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San Jose to Puntarenas.--Puntarenas is the Pacific coast terminus of the railroad and the Pacific port of the country. It is approximately 69 miles from San Jose, fare about $1.50; time required about six hours. Hotels at Puntarenas: Imparcial, Europa, and Victoria; rates range from $2.50 to $5 a day, American plan.
Puntarenas to Corinto, Nicaragua.-The Pacific Mail Steamship Co. vessels of the New York-San Francisco route and the Kosmos Line of the Hamburg-Pacific coast service are the only two steamship lines with a regular service calling at Puntarenas. During the height of the coffee season many smaller vessels and tramp steamers call, and communications are comparatively frequent. The steamer from Puntarenas to Corinto takes approximately one day; fare $35. In case sailings are to be delayed greatly, it may be found conivenient to return to the Canal Zone and take a direct steamer to Corinto.
Corinto, Vicaragua.-Samples of no commercial value are admitted free, others under bond or corresponding deposit. Hotels: Lupone, Boston, Europa. Rates from $2 to $5 a day, American plan. Not a great deal of purchasing is done at Corinto, and the traveler will want to leave soon for the interior cities, Managua and intermediate points. There are two daily trains from Corinto to Leon. The latter city and Granada are the two other important points besides the capital, Managua. Both of these cities can be reached from the capital. These three centers usually supply the interior region.
Corinto to Managua.—Distance approximately 87 miles, fare about $3. Trains leave daily from Corinto at 7 a. m., arriving at Managua at 1.20 p. m. First-class passengers are allowed 65 pounds of baggage, all excess being subject to regular baggage freight rates.
Hotels in Managua : Lupone, $4 and up per day; Aster, American plan, $3.50 and up per day; America, $3 and up per day. Other hotels are Central, Estrella, and Veleo. Hotels in Leon: Metropolitan, $4 a day, American plan; España, $3 a day; and Roma, $2.50 a day. Hotels in Granada : Alhambra and Versailles, $3.50 a day in both, American plan. Granada is reached from Managua in two hours by rail.
In canvassing Nicaragua it is important to note that the eastern or Caribbean coast of Nicaragua is practically inaccessible from the Pacific coast and should not be attempted until the salesman reaches the Atlantic coast of Guatemala and Honduras. It is possible to travel from Managua by roundabout methods to San Juan del Norte (or Greytown) via small steamers on the San Juan River, or by mule back over more or less defined paths. On the other hand, Bluefields, the most important city on the Caribbean coast, is covered with comparative ease from Ceiba and Trujillo, Honduras.
Corinto to Amapala, Honduras.Sailings every 8 days, Mexican States Line, or about every 22 days, Pacific Mail Steamship Co. sailings being available with greater frequency during the heavy shipping season.
Samples without commercial value are admitted free of duty into Honduras if weighing under 25 pounds. Samples with com mercial value—that is, all those not defaced to make sale impos sible--are admitted under full duty, refundable at reexportation and after the payment of a certain fixed amount of approximately 1
cent a pound. Municipal licenses are required in Honduras for varying lengths of time and on payment of stipulated fees.
Ama pala, Honduras, is of little commercial importance to the traveler. He may be obliged, however, to spend a night or two awaiting the launch to the mainland. Hotels : Morazán and Palacios; rates from $3.50 to $5 a day, American plan. A launch conveys the traveler from Amapala to San Lorenzo on the mainland. Fare is $1.50 per person, baggage extra.
San Lorenzo (Amapala) to Tegucigalpa.—The journey is made by automobile. Fare approximately $10 per person, or $65 for special car. The distance is 81 miles, and time required from 5 to 7 hours.
Tegucigalpa is the capital and most important commercial center in southern Honduras Hotels: Agurcia, $4 per day, American plan; Ambos Mundos, $3 a day up. The chief wholesale houses are established in Tegucigalpa, and the trade of the interior in the southern half is done from Tegucigalpa.
From Tegucigalpa it is necessary to return to Amapala, as the communication with the northern coast is insufficient and impracticable for the commercial traveler.
Amapala to La Union, Salvador.—Distance approximately 20 miles, launches and small steamers, although launches are to be preferred because of the shallow water, which makes steamer navigation slower and more circuitous. Fare, $8. Time, about two hours, by launch. Hotel in La Union: Italia.
Samples of no commercial value are admitted free into Salvador; samples with value under provisional deposit, returnable at reexportation, which does not have to be through original port of entry. A certified memorandum, however, should be obtained at the port of entry. Advertising matter is taxable at varying rates, and municipal licenses are required. The fee for such licenses varies. · La Cnion is not a large purchasing center, but is conveniently located with respect to San Miguel.
La l’nion to San Miguel.-Daily trains leave La Union at 6 a. m. and arrive at San Miguel at 8.25 a. m. Considerable distributing trade is done from San Miguel. Hotels in San Miguel: HispanoAmericano, $1.50 to $3 a day, with meals. • San Viguel to San Salvador.-Distance, 107 miles. Daily trains leare San Miguel at 8.25 a. m. and arrive in San Salvador at 5 p. m. San Salvador is the capital of the Republic and the most important trade center. Many important wholesale houses have their headquarters in this city, and there is a large number of important retailers who do direct importing Hotels in San Salvador: Nuevo Mundo, Astoria, Italia, Occidental. Rates from $2.50 to $4 and up, including meals.
From San Salvador it is possible to go by direct rail to Sonsonate, if desired, although the majority of the wholesale houses established there are branches of the larger ones in San Salvador.
San Salvador to Santa Ana.--Santa Ana is the second largest city of the Republic and is a very important trade center. Large houses established there do a good deal of direct importing, and they are well worth cultivating. It is 48 miles distant from San Salvador on the Salvador Railway, with daily trains, the fare being approximately $2. Leading hotel: Florida, $1.50 to $3, with meals.
From Santa Ana the traveler will proceed to Guatemala City by either one of two routes. During the dry season, from November to May, it is much more preferable to go overland by auto; during the rainy season, May to October, the roads are not suitable for this traffic, and the traveler must return to Acajutla, thence by steamer to San Jose, Guatemala.
Santa Ana to Guatemala City.--Overland, November to May. This trip is made daily, fare being approximately $25 and the time of the trip from 11 to 14 hours. Extra charge is made for baggage. When possible, this route is much to be preferred, as it avoids a return to Salvadorian ports, transshipping for a short sea trip, and again landing in Guatemalan ports, with a rail trip to Guatemala City.
At Guatemala City baggage will be taken direct to the customhouse for clearance. Samples without commercial value are admitted free. Samples which have a commercial value may be cleared under bond, good for two months.
Hotels in Guatemala City: Palace, $5 a day, with meals; Grace Gran Hotel, $5 a day, with meals; Iberia, $4, with meals; Continental, $3.50 a day, with meals.
Guatemala City is by far the most important trade center of the Republic, being the headquarters for the principal houses doing both wholesale and retail business. A large number of retailers do direct importing, and they are, as a rule, located in Guatemala City. During the rainy season it is necessary for the traveler to return to San Salvador from Santa Ana, thence to Acajutla for steamer connections.
San Salvador to Acajutla.--Via the Salvador Railway, 65 miles distant. Daily trains with stop-overs at Sonsonate, the customs clearing house. Hotels in Acajutla : Occidental and Las Americas, rates from $3.50 up, American plan. Trains leave San Salvador at 7 in the morning, arriving in Acajutla in the early afternoon.
Acajutla to San Jose, Guatemala.-Via Pacific Mail Steamship Line or the Mexican States Line. Trip takes about one day, fare $18. San Jose, Guatemala, is the most important Pacific coast port, but of no commercial value to the traveler. There are no hotels in the port proper, and the traveler will want to leave as soon as possible. If necessary to stay over night, Hotel Marina, in the town, offers fair accommodations for $3 a day. The customhouse at San Jose is merely a transit customs for' hand baggage only, trunks being cleared through the main customs at Guatemala City.
San José to Guatemala City.—Train leaves daily at 8.45 a. m. for Escuintla, 28 miles distant. Escuintla is a fairly important commercial center and might be well worth a day's stop-over. Two daily trains leave Escuintla for Guatemala City, at 6 a. m., arriving at 10.15 a. m., and at 2.45 p. m., reaching Guatemala City at 5.25 p. m. The fare from San José to Escuintla is approximately $1 and from Escuintla to Guatemala City about $1.50. Hotels in Escuintla : Ferrocarril and Central, $3 and $3.50 a day, American plan.
Guatemalu City to Quezaltenango.—Quezaltenango is the second largest city in the country. The trip is made by auto, daily, leaving Guatemală City. It is not especially recommended except in the dry season.
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Hotels in Quezaltenango: Palace, European plan, $1 a day; Modelo, American plan, $3 a day. Some of the Guatemala City houses have branches in Quezaltenango, and the city is well canvassed from Guatemala City.
Guatemala City to Puerto Barrios.-Trains leave Guatemala City daily at 7 a. m. Fare, $9.90, with $4 extra for parlor car, only hand baggage allowed free. A stop-over made at Zacapa for lunch. Arrive Puerto Barrios 6.40 p. m. Puerto Barrios is of no commercial importance except for fruit company commissary. Hotels: Hotel del Norte, $5 a day, American plan.
Puerto Barrios to North Coast of Honduras.-Fortnightly service leaving Puerto Barrios for Puerto Cortez, Tela, Puerto Castilla, and return to Puerto Barrios or direct to New Orleans. Puerto Barrios to Puerto Cortez, fare, $20, can be done within 24 hours. Samples of no commercial value and weighing less than 25 pounds are admitted free. Samples with value must be covered by a deposit to the extent of duties. Advertising matter is dutiable. Principal business at Puerto Cortez is done by importing retailers. A good deal of packing is done for the interior, and there is schooner connection with British Honduras, Guatemala, and the Honduran ports of Tela, Ceiba, and the Bay Islands. Hotels: Italia, Defevre. Rates from $3 to $5 per day, American plan.
Puerto Cortez to San Pedro Sula.—By the national railway, daily departures. San Pedro Sula is an up-to-date town and a very important trade center and distributing point for the north coast interior points. Hotels at San Pedro Sula : International, Washington, American, and New York.
Puerto Cortez to Tela.--Reached either by steamer or schooner in a one-day trip. Fare approximately $20. Tela may also be reached by railroad from Puerto Cortez. A large fruit commissary has headquarters here and is worth attention. It is an important port. Hotels: Cabañas, $2.50 and $3.50 per day; Double Day, same rates; Balderach, $2 up.
Tela to La Ceiba.—La Ceiba is one of the most important ports on the north coast. Hotels: Roma, and Italia, rates $4 per day, American plan. Both wholesale and retail business is large in Ceiba, with a large fruit company commissary located there.
La Ceiba to Trujillo (or Puerto Castilla).--By steamer, fare approximately $20; fortnightly sailings and also coastwise schooner traffic. The business importance of Trujillo has diminished with the rise of Puerto Castilla, where a large fruit company commissary is well worth a visit. Hotels: Trujillo, Codina, and Steiner.
Direct sailings from Puerto Castilla or Trujillo to New York via Santiago, Cuba, or to Puerto Barrios, Guatemala, and thence to New Orleans. The salesman wishing to cover Cuba can proceed via Santiago, and those intending to cover Mexico can return to Puerto Barrios to make connections via New Orleans.
From Tela it is also possible to go to Cape Gracias, Nicaragua, and thence by schooner to Bluefields, and from Bluefields direct to New Orleans.
CURRENCIES In virtually all Central American countries American currency circulates freely at the present time. On the Atlantic coast it preponderates and has practically caused the various native currencies
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to disappear. In interior cities it is convenient to have some native currency, and for this purpose any bank will exchange small amounts of American dollars. At the present time exchanges are practically stabilized. Following are the currencies in use in the various coun. tries of Central America: Panama, United States dollar; Honduras, United States dollar and Honduran peso, 2 to the dollar; Salvador, Unit d States dollar and colon, 2 to the dollar; Nicaragua, United States dollar and cordoba of equal value to dollar; Costa Rica, United States dollar and colon, 4 to the dollar; Guatemala, United States dollar and peso, 60 to the dollar.
PRINCIPAL BANKS Costa Rica.-Banco Internacional, Banco de Costa Rica, Mercantil de Costa Rica.
Guatemala.-Banco Americano, Colombiano, Occidental, Internacional, Agricola, Banco de Guatemala.
Honduras.—Banco de Honduras, Banco Atlantida.
Nicaragua.—National Bank of Nicaragua, Anglo-Central American Bank.
Panama.-American Foreign Banking Corporation, Banco Nacional. Salvador.–Banco Salvadoreno, Occidental, Agricola-Comercial.
AGENCIES AND REPRESENTATIVES The advisability of appointing an exclusive agent in Central America is one which must be decided by the exporter, taking into careful consideration the volume of business done. The appointment of agencies and representatives has not developed to the extent found in Mexico and Cuba, as the volume of transactions has not warranted the expenditures of office upkeep and the many incidental outlays connected with such agencies. In some cases representative commission agents have been given an agency in connection with various other agencies they hold, and it is only in comparatively rare cases that there will be found in Central America an agent or representative exclusively devoted to one commodity. Accordingly, as pointed out above, the most successful method to do business with Central America is through the personal trip of a competent home representative, who will establish his contacts.
ADVERTISING IN CENTRAL AMERICA As elsewhere, advertising plays an important part in any sales campaign in Central America. The most suitable method depends to a large extent upon the commodity to be advertised.
The most common method pursued thus far has been advertising through the daily press in the various countries. The press reaches practically all the buying public and the method is quite effective.
An important factor, which must not be overlooked, however, is the fact that American magazines circulate to a very considerable extent in Central America, and that all advertisements are examined with care. It might therefore be worth while to so word advertisements that they will be international in their appeal.
One very effective advertising method, and one too often overlooked by the American exporter, is the accompaniment of appro