Tomas Gonzales, La Union to Potosi

A quick informational post for those seeking a boat ride from La Union, El Salvador to Potosi, Nicaragua or vice versa. There are internet rumours of a man called Tomas Gonzales who runs a boat back and forth. I met the man and I rode the boat, along with a heavy motorcycle, all for a mere $50 USD. Saved me all the bullshit associated with crossing Honduras by land. Tomas can be reached at his El Salvador number +503 2648 0050, in Spanish only.

His boat will accommodate one motorcycle, but probably not 2 or anything bigger than a 650. Five of us carried my 250kg (500lb) KLR650 into the water and lifted it into the boat. I wouldn’t like to have tried that with a BMW 1200GS! As at April 2010, he charges $25 USD per passenger, he charged me $50 for me and the bike. He makes the run once or twice a week depending on passenger demand. You can charter the whole boat for $150 to $200 I believe.

10 thoughts on “Tomas Gonzales, La Union to Potosi”

  1. Hi,

    How did you actually locate the guy Tomas Gonzales? I took a look at that tiny place called Potosi, and it looks like about 15 houses, so I guess anyone would know the answer if actually arriving there, but is he the only guy? If arriving a different day, would somebody else take us for a hundred or two hundred bucks?

    And did you do any passport paperwork at all? I’m thinking of making the trip myself from Nicragua to Salvador, and your boat route sounds intruiging. Is it legal? Are there any police in Potosi who gave you any trouble with your motorcycle? Or on the other side? Did you get the passport checked by this Tomas guy, or was there an immigration official there? Hardly seems likely for such a small port, but I just want to make sure if I need to do anything before hand I don’t need to backtrack. Hey, by the way, this is a cool blog!~!

    1. Potosi is a very small port. I’d recommend calling Tomas in advance to know which day he’s planning to make the trip. I’d also recommend calling to confirm the day before. I believe somebody answers his phone and takes messages, then he calls from Nicaragua to collect them because the phone is in El Salvador. So it might take a little time to organise.

      There is an immigration and a customs office both in La Union and in Potosi. I got all my legal paperwork at both ends. I had a little trouble leaving El Salvador legally because the customs office (aduanas) was closed on Easter Monday. At some point I’ll try to follow up with them to see if the paperwork I did with the navy has reached customs. I’d guess if you were arriving with a motorcycle in El Salvador and customs was closed, you could go back to them the following day and figure out the paperwork for a motorcycle.

      You could probably charter a boat from La Union to Potosi on any day of the week. However, I didn’t see any other boats on the beach at Potosi. We landed on a section of beach with a dilapidated dock and a couple of marines to meet us. There was no other traffic moving around. So going from Potosi I think it would be worth coordinating with Tomas. I’m sure with a bit of Spanish you’d find somebody who would make the trip for you, but it might be more expensive and they might not know the paperwork requirements. You’d have to pay another boat to make a return trip, even if you only want to travel one way. Whereas Tomas makes the trip regularly, so you can pay one way and he’ll wait to get enough passengers to make the reverse run. Also, he does this every week (apparently for years according to the internet rumours) so he knows the paperwork and the customs and immigration people.

      My advice is call Tomas and figure out the details from the Potosi side. From the La Union side, I asked a guy in the port and he told me there was a boat the next day. The following day I saw the same guy and he introduced me to Tomas. I spoke to a total of 3 people in the whole port, it was painless. I think Potosi would be a different story.

  2. This is oscar arias Im from potosi nicaragua We have 2 places to stay for family and friends We have horse back riding and a tour guide to take you to El volcan cosiguina, hiking if you like walking ,pluse a person to cook for you, from sea food to local food.
    We have boats to give you a tour in the golf of potosi and la punta de san jose.
    pluse we have a local river 5minute away if you want to swim .If you need to good to el salvador we can take you . this is not encludes in one night and one day stay . My phone in the you us is 571-575-3197 when we need to arrenge your vacation .

    1. Hi Oscar! How can I contact you? I’m planning to go to Potosi and from there to La Union in a couple of days.

  3. Hello, I know you posted this comment a while a go, but do you know if M. Tomas Gonzalez still does the trip? We cannot seem to be able to reach him on the number above. Thanks a lot! Have a great day.

    1. I don’t have any further information since I wrote the post I’m afraid. You could try the motorcycle forums, you might find some info on there. ADVRider or HorizonsUnlimited would be a good place to start on that front. Best of luck. If you do track down any updated info, you’re welcome to share it back here for others to find.

  4. Hi, Thank you for tips. Do you know how to leave Potosi when arriving there? Is there a bus? taxi?

  5. I traveled from La union to Potosi by boat. I recommend for anyone wanting to travel by boat to any of these places to contact Thomas Gonzalez. You may contact him at home at +50326480050
    And Cell number +50374230967
    Area code of El Salvador (503)
    You may contact him for any ride by boat if it’s to Nicaragua, Honduras or El Salvador. He has very great service.

  6. I would like to repeat Olivier’s question. What happens once you get to Potosi from La Union? I want to go to Leon. Do I need a taxi to the bus (I believe there is a bus)?

    1. Hey Christine,

      I’m planning on taking this route also soon. Did you end up figuring it out? Did you get to Leon?

      Thanks 🙂

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