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Since I (apparently) can't fly from SAL to Choluteca, I was planning to drive.  But then I had to think some more: Will I be required at the Honduran border or at the rental counter to show an international driving permit (IDP) or pay an extra fee for leaving the country with it?  Or buy/show insurance beyond what I normally get from Allianz?

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Expedia said Alamo would do my five days for $39. Added on CDW $55 from AIG, same price Allianz would do. After paying, they send me a document saying a cross-border permit must be purchased at the rental counter 72 hours in advance for $50. I'm supposed to sit in San Salvador for three days before I can actually make my trip? But really, it's $150: $100 for the privilege of crossing a border plus $50 for the permit. Finally, can't do it anyway unless you rent for seven days or more. Plus liability insurance which Alamo won't accept unless I buy it with their CDW (instead of AIG's) So, looks like buses are going to suck up half of my time in central America.

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I have no personal experience, but from this Lonely Planet link from 2017 says that you can cross the border with your rental car, and that you get the permit when you rent it:

Renting a car in Guatemala was fairly easy. I used my American license and had to wait two hours for a car to free up since I didn't make a reservation. I also had to get a special border crossing permit to take the car out of the country (you are allowed to take rental cars to El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua). The hardest part was going through the car check with the staff. It took us an hour to count all the scratches, dents, etc - this was no zipcar. The staff was very kind, and in the end I drove out of the renta autos with my cousin in the passenger seat and headed towards Antigua. I paid a total of $408.92 for five days.

However personally I'd take a bus. As you were already planning to fly its not as if you have planned to stop along the way.

  • It's nice to know, but going from Guatemala to Honduras is not necessarily the same as El Salvador to Honduras. But four hundred for five days? My quote was $35 for four days, Alamo. Bus is seven hours to get to Tegucigalpa after dark, then in the morning, 3½ hours to Choluteca, with a total fare of $41-67. I'll go with the five-hour direct drive. – WGroleau Aug 28 '18 at 3:04
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    @WGroleau If you read the entire link the author went through 5 Central American countries in their trip. So while they are not originating in El Salvador, it does show that the process is possible. And as for the bus, why not fly to TCG and take the bus from there? As for cost, I wouldn't count those chickens until you have the car keys in hand. In finding that link I saw others where people at the local rental desk were presented with rates that were far in excess of what they had previously been quoted via the companies website. – Peter M Aug 28 '18 at 10:32
  • TCG is in China. I suspect you meant TGU. My ticket is to SAL because it cost much less than TGU or anyplace else. Normally I take a bus when there's not enough time for the bike, but when I saw how long it would take, I checked for rentals and got a quote of $35 for Alamo. If they try a bait & switch, they won't get anything from me. And if all the other similar quotes aren't honored, I will take the bus, or even just bike it. (Not really: for bike, I'd have to turn around when almost there to make the flight out.) – WGroleau Aug 28 '18 at 17:21
  • I stopped reading when she said she paid fifteen times my quote for only one day longer. But it looks like the rest of it is worth reading for the fun of it. It's possible, of course, that Honduras might treat someone differently depending on which country they are entering from or which country the car originated in. I'll try to contact the countries and Alamo, but experience tells me to not expect a response. – WGroleau Aug 28 '18 at 17:25
  • Read the whole article. They also had a ID of a citizen of Guatemala, which is another difference from me. But it's a fun article and makes me suspect I'll be fine. Rather amused by the comment of "you'll never make it" after an article describing how they DID make it. – WGroleau Aug 28 '18 at 17:34

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