After one soaked night in Belize to was time to head to Flores, Guatemala, I awoke to a nice sunny day at the Lower Dover Field Station & Jungle Lodge, Belize and the host Madeline took me and two other guests o a little excursion through some of the ruins on their property. The ruins were rudimentary compared to other more established ruins, but the history nonetheless (of what they currently knew) was very cool.
After I packed my bike and had some breakfast it was time to go into yet another country and another motorcycle border crossing. Guatemala was always on my list of countries I really wanted to dive into, so I took some time to book a nice hotel near Flores as a station point to explore some of the bigger Mayan ruins.
The ride to Flores was a nice one as I only had around 90 miles (140 kilometers) to travel to get to my next destination. The border crossing is at Melchor de Mencos and is a little confusing, so you have to be patient. Make sure you have multiple copies of all your documents and also plenty of crisp USD in small denominations. You should also get a few Guatemalan Quetzals at the border through a money changer. USD was fine for me for the permits but you need to pay a tax on the bridge as you enter Guatemala so I had a few hundred Quetzals ($30 USD) to be sure.
- The first thing you will need to do is take your bike right up to the bike the big building on the left side. You will first need to pay an exit fee (it was $37.50 USD) try to make sure you have clean bills as they will not accept anything with a tear.
- Then you will need to get an exit stamp on your passport at the first initial counter.
- Then you will see a door to the left, go through this and walk all the way through to get your import permit canceled. They will take your import permit. You are then on your way to Guatemala border!
- As you enter you will see a tunnel where they spray for fumigation, make sure you take your time to stop and get this done it cost me 14 GTQ (just under about $2 USD) make sure you get a receipt.
- Next head to Immigration and park your bike on left next to the big open building, so you can sight your gear. This building has everything you need in one place although there are a few steps to take. First is immigration, wait in line (there was a small line around 11 am when I arrived) and get your stamp into Guatemala
- Once you are stamped in you need to pay the tax fee, they will point to where you need to go.
- Then you need to get your vehicle import permit and pay 160 GTQ ($21 USD) at the cashier, but first the import permit. You need copies of all your documents (passport, driver’s license, vehicle registration). You will get to import permits to fill in (they helped me) and make sure you check over both.
- Then they direct you to cashier to pay the 160 GTQ (21 USD). Take receipt back to the main desk and get your import permits.
- Then you cross the bridge, pay the bridge tax (10 GTQ), they told me they only accepted Quetzals but seemed pretty relaxed about it, but wanted same in USD if I didn’t have Quetzals. I have heard other riders just ride quickly over the bridge , but I was stopped, so I had to pay.
This took me 2.5 hours in the blazing heat and I was sweating like a pig, but it was kinda fun, and an insight into the madness of border crossings throughout Central America. Finally onto Flores. I only had a short ride and the border towns were pretty cool, so I stopped for a bite to eat and a refreshment.
Now I only had around 60 miles (100 kilometers) to get to my hotel which was the Las Lagunas Boutique Hotel near Flores. This place was at a very beautiful location and because it was off-season and the hotel was nearly empty I got a really good deal for $112 per night (normally around $300 per night). I had my own gorgeous cabin overlooking the lagoon. I took a nice walk along the tracks, the place was full of wildlife. The hotel is set in a rainforest on the water’s edge with decent Wi-Fi and ceiling fans. I had an enclosed deck with a hot tub.