Ride Share & Border Runs

Open for all topics related to travel in Guatemala however we focus on Xela!.
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Posts: 610
Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2004 8:46 am
Location: Quetzaltenango, Guatemala

Ride Share & Border Runs

Post by admin »

I have had several requests to make a new area for people to share when they are going to the border for the ever popular 90 day visa run. So here it is...post in this space if you are going to border, looking for other people to go with or if you have a vehicle and can offer to share a ride. This area is not limited to border runs. If you are headed to Guate, Antigua, the lake...etc feel free to post your details if you want some company.

Thank you,

http://www.xelapages.com - Study Spanish in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala!
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2011 4:43 am
Location: Xela

Re: Ride Share & Border Runs

Post by GavinoGainza »


As I sometimes run on with ideas, this article maybe too long for the average reader. To cut to the chase, so to speak, the main information is at the bottom of this page and higlhighted.

Entry into Guatemala gives you a stamp in your passport that is valid for a period of 90 days. This can be renewed it seems indefinitely by doing what is referred to as a VISA RUN. Since Guatemala is part of the CA-4 group of countries that includes Guatemala as well as Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua, to get that visa renewal you must leave this group. The options are Panama, Costa Rica, Belize, Cuba, and Mexico, or "shudder: going home. Since Mexico is the closest option and least expensive that is where most people go to renew their visa in that passport. Staying past that 90 day period will get you fined Q 10 per day. You are also looked upon with some suspicion when you do finally leave. That is, at least my perception from personal experience.

The required time to be out of Guatemala is 72 hours or three days. Most people just stay out two nights not three and count that as three days, which it is, if your math is shaky. Some other people tired of doing it correctly, do not actually enter Mexico at all, but get stamped out of Guatemala, go for lunch and then return to Guatemala soil a few hours later. The problem here is that when you actually do leave Guatemala and through Mexico, it can get awkward if the Mexican officials don’t agree with the way you have done it. The Mexican immigration authorities will wonder where the Mexican stamps are.

Recently I have known a few people who have been delayed leaving Guatemala when they try to enter Mexico. The Mexican stamps are not there and the Mexican authorities may wonder why. The Mexican immigration authorities may be looking for a bribe? Bribing at this point could work or not, but why would you want to make everything more difficult and/or suspicious. I have heard that things could be changing for border runs in the future.

There are also some illegal operators (private operators and yes surprisingly tour companies) that will also carry your passport to the border for you and get those two stamp put in, for a price. Two stamps because you never go to Mexico. One stamp to move you out of Guatemala soil and the other to put you back in.

Using someone else to carry your passport to the border, is a totally illegal practice that could carry harsh consequences for you in the future, and what if your passport was lost or stolen? One particular (male) person with a very questionable past (read that sly and sneaky), will do it for you for a price of Q 500. Oh one thing.... he will not show you his passport, because he can't as he is in Guatemala illegally and his passport expired years ago. So why would you trust such a man with the one document that is so important for you? Duh!!

Getting to Mexico has its options. You can choose the route to San Cristobal de la cases a long 8 hour shuttle ride, or that much shorter route to Tapachula. Getting to Tapachula is relatively easy especially if you are short.
There is the option of the second class bus service also known as Chicken Buses, that where originally designed as school buses for children in the USA. Chicken Buses are really great for the average Guatemalan. They are also cheap, cramped, and driven by insane drivers all vying for some road racing trophy. Being somewhat taller than the average Guatemalan by a good foot and a half I opt out, of any Chicken Bus trip longer than two hours. The only good seat for me anyway is directly behind the driver with some added leg room. Being taller in Guatemala has its advantages as no matter where I stand watching some parade I always have a great view. Being taller in Guatemala has no advantages for me on any chicken bus.

There are of course other options of traveling to Tapachula. There are some tour operators that will take you there, but some require a minimum of four passengers. You can also hire someone with a car or truck or even yes a taxi. The latter three really require that you go as a group to cut costs unless you have some Rockefeller connections.

I am presently as I write looking for fellow travelers, VISA RUN people, or anyone wanting to share a car, truck or yes even a TAXI to Tapachula.

Interested email me at gavjonessm@gmail.com, phone at 4733-7284 or here at Xela pages. I plan to leave at the end of March. Let’s make it happen.

Re: Ride Share & Border Runs

Post by guest1 »

My family and I were in Xela and we slowly got to understand all the local businesses.

I would recommend Monte Verde Tours to go to Tapachula if you have a couple people or a group who wants to cross to Mexico and spend a day or two.
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Dec 25, 2014 6:49 pm

Re: Ride Share & Border Runs

Post by oggybleacher »

Altiplanos is a shuttle service to San Cristobal De Las Casas. 6a calle 7-55. Q240 to Mexico, leaves at 8am...gets in a 4 pm. San Cristobal is a very charming city. Tapachula is to Detroit what San Cristobal is to Vienna. IF you must leave for a visa run then I would recommend San Cristobal every time over Tapachula and it's probably the same cost. 350 pesos to get back to Xela. 60 pesos a night in a hostel. if you stay longer than a week there is a big peso charge at the border...but you could go to the Canon Sumidero on another tour for a day or two and still get back to Xela within a week. It's sunny in San Cristobal, I got a sun burn in one day after the pale cold days in Xela.
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