El Ceibo, Tabasco, Mexico to El Ceibo, El Peten, Guatemala | Customs and Immigration

Mexico

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Last Visited: 3 months ago
GPS: 17.259560, -90.986507
Altitude: 0.0 masl

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EL CEIBO BORDER - MEXICO /GUATEMALA

El CEIBO border crossing only became a usable and practical proposition in 2008 when Mexico heavily subsidized and engineered the construction of a brand new asphalt all-weather highway inside Guatemala to connect the Mexican highway 302 through to the already existing Guatemalan highway system south of El Naranjo.

In Mexico the border can easily be reached by all-paved highways beginning with Mex 186 east from Villahermosa then exit onto Mex 302 through Emiliano Zapata and Tenosique.Also a nice paved route exists from Palenque via Mex 307 east about 40 km then at Rio Chancala
north to join that Mex 302 and Tenosique.

In Guatemala it is a simple matter of going to the Peten and taking the highway west from LA LIBERTAD .

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Don't have much to add to all the great info here already except DO NOT buy a SIM card at the hardware store. The guy sells you an 8gb card for 100Q but it only has 3gb. Then he plays dumb and acts like there's something wrong with your phone. It happened to my friend as well only a few weeks before me and he warned me so I popped mine in right away to check. same thing. I took it back out and left it on the table without paying. Tough it out til you get to next decent sized town where they don't try to rip you off.

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Nice and easy, after having not been able to enter Belize (tourist not allowed to drive their own vehicles right now!) we backtracked and crossed into Guatemala here. Very friendly border agents... all as described previously.

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Two hours to cross border in big rig. Would be quicker but had problems finding MAN truck model on their system.
Follow asobolife detailed instructions.

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We had no issues and they accepted our J&J covid vaccination. The immigration office on the Guatemala side will make a copy of the vaccination and you can give it to the person checking the covid tests.

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Crossed on a Sunday. Process as described below.
Super quiet, not problems. Took as about two hours in total.

We asked whether we could go back to Mexico, as they have closed the borders for non-essential travel coming from Guatemala. They informed us that we can go back into MX, but only after 72hours.

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Easy process from Mexico to Guatemala.

After exiting Mexico, you’ll have to immediately stop at the orange cones. The process is:

1. Go to the health station (during Covid times) and present your negative Covid test. They want to see the original copy but they will keep a scanned copy, which you need to provide.

2. Get your visa next door. Just need your passport and ANOTHER scanned negative Covid test report. No need to pay anything.

3. Get your TIP at the SAT “office”, which is just inside a stationary truck. This takes the longest time. You’ll need copies of your passport, visa page, car registration, and drivers license. The cost is 160Q, which you pay by walking 200 meters up the hill to a Banco Rural, which is inside a hardware store. Looks a little shady, but it’s legit. You can also exchange Pesos to Quetzels here and they oddly give a really good exchange rate for that. 1000 pesos = 420Q. You can also get your SIM card at the hardware store front desk. SIM card + 10GB of data = 140Q. Return to the TIP office and show your payment receipt to get your TIP paperwork and sticker.

4. Get fumigated! Cost was 50Q (seems high...?).

After all that, they finally move the orange cones so you can drive on.

Except 50 meters up you run into some badass looking (but friendly) police who want to see your TIP, title/registration, and drivers license. And they asked me if we have drugs.

After that you’re finally on your way. Enjoy Guatemala!

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Easy border crossing for us!!
Pretty quiet on the Mexican side
We found it organized.

Would have been under an hour for sure but we have 2 dogs
As per usual you’ll be running around in circles lol
But everyone was helpful and guided us through
Children are plenty and hilarious- you shouldn’t need their help but they are there for you if you want to tip them
Would recommend having photo copies of everything before hand!

We picked up a Claro phone plan at the bank there!

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From Guatemala to Mexico
If you exit Guatemala but still have time on your TIP and want to go back before the expiration date, you can ask for a Salida temporal.
The officer will give you a paper with your exit date, which stops the 90days clock.
The officer explained us that then you enter back to Guatemala, you give the TIP and the exit document at the aduana and they will stamp it with a new expiration date.

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From Guatemala to Mexico. Border is open from 9 am to 5 pm. Entry fee to Mexico is 580 MXD or 33 USD or 30 EUR per person. Bank is closed on Monday so impossible to pay for your TIP. Very friendly boarder officials on both sides. Mexican police officers spoke perfect English. They checked our van with a police dog. Not many questions were asked.

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Mexico to Guatemala (motorcycle)
I've passed this border in around one hour on Friday at 11am. Whitout any problem.

- After the military check point you will see one big white building and 100m after another one smaller. Stop to the small one to have your stamp out from Mexico. They ask for your receipt entrance (if you still have it). The guy didn't speak English, but no problem to understand us.
- Then go to the big white building. Inside on your left is the bank to cancel your vehicle importation and have your TIP back. The guy speak enough English. He will take your information and photos of your motorcycle.

- Drive to Guatemala and stop direct after. You will see a white truck amd behind is a building. Its there were you will have your passeport stamp.
- Get back to the white truck. There you make your importation for your vehicle.
You will need
---> copy of your passeport (stamp and front page)
---> copy of driver licence
---> copy of vehicle registration
Wait until the guy print you the formular to pay the fee of importation. You can pay it at the casa rural (which seem to be the normal way for them)
- Go up the village and found the guy who can change you pesos to quetzqual. Little tip if you look before the rate of change you can argue with him and not be fool.
- Up the hill on your right its the casa rural. Inside you have a big fence, it's there. The guy took me 170 quetzqual, 10 of commission seems to be ok.
- On your way down, just before you left the village you will found somone who can make you the copy you need.
- Go back to the truck and finish your paper. The guy in the withe truck speak a bit of English.
-last move is fumigation which was 25Q for my bike.

Then you are all set.

The helper were some little kid. Don't trust them, they won't help you and try to trick you every time.

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we were told that they no longer have a bank in town so you can't pay the 160 quetzal import. So you either have to take bus/taxi to naranjo to go to a bank (you can't bring your car untill you have paid) about 30 mins away. or alternatively pay the guy in immigration to make a transfer from his account by going to the 'caja rural' up the street and put the money into his account first. we paid him 75 for the service, didn't try to negotiate. tiny place, import place was just a trailer. But very very friendly staff who walked us through the process. they are hoping to get a bank again soon but who knows. took about two hours total including tip cancelling on the Mexican side. men in the town can change dollars or pesos to quetzal.

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Mexico to Guatemala.
Passed without any issues.

First parked on the Mexican side and went to the main (largest) building to cancel TiP, then to the small offices outside to get the exit stamp in our passports. Both quick.

Drove into Guatemala, did immigration in the first building, then outside to do the vehicle import, inspection and fumigation. They peered quickly inside the car (without opening anything) and asked if we had a Chucho (a dog). That was it!

Import - 160 Q
Fumigation - 20 Q

Note: they want a copy of vehicle owner’s passport with Guatemala entry stamp, so you will have to pay for a copy. We were charged just 1Q, so try and have some small change! (They do accept Mexican peso coins for this).

Everyone we dealt with was very friendly.

The entire process took us one hour.

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Pretty easy crossing from Guatemala to Mexico. Before you get to the fumigation, look to your left and you will see a white truck and a small trailer like building, which is where you get stamped out of Guat. We missed it had to walk back. There isn't any parking or officials outside on the Guat. side of the border. The whole process was about 1 1/2 hours. they will take open containers of rice, eggs, fruit/veggies, and meat.

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easy process but still took us 3 hours to enter guatemala. drive through and then u-turn and park on Mexican side to cancel TVIP and get exit stamps. then drive through and park on side if road near fumigation for Guatemala. get entry passport Stamos at Guatemala office (truck) walk 200 meters up the road to exchange money and make photocopies. (rate was 100 pesos to 40Q which was above the official rate of 38). walk back to office and get payment voucher for vehicle $160 pesos. take that to Banrural and pay (cash only) which is a small trailer next door. then back to office to get vehicle sticker.

agriculture inspector came in van and was shocked to see a dog. then he searched the fridge (only) and at first was going to take all near, fruit, eggs but then just relented and left everything. play dumb and smile a lot.

dog needed paperwork (Mexico asked for none) they took our rabies cert (a few months old) and AKC membership fee form and asked for copies. (I think he thought AKC cert was health cert). paid 25Q to Banrural and then presented the fog for physical check. got a few dog papers back and said we were good.

fumigation was 44Q for our van which seemed like a bit if a rip off but we got an official receipt so it may just be based on size.

photos are from Guatemala side.

Autohotel Franca was a great stop an hour from border on Mexico side. not much services in Guatemala side for a while.

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From Guatemala to Mexico, very easy border with friendly people. There are indeed no helpers, you can drive peacefully from an office to the other without being hassled.
We paid most of the fees by card (entrance: 500pesos/p, car permit: 60USD and car deposit: 200 to 400USD depending on the date of your vehicle). Only the fumigation was to be paid in cash, better in pesos but he accepted our dollars, had to be the exact amount though (7USD).
Food inspection is quite a joke, we hid most of it and had no problem. They were looking for fruits, vegetables, eggs, rice and so on.
By far the most professional border we crossed in Central America, they even do the photocopies themselves!

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This border of both sides is all cash. there is no ATM or bank in the town or within 100km.

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Border agent was ultra corrupted. Needed to bargain our way out of Mexico! First and only time I had trouble with official in Mexico. Going to Guatemala.

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quick and easy, no helpers and kind Aduana. paid 500 pesos for dog and fumigation- gave a reciept.

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We crossed from guatemala into mexico. Very quite. At the border to mexico they check your rig for food. Eggs, beans, seeds, lentis, dog food, rice, meat (all kind) and fruits are not allowed. Maybe even more. To be on the safe side bring as less food as possible with you. We did hide almost all our food and were lucky that the dogs did not smell it:)Since 2016 the permit for mexico is around 60$. If you want to open a new business, it has no copy shop on the mexico side and the guy from the aduana needed a copy of our visa! So instead of walking back to the guatemala we asked the lady who did all the paperwork for our dog.

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Crossed from Mexico into Guatemala. Friendly on both sides of the border. Wasn't very busy, no hassles, no border helpers. 160Q to import car. Only had pesos and was offered a good exchange rate (350mx). Originally asked for 57Q fumigation but after asking around he brought it down to 40Q and gave a receipt.

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I crossed from Mexico into Guatemala at El Ceibo on October 31, 2014.  As Sjoerd Bakker said, the road from Palenque to El Ceibo is really good.  I took 307 south from Palengue.  My Garmin did not want to take me that way though.  It does not recognize 307 at all.  I stuck to it though knowing that Sjoerd is always right.  I did not easily recognize  Rio Chancala though and I got to it a little sooner than I thought I should.  So for those that are also a little nervous about such things, it is easy to know that you are because there is a Pemex on the left at the road to turn left and just past that intersection is a police guard station (the first one you come to if coming from Palenque.  Take that road to the left and even though it looks very remote and unused you are in fact on the correct road.  It will meet up with 302 and there the road gets really, really good all the way to the border.

At the border you have to turn off to the left which is where the Mexican offices are.  There were a bunch of "taxis" where it seems like I should park and I was a bit intimidated so I parked at the North end of the building where there was no one but a guard (nice that he could watch my bike).  I walked into the building and there is now a Banjercito there.  I did not go to immigration first.  I just went straight to the Banjercito window.  It only took a few minutes and they processed my refund.  I only had to show my TVIP, my receipt for paying the fee to get the TVIP (or was it my fee for the tourist visa - sorry, not sure but anyway it is paperwork you will have), and my passport with tourist visa paper.  I did not need any photocopies.  I then went to the immigration window in the same building and the officer was very nice and said they were very busy (people entering Mexico) and I should go to the next building over.  There would be an officer there that could give me an exit stamp.  I did just that, leaving my bike parked although in hindsight I could have taken my bike there and saved the walk back and forth.  Not a long walk of course but it was hot and I had my riding pants on.  Sure enough the officer there very quickly gave me an exit stamp in my passport.  Done!  Very simple.  Not photocopies of anything needed.

Bake to the bike and across the border.  Right across the border a guard motioned for me to stop and told me to go into the building (a small portable type trailer actually).  I showed my passport, they stamped my passport, and I was done with immigration.  Simple.  No photocopies, no fees, nothing.  So simple.  Then I was directed to the next trailer over.  This was for the motorcycle.  It was air conditioned so I did not want it to go too quickly.  They gave me 2 options for the bike.  Pay 160 Quetzal and get some kind of stamp or because I was just driving through (I told them I was going to be in the country 10 days and not coming back through at a later time) I could pay nothing.  If I was stopped by police I would just have to show my passport and registration.  I thought that sounded good so I payed nothing, did nothing, and left happy.  When I went out to my bike ready to go an older, skinny guy was spraying the underside of my bike.  I had to pay I think 20 Q for that ($3) and then I was really ready to go.  I didn't have any Quetzal but they were happy to take 40 pesos instead.  

All together the border experience took me 45 minutes.  Got some fried chicken right there as well for lunch and also paid that in pesos.  No problem.  I found cash machines at La Libertad which was an easy and short ride from the border.  And by the way, the roads in Guatemala are great compared with Mexico.  And the Topes (Tumulo in Guatemala) are much fewer and farther between.  It was hard to actually get used to not finding a tumulo where for sure there would have been one in Mexico.

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This is a guest post from a rider who recently crossed the El Ceibo border (Summer 2014). He notes that he was able to use a credit card to acquire his TVIP at the Banjercito El Ceibo.

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 This is a guest post from  Sjoerd Bakker http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=752824 for a recent border crossing.

EL CEIBO BORDER - MEXICO /GUATEMALA

El CEIBO border crossing  only became a usable and practical  proposition in 2008  when Mexico heavily subsidized and engineered the construction of a brand new  asphalt all-weather highway inside Guatemala  to connect the Mexican highway 302 through to the  already existing Guatemalan  highway system south of El Naranjo.

In Mexico the border can easily be reached by all-paved highways beginning with Mex 186  east from Villahermosa then exit  onto  Mex 302 through Emiliano Zapata and  Tenosique.Also a nice paved route exists from Palenque via Mex 307 east  about 40 km then  at Rio Chancala
north to  join that Mex 302 and Tenosique.

In Guatemala it is a simple matter of going to the Peten and taking the highway west from LA LIBERTAD .

It is important to be able to read PAPER MAPS of recent issue and from both countries.   The  desirable detail of many online maps ( and by extension GPS  maps )   is often  lacking. Even some of the quality paper map suppliers are rather slow in updating their maps to show even a road to El Ceibo

Hours of service  at EL CEIBO are limited  and may be changed from time to time if traffic warrants it. Typical hours are from 9  am to early  evening , as 18 h or 19 h. The road is gated   and closed for the night, nobody crosses. Take these times into consideration and pace your travel so you do not show up at a late inconvenient time.

If you have made it this far you obviously already know enough to bring the originals of your Passport, Vehicle ownership and  Registration  and Drivers license and photocopies of same .

You also have  already from your trip south , or ought to have arranged public liability insurance if you are driving your own vehicle into Mexico   through El CEIBO for the first time this trip. Liability insurance is now COMPULSORY IN MEXICO. It is also a good idea to have such insurance arranged for  Guatemala before you enter . Although Guatemalan police are very lax in  checking for proof of insurance during traffic stops it does become another matter if one is involved in an accident with a Guatemalan pedestrian or vehicle.

El CEIBO  village exists only in Guatemala and recently already had three basic hotels so an overnight stay is   possible here if required. However if you are  in Mexico it makes more sense to overnight in Tenosique 60 km west  and time your border crossing  into Guatemala for the morning. In Guatemala  there is a larger selection of hotels in El Naranjo only 30km  east

MEXICO PROCESSING
Mexico has a modern well designed  customs terminal   at the gate , north side of road. Mexico here can issue all tourist documents , meaning the Tourist Card and  the TVIP . However they do not yet have a BANJERCITO office nor any ability to accept credit card payment and all payments must be done strictly in CASH . If entering Mexico   without  a TVIP  make sure you have at least the    $400 US  possible  maximum amount for security deposit with you. And of course carry enough pesos to cover the non refundable fees  for TVIP , tourist cards and vehicle fumigation.
In 2011 I  was forgetful and did not have enough cash but the  very helpful  official allowed me to proceed to Tenosique to get cash  from a CAJERO AUTOMATICO  and he even allowed payment in all peso equivalent which he later changed to dollars. But do not test your luck in case he has new help.

The  Mexican  customs office is short staffed, apparently one gentleman  looks after issuing  the TVIP documents  and he has his weekly day off on Mondays  . Therefor if you do not have a  MEXICAN TVIP  it is best to not cross into Mexico here on any Monday. But  LEAVING MEXICO is never a problem  if you intend to return to Mexico within the 180 day  term of the TVIP because you are permitted to hold onto that , no need to cancel. This is true for every border crossing out of Mexico, the TVIP  is valid for multiple  trips just as long as it is cancelled and handed in before the 180 days elapse. Failure to cancel means you will forfeit your Security Deposit. To cancel a TVIP  the exact vehicle to which it applies must be physically present  so that the VIN may be corroborated  on the spot.

WHEN LEAVING MEXICO TO CENTRAL AMERICA you will be asked to hand in your tourist card and get a " Salida " stamp in your passport . You will need to buy a new  Tourist Card when you return to go north. This is a different rule than along the US border where the tourist card is good for multiple entries during 180 days. When entering Central America you will be required to let them spray insecticide ( Malathion ) on the underside of your bike or car and   be asked to pay  a few dollars. Hang onto all your newly obtained documents and receipts  from both countries . They  will simplify matters if there is any confusion or dispute  at later border crossings.

Note also that if you intend  to do a mad rush beeline crossing back to the US   you may qualify for Transit  status , you may be exempted  from paying if you make the trip within 6 days or so.

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This is a guest post from  Sjoerd Bakker [LINK: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=752824]  for a recent border crossing - A continuation from the previous post.

GUATEMALA PROCESSING

GUATEMALAN  entry and exit paperwork and payments are handled  also right at the border gate  from a pair of temporary office modules set up on the south side inside the gate. For some reason on my last crossing here the Guatemalan  agent asked for the SAT  sticker to be handed back., usually you are allowed to keep it. Application of rules may vary depending on the mood of the agent.

CA 15 replaces  the muddy cattle track  which formerly  was the only surface road into Guatemala from this point. It is now a practical truck route  and a great saving on distance and travel time for folk  heading into northeastern Guatemala , Belize and north Honduras. Formerly  to avoid the tough dirt road most people took the  river  launches which steadily plied between the jetty at El CEIBO in Guatemala  and El Naranjo  upstream on the Rio San Pedro which is a tributary to the Rio Usumacinta. Commercial River traffic still exists but passenger use  now  is  much reduced as most people prefer to take the  regular and frequent  small buses  and transfer at the border to lang haul buses.

The  settlement of El CEIBO is only a village of huts on a rocky hill  and a small river landing  . Recent development consists of a  few blocks  on the River flats where a collection of tin sheds and tents housing a maze of shops selling all manner of inexpensive  household goods , plastic ware, hardware, ah supplies , fruit and other food. Apparently these are carrying on a style of business  from the period when the region was served only by the River and had to supply  all the ranches and native villages with the duty free goods.

As you near the border in Mexico you will encounter one or more military checkpoints  which are not a problem. You may also see  at times people on the road ahead of you who suddenly dart into the bushes. These are quite commonly illegal immigrants from Central America  hoping to evade  Mexican border patrols, just like they hope to do when they get  into the USA .

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