miss_leeloo64 Check-Ins

Date Place Comment
Angelicas Gourmet

Very nice café/bakery, also serves warm dishes.
Super cosy, nice sunny terrasse. The cakes are amazing.
Highly recommended

Balbo's Hostel

We had a great stay at Balbo’s hostel. The place is perfectly located on the way to/from Nicaragua.

Daniel and his family are really nice and friendly. They love to share their knowledge about Costa Rica, its nature, and have lots of ideas to develop their hostel. We really felt welcome.

Restroom and shower are spotless clean.
The site is very nice, with leveled spots for camper and a nice river (with crocos!!) running down the property - where you can fish good sardines.

Wifi runs fast in the restaurant and some parts of the campground.

The food served at the restaurant is also very tasty and portions are great.

We really recommend the place and would stay there again.

Hacienda Sassenberg

We absolutely loved this place.

First of all because Heiko and his family are really lovely. We spent quite some time talking about Costa Rica, nature, the animals... Heiko is a real passionate about the country and its activity and knows as to share his passion.

The site in itself is a gem: it is high above sea level so it is quite cool even in summer. The views from the property are absolutely stunning, reaching to the coast and the island beyond. The whole property is a huge garden filled with lots of animals (cats, dogs, a parrot...)

Restrooms, shower, swimming pool, wifi: everything is spotless clean/works perfectly, with great attention to details.

We went on a horse tour with Heiko, and here again it was a great experience since he took some time to teach us the basics of how to ride a horse Western way. His horses are very beautiful. He took us to a place with a stunning view on the valley, the coast, the islands ...

We definitely would have stayed more if we would have had the time since we felt that there was a lot more to discover.

Restaurant Nacascolo

Nice restaurant on the road from the border to San Jose.
There is a menu or a “buffet” option where tou can select everything you want from a good selection of meats, veggies, omelette, rice, beans and pay according to what you choose.

For example : a large plate with 3 big pieces of chicken and veggies was 3800 colones. Not cheap but very tasty.

Free wifi

EXIT Nicaragua - Penas Blancas, Nicaragua/Costa Rica border

It would have been very simple and short if the police would not have decided that our van had to pass to the scan. And since the scan did not work the first time, we had to do it a second time...

Do not hesitate to follow the guys from the aduana (blue shirt) around and ask them for some feedback: if I had not asked them for the scans results, I would still be there, waiting.

One the bright side: there is free wifi and A/C inside the building plus lots of things to eat for sale in front of the building :)

Panadería Alemana

The entrance is some meters after the point shown on the map.
A delight to find Laugen Brotschen and Apfel Strudel!

The Beach House

Very nice bar and restaurant on the beach front.
The smoothies and fresh juice are very tasty.
We tried the “empanada de banana y queso” and it was really good - 3 pieces for 3$US during the happy hour.

Staff is very nice, attentive and fast.

String wifi - password : 11223344

The view during the sunset is amazing

El Pacifico Hotel

Seems to be a nice place, a bit remote from the town.
Bar, restaurant and chill area with hammocks.

Big gated parking for overlanders with their own rig.

We did not stay there so I cannot tell about the price, but might be worth checking

Hotel Gran Oceano

Nice hotel one street from the beach front.

We stopped here because it is one of the only option with a gated parking in town. Perfect for vans, SUV - medium rigs might fit.

Rooms are quite simple but have A/C and a TV, shower with hot water. Everything quite clean. Breakfast is included (scrambled eggs with ham, 1 piece of toast, butter, rice & beans) 50$US/ night.

Clean nice pool and restaurant onsite (we did not try the restaurant). Wifi is available in the whole hotel and quite fast.

The staff is very friendly and the reception opened 24/7.

Perfect location close to the beach, the restaurants, the bars - and 30 min walking to the “Jesus” on the hill.

Hostel Tadeo

We talked with the owner and it is a really lovely woman. Unfortunately, they no longer have parking spots so we had to find another place to stay

police checkpoint

No check point for us there today - Sunday 11.44 am

Police stop

They are still there but they did not stop us

Police - corrupt

They were there but did not stop us. They had a speedcam with them

La Lancha

Beach front seafoods restaurant.
Langouste, octopus, fish... everything seems to be really fresh.
200C for the langoustine and 150C for the octopus. Prices are really fair for the food. Portions are not too big but tasty

Police control

No policemen and no control for us today (Sunday - 11 am)

El Amatillo, El Salvador to El Amatillo, Honduras

El Salvador -> Honduras : It has been way smoother as expected.

En el Salvador, everything was as described :
1/ En el «  gate « an official asks for the original and one copy of the Salavdorian TIP. You can make the copy at the copy shop just after the gate. He checks that all info are correct. Then he leads you to a blue/white office where they cancel the TIP. Return to the copy shop and do 2 copies of the canceled TIP.
2/Drive to the El Salvador immigration office. Hand out your passeport and the copy of the canceled TIP. They will and over a little white ticket. Keep it for later. You will have to give it to the official when you cross the bridge from El Salvador to Honduras
3/ Drive to the Honduran immigration/aduana office. You can park at the left. Everything is inside. We did it like this :
3.1/ Queue for the immigration. Get your finger prints taken, picture taken and passport stamped. Pay 3$ or 150L (both currencies possible but they may have no change for dollars)
3.2/ Go to the aduana window (facing the immigration window). The guy requires your original passport, 1 copy of : your passport, the car registration paper and the canceled Salvador TIP. He processes everything himself directly. You have to pay 35$ or the equivalent in L. He gives you the Honduran TIP + recipes for the 35$ and a copy of the TIP + a stamp on your passport with the car’s details
4/ you can drive. We were stopped right after the border by an official. He requested the copy of the Honduran TIP and then let us go.

THAT’S IT. The whole process El Salvador + Honduras took us 1 hour max.

Every time we were asked, we said that we were just passing by Honduras to cross to Nicaragua the same day. It might have smoothen out the process...

Police check point

The check point is still there. They stopped us and asked a few questions (where are you going, what do you have in your van). Since we answered in English and played it as if we could barely understand spanish, they let us through quickly

Police checkpoint

Very nice policemen.
Checked our passports, drivers licences and TIP.
Ask where we were coming from and where we were going.

Guasaule, Honduras to Somotillo, Nicaragua

We followed the instructions of « wherearedanyandmatt » and everything went smoothly.

For us, immigration took almost 1 hour, just because we arrived just after a tourist bus. Nevertheless, since we had made the online registration, it took 15 minutes when our turn came. 12$pp (paid in USD) for entering the country.

For TIP, there was no queue at all and the whole process took 30 min. 4$ of aduana fees paid in USD.

No grumpy officers for us, but a little chit-chat in castellano and some jocks may help

There is free wifi in the building, no need of a password. It helps when you have nothing to do except waiting ;)

Note : from Honduras, before arriving at the Nicaraguan border building, you have the pass on a bridge. We were stuck besides several trucks and the queue was not moving at all so a señor made us roll with our van up on the side walk in order to overpass the trucks.

Hotel Plaza Cosiguina

Good hotel and great night.
40USD for a bedroom with A/C, TV and 2 matrimonial bed. Clean room. Very good wifi.

Simple breakfast included: coffee/tee, orange juice, scrambled or fried egg with rice & beans, 2 toasts, jam and butter

Big gated parking with security guard day & night. Big rig friendly.

Close to coffee shops, supermarkets and restaurants

La Parrillada

Great local restaurant : choose 1 of 3 meats (grilled chicken or fried chicken or minced meat with veggies); they add a big serving of rice with beans, choose one side (tortilla or grilled banana or banana chips) and they top it with coleslaw, choose your drink (coke, water, juice...) -> you have a big plate with drink for a bit more than 3,5$US :)

Staff really friendly, served super fast and really tasty

Chalate Country Club - NOT TO BE REACHED?

BEWARE : We could never reach the place. On the map, it seems to be quite a big complex.
Nevertheless, the road running through road CHA70S is cut by a grassy area and there is water where the road should have been.
The road running north leads you to a very rocky dust road we would not try with our van

Rancho Alicia

We stayed 2 nights at rancho Alicia and it was great.

Dany and his family running the place is lovely and will help you with everything you will need. They run a little shop and can prepare some food for you too.
We paid 5$ pp/night to camp in our va
Coco is 1$ a piece
Surfboard renting : 5$

Large sandy space to park and camp, under the tree. Shadowy even during the day.
Cold shower outside and simple but clean restroom.

There are two palapas with tables and hammocks to chill. Wifi is pretty fast.

The beach is mainly empty and it is has great waves for surfing.

Will definitely stay there again!

Bar y restaurante Villa del Mar

I would not recommend to stop there unless you are, like us, caught by the night on the road between Metapan and Playa Cuco.

The big plus: it has a secure gated parking guarded day and night by a armed guard. Our van (2,50m high) fitted with no issue. Big rig friendly. It is the only option with parking we could find on the road, except from “love-hotels”

The room now : 20$ for 12h (literally, counting from the hour you pick-up the key)/ 30$ for 24h. Room 4 was one of the shabbiest room we have ever had. Some stains on the sheets ; one of the window’s gutter is broken ; the showers is just a tube going out of the wall, and cold water only... On the bright side: it has Tv and A/C.
Wifi is quite fast: we could use it for Facetime call, and the quality was good.

We were too lazy to ask if we could sleep in our van for smaller fees. It might be possible though, since the restaurant has restrooms; and there is a shower at the swimming pool.

There is a restaurant too. Food was greasy, nothing special and seemed kind of expensive (11$ for a share appetizer - big portion / 8$ to 11$ for a main / 2,5$ for beer and drinks) but it was our first restaurant in El Salavador so we have nothing to compare with.

There is a swimming pool, clean as it seems. We did not tried it.

To sum up: it does the trick if you have no other option but I would not recommend staying there otherwise.

El Paraíso Hotel

The town seems very nice, the hotel is quite central but there was no parking for our van so we had to keep going

Hostal Metapan

Very central but no parking for our van so we had to find another place to stay

Lanchas Tour on Rio Dulce and Livingston

More than an agency, it is a “casita” tight in front of the little supermarket and a guy, that presents you with the tours and finds the captain.
The “collectivo” tour is 200Q pp and it went out at 9.30am when we were there. You go to the main attractions and the tour takes around 2hours.
The “private” tour is 750Q. For that price, you rent the boat for the whole day and you can go wherever you want. The boat also waits for you in Livingston so you can go and enjoy the beaches around and come back in the afternoon.

We took the private tour and really enjoyed every minute of it

Happy Fish

Great breakfasts and a crazy good Frappucino-choco-banana (espresso-chocolate-banana-ice)

Fast and very attentive staff

Gamboa Place

The place is well hidden and at first look you might decide not to stop.
But the food was amazing, prepared only once ordered.
The topada and manchada were a real delight.
It is a little pricy (105Q/main) but the portions are quite big and really tasty.

Wifi available. Password was Mariagambo502 if I remember well.

Playa Salvador Gaviota

Little bar right at the beach. Great offer of cool beers and coconut (10Q/coconut) and restaurant.
The beach is not that clean but the view is really cool and we had the place almost for us alone.

To reach the beach, you need to take a Tuk-tuk in Livingstone and ask for the “Salvador Gaviota” beach. We paid 5Q pp 1 way and then walk through the wooden bridge and along the beach till you reach the bar.


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