21.11.16 Zamorano, Honduras to Esteli, Nicaragua
This morning it seemed a shame to say goodbye to Fernando and Nelson at the hotel. They really had been exceptional hosts, but the border to Nicaragua was calling.
We have been using an app on our phone called iOverlander, which is a map populated by user input. It shows petrol, campsites, camping spots, hotels, border information all shared by people who have been this way before. It is extremely useful, particularly to us for border crossings, because if someone else has been through lately and shared their experience, we are able to research what should happen at the two sides of the border we are approaching, plus what paperwork is to be expected, and what costs.
Today’s crossing was at Las Manos, Honduras and the buildings for migration and customs on both sides were all very close together.
As we approached we rode past 100 or so trucks waiting to cross the border. These poor guys just have to wait their turn, and it all takes time for them to be processed. Not quite sure of how long it would take them. The borders tend to close at lunchtime, and then again at 4.30 until the next day.
We, however, can ride past them and pull up outside the customs office. Here all the ‘fixers’ are calling out for your attention, and waving fake badges and paperwork around, whilst the money changer is calling out ‘cambio’ (change). It’s all very frantic, and it’s essential to try and remain calm. Paul went off to have his passport stamped for exiting Honduras, and despite telling the guys he didn’t need help, he obtained a ‘fixer’s’ help, by default, but the exportation of the bike seemed very swift, so maybe he was helpful. Then it was my turn to be fingerprinted out and have my passport stamped, before we were allowed through into Nicaragua. Here, after having the bike tyres fumigated,the process began again, in reverse,yet Paul was able to do my passport for me at this border. It all took its time though, 2 hours by the time we had been stopped again once through the border to have passports checked, pay a ‘city tax’, and buy some insurance.
Phew! We’re always extremely glad when a border crossing is over, because there is just so many people around, wanting something from you. It has been, however, a very non-threatening experience, and if you tell the people ‘no’, they tend to listen.
Once we rode off into Nicaragua, we were surrounded by clean roads, beautifully manicured grass, and smooth black topped road that I think we both wanted to jump off and kiss! What a lovely treat, and all the way to tonight’s stop in Esteli.