills--new dividends too. i remember nic and hon specifically requiring a few american dollars at the crossing--these arent per se bribes considering there is a massive sign stating the costs.
Forget the influenza yellow card--i never once needed to show it in crossing over 12 borders by land in latin america. That goes double for "onward ticket."
It place like brazil, argentina, uruguay and chile--it's easier to have the bus driver take care of customs for you at the border than walking across and catching a new bus on the other side.