After a good breakfast we left Esteli a little behind schedule but still expected to make the border by about 11:00 AM or so. We did not want to arrive too late as last time we entered Honduras it was a nightmare and took at least 2 hours.
The ride to the border was very nice as the temperature was not too hot and the traffic light. At the Nicaraguan border station there were no other travelers and no trucks lined up.
We pulled up, parked and walked over to the Aduana official who was sitting in the shade. He looked over our motorcycle permit, glanced at the bike and said “Ok, immigration is around the corner”.
At the immigration window the guy looked over our passports, stamped them and collected the $4.00 exit fee. Done!
The Honduras immigration is in the same building at the next window. The guy there looked at our permits, stamped them and collected the $6.00 entrance fee for Honduras. Done!
The Honduras Aduna station is just up the hill from the immigration building. I knew where it was since we had gone there to cancel the Honduras permit on the way out. Final we ran into a snag. The Aduna officials were at lunch. We would have to wait.
This turned out to be a good thing. In front of the Aduna office a guy was washing a car. He asked me if I wanted my bike washed. The truth was it was filthy after our raining trip through the mountains in Costa Rica and our ferry trip across lake Nicaragua. “Sure” I said “How much.” Voluntary propina (tip)” he said.
Well this guy worked harder than I ever have at cleaning my bike. He carefully cleaned every surface including getting all the chain lube off the back rim between the spokes. While I was in the Aduna office Janine said he even waxed it and put armor all or something on the tires. (This is a guy with nothing more than a bucket and some rags)
I know the going rate would be $3.00 to $5.00 so I gave him $10.00. You should have seen his eyes light up. Next thing you know he was telling all his friends what he had earned. Janine said I really made his day. The truth is, he really made my day.
While my bike was being washed and shined the Aduana official was busy issuing my permit. No problems, no bribes; in fact he was polite and even laughing a little when he had trouble figuring out my Alberta registration certificate.
So….Lets add this up. When we entered Honduras from El Salvador the total fees, including a $10.00 bribe, came to $80.00 USD. (I got off lucky, some people paid upwards of $150.00 by the time it was all over) This time, with honest, helpful officials the cost was $36.00 to enter Honduras. Do you see a difference?
With permits in hand and a shiney bike we enter Honduras and made our way to Choluteca. It was very hot by the time we reached Choluteca as we were back down to sea level or at least very close to it.
We checked into the same hotel we stayed in on the way down (Paradise Hotel). This was the hotel where the fellow took my side stand and had it welded for me after it snapped at the El Salvador/Honduras border.
We don’t often like to backtrack on roads we have already traveled but this time it was very nice to be back at the same place with very friendly, helpful people. We really enjoyed Honduras the first time and so far have the same feeling.