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Old 01-10-2009, 06:42 PM   #1
srileo OP
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Palenque to Tikal via moto; possible?

Hi all,
a couple of backpackers have told me that there si a road that goes from Palenque to Tikal directly. The only route is see on the map i have and on google earth is the road that follows the mexico-guatemala border and enters at La Messila to the south of guatemala does anyone have any intel on where to cross over to Guatemala? I believe there is a boat crossing, but not sure if they handle motos and if there is a customs on the guatemala end.

advise would be appreciated,
shridhar
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Old 01-10-2009, 07:01 PM   #2
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There are two common crossings via river:
Frontera Corozal to Bethel and La Palma to El Naranjo

There is a trail that runs from El Ceibo in MX to the highway inside Guate, south of El Naranjo. This route, if not this trail, is being developed for a future formal border crossing between Mex and GT. When I rode this trail two years ago, it was extremely muddy in places. It's length is about 12 miles and it's one of the most difficult runs I've ever done. If going this route, you shouldn't be on a heavy bike.

The river crossing via lanchia to Bethel costs about $40 for the entire boat, and probably less att this time due to the change in currency exchange rates. There is customs at Bethel, but they do not handle vehicles. You can get checked in there and then go on to Flores. GT customs at the Belice border, not far from Flores, can check in your bike. I do not know if El Naranjo can handle vehicles.

There is also river service up Rio Pasion to Sayaxche, but I've not done this route.

And there are other unofficial crossings between MX and GT.
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Old 01-12-2009, 03:44 PM   #3
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Thanks Lonerider. It looks more complicated than i want to handle. i am on a heavyish bike and not looking for more bureaucratic adventure. i guess i`ll just spend the extra couple of days doing the conventional la messilla crossing.

thank you again.
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Old 01-13-2009, 09:25 AM   #4
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You can also go to Tikal from Palenque if you take the Mexican highways to Tenosique and then southeast 50km the NEW border crossing to into Guatemala which will send you on new gravel road to El Narango from where it is excellent pavement to Santa Elena/Flores and then to TIKAl
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Old 01-13-2009, 09:59 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sjoerd Bakker
You can also go to Tikal from Palenque if you take the Mexican highways to Tenosique and then southeast 50km the NEW border crossing to into Guatemala which will send you on new gravel road to El Narango from where it is excellent pavement to Santa Elena/Flores and then to TIKAl
So it's now open?
This is that trail I was describing.
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Old 01-13-2009, 03:45 PM   #6
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Bethel to Flores

I am in Frontera Corozal right now and had a chat witht he mexican migracion officer. it seems straightforward. he said the road from bethel to Flores is mostly unpaved for 50km. i can get the bike checked in at Flores apparently. However, it is the $50 for the bike crossing across the river and the thoguht of the unpaved road for 50km that worries me. I might just be a good boy and do the La Messila crossing.
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Old 11-26-2010, 06:30 PM   #7
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Sorted out

I rode from Palenque to Tikal today, they now have El Ceibo sorted, you can get all your moto documentation there
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Old 11-26-2010, 08:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SinOfSaul
I rode from Palenque to Tikal today, they now have El Ceibo sorted, you can get all your moto documentation there
Great, thanks for the update.
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Old 12-01-2010, 07:24 PM   #9
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I'm going to cross this way later this week so will add my thoughts. But for now I thought I'd just let you all know that a section of the San Cristobel/Palenque road was washed away today (Dec 1st). About 20 miles short of Palenque I was stopped by a traffic jam. It's been raining none stop for 24 hours and two hours before I got there a 10 metre section of the whole road was washed away.
(I have a photo and will try to add it tomorrow).


The road certainly won't be open again for a while. However it is possible to detour. About 20-30 miles before Palenque there is a large fork in the road. Turn left to head for Salto de Agua. This road then leads on to the 186 where you turn right for half an hour before turning right again for Palenque. The road to Salto de Agua is tricky. Lots of potholes and bits washed a way but manageable. Mind you there has been so much rain anything could happen. The river that runs along the 199 has totally broken its banks and there is substantial flooding (but not on the road yet.


I'm in Palenque and its been raining none stop for well over 24 hours.
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Old 12-02-2010, 07:25 AM   #10
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Old 12-04-2010, 05:38 PM   #11
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Today I crossed from Palenque to Flores (near Tikal) on a fully paved road. This route is now totally up and running and will surely become the favourite route for bikes who want to get from Palenque to Tikal. Fully sealed road, 220 miles and the whole thing took us under 8 hours (left Palenque at 8, arrived at Flores 3:30)



Details below...



We left Palenque at 8 a.m. A few miles out of town we took a road to the right, signposted as La Liberdad. It's a short cut towards Tenosique. After 30 miles you turn right (signposted Tenosique) and in another 30 miles you enter Tenosique. There is a PEMEX just as you enter town. About 500 metres past the Pemex is a hotel on the left (Don Juan I think) which, from the outside looked OK. It took us just under 2 hours and about 60-70 miles to get to Tenosique. But then we got lost in town for 30 minutes. After the Hotel, at the traffic lights, turn right and then there is a roundabout. I went left (third exit) and went into town. I think I should have just gone straight ahead...



From Tenosique to the border (El Ceiba) was about 45 minutes and 40 miles. Good road, but no services and nothing at El Ceiba. The Mexican side of the border has FULL services for checking out of the country. A Bancajeto to cancel your temporary import card for the bike in an air conditioned room. Unfortunately I didn't check whether they are open on Mondays, a previous thread said they are shut on Mondays. I was there on a saturday. Perhaps the next person who goes by can check. It took us 15 minutes to check out of Mexico!
Immediately as we crossed the border a guy stopped me to get the passports stamped. He's in the first (and only) white and blue building on the left. Took 5 minutes, cost nothing. He then points across the road to a parked up lorry on stilts. That's where you get the bike stamped in. The two guys in the “building” were fantastic. Friendly and helpful and absolutely no whiff of bribery at all. They apologized as the electricity wasn't working and I had to jump into a tuk-tuk to go to a photocopy shop as you have to have a photocopy of the Guatemalan stamp that has just been put in the passport. (Other photocopies needed were, driving license, passport photo page and Bike title)



Once I'd done that he got me my temporary Guatamala bike import papers and a sticker to put on the bike. Cost – 40 Queztals ($6) (There was a little mix up as he was worried about my bike being able to leave Guatamala as my license plate said “Alaska” not “USA” but we sorted that out.) This side of the border took about an hour but 20 minutes of that was me getting the photocopy. When we left they insisted on taking our photo on the bike. THAT'S never happened to me before at a border crossing.










We then had the wheels ceremoniously sprayed with something that cost 20 Q ($3) and we were on our way. Under an hour and a half for the whole thing and actually quite a pleasant experience. The El Ceiba side of the border has nothing in the way of hotels. But on the Guatamala side I did see a hotel on the right 500 meters into the country. Looked OK if you were stuck for somewhere, there's nothing else for 150 miles.



It took 2 hours 45 minutes to get to Flores, about 150 miles on a really good road (except for the topes). Total mileage from Palenque to Flores – 220. 150 miles from the last PEMEX in Tenosique to the first gas station I saw in Guatamala which was 20 miles before Flores. So fill up in Tenosique.


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