Last Updated on June 3, 2023 by
Our bus trip from Puerto Escondido, Mexico, to Guatemala City was uneventful and long. Our experience at the border near Tapachula, Mexico, was easy.
We were on two different buses for about 21 hours (a traffic jam in the Guatemalan countryside on a two-lane road set us back about an hour). I set out with the intention to take a picture each hour. I missed a few hours due to sleep, but I captured the essence of our trip.
There isn’t a ton of information about this particular border crossing that we found before we left, aside from a few blogs and a few old posts on Lonely Planet. So maybe this will help shed light on what this experience was like for other travelers who want to take this route, with these two bus companies – ADO and Tica. It’s a little under 1,000 kilometers, or a little more than 600 miles, from Puerto Escondido to Guatemala City.
And yes, we always felt safe.
The bus left at 5:30 p.m. By the start of the fourth hour, it’s dark, and we are getting sleepy. And maybe a little bored.
This is a view of our area on the ADO bus. We are still wide awake and comfortable, although my legs are too short to completely reach the ground.
Tedly rigged up a system with my feet on a backpack so I could brace myself somewhat. The roads are twisty and the bus sways with each bend in the road.
Around midnight (or was it 1:00 a.m.) the driver needs sustenance so it’s time for a buffet meal in the middle of nowhere. We were stopped here at least 45 minutes.
I woke up as tome point to take a picture in the dark, trying to keep the picture-an-hour thing going.
Another middle-of-the-night attempt at a picture. You might be wondering how the driver stays awake. There are actually two drivers, and they switch off every few stops. That fact helped me sleep some during the night.
Disheveled selfie as I run to the connecting bus into Guatemala. Tedly was getting our backs from the storage area of the first bus.
We made it. Not a minute to spare. The Tica bus workers actually held the bus for us for a few minutes. They were very kind. This ride cost us about $42 USD for two people.
Tedly and I at the border crossing in El Carmen, Guatemala. We are stamped for 90 days. That’s our Tica bus in the background. The bus let us off on the Mexican side, and we went though immigration and returned our tourist cards. Then we walked across the border to the immigration office on the Guatemalan side. Beware of the men offering to exchange your dollars and/or pesos for Quetzales – the Guatemalan currency. Traditionally at border crossings, these ‘money men’ are aggressive and don’t give the best deals.
This is outside the immigration office looking back towards Mexico. There are no signs for the office once you cross from Mexico – just keep walking down the road and you will eventually see it. It’s not that far, but it’s a bit confusing with no signs. (You can see the sign over Tedly’s head in the previous picture.)
This is our Tica bus, waiting for everyone to pass through immigration so we can continue on to Guatemala City. Beware of the men offering to exchange your dollars and/or pesos for Quetzales – the Guatemalan currency. Traditionally at all border crossings, not just in Guatemala, these ‘money men’ are aggressive and don’t give the best exchange rate deals.
OK, I’ve now been on buses and through a border and it’s hour 15 and counting. I’ve looked better, and I’ve looked worse (as you’ll soon see). Worth noting — our entire border crossing experience this way only took less than 45 minutes!
A pleasant surprise on the Tica bus was free Wifi! We were able to communicate with our next Airbnb host, and track our journey. Tica runs through Central America, so we will use this company again.
Screen shot from the bus WiFi.
Snack time on the Tica bus as another hour passes, as the kilometers slowly tick by. Worth noting — this bus did not stop at all between the border and Guatemala City, so it’s helpful to have snacks and water, at the least.
Tedly took this shot in hour 18 or 19 or 20… and you deserve a chuckle after reading all of these captions!
The Tica bus station in Guatemala City. We made it. Now we’ll enjoy a new place for a few days! More border crossing/transportation posts:
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