Entering El Salvador at Las Chinamas

Gateway to the “Flower Route”

[map style=”width: 300px; height:300px; float:right; margin:10px 0px 10px 10px; border: 1px solid black;” marker=”yes” markerimage=”http://www.wolfandzebra.com/files/map_pin.png” lat=”14.017620″ lon=”-89.906870″ maptype=”OSM” z=”6″]La Ruta de Las Flores in El Salvador came highly recommended by other travellers. The road goes through Ahuachapan, just 15km from the Las Chinamas border. This is therefore where we chose to enter El Salvador. Everyone was once again very friendly and helpful but the complex process took close to 3 hours. Here is how it worked for us:

Keep in mind that you want to check your bike out of Guatemala ONLY if you do not plan on returning there within the next 90 days.

As usual start by checking yourself and your bike out of Guatemala:

  1. Ignore the money changers and enthusuastic helpers, drive to the large building and park to the right under the canopy
  2. Walk to the Migracion, present your passport, get your exit stamp and a small paper receipt you’ll need later. Make sure not to lose it
  3. Exit through the opposite door, turn left and enter the aduana office on the left. Go to the last booth on the left
  4. Present the originals of the Guatemala temporary import permit, bike title, passport and driver’s licence (International ok), along with one copy of each.
  5. Have the officials inspect the bike and VIN, receive authorization to exit Guatemala
  6. Head to a small shack on the right, just past the migracion building, to get 3 copies of the authorization to exit Mexico. While you are at it, get 1 more copy of the 4 documents listed above, you will need them later
  7. Hand 2 copies to the aduana official, keep the original you will need it for the Salvadorian import process
  8. Ride your bike to the end of the building, hand one copy of your exit authorization to the guard who will check your plates
  9. You are done with the Mexican side, proceed through the bridge

Next is the tedious part of the process, importing the bike into El Salvador:

  1. Immediately after the bridge on the right hand side is the first Aduana building. Start there.
  2. Get a hold of one of the two Aduana officials, indicate you need a “Permiso de Importacion temporal de vehiculo usado”
  3. Hand him the original and one copy of the following:
    • Authorization to exit Mexico
    • Passport ID page
    • Bike title
    • Driver’s licence (International OK)
  4. Then wait for a while (up to 1.5 hours), the official with eventually come out to check your bike and complete an inspection form including VIN, CC, bike brand, model and type, etc.
  5. Get your copies and original back plus the inspection form and head to the second, larger aduana building on the other side of the road. It is on the lefthand side, enter the first glass door
  6. The guard lets only enter one person at a time, so wait some more
  7. Hand all your docs to the aduana officer, wait another hour or so
  8. They keep the bike inspection form, you get all your documents back plus your “Autorizacion para el regimen de importacion de vehiculo usados”
  9. Head to the copy shack in front of the first aduana building, get 2 copies of your import authorization
  10. Go back to the first aduana building, give one copy of the authorization to the aduana official who will record the details of your bike and time of entry on a paper ledger. He should also radio the guards at the gate up the road to warn them of your arrival
  11. Head up the road, you will be stopped by a migracion official who will collect the little white paper you received for the Guatemalan immigration
  12. Proceed further, stop by the guard and hand the original of your authorization. He will copy the details to another ledger and return the original.
  13. You are done, welcome to El Salvador!

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