Driving to Nicaragua

I plan to drive from Tucson to Nicaragua in a week with my three teenage children, but have not been able to find anyone who has driven from the US to Nicaragua recently. I would like to know what kind of experiences drivers have had and what types of problems might be encountered. Any information/perspectives would be greatly appreciated! Larry

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Car permit limit there?

I think the maximum time a car is permited in a Central American country without doing the exit/rentry thing is the most guarded secret on the Net? Or maybe it is because I don't even know what it is officially called to allow me to Google it could be part of the problem :-)

What is this car permit limit in Nicaragua? Anyone know? (El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama would be appreciated as well.) I am driving south for the past 5 months and I have made it from Dallas to Honduras. (Taking my time folks.) Now I have encountered a situation where I am looking for a place to park my car for 6 months or less, fly home and return here or near here and continue my journey in 6 months, picking up where I left off. That parking spot may have to be Mexico since Mexico allows an auto inside for 180 days, and since Guatemala gives you only 45 days and Honduras gives you only 90 days.

P.S. Maybe I am lucky or maybe my old car saves me but I never ran into some of the hassles that people report here. I was never stopped, that's not a single time for an inspection or a bribe in Mexico, well that's not accurate. THere was a fat border guard on the Mexico side at Tapachula who demanded 20 bucks to give me an exit stamp to enter Guatemala since he knew I needed that after cancelling my car permit back on the edge of Tapachula (at a very obscure place named Viva Mexico).

how long can a car be in nica for?

Did you ever find out how long you can have a foreign-plated car in Nica? We need to fly out of the country for about two weeks and are not sure if we will be allowed to do so if we have a car in the country.

So, it is not as long for us as your time-frame but we need a safe secure place to park for about 2 weeks....if it is allowed.

I did do the trip from US

I bought a new car on Sunday night in West Palm Beach Florida.

Monday morning I left loaded with all kind of electronic stuff and personal belongings. Mexico I hit at 6 am and had a burger at Burger King where I met 2 officers from the border patrol and I asked about Mexico and danger there, they answered that compared to Bagdad it was OK, well I hit the border, remember I only have a purchase contract on the car and tags from a old BMW, no problem, purchase insurance, a few stamps and then I was in Mexico. I did take it easy, went trough Puebla outside DF and down to Talisman and the border of Guatemala, here is where action certificates is valuable, 3 of them went there, a shit hole of a place with small children carrying gun's etc. Next stop was El Salvador, big sign saying that you should not pay anybody for services, I ended up paying like 90$ anyway. Honduras, thats a nightmare, first don't smoke in your car, it's forbidden by law to smoke when driving, you might be drunk, but don't smoke. Very difficult, 300$ later I was on my way to Nicaragua and El Espino, what a difference, welcome Sire, and it lasted like 10 minutes and cost 14$. So 4.800 miles later I was here, I am still here, and I will probably die here. It would have been easier with proper paperwork on the car etc, but my story is that even with a sales contract you can drive to Nicaragua. Drive only at DAYTIME!!!!!

Leaving a Car in Nicaragua... Permenantly...

Hey All... I´ve sifted through basically this whole site looking for one piece of information: Is it possible to leave a car with a wrecker in Nicaragua, and leave without paying import taxes? I have heard that this is the only way to get rid of a car without taking a major loss if the car has not been naturalized (Made Nicaraguan). Reason I ask is that I´m currently in Honduras, roadtripping down from Toronto. Apparently (I´ve heard this from several backpackers) the wrecker can give you proof that your car is non-funcional, allowing you to bypass the formallity of an exit stamp... and the impuestos.

Let me know if you´ve done something similar, or if you´ve heard of it being done in Nicaragua or further down the line...



Curious George

Roger: Curious to learn what the total cost of that drive was, including everything you paid? I ask to get a real balance on driving vs Shipping via sea freighter in Miami. PS: What did you do with the pickup? My shoulder still hurts from the fall we took getting it out of the drive way.

Jorge Giraldez-Benard Latin American Advisors Company Ltd Texaco El Cortijo 1/2 C al Sur Casa 300 Res. El Cortijo, Managua, Nicaragua C.A.. e-mail JGiraldezB@yahoo.com Skype, YahooPager & MSN User name: JGiraldezB Managua Office: 011 505 2682874

ditto that..

we will be leaving shortly after that and up to date information is hard to come by.


If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate

U.S.A. to Nicaragua.

Being as you two are driving from the States,AND there has been past Posts on the subject along with various advice(s) as to Borders and "Convoy" Security and such, what would be your respective routes? I am assuming Doug from Washington and fisksen from Arizona..on the same subject..is there a numero uno way recommended? Wouldn't it be great if we had a source on here where members could post dates of departure etc and somehow hook up for the drive!

I am attracted/tempted to make at least one road trip to Nicaragua in my lifetime, if only to combine the trip with hauling some "Stuff"...(another post topic)as an aside, subjecting myself to driving that distance with teenagers.."Are we there yet"?..makes you fisken..or is it GRUNVALD.(spelling?) a braver soul than I. That said, I would be driving from Canada with the intention of converging at the recommended Magic Entry from the U.S. Comments are appreciated.

"hauling some "stuff""....

too, we are rounding up all the must have items we overlooked when the container went down, and pack them into a 16 foot cargo trailer.

From what I have read this can provide a lot of room for field level interpretations of the rules, opening avenues for 'action certificates' to be doled out at random intervals.

I am heading to the Mexican consulate in Seattle next week to see if I can get some sort of waiver on customs since it is just passin through. The Guatemalan and Honduran consulates are in San Francisco, along with Nicaraguan, and we plan on stopping there to get visas and see about a customs waiver too. I just think if there is a way to cover as many bases as possible before hand, do it.

From what I have read the route on the Caribbean side is fewer miles in Mexico, but not as nice a drive. Everyone seems to agree that by-passing Mexico City is a wise move. Some of the insurance agent will help with getting hooked up with convoys, but few people venture beyond Mexico.

Some of the other ex-pat groups, Costa Rica and Panama have more members that have posted about driving down, I didn't find much about Honduras or Guatemala. Some of the posts here about driving down have mentioned problems in Guatemala, one route goes through El Salvador also but no one has mentioned any problems there.


If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate


Guatemala, El Salvador, Hondouras and Nicaragua have an agreement that once you enter customs in one country that you are clear through the other three... check at one of the embassies of above for details...

As for your route... stay on the Pacific side through Mexico, as it is a little safer.

MAJOR tip... travel ONLY during the daylight hours and good luck :)

(No subject)

Its called: The 5 C

Five Central American free trade agreement, Costa Rica and Panama are not part of it.

Jorge Giraldez-Benard Latin American Advisors Company Ltd Texaco El Cortijo 1/2 C al Sur Casa 300 Res. El Cortijo, Managua, Nicaragua C.A.. e-mail JGiraldezB@yahoo.com Skype, YahooPager & MSN User name: JGiraldezB Managua Office: 011 505 2682874

(No subject)

Many thanks..

that does make things easier. is that part of the C-4 agreement ?


If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate

C4 agreement

Yes that would be it... all you need now is pre clearence through Mexico... It is attainable, but you will still get hassled...

Customs - Turist Vehicle Permit

You can find the turist vehicle permit information on the website of the Customs Agency of each country. In general, if your are not a citizen from any country of Central America, you get a 30 days turist stay permit and you can renew it. This information is in the Nicaragua Customs Agency website, it should be the same for each country,

This is the translation,

For the car owners of Central American origin (Citizens of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador y Nicaragua) in base of the CA-4, the customs offices on each border are in charge to extend the certificate of permit to circulate vehicles for a 90 days term. For the car owners NOT of Central American, the customs offices on each border are in charge to extend the certificate of permit to circulate vehicles for a 30 days term.

The renewal of the permit for an extra 30 days costs $1.00. The bad news is that you have to do it in Managua, at the Customer Service office (Centro de Atencion al usuario) at Km 4 1/2 de la Carretera Norte en Managua (near La Prensa newspaper). Schedule to waste a day to renew the turist permit for your vehicle. You will need to bring all your documents that proof ownership.

Good luck,

CA-4 not followed

I wrote a 3 paragraph response to this notice and it did not get posted. Not sure what is going on?

What I stated in essence is that the CA-4 agreement on the country website is not being followed. I just crossed into Guatemala from Mexico a month ago and I got 45 days, no way to renew it at all (InGuat special services agent spent the entire day for me on the phone to every agent in Guatemala city, and it is absolutely not possible to renew a car permit without exiting and re-entering the country 72 hours later). When I crossed into Honduras, I received a 90 day car permit. So this part of the CA-4 is not being enforced, at least for these countries.

I would like to request that anyone recently crossing into Nicaragua, Belize or El Salvador please tell me what your paper states for days your car is allowed in the country.

Don Juane