Through Honduras in One Day

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A Guide to Getting Through Honduras in One Day with your Mind and Money Intact

Written by Logan and Brianna Pribbeno
More information at

AMATILLO Border Crossing (El Salvador into Honduras)
Open: 6AM
Remember: No necisita ayuda. Por favor, dejame in paz, no voy a pagar. Vaya!
$US accepted at all points from El Salvador to Nicaragua (despite what the border money changers say)

  1. Cancel El Salvador vehicle permit: $0. Drive past the big rigs, the office is a shack on the right side of the road, right after a speed bump. There should be several police officers nearby. Make 5 copies of the cancelled permit next door.
  2. Drive ~2km to a fork. When you reach the fork, take a left. You will be crossing the old bridge and taking what looks like a wrong turn away from a brand new bride on the right.
  3. El Salvador Immigration: a blue and white building with a parking lot on the right side. Hand over your passport at the window, $0.

    Show your passport and move along

  4. Leave El Salvador, enter Honduras, drive over the bridge. At the bridge, an official will take a copy of your cancelled Honduran vehicle permit.
  5. At this point a Honduran official requested our original title, registration, and passport. This seemed unusual so B jumped out to follow him around until he made his way to the Aduana building a few yards away.
  6. Aduana: on the right, an unmarked, white building with wooden doors. There is a copy shop on the corner and five parking spots out front. Park here and walk across the street to the blue and white immigration building (intersected by a road).

    Hard to believe this is the right place (Aduana Honduras)

  7. In the center of the building on the right: show your passports, give your destination, and fill our your tourist form. Fee: $3/person. Save the receipt.

    Get your passport stamps and tourist cards here (Honduras Immigration)

  8. Go to the copy shop near Aduana. Make 3 copies of your tourist form and receipt, as well as 3 copies of the driver’s passport page showing the new Honduras stamp.
  9. Back to Aduana. This will look almost like a trap: a single official at a cramped desk with one computer nearby and stacks of paper everywhere. You’re in the right spot. Hand over the following paperwork:
    • 3 copies passport main photo page
    • 3 copies El Salvador vehicle import cancellation3 copies registration
    • 3 copies drivers license
    • 3 copies tourist card/receipt
    • 3 more copies of passport, with new stamp
  10. Once this is done, fill out the vehicle import paperwork (our official did this for us and there was no vehicle inspection: Sunday bonus). Fee: $36US. Make 5 copies of the Honduras vehicle import permit. Aduana official will take two copies and one is taken by another official as you leave the border.
  11. Collect your originals and enter Honduras.
  12. Half a KM down the road is fumigation and it is pretty straightforward, roll up your windows, $3US.
  13. Another half KM away an official will collect a copy of your Honduras vehicle import permit.

Special Note: What makes this border so nerve wracking is the lack of consistency. We’ve read the $3 tourist card fee has been paid at a variety of places.  Also, if arriving any day other than Sunday, expect to pay most fees at the bank

EL ESPINO Border Crossing (Honduras into Nicaragua)
Close: 6PM
Remember: No necisita ayuda. Por favor, dejame in paz, no voy a pagar. Vaya!

  1. Honduras exit: You will know you have arrived by the roped entrance with a cardboard shack on the left. Do not expect the official to come to you. You must get out with the paperwork (copy of driver’s license, passport, title, and the original vehicle import permit) and meet him in the shack. The official will check your VIN and stamp the permit, further processing is needed down the road at immigration.

    This shack is the first step to exiting Honduras

  2. Drive past the rope gate, park in front of the blue and white Immigration building. Obtain exit stamp at the window on the right, $0.
  3. Make three copies of the passport page containing your new Honduras exit stamp.
  4. Go to Aduana, to the left of immigration in the same building. Provide the official with a copy of the driver’s license, passport, passport page with Honduras exit stamp and original Honduras vehicle import permit (they keep it).
  5. You are done with Honduras, continue through to Nicaragua (another roped entrance where the official will check your passport).
  6. Approaching the Nicaraguan immigration building, a familiar blue and white building on the left, park on the right side.
  7. Immigration: Go to the front of this building, use the window that says “Entrada Nicaragua.” Hand over your passport for entry stamp. You will also pay the tourist card fee here ($10US/person). Additionally we paid a $4US municipal tax. Keep your tourist card and receipts.

    Nicaragua Immigration, slightly more welcoming than Honduras

  8. You have probably already been approached by an insurance agent with a clipboard by now. This is necessary and costs a fixed fee of $12US. Provide the agent with 2 copies of the driver’s license, passport, and title. The agent will handle the majority of the insurance paperwork for you, this all goes down inside the building behind immigration.
  9. If there is no line, expect your vehicle import permit to be filled out by the Aduana official (yet another Sunday bonus) otherwise you do it yourself. Vehicle inspection is next.
  10. Receive your vehicle import paperwork, make three copies. One copy will be collected by an official as you leave the border area.
  11. If needed, change money to Cordobas ($1 US= $22 Cordobas).
  12. Leaving immigration, you will be asked to show your insurance, import permit, tourist card, and receipts. Then of course, pay US$3, keep the receipt.
  13. Drive safe, they’re waiting to pull you over for speeding and crossing a solid yellow line.

EXCHANGE RATES (as of 3/5/11):

$1 US = $18.90 Lempiras (Honduras)

$1 US = $22.05 Cordobas (Nicaragua)

$1 Lemp (H) = $1.15 Cordoba (N)

This information is free and we encourage recirculation, we only ask for a shout-out to
Please email with any questions or corrections:

Buen viaje!

15 thoughts on “Through Honduras in One Day

  1. Pingback: One day through Honduras | PanAm Notes

  2. Pingback: How to survive the infamous El Amatillo border crossing in Honduras. | Panama Passage

  3. Just want to say thank god you guys wrote this guide. We just did the same crossing into Honduras, but a different border into Nicaragua. Pretty much everything is the same for the El Sal/ Honduras crossing. Except Aduana seems to have upgraded there building, it now has glass doors instead of wooden ones. Looks just as sketchy though!
    Thanks again!

  4. Thank you so much. I just went across Honduras and you information was infinitely useful to get across the borders without any trouble. For those planning to cross in the next few months, at El Amatillo the “blue building” (Honduras Immigracion) is closed for renovation. You’ll have to go to another building, directly to the left of the Aduana. You can still park at the Aduana, the Immigracion is the next building.

    Many thanks again, Briana and Logan.

  5. Hello there, question. Did you feel unsafe on your way to Costa Rica at any point in Central America, I’m planning my trip in Feb 2013.

    • We were made to feel welcome in Central America. Keep your wits about you, take the usual saftey precautions, and you’ll be just fine.

  6. Believe me: Wish we’d paid more attention to your guide on the road down. Now trying to decide whether to muster through that horrible southern stretch Nicaragua to El Salvador in one day or take a longer route north, with several stops ..Valle de Angeles… .Comayagua…Copan to Guatemala. Any direct experience of road conditions and these borders would help. We’ve got a bit of a fragile cargo, so will be driving more slowly. Thanks!

    • We have heard from several others that the situation in Honduras has improved significantly since this guide was written. Even some that made the quick route described above without any bribe attempts at all. However, the northern route was and still probably is the route with less corrupt officials.

  7. Hello There ! My name is Patricia Ramirez From El Salvador, actually I`m a Tourist Guide . I live near the border on Amatillo ( From pasaquina City to Amatillo 10 minutes)

    Please let me know if you need tour assistance, or hosting including accommodation in the city of Pasaquina and shuttle (Transport)

    I guarantee affordable low prices..!!

  8. Does anyone know the current situation with this border? I am planning to cross tomorrow with my friend and our 2 motorcycles. We just heard from another traveller that it may be closed!
    My email is [email protected]

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