Originally Posted by RexBuck
This is a great scam either the Meskin Gumit has going or the border guys. Had to go back to the Banjercito and pay the entrance fee again. It was only $20 but it just pissed me off.
Actually, I feel quite the opposite. I feel the process is quite valid.
The tourist card isn't valid until its been paid for, and its possible to run around the country with one, without without having validated it by paying for it. Maybe here lies the rub, and in the understanding of it, we might back off being critical of the stance these officials take.
A perfect example of how this process plays out is at the crossing into Mexico at El Ceibo, near Tenosique, where the Banjercito is closed on Mondays (or at least still was earlier this year). You can wait until Tuesday, or just continue on and validate the tourist card by paying at another Banjercito location. Which is what I did.
So, theoretically, you could enter there and then run down here and try to get stamped out, without ever having paid. It's really not the border guy's job to figure out why somebody doesn't have their TC receipt. One thing is for sure - if he doesn't stamp you out without seeing that receipt, and you want to get into Guatemala, you will need that exit stamp, so they will get their money. Sure - it might be annoying to the traveler if he's already paid, but as we've seen, that's on the traveler if he loses the receipt. "Keep Your Receipt" - I see that in a lot of places. Parking garages come to mind.
As with our man Bob C, lack of understanding of a border process can mean some frustration - but it doesn't always have to point to corruption or to officials who are out to be a pain or who are on the take. Yes, I've read examples of that from Mexico to Ushuaia, but I don't feel it applies to this particular border process.