Gringos Guide To Driving Mexico, Central America & Costa Rica
  • Entering Nicaragua
    Nicaragua

    Entering Nicaragua

    After going through the official Honduran border gate, you will pull up to the official Nicaraguan border gate, about 50 yards away. Here, the border officials enter your passport number into a book. No charge. However, the officials may request a private donation for their work. You will soon learn that everyone will ask you for money in Nicaragua. Between Nicaragua and Honduras, there are three border crossings; Las Manos (near Ocotal), El Espino (near Somoto), and Guasaule between El Triunfo (Honduras) and Somotillo (Nicaragua). Aduana and Migration The Aduana and Migration offices are another 50 yards down the hill in a semicircular building. When you enter the building, several…

  • Honduras Border Exit
    Honduras

    Honduras Border Exit

    Upon reaching the border, local people will inundate you. Several are money changers, and others are guides. The guides, which are non-official unemployed locals, will hold your hand and take you through the process at the border. I highly recommend hiring a guide, they are not expensive, and their help is well worth the money. Find a guide that looks trustworthy and negotiate his rate. The guide will take all of your documents to the Honduran border offices and help process the exit. Eventually, the guide will return with a Honduran official asking the usual questions and taking a look at your vehicle. The official will then give you the…

  • Choluteca, Honduras - Nicaragua Border
    Honduras

    Choluteca, Honduras – Nicaragua Border

    DRIVING TIME: 1 hourKILOMETERS: 58MILES: 36HWY: CA 1 From Choluteca, you may cross the border into Nicaragua via Guasaule or El Espino. If you want to visit the beaches in northern Nicaragua, head for the Frontera at Guasaule. For those traveling to Managua, Costa Rica, or the beaches in the south, head for the Frontera at El Espino. Further north, there’s also a border crossing at Los Manos. You can expect a headache when entering Nicaragua. After leaving Tegucigalpa, you will descend from the mountains into a hot, dry valley. There are several twists and turns in the road. Thus, after you leave Choluteca, head for the appropriate border city…

  • San Pedro Sula - Tegucigalpa - Choluteca
    Honduras

    San Pedro Sula – Tegucigalpa – Choluteca

    Driving Time: 6 hoursKILOMETERS: 330MILES: 204HWY: CA 1 The splendid drive between San Pedro Sula to Tegucigalpa takes about 4 hours. You will pass through miles of pineapple fields as you ascend into the mountains surrounding this beautiful area. At Tegus, head through town and follow the signs for Choluteca, CA 1. This is a 2-hour drive descending from the mountains. As you drive this route, there are many things to see that may pique your interest. There are small shops situated along the road which offer fruits, candy, and pottery particular to each distinctive region. The fruits are particularly delicious and shamefully inexpensive; pick some up for lunch. If…

  • Esquipulas - San Pedro Sula
    Honduras

    Esquipulas – San Pedro Sula

    DRIVING TIME: 4 hoursKILOMETERS: 235MILES: 146HWY: CA 1 From Esquipulas, head for Santa Rosa de Copan. At Santa Rosa de Copan, you can go onto San Pedro Sula via La Entrada. The first few hours will take you through breathtaking mountains; after passing Santa Rosa de Copan, follow the signs for La Entrada. An alternate route is to drive toward La Esperanza and then on to Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras. Hotel & Eats Craving for a short adventure of some sort? Head onto Angeli Gardens nearby 25 Calle just after the fork at 33 Calle. This is a restaurant with excellent views, which you can enjoy after a short…

  • Copan - San Pedro Sula
    Honduras

    Copan – San Pedro Sula

    DRIVING TIME: 3 hoursKILOMETERS: 171MILES: 106HWY: CA 1 From Copan, head towards La Entrada, about a one-hour drive. At La Entrada, you can travel to San Pedro Sula or turn right towards Santa Rosa de Copan. Please note that SantaRosa de Copan is different from Copan, and the department (equivalent to a county or province) that you are in, called Copan. Therefore, when asking for directions, be specific Copan to San Pedro Sula will take you approximately three hours. There are many places to stay in San Pedro Sula. Make sure you park your car in a Parqueo for safety as car theft is notorious in San Pedro Sula. There…

  • Guatemala City - Honduras Border
    Guatemala

    Guatemala City – Honduras Border

    DRIVING TIME: 4 hoursKILOMETERS: 265MILES: 164HWY: CA 9, CA 19, CA 18, CA 10, CA 11BORDER OPEN: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Guatemala City – Esquipulas (Honduras Border) Upon leaving Guatemala City, locate CA 9. It’s unimaginably easy to get lost around Guatemala City. After entering Guatemala City, turn right at Puente Periferico and continue to Avenida Marti. Once on CA 9, head for Jalapa on CA 19. Then on to Esquipulas on CA 18. If you need to pull over and ask, use the next large city as a reference. If you’re too late for the border at Agua Caliente, Esquipulas is an excellent place to rest for the…

  • Guatemala-Honduras
    Guatemala

    Guatemala – Honduras

    Those going on to Honduras have two options. You may cross the border at Agua Caliente or El Florido. Leaving Guatemala City, locate CA 9. Upon entering Guatemala City, turn right on Puente Periferico and continue to Avenida Marti. Once you exit the city, head for Esquipulas. It is entirely possible to drive from the Guatemalan-Mexican border to the Honduran border at Esquipulas in one day. However, you do need to get an early start and keep driving without delay. Next Section of Drive Guatemala City – Honduras Border

  • Guatemala - El Salvador
    Guatemala

    Guatemala – El Salvador

    For travelers going on to El Salvador, there are several entry points; Las Chinamas, La Hachadura, San Cristobal, or Anguiatu. Ruta Pacifica, CA 2, will take travelers to the southernmost entry point at La Hachadura. The Pan-American Hwy (CA 1) branches just past Cuilapa into CA 1 and CA 8. CA 8 leads to the border crossing at Las Chinamas, and CA 1 takes travelers to San Cristobal. There is also an entry point in the north at Anguiatu near the Honduran border. Once you enter El Salvador, it’s a straight drive on CA 1 to Honduras, making it easy to drive through El Salvador in one day. Next Section…

  • Antigua - Guatemala City
    Guatemala

    Antigua – Guatemala City

    DRIVING TIME: 1 hourKILOMETERS: 52MILES: 33HWY: CA 1 The drive from Antigua to Guatemala City is effortless—it’s Guatemala City that will give you a headache. It is your actual test of patience. The only thing that will get you through Guatemala City is diligence and a cold beer waiting for you at the end of the drive. Like all Guatemalan towns, the city was constructed using a strict grid system: avenidas run north-south; calles run east-west. Unless you have a specific business in Guatemala City, drive directly through it. Actually, you will drive around, backward, circular, and then through. Guatemala City is the junction point for several routes leading to…