Guatemala to El Salvador Border Crossing

We made it successfully into El Salvador.  We left this morning from Monterrico, Guatemala and headed to Playa El Tunco in El Salvador.  El Tunco is a popular surfing destination in El Salvador.  The most convenient border crossing was La Hachadura.  This is the western most crossing between Guatemala and El Salvador.
The border crossing took us less than two hours.  People were very friendly and most of the border officials could speak English.  I am happy to say that our Spanish lessons in Antigua came in really handy as well.  If you are a traveler out there and are about to cross the border at La Hachadura, you should know that there were basically no other cars.  There were tons of trucks, but besides us, there was only one other guy on a motorcycle from BC, Canada going down to Panama.  Since you are in a different queue from the trucks it was very easy to just drive around the line of trucks to the front.  The only thing we paid for was a $5 USD carretera tax on the El Salvador side.  We had read about this tax on other blogs so we expected to have to pay it.  By the way, I would recommend against using ‘helpers’ on the border (we did fine without any).  The border is small, so even if you are confused, walking from building to a building is as simple as crossing a small street.

The highlight of the day was getting on the sketchiest car ferry ever …  There are two options to go from Monterrico to El Salvador.  The first is to drive back North the way we came.  The second option is to take ‘a small ferry’ for $10 USD.  The second option would save us over 100 miles of driving so we opted immediately for the so called ‘ferry’.  The cable ferries in Yukon are luxury cruises in comparison to what we got on.  And, yes, we had to get out of this thing in reverse … Oh, and did I mention that while we were floating down the canal, the outboard motor kept stalling.  The prop would stop every so often (probably from being wrapped in seaweed).  The guy would just lift the outboard out of the water and clean the prop by hand while the ‘ferry’ drifted in whichever direction.  By the way, we saw anther ferry going in the opposite direction.  There was a guy bailing with a little bucket… I guess it could be worse :).

We had another fun experience that day.  Two miles outside the border in El Salvador we got pulled over by 3 cops.  These guys were real cops, but they had no reason to stop us.  It was more than clear they were looking for a way to get money out of us.  After all, we had just crossed the stupid border 2 miles ago … probably our paperwork is fine …  Anyways, we played very unfriendly with them and when they wanted passports etc we gave them only photocopies.  The whole time I had the driver’s window only 4 inches down … After a five minutes of head scratching on what to do with us, they let us go.  No money paid, no harm done.

We made it to a pretty surfing beach.  We are staying at a spartan bungalow with private bathroom.  The weather is +35C.  Water is super warm as well.  The plan is … well we don’t have a plan at the moment.  The only certain thing is that we will be moving quickly out of El Salvador towards Nicaragua.  We will probably cross Honduras without sleeping in the country.




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