DRIVING TIME: 10 hours
HWY: CA 200
It’s 10 hours from PE to Tapachula; it’s a long hall. I recommend splitting this day and stopping in Salina Cruz or one of the smaller villages halfway into the trip. Once you get to Tapachula, the border crossing is about 25 minutes away. From Puerto Escondido toward Tehuantepec on CA 200. You want to head for Salina Cruz and then for Juchitan and Arriaga.
Stay on CA 200 and head for Tapachula and the border. You can enter the border at Talisman or Cuidad Hidalgo. The drive along Highway 200 to Tapachula is picturesque—it’s a beautiful scenic country, and an excellent road makes this a pleasurable drive.
Sleep well the night before you cross the Guatemalan border; the officials have a reputation for complication, bureaucracy, and indolence. If possible, cross the border in the morning and allow yourself to deal with the crossing most of the day. Tapachula is the last city before you cross into Guatemala, and you will find several excellent economical hotels.
If you arrive in Tapachula late in the afternoon, stay the night in Tapachula. The reason is twofold. Primarily, you never know how long your border crossing will take, and therefore you should avail yourself plenty of time. Secondly, if you are delayed at the border until dark, you will have to travel deep into Guatemala before finding accommodations for the evening. Consequently, if you are forced to drive in the evening, you may encounter the military or other undesirables while driving.
Guatemala is not Mexico, and the two countries have nothing in common except the language. There are far fewer tourists driving through Guatemala than in Mexico. You will feel more alone on the road.
A Fork In The Road
At Puerto Escondido, you may follow the coast to the Guatemalan border, or you may enter from the mountains near San Cristobal de Las Casas. If you are not returning with your vehicle to North America, you must travel to the border entry points at Talisman or CD Hidalgo to process your Mexican vehicle paperwork.
Continue south out of Tapachula to either Talisman or Ciudad Hidalgo; both are entry points into Guatemala. Talisman is a smaller border crossing area, with Ciudad Hidalgo being the major commercial entry point into Guatemala.
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