Many overlanders decide to drive straight through Honduras and complete two borders (El Salvador and Nicaragua) in one day. The overlanders that do enter Honduras usually do so through the Copan crossing from Guatemala. Since we wanted to hit some spots in El Salvador, we decided to cross into Honduras at the El Poy border. This border is not frequented by travellers very often (at least, this was what we discovered while researching and while at the border). Below is a step-by-step guide to the El Poy border crossing.
Full name: El Poy/Ocotepeque
Date crossed: April 3, 2013
Time: 12:15 p.m. (this border crossing took us 1 hour and 45 minutes total)
Currency: Honduran Lempira
Exchange Rate: 20 Lempiras equals 1 USD (at the time of writing)
EL SALVADOR – OUT
1. Drive through the gate. Provide the original and a copy of your El Salvadorian vehicle permit to the uniformed man. He will keep the copy and return to the original to you.
2. You will approach a white and blue building next. Drive to the right hand side of it and park your vehicle.
3. Go to the “Oficinas de Migracion” counter and provide your passport. The official will give you a white ticket, one for each passport, with a date stamp. Keep this as you will need it later.
4. Walk through the white and blue building to the other side. There will be a window where you will approach another official, and provide them with your vehicle permit. The friendly man came out of the office and inspected our vehicle. He provided us with a small white paper confirming cancelation of the vehicle permit. Keep this as well.
5. Return to your vehicle and drive straight to “Migracion”. It is a small booth on the left side. Provide your passports with the white tickets. The official will take your tickets and you will continue on your way.
6. You will approach another official booth on the left side with a gate. The official will take your El Salvador vehicle permit and the small white cancellation paper. He will write some stuff on a clipboard, and then return your original El Salvadorian vehicle permit.
You are now out of El Salvador and your vehicle permit has been cancelled.
HONDURAS – IN
1. Park on the right hand side of the road by a red building.
2. Walk to the “Migracion” building across the street. It is turquoise coloured and on the left hand side. The official will look at your passports and provide you with a tourist card to fill out (one per person).
3. Once your tourist cards are filled out, give them to the official. He will ask you to pay a $3 fee USD per person. After payment, the official will provide you with a yellow copy of the tourist card, a receipt for the $3 USD, and will stamp you into the country.
4. Get back in your vehicle and drive around 300 metres to the big peach and cream building on the left. Park in the gravel space in front of the building.
5. Approach the window (it was the 4th from the left side, but who knows whether this changes daily or not). Ask for a vehicle import permit for Honduras.
6. Provide the official with the original El Salvadorian vehicle permit, your passports, and your original vehicle registration papers. Originals are fine. He will then inspect the vehicle and check out the VIN.
7. Go to the copy shop (we found one down the street from the peach and cream building on the same side of the road, back towards the way you came). The copy shop will take US dollars. Make 2 COPIES of the following: original registration papers, driver’s passport, massive stamp in the driver’s passport, and the El Salvadorian vehicle permit. They charged us about $0.60 USD
8. Go to the bank (we found one further back down the road, but saw several around) and pay for the vehicle import permit. The official at the peach and cream building will give you two invoices that you need to pay. This equals around $30 USD. You will need Honduran lempira to pay the bank, so if you have not already obtained some, approach a money-changer and exchange your USD for some. At the time of writing the exchange rate on the street was 20:1.
9. After you pay the bank, they will stamp your papers and provide you with a receipt.
10. Return to the official at the peach and cream coloured building with your copies and with your bank receipt. He will ask to see your driver’s license. Then he will give you a stamped copy of the receipt and the Honduran vehicle permit (and of course, will give you your license back).
11. Hop back into your car and proceed to the gate where the Honduran officials will give your hand a shake and ask where you are from. Shake their hands, answer their questions, show them your passports, and continue on your way.
Enjoy the route through the massive pine forest on your way to your final destination!