SAN JUAN DEL SUR, Nicaragua
the "Sarong Goddess" - Vicki Skinner's Info Guide
WHERE TO STAY

VICKI SKINNER’S STEP-BY-STEP 
WALKING GUIDE ON 

HOW TO DO THE BORDER CROSSING FROM 
PENAS BLANCAS - COSTA RICA  -  TO LA FRONTERA NICARAGUA

UPDATED OCTOBER 2, 2017



For now lets just assume you've made your way to the Costa Rica side of the border to Nicaragua (see "Getting There" on this site - SanJuanDelSurNi.com/GETTING_THERE.html)

  Get off the bus or park your car at the Migracion Building on the Costa Rica side.  

(PARKING - Many people park right in front or back of the Migration building with no problem.  Make sure BEFORE you get to the border to remove EVERYTHING from site that's left in the car or . . . .)

EXIT TICKET • PROOF YOU'RE LEAVING COSTA RICA WITHIN 90 DAYS: 

If you have not yet pre-purchased your CR Exit Tax (aka “Impuesto de Salida Terrestre”) you MUST do that FIRST before going to the window at Migracion.

WHERE TO PURCHASE THE EXIT TAX•IMPUESTO DE SALIDA TERRESTRE AT THE BORDER:

  There IS an atm type machine inside the “Exiting CR Migration” office - BUT - in ALL the times I’ve been there, less than a handful of times it was functioning.  NOTE IF it is working, I believe it ONLY works with an ATM card with a 4 digit code (NO credit cards).

OR

WHAT TO DO:

  Go through the building (or around) to the other side where you’ll see a bunch of kiosks for the various buses & to your right you’ll see the Deldu ticket office (last time I was there it was a white & lime green building with a sign outside that said “AutoTransportes Deldu - Peñas Blanca San Jose.  Adquiera aqua su Impuesto de Salida Terrestre”

BRING YOUR PASSPORT WITH YOU!!! (NOTE:  If there’s more than one of you & there’s a line [that happens when multiple buses arrive at the same time] - one can go into the CR Exit Migracion line & the other can take all Passports over to pay for the Exit Tax.  If you’re on a bus that crosses over into Nicaragua, you will be able to pay that Exit Tax with them in San Jose).

Pay for your Exit Tax there for $7 PLUS a $1 “Convenience Fee” ($8 total - US $s or CR Colones ONLY.  Here they MAY break a $20 bill but unless you’re coming back to CR - insist on US$s back.  I would try it as it’s hard to get smaller bills).

Go back to the other side to the Exiting CR side & enter.

Do NOT NOT NOT have ANYONE “help” you as they want $$for something that is EASY for you to do on your own with this).

NEW POLICY AS OF SEPTEMBER 26, 2017!!!
MY EXPERIENCE on Sept. 30, 2017 taking a TicaBus over the border to Granada: 
Costa Rica is now trying a new PAPERLESS Check-in so ALL you have to do is walk up to the window & they scan your passport (as before).  NO FORMS to fill out!!  They may ask you some questions when you're entering CR like where you will be staying & why you're coming to Costa Rica.  I'll keep you posted when I re-enter CR as I'll be walking across.

Once it’s your turn simply pass your PASSPORT to the officer, they will stamp your passport with that days date (ALWAYS double check that it's there & clear), exit the building & walk North towards Nicaragua staying to the Right side of the road.

NOTE:  They will NOT ask you for proof of your Exit Tax as once you pay it it's input in their system so they will have it.

KEEP YOUR PASSPORT OUT AT ALL TIMES TILL YOU EXIT THE BLUE GATES ON THE NICARAGUA’S SIDE!!!!!

Along the way you’ll encounter a small “building”.  There they will ask for your passport & they are checking it to make sure you were stamped OUT of CR - then proceed forward.  NOTE:  You'll pass the police station & IF they "feel" something might not be right - they MAY stop you & ask to see your bags

Just after that building there will be a 10’x10’ canopy tent for Nicaragua Immigrations.  There they will ask to see your passport & search that for proof of your CR Exit Stamp.

Next - just a few steps forward & set back a bit on your right is the structure for the Ministerio de Salud - the Health Department.  You’re SUPPOSED to go there (but few seem to) & they look at you to make sure you’re not looking sick like you’re going to bring some disease into the country.  They may even insist on taking your temperature if you look questionable.  They will give you a little ticket (I’ve never been asked for that & I do it - just in case as I don’t want to walk back!!).

Exit there & keep walking North.  

You’ll come upon a large open area.  On your left you’ll see a bunch of stands selling “things” & food - & in the open parking area - buses, trucks & cars & a long white with blue trim building (that was the color last time I was there in December).

Go to the far left door & enter (note it is nice & air-conditioned!!!).

Outside you again will be approached by people wanting to help you with the forms but there are NO forms for you to fill out here any longer.  Migration will process everything for you.

AS you enter this building, immediately to your RIGHT you’ll see a little kiosk & ALL NON-Nicaraguans will pay $1-US$or the equivalent of that in Cordobas (as of August 23, 2017 it was 30.42 “cords” to $1-US$.  Hmmm - the sign here says $1.54/44.28-cordobas & I can’t remember if it’s gone up or what [ahhh the memory - or lack thereof]).  That person will give you a little receipt.

Proceed to the Migracion Window & give them your passport & that receipt & $12-US$.  They often will say they can not break a $20-US$so it’s best to have smaller bills (note many CR banks do NOT like to give you small US$s).

They will ask you where you’re staying in Nicaragua so be prepared with some sort of answer to that - even if it’s just the city where you’re going.

After they process you, go forward through the glass doors & there will be 2 X-ray machines on either side.  They will signal you which one to go to (IF they’re working) & put ALL your bags, wallets, etc. on the cover belt.

NOTE:  If it’s not working, they will direct you straight ahead to a long table against the wall & someone from the Aduana•Customs will come & search your bags (or not).

When completed there, Exit the building to your RIGHT & you’ll see a bunch of people (& Migracion officers) at the BLUE GATE on your left.  

With Passport in hand - Exit there again.

Walk out & look for whatever mode of transportation you’ll take to where you’re going.


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VISA RUNS - RETURNING TO COSTA RICA:

NOTE:  If your intention is to return back to Costa Rica immediately
Nicaragua REQUIRES you to be there for a minimum of 3 hours.  
Now, with that said - some have no problem going over & returning immediately while others do - so . . .

 
72 HOUR•3 DAY RULE FOR BEING OUT OF COSTA RICA
For years I Sheeply bought into what I was being told on the boards (which sure seemed to be perpetuated by the minions of &/or those that had something to gain by putting fear into you that you HAD to have residency)
that I HAD to be out of Costa Rica for 72 hours or 3 days.  
At the time I was dating an Immigration cop & one day he called & I asked him "What's up with the 72 hour rule?"
He laughed saying "We don't know where you all got that from. 
There is NOTHING in the Migracion (immigration) law that requires anyone to be out of Costa Rica for any period of time other than how long it takes you to get 4 stamps in your passport in total (exiting CR - entering Nica - Exiting Nica - re-entering CR)
The ADUANA•Customs DOES REQUIRE you to be out of Costa Rica for at least 72 hours - but that's if you're buying things/going on a shopping spree!"


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Vicki Skinner
(aka THE "Sarong Goddess" in Escazu, Costa Rica)

1-941-312-7569 (U.S. # that rings to us in CR)  /  (506) 8-378-6679 (WhatsApp & cell in CR)   /    SKYPE:  VallartaVicki
SanJuanDelSurNi.com   •   facebook.com/SanJuanDelSurNi

IWillSetUpYourVacationProperty.com  •   YourCostaRicaConnector.comLovingYourPetHouseSitting.com  •   LivingLifeInCostaRica.blogspot.com

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