IMG_8669We had it all planned.

This great trip to the beach in El Salvador. Surf, sand, sun.

We convinced our friends (four other families from Panajachel, all with four or more kids.)

Taking the lead, we arrived at the border first and 'checked out' of Guatemala (about an hour long  process.)

Then we crossed the bridge into El Salvador, anxious to be on our way to the coast.

But they wouldn't let us in...

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It started at the far side of the bridge where the guard took a really long time looking through our passports. Then he motioned for us to park, and directed us into a building.

Sitting down in front of a desk in a dimly lit room, we waited patiently until the official arrived.

He looked through our passports again, then said, "These are illegal. You cannot come into our country."

Greg and I looked at each other...Huh??!!

"Why?" we asked.

"You have not left Guatemala for a long time. You have no Mexico stamps. It only shows you came into Guatemala in February 2012. That is more than 90 days. We cannot let you in. You are illegal."

"Really? We had no idea. Guatemala let's us do it this way, we didn't know it was illegal. Is there no way you can let us in?"

"We can give you a seven day transit visa, but it is $200. Otherwise there is no other way. I'm sorry."

Okay. Well, I guess we'll go now. Back across the bridge we drive. Back to tell our friends we can't get in. Our El Salvador beach trip is no more. Sorry.

No worries. Turns out many of them can't get out of Guatemala. Phew!

After another hour on the Guatemala side, we finally checked back in. We all had to get a photo at the El Salvador border before we left.


Turning back north we drove to the nearest beach town we could. Chapeton, a little 'one-horse-town' in southern Guatemala.

Guess what? We had a really great time. It couldn't have turned out better if we'd planned it that way. That's what we call serendipity.

(Click here to see how much fun we had at our Unconventional Family Convention in Chapeton.)

And watch this video to see the crazy border stuff...

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2 Responses

  1. dixonge1

    You guys need to renew or extend ASAP, or it’s gonna get expensive!


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