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I and some friends are taking our vehicles from the US to Honduras. Once we get to Honduras, we're golden. However, navigating the space between San Antonio and Copan Ruinas is tricky. I need some guidance on a route. Which borders should I cross. Which cities should I stay in overnight? Which roads should I take?

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Make sure all the paperwork for the cars is in order and still expect to be hassled at the borders and perhaps by police on the road as well. Your normal car insurance won't be valid down there so get something special. There is a lot of trouble if you enter Mexico with a car and try to leave without it even if it was destroyed in an accident or stolen. If anything like this happens the paperwork is extremely important. One tip I was told to avoid cash bribes is to bring cartons of cigarettes and offer a pack of cigarettes to any officials before they start making trouble. –  hippietrail Aug 28 '11 at 14:00

2 Answers 2

The Pan American Highway is probably the most popular route.

Mexico and possibly other countries require insurance from an underwriter in that country. It will probably be a lot cheaper to arrange that before the trip.

It would be worth checking to see if it is unsafe to travel in certain areas, and at night. In Nicaragua, for example, there have been recent cases of unofficial roadblocks on the main highways at night, for the purpose of robbery. If someone you meet suggests that you avoid an area, it might be a good idea to take the advice.

You can check the State Department travel advisories for the countries you plan to go through. They can be overly pessimistic sometimes, but they do give some important information, particularly on recent criminal trends and dangerous areas of a country.

In Mexico and other countries with a large illegal drug industry, it can be dangerous to drive around the countryside in sparsely populated areas.

Despite all my doom and gloom, it sounds like it will be a great trip -- have fun!

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+1 to avoidin driving at night. Not only is there a higher (but still small) possibility of robbery, but the road conditions are often poor enough that driving at night is too dangerous Ie. poor signs, animals or people on the road, pot holes or speed bumps you can't see etc. etc. –  user27478 Sep 2 '11 at 13:17
    
I would only consider driving at night in the countries where the long distance bus companies drive at night. In Mexico they do. I think none do in the CA countries you'll be passing through though. –  hippietrail Sep 7 '11 at 21:10
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I've been living in Mexico for 15 months, and I never travel the highways between cities at night. It depends largely on where you're traveling how safe it is... but I suggest finding a hotel at nightfall, and getting a good rest, then hitting the road again as soon as the sun comes back up. –  Flimzy Sep 10 '11 at 8:29

Bear in mind that it is winter season in Central America (until late October). And while staying in the Pan American highway is probably your best bet, there's still chance for roadblocks caused by mudslides, collapsed bridges, etc.

Road infrastructure on those countries isn't exactly at the same levels you are used to.

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Are you sure winter is the rainy season there? It's pretty much tropical which generally means the rainy season is in summer. I have been caught in Mexico with mudslides and washed out bridges a number of times but all years ago so I can't remember the times of year. –  hippietrail Sep 7 '11 at 21:12
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Yes, I've been in Guatemala (next to Honduras) for the last couple of weeks and it is the rainy season right now. It gets worse whenever a new tropical storm approaches, which seems to happen at least once a month during the winter season. –  reno812 Sep 8 '11 at 15:00
    
Thanks for clearing that up. I just wanted to be sure it wasn't an assumption (-: –  hippietrail Sep 9 '11 at 14:16
    
To just clarify some more (from what I've observed in Nicaragua), winter (invierno) is the rainy season, but it takes place roughly during the time North Americans would call summer or early fall (May to October). –  jrdioko Sep 12 '11 at 20:23

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