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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 01-13-2009, 04:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srileo
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.
Unless it's very wet, those roads tro Flores are a no-brainer.
I don't know why you'd be able to get your bike cleared in Flores. That doesn't make sense to me. I suspect there is a misunderstanding. Regardless, customs by the Belice border can handle it, and that's not far.

BTW, if you want beer in Frontera (dry area, supposedly), ask for the taxi driver. Not far from Jaguar co-op.
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Old 01-16-2009, 03:36 PM   #8
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i decided to forego this route. it poured all night and i didnt want to chance it. and it is just as good that i took the la messila crossing, because it turned out that my indian passport needed a stamp from the guatemalan consulate in comitan. i would have been very pissed to find that out at the little migracion in bethel
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Old 01-16-2009, 03:43 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by srileo
...it turned out that my indian passport needed a stamp from the guatemalan consulate in comitan.....
Obviously, you're riding under good favors of Mayan Gods. That's quite clear.

Be safe...
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Old 03-18-2009, 08:52 PM   #10
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Pissed new border crossing to Guatemala

I intentionally did not post a reply to Lone Rider´s question back in January for the simple reason that what I had already said earlier was based on first hand experience of a horrible road to traverse in 2006 and last year´s second hand info that the new road was actually being built form El Ceibo border crossing to El Naranjo.

Second hand reports are always of questiomable value since in translation the question may have been misunderstood or the answer was not comprehended correctly. Also Mexicans and others are always willing to explain route stuff , even if they are not necessarily fully informed. Every request on directions will always include the explanation that the route is ¨todo derecho¨.Invariably the route turns out to have more bends than a truckload of horseshoes, or within the first kilometer you will be faced with a fork in the road and no sign indicating which goes where. Mexican highway signs are also guilty of this- they place a straight through arrow and then the roadfork shows up with no further explanations.
In their eagerness to be of help the locals will often tell the traveller what he would like to hear, that a road is paved , or not, depending on how the question was asked. For the non driver their travel is done mostly by bus and their knowledge of the road is the bus route. Hence it will always be paved, or not, depending on which routes they rode. Just because they got from Point A to Point B for them the road was good- but it may very well have included a bus transfer at the edge of a river or inpassable canyon, which they forgot to mention.Guia Roji even draws in a few such phantom roads.

Now to the point of this post .
I can now state with absolute certainty that the highway from ther El Ceibo border crossing from Mexico federal highway 203 southeast of Tenosique, Tabasco into Guatemala and to El Naranjo is now COMPLETE and open.
I just entered Mexico by this route this past Monday 16 March.
In Guatemala it is highway CA 15 , is of excellent construction, made by Mexico with paved 1m shoulders, concrete kerbs
THE BORDER IS OPEN ONLY DURING DAYLIGHT FROM 9 AM TO 5 PM
The Mexican side has a big customs post, the Guatemalans have only a Migracion booth . Mexico took in my tourist card and stamped the passport but let me keep my temp import permit for the bike for the return trip.
The Guatemalan Migracion only stamped my passport after filling out the small CA 4 form , no fees charged. No import documents issued , the migracion officer said that it would not be a problem. The SAT customs office in El Naranjo is gone, so no arrangements made. We´ll see how this turns out.
In Mexico nearest hotels are in Tenosique. In Guatemala the El Ceibo ¨village¨ already has two basic, cheap hotels - mostly used by aspiring migrants to the US I suspect, but servicable.The ¨village¨has some older wooden huts on the hillside and on the river flats it is a mass of corrugated tin sheds weth dirt floors selling all manner of clothes, hardware and stuf f( duty free?)
Next hotels in Guatemala are a dozen simple and cheap examples in El Naranjo

Now a day later I can issue a big caveat on using the EL CEIBO border crossing.
Because there is NO GUATEMALA ADUANA office there they can NOT
provide you with the Temporary Import papers which are, sort of , required. The Migracion guy will say it is not a problem but it IS a problem once you try leaving Guatemala at the Honduras side or into Mexico via any of the other guarded crossings.
This afternoon at 4 I wanted to leave Guatemala by way of the Agua Caliente crossing CA 10 east of Esquipulas. The lady officer chief of the Aduana office absolutely refused to let me cross out of GT with the bike because she said I must first get a temp import permit. And she refused to issue me one. No matter that I explained that the El Ceibo port of entry had no such paper issuing Aduana officers , and that the Migracion guy there had happily let me in, given me the migracion forms, stamped my passport and had told me to go and that it would be no problem. WRONG!
She said it would be illogical for her to issue such a permit since I was at the Honduras border and had come in from Mexico. To make it worse she said I would need to go back to a Mexican -side entry port to get the permit ! I pointed out that it was also extremely illogical then for Guatemala to have such a brand new highway to allow traffic in at El Ceibo but to have nobody there to issue the required temp import permits! No amount of explaining arguing or whining could make her change her mind. The only smart thing she said was that I might try the Florido Copan crossing, which I was already thinking of anyway.
Back on the bike and a fast ride- wonderful curves ,good pavement- and an hour later at the Copan crossing things began looking up.No questions asked and nothing volunteered at first and I had my temp import permit. Then since the agent spoke English I explained the problems I was having trying to leave GT with bike at Agua Caliente.
He then explained that actually HE would have let me ride into Honduras if I didnot have the permit. Then asking who it was that had refused to help me he said, yes he knew who it was and making as if he was hanging miself by the neck ,.He said that she was well known for making lots of problems for others, too sticky on the rules, not willing to help obvious travel problems caused by stupid rules applied against logic.

So for any body who still wants to use the El Ceibo crossing BE WARNED !
Go that route only if you intend to not go to Honduras or Belize .If you do go to Honduras cross only via the Florido Copan crossing and hope you get helped by a considerate officer.
If you are visiting ONLY Guatemala you can use El Ceibo for both ENTRY and EXIT- you will save the cost of the import permit . Otherwise you will have to find out the nearest SAT- Aduana office to get the permit or leave by another unguarded exit.

Sjoerd Bakker screwed with this post 03-20-2009 at 07:27 PM Reason: add new details
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Old 06-01-2009, 03:21 PM   #11
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Hola Sjoerd, Just read your post on the crossing at El Naranjo. Good documentation. I heard that you have to go from there to the other entry from Belize at Menchor to get the bike permits, about 4 hours away, and continue on from there. True or no?

I agree with you about why build a bridge and not have it be a full service crossing. Saludos, Eduardo
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http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=531184
Minnesota to Guatemala 2008/2009 http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=423949
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Old 06-02-2009, 02:37 PM   #12
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Laugh

Bouncing around these posts here.... continuing from the other one---
If enter ing at El Ceibo I would not ride to Melchor de Mencos just to get the import permit. For me it would be lot more than 4 hours of riding considering all the scenery that has to be enjoyed.
As I stated in the other post just keep riding until you get to the Florida Copan exit or if you are heading that way visit the SAT office in Puerto Barrios and tell them that that was the only aduana office you could find, disculpe =) but you were doing your best to confotm to their law. verdad? Or , ....do absolutely nothing, ride around Guatemale and then exit by the same El Ceibo crossing where you came in or just zip out of Guatemala at one of the small unguarded crossings back to Mexico like Gracias a Dios ( DO NOT stop at the small GT border facility there, just announce your return on the Mexican side) or the Nuevo Orizaba ,Chiapas ( on Mex 307 at km 265 east of Chamula and Chajul, north of Playa Grande GT) crossing back onto Mex 307

Sjoerd Bakker screwed with this post 06-05-2009 at 09:48 AM
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Old 06-02-2009, 03:04 PM   #13
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Crossing Border Info

I just took this route this winter.
I decided for fun to put up a website that lists information such as our friend needed for specific border crossings.
Check it out and please provide me with any information you have about crossings not listed or changing conditions.
It's gonna be helpful for a bunch of people I hope..

http://www.latinamericanborders.com

cheers
haris

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sjoerd Bakker
Bouncing around these posts here.... continuing from the other one---
If enter ing at El Ceibo I would not ride to Melchor de Mencos just to get the import permit. For me it would be lot more than 4 hours of riding considering all the scenery that has to be enjoyed.
As I stated in the other post just keep riding until you get to the Florida Copan exit or if you are heading that way visit the SAT office in Puerto Barrios and tell them that that was the only aduana office you could find, disculpe =) but you were doing your best to confotm to their law. verdad? Or , ....do absolutely nothing, ride around Guatemale and then exit by the same El Ceibo crossing where you came in or just zip out of Guatemala at one of the small unguarded crossings back to Mexico like Gracias a Dios ( DO NOT stop at the small GT border facility there, just announce your return on the Mexican side) or the Nuevo Coahuila ( iI think that was the name, north of Playa Grande GT) crossing back onto Mex 307
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More info on specific border crossings :
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Old 06-02-2009, 05:19 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sjoerd Bakker
Or , ....do absolutely nothing, ride around Guatemale and then exit by the same El Ceibo crossing where you came in or just zip out of Guatemala at one of the small unguarded crossings back to Mexico like Gracias a Dios ( DO NOT stop at the small GT border facility there, just announce your return on the Mexican side) or the Nuevo Coahuila ( iI think that was the name, north of Playa Grande GT) crossing back onto Mex 307
What happens as you "ride around Guatemala" at the police check at Cardenas, the border of the departments of Peten and Isabel, if their awake, and they ask where's the sticker? Backtrack to Menchor, or if they let you go on, to Pt. Barrios? They love these glitches in proceedure and look at them as a money maker. Maybe this will all be a moot discussion soon, if they include full border services, I hope so, I want to do this route. Saludos, Eduardo
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Escape the Tundra: Tenth winter in Mexico and Guatemala 2009/2010
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=531184
Minnesota to Guatemala 2008/2009 http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=423949
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Old 06-04-2009, 10:17 AM   #15
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I don't know what would happen, but the likelihood of getting stopped by police who ask for such documents in Guatemala is very low. In all my crossings of GT I cannot recall one such stop, and I don't understand why they would have a checkpoint at the boundary between two provinces as you report. There are the small check kiosks of the SAT at some points on roads coming from the border. for instance from the Honduras border to Entre Rios there was no SAT office at the border yet last year but the kiosk 10km into GT directed travellers needing import permits to the SAT office in Puerto Barrios. So I figure if you were to enter by any other point this SAT office could also serve as a reasonable explanation as your destination to get things set up correctly if any official shoukld ask.
The documentation seems really not to be too critical judging by how the GT Aduana fellow at the El Ceibo entry told me to just go on into the country when I pressed the question of not having my import permit yet. Go on, he said.
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