An 18 Hour Bus Ride Through Central America

We were so relieved to finally be on a chicken bus on this Honduras/Nicaragua border after all of the craziness in Estelí went down. We were eager to get on the road to our new future home in Guatemala, but first we had to wait in line to get our passports stamped and cross into Honduras.

LOOTB 18 hour bus ride through central america. Life Out of the Box

There were only 4 of us who had to actually get off of the bus to get our passports stamped at each border crossing because we were foreigners. Three of us from the US and another from Mexico. The rest of the passengers on the bus were Nicaraguan and therefore could cross freely between Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala with their country’s ID card because of the CA-4 law that makes the boarders of those countries very easy and inexpensive to cross for locals.

LOOTB 18 hour bus ride through central america. Life Out of the Box

We got back on the bus with our passports stamped and headed off to El Salvador. On this bus we were crossing over Honduras, El Salvador and into our final destination Guatemala over night. We had heard some warnings of crossing borders overnight, but decided to trust our gut and just go with it. We wanted to get into Guatemala ASAP.

LOOTB 18 hour bus ride through central america. Life Out of the Box

As we passed through Honduras, the sun was starting to set, which made the rolling green hills that much more striking. Honduras was absolutely beautiful. The land was flourishing with tropical green plants all around with very little buildings. The country seemed to preserve a lot of its beautiful nature and that was refreshing to see.

LOOTB 18 hour bus ride through central america. Life Out of the Box

A few hours after the sun had set, we were at the border of Honduras and El Salvador. We got out of the bus and instantly smelt the wonderful smell of hot fresh handmade pupusas in the hot humid air. We had our first taste of the El Salvadorian cuisine in San Juan del Sur, but we were so excited to try them in the place where they originated. We ordered a few right before we got in line at the border so that they would be ready when we were done. The line was fairly quick so we grabbed our pupusas  $0.50 each), fixed them up with all of the yummy sauces and paid the nice lady in dollars. The currency in El Salvador is the US dollar, so we got our very first quarters from Central America back in change.

LOOTB 18 hour bus ride through central america. Life Out of the Box

After our tummies were full with the best pupusas we’d ever had, we had to wait to get all of our bags checked by the El Salvador police dogs.

LOOTB 18 hour bus ride through central america. Life Out of the Box

An hour later, we got our bags we got back on the bus to continue our long journey into the starry night sky. On we went for hours on the Central American highway passing through hundreds of different towns, not being able to see a thing outside. The bus slowly got quiet as the night passed on through midnight, but neither of us could actually sleep. The chairs were relatively comfy, but our excitement kept us up all night long.

LOOTB 18 hour bus ride through central america. Life Out of the Box

Around 3am, we stopped again at our last border crossing at the El Salvador/Guatemala border, which was a ghost town at this ungodly hour. The four of us got out of the bus like zombies and got our passports stamped in record timing as we were literally the only people crossing at that time.

LOOTB 18 hour bus ride through central america. Life Out of the Box

LOOTB 18 hour bus ride through central america. Life Out of the Box

We ran back to the bus with renewed energy from the excitement of actually being in Guatemala. We were finally here and we couldn’t wait to get into Guatemala City in just a few hours.

LOOTB 18 hour bus ride through central america. Life Out of the Box

We listened to Enrique Iglesias on the buses radio system and watched the sun rise for the remainder of the trip as we got dropped off in Guatemala City. We did not know what to expect but we knew we were in for one heck of an adventure.

0 thoughts on “An 18 Hour Bus Ride Through Central America

  1. lybsta says:

    Wow, I can’t imagine being on a chicken bus for 18 hours!!! One of the things I’m grateful about in Costa Rica is the public buses — they’re more like retired greyhounds than retired school buses. I do miss the bus vendors of Nicaragua, though! Have fun in Guatemala!!

  2. Liana says:

    “Chicken bus” – that reminds me of Jeepneys here in the Philippines. Back in WWII the USA left a ton of army jeeps. The locals extended the jeeps’ cabs and made them into public transportation vehicles too. Many are still on the road today!

  3. Andy says:

    Sounds like quite a night. I remember one event like that crossing from Serbia to Bulgaria. Longest ride ever… a memory though. Intersting site you all have here. I’ll be following along! Glad to connect with some other 20 something year olds exploring our world!

  4. Dee says:

    Sounds like quite an adventure. I will be in Nicaragua within the next few weeks. We wanted to travel from
    Nicaragua to Guatemala- preferably overnight so as not to waste to much day time
    Traveling. It seems like you did the same thing. We will be leaving from somoto canyon/Estelli to get to Guatemala. What bus did you use? Where can we get bus schedules/ times from and any other tips your would recommend?
    Do any of the borders Close overnight?

    Thanks
    Dee

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