Easy, but slow crossing. Low stress factor and I doubt that a helper will be able to speed things up much. It took us just over one and a half hour to get two vehicles across. And, unfortunately, we have managed to loose some of the photos we took at this crossing, so you'll have to do with a written description for the first part.
The same procedure repeats itself also at this border:
- Exit people from Honduras
- Exit vehicle from Honduras
- Entry for people into Nicaragua
- Vehicle permit for Nicaragua
- (and in this case, vehicle insurance)
So! As you get closer to the border (a kilometer or two..) there will be big trucks lined up along the road. Pass all of these, and keep driving until you get to a chain across the road. A guy will let you through, and you can park in front of the first building on the left. This is where you find both Migracion and Aduana. Aduana is the first door, and Migracion is a few steps further. Do the Migracion first. We were asked for 2 usd per person in “exit fee”, but I'm not sure if this is right. The Swiss couple that came after us, had one receipt from their 3 usd entry fee, and they were able to get away with paying only one exit fee.
And make a mental note of money exchangers. They are ALWAYS around. We normally ignore them in the beginning until we get a feeling for the right rate.
Well. When you have your exit stamps, go back to the first door and cancel your vehicle permit. The lady came with me out to check the VIN number. This did not cost anything. Quick and easy!
Next you drive through another gate (chain across the road (picture above)), and you approach the Nicaraguan border station. This is also easy, but took a little time. Drive up to the Migracion and park just in front of the office. The Migracion is a window to the right when you look at the building (blue circle). Get your tourist cards (no stamp in the passport), and move left to the Aduana window (blue arrow). It is 12 usd per person (receipts for 10+2 usd). There was also a guy that wanted 1 usd per person in “municipality” fee. We’d heard about this, and paid. Later I heard about a couple that told the guy that they wouldn’t pay, and he just said OK… ??? Don’t really know what the deal is with this.
At the Aduana window there were a few truck drivers waiting in some kind of a line when I got there. But after a few minutes waiting where nothing happened, I went to the window and looked in, and the lady took my papers right away. No copies are needed at this border. You get a form, and are told to find the “inspector”. This is a guy (or two) that looms around back at where you came through the last gate (chain) (green arrow). They have light blue shirts with a “DGA” logo on their chest.
This is the guy you look for. He checks your car and signs your form, and then you go back to the Aduana for the final vehicle permit. This was also free. The last piece of the puzzle is to get insurance for Nicaragua. This is mandatory, and has to be bought at the border. A guy with an ID saying something about insurance met us first back at the Honduran side. We told him there that we wanted to get all other papers fixed first, and then do the insurance last. This allowed us to observe how this was done, and it turned out that this guy sold insurance to most of the vehicles crossing (mostly Honduran registered cars), so we bought insurance for one month for 12 usd. Couldn't find a pic of the insurance guy, but i think he had a red shirt with a logo fron the insurance company.
When all the paperwork was done, we drove through the final gate (chain) out from the border station. I think I remember a guy looking at our papers and asking us about soccer and baseball. We passed…. Another 10 meters and we were stopped by a cop that also wanted to see our papers, and he wanted to know if we had a dog?!?! We don’t! So then we were in Nicaragua!