Whats wrong with you Mexico? Yesterday you told me to leave with a rumble? And today you won’t let me go?
I start between 9:15 to 9:30. My destination in Guatemala is about 300km away. I should make it there until 4pm.
There are two border crossings to Guatemala near Tapachula. One after Tuxtla Chico, about 15 to 20 km from Tapachula and the other one, around about 35 km further south, at Ciudad Hidalgo. I went to the border crossing close to Tuxtla Chico.
On the way there, people repeatedly were running on the streets, whistling and pointing to stop. But more about that later.
Before I left Mexico, I asked the officer where I can cancel my motorcycle. They sent me to the customs. “You can not do that here. It is just a small border crossing here.” Several people were talking at once. I have to go to the other border crossing. I have to do that in Tapachula. No, you have to go to Huixtla. I almost understood nothing. Since my passport is already marked out, I have again fill out the visa. I get a new entry mark. The bike is unfortunately in no man’s land. Also the money changers are soon at my side. I do not need money. So I went back through customs. I took the car track. Before the barrs, they told me that I have to push the bike back and take the bike lane. It’s fucking hot, I sweat under the thick jacket and it is no fun to push the heavy motorcycle around. But I wear shorts for the border crossings and formalities. After crossing a border I usually put on the more secure motorcycle pants.
I’m going through the whole procedure again, several times. Opening the panniers, unpacking, questions. I doesn’t matter that I want to leave the country. The border official is very nice and speaks English. She told me that she had been in Vienna last year. I ask how she liked it. “It was very nice. Very clean.”
I went to the other border station. On the way there you have to go through the city. A local motorcyclist follows me and rides at my side for a while. Searching for the border station I stop briefly to orient myself. He tells me that I need his services. I say: “No necesito. / No, I do not need.” He insists and pulls out a business card. I say: “No es verdad. / This is not true.” I ask a woman for directions and move on. Finally, the motorcycle driver let go of me.
At the border station I again ask, where I can cancel my bike. The lady simply tells me to go through. I do and after paying a toll I’m in Guatemala. Great.
I stopped. A man in civilian clothing, immediately was at my side, quiet, not aggressive. He explained me that I even have to disinfect my bike here. As previously so many people tried to stop me, I did not believe him at first. Then also a servant in uniform points out to stop. Another one was walking around my bike, spraying something to the lower parts. My bike is very dirty at the moment, so I question how useful this procedure is. I had to pay 12 Quetzal, the local currency. I don’t have yet. The civilian person at my side called for a change person, at whom I changed 20 USD. For sure for a very bad exchange rate. Fuck that. I don’t start to discuss for 0,5€.
Next to the disinfection station is the passport control in a nondescript hut. I again could not believe that and was driving a few yards away, where I was ordered to park the motorcycle. I was asked if I had the passport control already done. No, I did not. Where? The officer tells me, that it is in the nondescript hut. Ok, so I walk back a few yards. I was asked how long I would stay. About 1 week. I got the stamp in my passport, that was it. Back at the motorcycle, they told me to walk into a building for the registration of the vehicle. I tell them, I have to cancel the bike from Mexico. Where can I do that? You need to return to Mexico. The civilian who was all the time on my side wanted probably some money too. I do not know. I started to getting pissed of, started my engine and drove off .
Damn it! So back to Mexico. Back at the Mexican border station, I ask again, where I can cancel the bike? “Over there at the customs.”
Finally a young border guard takes care of me. He speaks slowly and clearly and explained to me that I have to drive back about 100km to the inland. He is annoyed that he cannot speak english better and I that I cannot speak better spanish.
The customs authority is located a few kilometers outside the town Huixtla. There I can cancel my bike. It’s after 12pm. The heat is unbearable and I have to go from here to there.
Before I drive off, he asks again: “Where do you have to go? ” I can not pronounce the name of the city. He asks: “Did you even understand what I have explained to you?” “Yes, yes, I know where I have to go.”
I know, because on the way to Tapachula, I saved the position of the customs station in my GPS device, when I passed by yesterday. I just did not know, that I have to go there to cancel my bike.
While he was checking my stuff, we “chatted” a little. He wanted to know how Austria is and how the situation in Europe is at the moment.
Again, I had stop at the military controls. My panniers were checked, questions were asked. But, I could already explain very well in Spanish what my problem was.
At the customs office behind Huixtla, they checked if the papers comply with the vehicle and I get a confirmation. An officer escorted me in a vehicle a few kilometers before we stopped for a moment and he handed me over the papers. He wanted to get sure, that I’m on the highway to Tapachula and not heading inlands.
Close to Tapachula, it was already around 3pm. I was exhausted, my knees and lower legs looked already like sunburned and my goal for today is around 300 km away. I had no plan B for a closer target and it will soon start ro rain again anyway, so I decided to stay another night in Tapachula.
I spent my last pesos today in the morning for fuel. At the hotel I was able to pay with credit card and I made it in time to exchange another 20USD in pesos. I don’t have to starve tonight.
I will try it again tomorrow. It should be no problem this time. And I already have half experience of entering Guatemala. There is only one thing. As of my passport I’m already officially in Guatemala. I hope that would make no problems.
And now a few words about the people, who tried to get me off the road. Yesterday I surfed a bit on the internet. I wanted to get some information about traveling to Guatemala me. On a blog of a another traveler, I read that those people want to make some money with unknowing tourists. Pretending that they help with border formalities, translating and so on.
They are running on the street a bit aggressive, whistling and waving with their hands, that you should stop. In a way, like something hat happened. It can make you insecure, if you don’t know about that.
Armed with the information from the blog I passed by. Don’t stop, under no circumstances. When your are surrounded by a few people, it’s harder to get out again.
The motorcyclist who traced my on the way to the other border crossing was the same kind of guy. Maybe I stop tomorrow, when I feel save and ask about in what way they want to help me.
There are NO additional costs when you leave Mexico. You do not need help from anyone. All you need are the documents you received upon entry. The vehicle must be cancelled at a customs office. Which, unfortunately, was about 100km inland.
At border stations there are even signs, that you will be punished, if you try to bribe the officials.
Thanks for reading, Jürgen .