BORDER CROSSING: HONDURAS TO NICARAGUA
December 18, 2019
As I mentioned on a previous blog, I decided to leave Honduras immediately after the protest against President Juan Orlando Hernandez escalated. I planned to stay for at least a week there, but I was afraid that the situation will worsen in the coming days, so after informing my Couchsurf host that I won’t be continuing with my plan, I immediately scoured the internet for information about border crossing Honduras to Nicaragua.
BUYING THE TICKET
For this route, I decided to buy a ticket from TICABUS again, since I know that they are reliable, and the travel time was convenient. I did not buy the ticket online because the route was from Tegucigalpa to Managua, and there was no option to go down in Leon, one of Nicaragua’s colonial towns which I wanted to visit first. However, I found out that if you buy your ticket at the bus station itself, then they can offer that route, so I decided to hold off on buying it and postpone it till the next day.
AT THE BUS STATION
I set off immediately for the bus station the next day, and once there, I wasted no time in reserving a seat for the first bus that’s leaving for the day. Unfortunately, there was something I didn’t anticipate prior to coming here; the bus clerk informed me that I needed to register at this website at least 7 days before entering Nicaragua. I didn’t do it, so the clerk told me to register right there. The best-case scenario was that they will just interrogate me, while the worst case will be to get stuck at the border town.
PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED WHEN CROSSING FROM HONDURAS TO NICARAGUA
He then let me purchase the ticket now and told me to just wait for the bus. We were supposed to leave at 10 am, but it arrived around 11 because of some protest that affected the flow of traffic. After an hour on the road, the traffic came to a complete halt due to some ongoing protest on the road. The driver talked to us and gave us an emergency number in case things go out of hand. Well, I was scared for sure because I don’t have phone data and we were literally stuck in nowhere. So we waited for the inevitable, and thankfully after more than an hour, the protesters dispersed finally and we went on our way to the border.
AT THE GUASAULE BORDER
Before arriving at the border, the conductor informed us that he will be collecting the Nicaraguan border fee – $15 for foreigners and $3 for locals, payable with USD or the equivalent in Honduran lempiras or Nicaraguan cordobas. Two hours passed after this and we finally reached the border town of Guasaule. We all went down to have our passport stamped at the Honduran immigration, and this time, we didn’t need to pay anything.
NICARAGUAN IMMIGRATION EXPERIENCE
After this, we all went to the Nicaraguan side, and once there, the conductor instructed us to bring all our stuff – including the luggage. Apparently, they will all be scanned for drugs and contrabands before we can enter Nicaragua. They separated us, foreigners, to the locals, and they shepherd us to a different window. Unfortunately, none of us did the registration in advance, and the immigration didn’t accept the one we did before leaving Honduras, so they interrogated us one by one. I was the only one who spoke Spanish in the group, so I ended up translating for the officer who doesn’t speak an ounce of English.
Things went smoothly and I kinda bonded with him, so when it’s time for my interview, it went on without problem; he was also giving me advice on places to visit and foods to try, which I think was cool because I didn’t research that much before arriving.
After the interview, he told us to bring our luggage to customs to be scanned. Once done, we went to the bus and waited for our passports. We received it with the tourist card, where they also put the entrance stamp. We arrived in Leon after 2 hours of travel. My Nicaragua adventure finally commences!
FILIPINOS ENTERING NICARAGUA
I used my US visa to enter Nicaragua. However, those who don’t have it – don’t be stressed! Filipinos can apply for a visa on arrival, which cost 50$. This is available in both borders from Honduras to Nicaragua, and Costa Rica to Nicaragua.
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