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La Mesilla

Chicken buses hurtle along the Carretera Interamericana west from Huehuetenango and arrive in La Mesilla around 80 kilometers (50m) and two hours later. Despite the busy highway it is a pretty drive through mountain scenery, past highland villages such as La Democracia. There are a couple of hotels in La Mesilla, which are basic but acceptable, and there are plenty of food stalls and street vendors. There is no real reason to stay here, however, as you make the crossing into Mexico in about an hour and 30 minutes if you arrive during the day.

From Huehue, buses leave more or less every 30 minutes until 6pm, with the buses leave the border for the return journey following the same pattern. There are also privately-run mini buses plying the same route.

The border on the Guatemala side can be quite hectic, so be prepared. There are no exit charges leaving Guatemala but have spare cash in case you need to pay any penalties for over-staying and to pay the $20 fee for a Mexican Tourist Visa. It is a good idea to arrive during banking hours; there is an ATM in La Mesilla but it not guaranteed to be fully-stocked. And you need some change to get yourself a ride between the two border-gates, as they are actually three kilometers (2m) apart. At all border-crossings there are currency exchange guys ready to take your old cash of your hands. They may appear sketchy but you can get a good deal if you know your exchange rates before you arrive.

At the border you must make sure you ‘check-in’ and ‘check-out’ of each country, to avoid having to trek the three miles back between the checkpoints or problems exiting the country later on. If you have a car you’ll need to cancel the permit on one side and get a new on one the other. Always check the paper work at customs there and then as if anything as been completed incorrectly it will be your headache later on. See for more information on crossing the border in a vehicle.

On the Mexican side, the border town itself is called Ciudad Cuauhtémoc in the state of Chiapas, where there in one basic hotel. There are mini buses and shared taxis to the next major town, Comitán or it’s a three and half hour bus-ride to San Cristóbal de las Casas, which costs around $10.



Other places nearby La Mesilla: Huehuetenango, Momostenango, Todos Santos Cuchumatan, Barillas, Quetzaltenango , San Mateo Ixtatan, San Mateo Ixtatán, Totonicapán , Cuatro Caminos and Nentón.

By Joanne Sykes

Born and raised in Yorkshire, England, Jo is currently working as a freelance travel writer in Latin America. With degrees in...

07 Jan 2010

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