From Mexicó we crossed the border at Talismán. This border crossing (and possibly any crossing in Central America) is quite different from the ones in Europe (as far as they still exist). At the Mexican side there was no clear process or steps to follow. For example: I asked a border official if I should cancel the TIP (temporary Import Permit of the vehicle). He said, no, it is still valid for three months. I asked: will it terminate automatically when it expires? (I already knew the answer: no.) Can you do it from abroad? No. But if you don’t cancel the TIP, you will not get your deposit back. And after expiration, if you want to import a vehicle again, it might not be possible, because there was already a TIP on your name.
Better make a list of things you need to do in order not to forget:
- Terminate the TIP of the car, make sure you get a receipt too!
- get an exit stamp in your passport
There was no serious vehicle inspection so off we went to the Guatamala side, on the other side of the river. Between the border stations there a re a lot of people walking, trying to do business, they even live there. It makes the border crossing a bit overwhelming. Everybody tries to stop you, ask to hep you, do you want to change money? We decided to ignore all but the official uniforms. In retrospect, we were not sure if you really have to pay to cross the bridge, because there were only some pylons on the road, no official uniforms. We didn’t pay.
Then on the Guatamala side:
- Get an entry stamp (a blue building somewhere halfway down the line)
- Get a yellow form too (if you have a car), and fill in, you need later for the TIP
- drive on an get your wheels “defumigated”
- drive on and stop where they tell you (luckily in the shade), get out and go the the TIP office. This might take some time.
The entire process of crossing the border takes about 3-4 hours.
Guatamala is different from Mexicó. it seems even more colourful, especially the buses: elaborately decorated school buses as you might know them from the USA. In general these buses are also the fastest moving objects on the road. Luckily they are, without exception, painted in bright colours to make them stand out.
There are also a lot of very colourful murals.
Fuel: Diesel and Gasoline are widely available. GLP (or LPG) for cars I did not yet see. But cars are converted, so there must be a station every now and then. Most likely, as it was in Mexico, these are well hidden behind high walls to contain the fireball in case all goes wrong.
Water is about the same in Mexico: it seems local water taps are better avoided, although some locals use it. I guess we would just have to “train” to drink the local water. Alternative are the Purificadoras, where filtered water can be obtained in almost the same garrafones.