I try to find information that can make border crossings easier on my trip and found Life Remotely. Here was plenty of useful information but I reproduces only the short version in respect for the great job they had done. So those who need more information should visit Life Remotely.
Nicaragua to Costa Rica Border Crossing
Border name: Peñas Blancas
Closest major cities: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua and La Cruz, Costa Rica
Cost to exit Nicaragua: C$67 Cordobas ($3 USD) per person ($1USD tax, $2USD for the stamp)
Cost for vehicle: CR$2175 colones ($4.50 USD) fumigation, CR$8365 colones ($17 USD) insurance
Total time: 2 hours
- Stop at the small booth on the left side of the road. If it’s busy, park just past the booth.
- Give your passports to one of the guards out front. They will look at them, but not do anything.
- Give the vehicle permit to another man near the booth, he will scribble something on it and hand it back.
- Get back in the car and drive a short ways. Go past the set of buildings ahead and turn left. Then drive past the customs/immigration building and turn left again. Park here.
- Walk around the other side of the building to the exit immigration. At the small booth pay the $1 per person exit tax.
- Proceed to the immigration window. Fill out your tourist exit card. Pay another $2 fee to the official and he will issue a receipt. Keep all receipts!
- Head back to the other side of the building, and find an official in a while shirt with the DGA Logo. Hand over your Nicaraguan vehicle permit. He may want to check your car and/or verify the VIN. He will then stamp/sign/scribble on your permit.
- Next stop is to find a police officer, possibly in the building, possibly wandering around outside. The officer will add another signature and stamp to your permit. They may also inspect the car.
- Proceed to the small window on the corner of the building. Here another official with a DGA polo shirt will take your permit again. She will enter a few things in the computer and hand your uber stamped-up permit back to you.
- Get back in your car and haul it to Costa Rica before they ask for more stamps.
- When leaving the border area, an official at a small shack will ask to see all the passports and the vehicle permit. He will keep your uber stamped-up import permit.
- Stay to the right and stop at the fumigation booth. Pay the CR$2175 fee, and then proceed through the fumigation station.
- Continue to the big white immigration building on the left. Just past it, also on the left, is a good place to park.
- Go to immigration, fill out your entry cards and present the card with your passports to the official. Your passport will be stamped and returned. Now for the fun part.
- Look across the street at the small yellow building that says “aduana” on front. I know you want to go there. But don’t be fooled. This is not the aduana you are looking for (at least not yet). Get back in your car and drive about 300 meters to the “other” aduana or walk if you can stand the heat.
- Go to the insurance window on side at the far end of the building. Hand over the vehicle title, the drivers passport and license. Pay the fee, about CR$8365 ($17 USD)
- Go to the copy shop. Make sure you have one copy of the title and insurance paper. You will also need one copy of the passport photo page, immigration stamp, and driver’s license for every person that intends to drive the vehicle in Costa Rica.
- Now, get back in your car and drive back to the first aduana booth. The official here will take all of your copies and originals. He’ll ask you to fill out a form, and return your original and your copies with the form on top all neatly stapled together. He may verify your VIN or search your car.
- With the paperwork you have from aduana #1, drive back to aduana #2. Go through the doors at the very end of the building. Hand over the pile of paperwork you received at aduana #1. Enjoy the air conditioning.
- The official will enter more info into the computer and hand back a new piece of paper, this is your vehicle import permit.
- Stop at the small exit booth and show your vehicle permit to the guard. Get out of Dodge.