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Border legalities

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Border legalities

Postby Tim Geerlings » Mon Apr 11, 2011 11:59 pm

A question for anyone who would know the answer. I am hoping to climb Tacaná, which is the second highest volcano in Guatemala (and in Central America) this weekend. The volcano is right on the border of Guatemala (San Marcos department) and Mexico (Chiapas state). I would like to climb from Guatemala and descend into Mexico to get a nice round trip (since I don't have a car and there's busses everywhere in this part of the world it's very easy logistically.) Does anyone know if I would have trouble getting back into Guatemala, as the first time I would cross the border away from a legal border crossing? I know if necessary I could cross "illegally" again (the Guate-Mexico border does not compare, in any way, to the Mexico-USA border), but it would take longer and/or cost more.

Thanks for the help! P.S. If anyone who reads this has summitted Tacaná please message me as I have a couple questions.
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Re: Border legalities

Postby Tim Geerlings » Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:00 am

pps. I am a US citizen; there's no need for visas for either Guate or México
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Re: Border legalities

Postby surgent » Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:15 am

It might be one thing for Guatemalan or Mexican citizens to cross back and forth, illegally or legally, but another thing for an American (or any non-local citizen) to try. You should contact the American consulate first, see what they think. Maybe one direction is easier... maybe start in Mexico, finish in Guatemala. Sounds like a fun hike.
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Re: Border legalities

Postby phydeux » Wed Apr 13, 2011 3:33 am

Since you won't have a Mexican entry stamp (or tourist card) you'll probably get stopped and questioned by Mexican authorities when trying to cross back into Guatemala. Not a problem for USA day trippers in the USA/Mexico border region, but the Mexican authorities get real specific about it in other areas. Then again, if you're a gringo, they might just let you pass through. And isn't Guatemala still dealing with some leftover internal conflicts from the civil war? (not as bad as a few years ago, but still a little violent there?). LAck of proper exit visa might come into question on the Guatemalan side of the border when you try to re-enter. Best to climb up and down in Guatemala, then maybe do another climb on the Mexican side as a tourist some weekend.
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Re: Border legalities

Postby CBakwin » Thu Apr 14, 2011 5:20 pm

I actually did just what you are planning a few years back, decended into I think it was Cuidad Juarez? anyway, I got to town and tried to find a border agent, or even the police, but couldn't find anyone so just continued on into Mexico, climbing Orizaba and hanging out a few weeks then when I tried to go back to the states (flying from Mexico City) they did hassel me and tried to get a bribe and all that since my passport was not stamped....but eventually let me go.
Summary: if you don't have an entry stamped in your passport, you will be hasseled, but this may not be a big deal. I would think if you head overland back into Guatamala, it wont be to hard.
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Re: Border legalities

Postby CBakwin » Thu Apr 14, 2011 5:25 pm

Oh, by the way, it is pretty interesting decending into Mexico, lots of very established trails, almost like neighborhoods. The night before the climb, I slept in the church of the little town in guatamala (can't remember it's name, was it "Sibenal"?) they have cots in the back if you can find the caretaker. Nice mountains there but to many trees for my tastes.
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Re: Border legalities

Postby Scott » Fri Apr 15, 2011 3:51 am

I would check with immigration before hand.

Back in 1993, no one even bothered me for not having a passport when entering Guatamala (I had a Mexican tourist card and that was it) from Mexico, but in 2008 things were different and they did check passports (and collected a small fee) when we entered from Honduras. In theory you can travel between Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua while checking in only once (though you might find that this really isn't the case at some border stations), but travelling between Guatamala and Mexico might be much more problematic because of more recent drug smuggling problems.
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