El Salvador/Honduras Border Crossing with Dogs

We crossed at the Santa Rosa de Lima (ES) – San Andres (HON) border on March 22, 2014 at nine o’clock in the morning. We used a helper because he was so persistent and we couldn’t get rid of him. In the end he ended up being actually helpful by pushing us to the front of the line and helping us find the various buildings and banks. This border crossing was pretty staightforward and if the guy hadn’t forced his services on us we would have been completely fine. It took us 2 hours to get out of El Salvador and into Honduras. No one at either of the borders really spoke English.

Documents needed

  • We needed:

    • Passports

    • Drivers Licenses

    • Vehicle Title

    • Salvadoran Import Permit

  • Neli needed:

    • International Health Certificate from the US

    • Spanish Language Health Certificate from Mexico

    • Valid Rabies Vaccination Certificate (not more than a year old, not less than 30 days)

    • Vaccination Record

  • Maya needed:

    • Spanish Language Health Certificate from Guatemala

Exit El Salvador

  • First tip, try to avoid the ‘helpers.’ We were swarmed by at least ten men all screaming at us that we needed their help. We got most of them to leave by telling them ‘no’ over and over and over again. The guy we ended up tipping basically stalked us and in the end we felt bad for him so threw him a few dollars.

  • El Salvador Customs: Right before the border, at what looks like a traffic jam, an official will flag you down and tell you to pull over. He will take your Salvadoran Import Permit and one copy of same, check your vehicle’s VIN and give you the copy back with a new sticker. Find a copy shop and make three copies of this. This effectively cancels your Salvadoran Vehicle Import. 0.20 USD for copies

  • Drive ahead until the road forks. Go to the left, to the right will probably be full of trucks.

  • Park on the right side of the street, next to the large Immigration building.

  • El Salvador Immigration: At the end of the building, go to the Migracion counter and hand over your passports. The immigration official will look at your passports and give you a tiny piece of white paper with your passport numbers written on it. You will not receive a stamp. No Fee.

  • El Salvador Cuarentena: In the middle of the building is an unmarked door. Our ‘helper’ took us right there but you could ask anyone where cuarentena is and they could point you there. The officials will stamp all your dog papers again. No Fee.

  • Get back in your vehicle and drive to the next bridge. Here, an El Salvadoran customs official will take a copy of your canceled vehicle import permit.

Enter Honduras

  • Drive over the bridge into Honduras. At the end of the bridge you will be stopped by a Honduran official who will ask for your title, the driver’s passport and license, and the canceled Salvadoran Import Permit. He will the walk you towards the Immigration building and show you where to park. In theory, he should take you to the Immigration counter but for some reason he took us right to customs where a very unhelpful woman spoke very quietly in rapid fire Spanish. She told us we couldn’t do our vehicle import until we took the dogs to a vet. After a frustrating 20 minutes, we managed to get our documents back from her and went off to find the Cuarentena office.

  • Honduran Cuarentena: After wandering around aimlessly our ‘helper’ finally pointed to the window marked SEPA across from Customs. When you walk into the building, it is on the righthand side and the window will probably be closed. This does not mean no one is there, it just means the air conditioning is on inside. A very friendly SEPA official will ask for one copy of all of your dogs’ papers along with the originals. He will stamp the originals and issue an Import Permit for the dogs. 250 HNL for both dogs

  • Honduran Immigration: In the large building, next to the SEPA window is a window marked Migracion. This is no longer open. Exit the large building, cross the street to the large yellow building, here the Migracion window is on the right-hand side when you enter. Give the friendly immigration woman your passports, she will stamp them and issue you tourists cards. Keep the receipt. 3 USD per person.

  • Honduran Customs: In the original building, across from SEPA, is the Aduana. She will want your vehicle title plus three copies, driver’s passport plus three copies of the photo page, driver’s license plus three copies, and the canceled Salvadoran vehicle import permit plus three copies. She will add a stamp to the driver’s passport, ask for a fee, present you with a receipt and request a photocopy of the newly stamped page.

    • Take the receipt from the Aduana to the bank down the street where you can only pay in HNL. 865 HNL.

    • Go back to the copy shop and make three copies of the receipt and the new passport stamp. Return to the Aduana, she will take two copies of the receipt from the bank and issue you a Vehicle Import Permit.

    • Receive all your original documents and check to make sure everything matches.

  • Get back in your car and drive towards Honduras. Less than a mile down the road, a very friendly guard will ask for a copy of the vehicle import permit and to see the dog permit.

  • NOTE: Anytime we needed HNL we ran outside to the money exchangers. We received 20 HNL : 1 USD.

Total Cost: 53.80 USD

  • Copies in El Salvador: 0.20 USD

  • Copies in Honduras: 17 HNL (0.85 USD)

  • Honduran Dog Import: 250 HNL (12.50 USD)

  • Honduran Immigration: 6.00 USD

  • Honduran Vehicle Import: 685 HNL (34.25 USD)

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