EXIT Nicaragua - Penas Blancas, Nicaragua/Costa Rica border | Customs and Immigration

Costa Rica


about 1 month ago
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As of 24 FEB 2018

EXIT Nicaragua.

1. Park in the lot just pass the main building.
2. Walk around the building and enter the back door for Aduana.
Pay $1.00 for some useless ticket to get in line.
Pay $3.00 for your exit stamp.
Walk out the exit which puts you back into the parking lot
3. Find the inspector and have your vehicle inspected.
4. Find the policeman in the back corner of the lot and get your inspection stamped.
5. Walk around to the back of the building again and go to Customs. Get your final Stamp
Keep you papers handy as you drive away towards Costa Rica an inspector will take your customs form.


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Exiting Nicaragua
Arrived at 8:15 am on a Monday morning. Took us 45 minutes to exit Nicaragua. Our steps:
While still in vehicle, stop and show passports, receive customs form
Park in lot and go inside
Pay $1 USD/person to stand in line
Pay $3 USD/person for exit stamp
Drive around back of building
Go inside and show customs form, driver’s license, title, and TIP. She asked if we had bags and we said no, we have a “casa rodante.” She asked if we had a drone, twice. She decided not to inspect our vehicle and signed customs form.
Outside to police hut with signed customs form and copies of title and driver’s license. Officer kept copies and signed customs form. We said lady had reviewed vehicle (we were told to say that by our guide).
Back inside to Tramites Vehiculos window with customs form, TIP, driver’s license
She kept our TIP. (See other iOverlander pin for entering Costa Rica to see the other half of our crossing.)

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Just want to add a note about the sim card vendors dressed in Tigo jackets. They sell you a range of SIM CARDS for Costa Rica. The card itself was authentic but after topping up $30 it turned out we only got 1 gigabyte in return. So be careful! It saved us a trip to a store but we clearly got scammed.

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Just a note that the $3 USD to exit has to be USD. We only had cordobas and my husband had to walk all the way back out to the entrance to the guys with the cash plus we lost our place in line.

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Very easy border. no scan. exactly as described. The part Who takes more time was to find the lady for the exit. after that policeman and aduana in the building were there is the personal scan and just go through and it's written tramites vehiculos.
Now the longest part was in CR border, do not arrived in the same time as a bus, we arrived at 12am and there was like 50 ppl for the immigration before.

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all steps in the same order surprisingly. just get past all of the helpers at the entrance. they don't fallow you inside. we got burned because the guy that stamped our exit stamp used a date that was 2 days old, so when it was time to check out of Nicaragua for good, we were told the stamp was bad so we had to do some of the process over again. the police did NOT search the car, or even leave their booth to look at it, and did not ask us to go through the x-ray machine or pull everything out of our van. would have been an easy process if it weren't the beginning of semanos Santos today...

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Some people on the beginning will say that you have to print QR code for Costa Rica. You don't have to. On the phone is enough.

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If you have a dog, I highly recommend hiring a fixer (grey polo that says 'Turismo' only). They know exactly where to go and you need about 7 stamps on your original customs form, all from different people. They also seemed to help us out with not having to get x-rayed. We were out of Nicaragua in 1:30. This was our first time hiring a fixer and we paid Robert $30 and he was stoked, you could probably get away with less. Costa Rica side is way more straight forward.

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on the way in, use the middle lane. the guy gives you a customs form.

go into migrations. community lady wants $1usd to go into the building. cheaper in USD. $3usd for passport, they had small change.

find the blue shirt guy next to baggage scanner and the fun begins. he waved us through quickly but then we were told to find the police at the back for a stamp. we then wasted lots of time with the truck scanner.

when you have police clearance you go back to Aduanas on the left of the building (where you started) and they process the TIP. at the final check at the exit they asked for a receipt for $15usd for the vehicle. I said the boss at guasale said it's free to enter and leave with vehicle. he mucked around for a minute calling someone (or pretending to) he then let us go. Don't give in, don't pay them bribes

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Fairly easy process though be prepared for some confusion & long waits if you don’t speak Spanish well.

1) Receive customs sheet from the middle of the road booth before entering the main building parking area. Show passport & Costa Rica QR code.

2)Park in front of large building & enter under the “Salida Nicaragua” sign. Fill put customs sheet & present to an official at one of the booths. Passport stamps with $3 pp fee and DGA personnel gave ticket with $1 pp fee.

3) Go around the building & park in the back. Find a light blue shirt DGA inspector in parking lot OR go into the “Entrada Nicaragua” doors (bypass any entrance line) & walk past the booths to the luggage scanners. You’ll find a DGA inspector here.

4) Car inspection by DGA.

5) Bring customs sheet to police officer & they will inspect again. They may send you to the vehicle Escaner (Skip a-e if you are not asked to go to the escaner)
a. Vehicle Scan: Drive out of parking lot towards “Salida a Costa Rica”, but stay left. You will see a large arch on the far right where many semi’s are, to your far left is another blue arch for buses, and in the middle is a path with a “no pase” sign. Take the middle path, pase anyway.
b. Continue straight into the large parking lot. On the far left there is a blue building “Ventanillas de Estacionamiento Previo (ZEP)”with many windows & on the very far right is the vehicle scanner. You will drop your customs sheet @ Ventanillas before going to the vehicle scanner.
c. Drive to the vehicle scanner on the other side of the parking lot & get scanned.
d. Exit scanner and rather than driving straight towards Nicaragua again, loop around to the left so you are parked on the other side of the Ventanillas building. The police officers there will inspect your vehicle and give you your customs sheet back.
e. Walk to Ventanillas windows and finish up paperwork there. You are done with exiting Nicaragua! Woo! (Skip 6)

6) Go into the main building via “Entrada Nicaragua” - skip any entrance queue & walk straight back, past the luggage scanners. Straight ahead is the Aduana. Finish up your papers here and be on your way to Costa Rica!

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Warning....ignore scam to buy health insurance. You will have a hard time for not using one of the scum bag fixers. Grit your teeth. I eventually demanded to see 'The General', the boss. Twice! It made a big difference.... for the better

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As of may, 2021

Steps to cross the border are the same as described by others, except that the exit ticket is now 3 USD, in addition to the 1USD payed at the door.

The BIG issue here was that Migración tried to charge us 15 USD for a permit to get the car out of the country. They were very rude and said we were not going to leave. It took a heated argument, two supervisors and reading the law to avoid the payment.

We have never heard of a car exit fee in Nicaragua and hope nobody else gets solicited, but be alert.

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as described by borderhelper.
for our dog: we were able to complete our IPSA paperwork here (we did Cetrex in Rivas, at the end of Feb., instructed that IPSA would not like a different month on receipt from bank) there is a Lafise bank at border ($13USD). to complete IPSA, go to blue building to the side of white migración building. the office window is barely marked, you will need to ask someone the location. there is a small white paper announcing IPSA, the curtain was closed so we had to knock on window. handed over CETREX form - with bank receipt, vaccination records, passport plus 1 copy, health certificate and bank receipt for IPSA. It takes some time for the paperwork to be completed. then, you walk around to the back of the building (where the loading dock is) to a slightly better signed window for IPSA, hand over new paperwork and get it stamped. (they kept health certificate, Cetrex form and give you back payment from Cetrex, the new receipt of payment and paperwork from IPSA)

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Exit Nicaragua: drive straight to the gate and off to the left. park in front of the big white building.

go inside and pay $1 for a ticket to get in line

Go to the customs window and pay another two dollars for your exit fee, get passport stamped.

drive behind the building where the fun begins

find and inspector in the light blue shirt. get a paper to fill out on contents, Vin number, where you are going, etc...

give the paperwork back to the inspector in the blue shirt. he will check the car. may look inside. may just check VIN. he signs the paperwork and gives it back. tells you to go to the police.

find a police officer. they are wearing black uniforms and look like police. if you don't speak good Spanish (we do not) they will likely tell you that you have to get a scan of the car.

to get the scan, drive out of the parking lot and head to the left. there will be a long line of trucks waiting for inspection. drive through the blue Arch and cut to the front of the line. The scanner is in a white building at the very end of the blue booth check points. YOU MUST HAVE YOUR CAR EMPTY OF ALL LUGGAGE before you can get the scan. otherwise (as it happened to us) they take you to another location for a full inspection. They take out everything from the car. This phase is super frustrating and ridiculous.

Return to the parking lot behind the immigration building.

Find an inspector in blue to get the results. Once approved, find a police officer. once approved by the officer, go inside the customs office and get another stamp for exit. You are now finished.

time to head into Costa Rica and go through customs there.

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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 :)

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We followed Borderhelper’s steps and it was accurate as of Nov 1. Helpers were not too aggressive when we were there.

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One of the easiest border so far. Exit from Nicaragua took about an hour due so many people leaving at the same time (A few bus with tourists in their way to CR ) but also Nica employees are soooo slow.
In CR side didnt take even half hour. Go to the building in your left hand side , stamp your passport and then cross the street and they will inspect your car. Really quit. I also have a dog and the lady from IPSA Costa Rica didn’t care a lot. I didn’t pay the fee for the dog bc the bank was closed but they will stamp you the entry anyway . She is not an evil after all !!! lol

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We spent 5 miserable hours here. Partially due to a stolen/lost TIP and partially because we needed to export 3 dogs. Please stop in Rivas and get the specific form required for your dog then have it stamped at the ISPS office at the border otherwise the demon agent in Costa Rica will absolutely not permit your dogs to enter. Good Luck

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Just follow the steps, eat a sandwich, you’ll be fine. It’s long and annoying but just look for the guys in blue shirts that say DGA or IPSA and you’re fine! We didn’t do anything with our dogs entry papers from El Espino and got into CR no problem

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As described, follow the five steps. It took us about an hour. US dollar and exact change will make everything quicker. If you have a dog, make sure to export him, they need to stamp the paper they gave you when you entered Nicaragua with him.

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Crossed here, uncomplicated while following the steps as described here. But extremely unfriendly people refusing their own money, they didn’t want to take Cordobas but only USD, although the form states a tick box for the currency used. Eventually we made a zero fee trade for USD and paid. The whole action made zero sense.

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as described, except for if the police officer is in a bad mood and writes something like scanner on your sheet, then you are screwed and the lucky one that got picked out for drug control, as we were. exiting Nicaragua took us more than 4 hours.

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Much of this will change as the are constructing new buildings.

1:Drive past all of the trucks.
2:Drive through the blue gate....may need to cut in front of a truck...or you may be able to drive through the other gate (exit gate). This is where the helpers will hound you. Stop here and have your passport checked.
3: again, drive past all the trucks until you see the duty free shops, and park in the lot just after, and to the right, past the duty free.
4: look for blue shirt DGA guys...may need to go inside to find them. Fill out paper for exit, they will inspect vehicle.

They will tell you what and where to go next...as will each person you run into...

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*ATTN: People traveling with a Poder, expect problems*

We went through all of the steps without any difficulty until we went to aduana with all of our completed paperwork. Similar to the post below, they would not accept our Costa Rican Poder for our American vehicle, stating that they only accept USA Poders (although I can see them rejecting these too if they're not in Spanish). Then we went through an elaborate bribery charade where we were told to go back to Costa Rica unless we paid $200. For us, we decided our best option was to pay and continue our journey. You may be able to get around this problem if you can get someone in the USA to email, or if possible mail, you a USA Poder that you can bring with you. Otherwise you could try bribing the aduana official straight away. Beware and good luck!

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At the gate, They checked our passeport with the nicaragua stamp and waved us through. We went directly parked our small rv further on the right side, beside the big parking lot, where a lot of vendors are.
did all the exit paper work there. Enter the big building that looks like a bus station, pay 1$pp to wait in line then 2$/pp to exit. then found an agent with blue t shirt outside for custom form and inspection.

He saw we had 2 cats and no déclaration form from nicaragua and got confused, we could have been in trouble but they let us go saying they would not say anything... Just telling us to make sure we declare them in Costa Rica because they are very stricked !
They got stamped by the police officer then back inside the building for cancel TIP in the scanner room.
overall about 45min.

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Steps described on 22 Dec are perfect. Border agent asked for $10 on leaving but we refused and only paid $2 each. Also the queue for the TIP cancellation is the same as entry. Someone spotted we were leaving and we got pushed to the front of the queue so maybe mention it to speed up the process. all in all easy and 45 mins

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1. Enter through a big blue metal gate, where officer will quickly look in your passport. First immigration building is nex to the duty free shop. You can get your exit stamp here, $2pp.
2. Continue couple hundred meters to a big parking lot for the fun part.
3. ‎Hunt down a inspector in turquoise polo shirt with DGA logo, get a declaration form, fill it out, ask him again to look at your car (very briefly), go to the police in black, get a stamp (they wanted copy of driver license and car title).
4. Now you can go into the building on the right, where is second immigration if you missed the first one. Municipal fee $1pp. Vehicle import/export is in the back, behind immigration. Last stamp for your declaration. And done.
5. Drive towards Costa Rica, somebody will ask for the declaration from.
Total time: 30-45min with our chaotic running around looking for the form and inspector, because everyone is wearing some kind of badge and there is lots of people in blue T-shirt! Helpers had mostly green shirts and were not pushy if you don't want their service.

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Steps as described are all accurate. The last 4.5 miles of Nicaragua was a massive line of trucks. Get into the left lane and drive past all of them. Total time to exit the country was just over an hour, 1 hour 5 minutes.

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Follow the steps described below. Took us 4 hours to cross out of Nicaragua. They inspected our van for 3 hours (x-ray machine, manual inspection going through everything). Long and stressful process leaving Nicaragua. Costa Rica side was easy breezy.

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ENTER NICARAGUA: Lots of guys will approach you as soon as you exit Costa Rica, when police checks for passport and they do the first fumigation. my advice is to get the help of one of these guys which were very helpful and let you skip annoying conversations and potential arguments with very unprofessional border police.

step 0: before you go to Nicaragua get, a copy of your temp import permit of Costa Rica, a copy of your driver license and a copy of your registration.

1. once at the main building, you need to approach the doors and find the custom guy near the door who has the form that you need to fill up.

2. there s a guy with high visibility vest on which is the guy that does the "inspection" to your vehicle.

3. with that form signed, go to the insurance place and pay the $12 for 1 month of insurance.

4. with all that you can now go inside and get your passport stamped by customs.
No yellow fever certification or permission to enter the country are required.
pay $2 dollars plus $10 to enter the country.

5. with all this go outside and find a guy that sells "rodaje" permit, which costs $5.

6. with all this go to the small police Hut that on the opposite side of the entrance, across the parking, to get the "vehicle inspection" done by the police. they will take your copies and stamp your initial form.

7. with this, you can go at the back of the passport stamping desks and get your temp permit printed out. there s a desk At the back, behind the xrays machines, where there s a guy with a desktop computer and a printer that does the job.

8. with this, you can now go to the exit where you will only need to pay another $3 for the receipt of the fumigation.

as I said, get one of those helpers to point you out to the right direction and you ll make it in 3 hours.

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Fish market....it was hard to find the place where the office is. It’s the open office to look for a guy who checks the car paper we got during the entry along with the license. He then checks the car and signs the form which he will handover to you. This one needs to be checked by the police in black uniform. Once the work is done in the windy open area, go to the office with the roof(opposite to the open space office with lots of people). Stamp the exit stamp(pay 1$ for the municipal fee and 2$ for the exit stamp). Then you can head towards Costa Rica side which is a bit normal border crossing offices.

All in all, it was not so bad ;) loud music with national dance.

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Addition for exiting Nicaragua:
We needed to pay 1usd/Person which we could also pay in cordobas at the small both inside the Immigration building.
But we only needed to pay 2usd/Person for exiting. however here, we could not pay in cordoba and she did not change our 5usd bill. so we needed to change outside with one of the money traders. Ridiculous since we saw she had many 1usd bills in her Box! So better bring some small USD bills with you, or hopefully you just have a nicer Migration Officer... ;)

One more Addition: Probably easier to Drive instead of walk to the Costa Rica aduana building. There is parking in front of the building again...;)

We crossed on a Sunday morning 8am and it was very fast. Took us about 90min for the entire crossing. Almost no lines anywhere...

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EXIT Nicaragua.



1. Park in the lot just pass the main building.
2. Walk around the building and enter the back door for Aduana.
Pay $1.00 for some useless ticket to get in line.
Pay $6.00 for your exit stamp.
Walk out the exit which puts you back into the parking lot
3. Find the inspector and have your vehicle inspected.
4. Find the policeman in the back corner of the lot and get your inspection stamped.
5. Walk around to the back of the building again and go to Customs. Get your final Stamp
Keep you papers handy as you drive away towards Costa Rica an inspector will take your customs form.

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Prior descriptions were quite helpful with the following additions:

1) step two in Nicaragua basically requires you to wander around the parking lot searching for a mysterious inspector. I was told to find a guy in white, the in blue, then with a hat until we finally found an inspector woman who was mobbed by people as she wandered around "inspecting" cars. She looks inside for 10 seconds and then hands you a form with a few scribbles on it. Be delight and fight for your place in “line“

2) take the form she gives you to a small table on the edge of the parking lot where the police will take a look and stamp it

Thus process took over an hour but on the good side the tamales were awesome at the little restaurant.

Once you drive through the fumigation and "enter" costa rica be prepared to wait for a while at passport control. No food on cr side but there were dudes selling sim cards.

Free bathrooms on cr side

No one cared about dog at all

Buy food and groceries in Nicaragua no one cared about anything in our van in cr

The entire process took about 4 hours by far the slowest border yet for us

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If there is a large queue at the vehicle importation building (Costa Rica side), it might be useful to know the following rule : 1 tourist, 1 truck driver

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We crossed from Nicaragua to Costa Rica with french passeport and canadian car. It was easy and fast as the descriptions of Phil are so accurate.

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The descritions are still valid. We tipped one of the nicaraguan “helpers”. It was a great help to find alle the offices and fast. Took 3 hours total as there were problems with the IT on Costa Rica. Seems that systems over here does not like the long european VIN numbers.

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Entering Costa Rica:

1) park just past the main building on left.

2) queue with the others to main building. Get a 'boleto' by jumping to the front of the queue, fill in and join queue properly. No cost.

3) if you have a pet declare it at the main desk. I had to go back to the x-ray scanner when they saw our dog. You will need a vet certificate & vacation records - originals & copies (100 local currency, at small ticket booths opposite).

3) get a copy of your passport page with entry stamp. Make sure you have the usual passport, title & licence copies as well.

4) small customs building opposite main building will inspect originals & copies, get you to fill in 2 forms, then cursory inspection of vehicles. If you have bikes make sure they are added to the form.

4) short walk to main customs building. Buy compulsory insurance when you enter (on right). Then hand over all docs from initial customs officer, plus insurance docs. If you have second driver you will need copy of their passport entry stamp too.

All done - welcome to Costa Rica! They take the small paper slip and you keep the big one.

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Leaving Nicaragua:

1) Bypass 6+ km of parked lorries/trucks on wrong side of road. Park just past the big building on right.

2) Go back to Nic side of building. Get passport stamp. Easy $2.

3) Back to vehicle, get someone in blue DGA t-shirt to issue you a traveller's declaration form (A5 size). Also get them to check your import declaration and sign it.

4) Find police (easier said than done, check shady corner past the food stalls) and give them copy of driver's licence & title. Get stamp & signature.

5) Back to Nic side of building, to customs desk in corner (again blue DGA t-shirts). They take your import doc and leave you the declaration.

All done! You'll get your passport checked a couple of times on way out (skip the lorries again if you can), and they take the declaration from you too.

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word to the wise: there is no fees for pets on Sundays as the bank is closed. officer was adamant to tell me to make sure my tramitador didn't try to charge me for a fee or a bribe to have waived the fee!

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GO AT NIGHT!!! The border closes at midnight and we waltzed right through the entire process, only took 30 min both leaving Nicaragua and entering Costa Rica! No lines and cooler weather

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we cross to Costa Rica with bike and we had to pay 2€ to stam the passport and 1€ for taxes to exit from Nicaragua

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Easiest border crossing ever. 2 usd for exit Nicaragua and 40 usd for insurance in Costa Rica. The usual copies (passport, registration, licence). Nicaragua took about 15-20' and Costa Rica about the same. Pura vida ;-)

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Easiest border crossing so far. Took 2 hours. Very relaxe. Everybody helpful. Crossed Monday at 12h. No other overlander insight. Very quick lanes.

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Helpers were not pushy at all on either side, no problems, and you don't need them. Only interesting part exciting Nicaragua was driving on the opposite lane of the road for the last 8km before the border!! The other lane was full of trucks. Thankfully we had a passenger car in front of us that we could follow in the opposite lane and pull over on the shift if there was an oncoming car/truck.

Exit Nicaragua: paid $2 per person for the municipal tax

Enter Costa Rica: insurance cost was $41 for our Tacoma pickup. Other people in line were paying similar prices, it seems that the tastes have gone up. The photocopy place next to the aduana charges 50 colones per page, don't get ripped off paying 1000!

Overall it was an easy border, a bit long running back and forth between the two aduana buildings. While process took about 2 hours on a Monday afternoon.

Just have fun and be friendly.

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since no one has described going Costa Rica to Nicaragua so here goes.
its easy, usual order of things. Most officials are wearing blue polo tops on the Nicaragua side.
Costa Rica
1. Pay exit fee, 12usd i think and then go get your passport stamped out at migration
2. go back down the road the way you came and on your right is the Aduana. there are several signs so it might take a few attempts. you need a copy of your TIP, there is a copy place 20m away from the office, the guards will direct you
3. proceed across border, get fumigated, they did not charge me but that might not be normal
4. on your left in migration, just as you go in the door pay the lady in the booth on your right 1usd for a bit of paper. get passport stamped and pay 12usd to officer
5. just as you leave the building you will find people selling insurance, 12usd for a month and you must have it.
6. there should be a lady hanging around that sells you a vehicle permit. around 10usd i think
7.go to aduana, across road on a diagonal and on "block" away from main road. Outside the office there is a large covered area, find an official with a light blue polo shirt for the declaration form. they will fill out part and you do the rest. present completed form to a police officer who is hanging around to get a vehicle inspection. they will sign off your form
8. go into office with completed form and get your TIP
9. head out on the main road, present your passport, insurance and TIP to the officials at the gate and you are free to pass
10. smile you are done with no helpers

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What a nightmare (and scam). PAID helpers on both sides - probably too much. On the other hand, it only took us a little under two hours and put us to the front of all the lines. And minimal police inspection.

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Just entered Nicaragua from Costa Rica and thought we would add up the cost in US$ to cross. All the steps are similar to the ones below so won't repeat: CR exit tax - $8 each; the touts try to sting you $1 for each Immigration Form but we got them from the official at the counter; Fumigation - $3 for car, &3.75 for our truck camper; Nicaraguan government helper fee (to the guy next to the police) - $5; Nicaragua entrance fee - $12 each; a fee to the girl at a counter we have no idea what for - $1 each; Nicaragua insurance - $12 per month. TOTAL: $65

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Crossed from Costa Rica into Nicaragua. No long queues, about 2h all incl.
You need Colones to pay for one photo copy of your customs paper (might wanna do that before spending your last coins).
Everything else can be paid in USD. Charges: fumigation NIC (camper van) 3 USD, exit tax CR 8 USD, entry tax NIC (local tax) 1 USD, Visa/passport stamp 12 USD, Insurance NIC (VW camper, one month) USD 12.
ATM on NIC side was out of order.

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We went from Costa Rica to Nicaragua with a rented car from Costa Rica (Costa Rican Plates). We already did pay they fee to leave CR at our campground (Cana Castilla) the night before. We needed a copy of the insurance papers and the permit to take the car to NIC at the aduana. The lady kept the copies there. That was all for the car in CR. Then we just went on to migracion and got stamped out from Cr. On a friday morning all went quite quickly. The crossing into Nicaragua was as already described here before. Get your car fumared for 3$. Find a DGA guy in a light blue shirt, finish the form he gives you (maybe takes a quick look into the car). Get a insurance for 12$. Find a police man to get another signature on your DGA document. Get yourself into Nicaragua by paying 1$ for the community of Rivas and 12$ p.p. for a tourist card for NIC. Now you are in NIC but your car needs to got too. Carry on with your car in the next room at the left corner counter and pay 5$ for another insurance (?!?). All your papers will be scanned and you get a document with all information on one paper. Once you have that you can carry on and shortly before leaving there is a small police stop where the want to see the document for the car you just received and your passports. Done :D

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Nicaragua to Costa Rica in 3 hours and 15 minutes. Interesting ... Just stay calm and have fun with it.

Exit Nicaragua
* At the border, take the left lanes (where all the trucks are waiting). The road to the right does not seem to be part of the border.
* Drive past the trucks, to the far side of the building on the right. It's like a square. When we were there, there were buses parked here.
* Enter the building on the other side (Nica side) for Immigracion. At the first booth inside the building (to the left right by the door) pay US $ 1 per person municipal tax. Then next counter, 3 meters away get stamped out, US$ 2 per person exit fee.
* Go outside and play a game of collecting autographs (you need 3 to win). First find someone in a light blue polo shirt with DGA logo and a clipboard. They fill out part of a form, check your van briefly and sign the form. Complete the form yourself and find a policeman. We found a lady in uniform sitting on bar stool at the side of the "square". Give her a copy of your license en title and you collect autograph nr 2 on the form. Go back into the building from the square side. Pass some desk into another hall with a counter in the left corner. We had to wait a bit, but once it was our turn it was fast. Hand in the TIP and the form. You get the form back with another autograph and stamp.
* Ready to drive across the border; hand in the form with the autographs at the boom.

Enter Costa Rica
* Busy border, park to the right, after you passed various shacks of bus companies and 1 Auduana shack.
* Get in line at the big building which says Equipaje (luggage check), although you don't have luggage. It is Immigracion. We had to wait a very long time, a police officer controlled the flow into the building. He got us each an entry form, so we had completed forms once we reached the desk. They wanted to see proove that you will leave (which we had, since we booked a flight). No fee for entry stamps.
* Go to the Aduana shack, right across. This is just an annex of the actual Aduana building. Here we had to complete 2 forms. Hand those in at the shack with 1 copy of: title, drivers license(s) and passport of driver(s); personal documents of all drivers. The Aduana lady was pretty annoyed to have shack duty, she reluctantly walked with us to the van, hardly checked it. You get a signed form and a little piece of paper (like a coupon).
* Drive to the actual Aduana building. Roads are confusing, take the first road to the right (from Nica border) which looks like a parking lot. The road curves to the left and you get to a huge building with loading docks for trucks. Park to the side.
* At the side of the loading docks at the far end is a window for insurance. Only 3 month insurance possible (not shorter) US $ 35 (due to exchange rate, otherwise US $ 36). Check the information on the insurance (1 orginal, 1 copy).
* Go to the copy window at building on the side (a few meters away). You need the following 5 copies to get the TIP (50 colones per copy): entry stamp in passport, photo page in passport, drivers license, title, insurance
* Now enter the huge building right across from the side of the copy place for the actual Aduana and give all copies and originals (also of the form from the shack) so they can create a TIP. No fee (just hassle).
* Drive to the border (continue the road and keep to the right). At the boom show the TIP and the form with the "coupon", the latter they keep. You are in!
Officials have a lunch break from 12.00 to 12.45 so start early. We just made it in time.

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Taxes and fees: exit Costa Rica U$8 p/p. Enter Nicarágua - U$3 for fumigation, U$2 p/p municipalidad, U$12 p/p enter the coutry, U$12 car insurance for one month, U$5 turist tax for the car. Total for 2 persons and a car: U$46

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yeah this boarder was fun, on Nicaraguan side didn't work the computer system, so we had to wait 2 hours, on Costa Rican side was the guy on dinner for 40 Mon and they couldn't find Czech republic in pc so she just wrote that I'm from England, after arguing she found it. total time on boarder 4 hours.

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Exit Costa Rica: Turn left but park to the right of the building. There are 2 immigration offices but they are a single building(entry/exit). The office on the right is for exit stamp. 1. Get/complete immigration paper. 2 Pay exit tax through kiosk machine in immigration area. get paper recipt. 3. go through immigration and get stamped out. 4. make sure you have a copy of your tip. if not, get a copy made. 5. Get in your car and go right to get on the street you came in on. at the next street (where you see a cargo admin building) go right. follow that around. 6. go inside (door on right of ramp) and give the agent both the orginal and copy. She will give you one back along with a piece of paper. 7. drive back past the cr immigration office. when you leave an agent will ask to see the tip and little paper. He keeps the little paper.

Nica entry-

1. An agent will stop you and ask for your passport. He will tell you to go to fumigation. Park your car in front of the station and pay $3 at the window. get back in car and go through fumigation. 2. turn left into the immigration parking lot. After the helpers disperse, an agent in a pretty blue shirt may come up to you. if not, go to them. they will sign a paper after verifying drivers lic, title, and passport. They will ask you to open your trunk for a brief visual inspection. 3. fill in this paper. 4. get insurance (woman under tarp next to immigration building). 5. take both insurance and immigration form, a copy of drivers lic and title to polica. they are wandering around. 6. policia will look at everything then sign and stamp the form. 7. go to immigration and get passport stamped. 8. go past immigration (same building) and go to the far left corner. 9. give the agent in the light blue shirt original title, poder (if travelling on one), driver lic, passport. 10. the agent will scan them (no paper!) and give you a tip and your documents. 11. sign and your free!

travellers with dogs...note: the immigration form asks if you are carrying a pet. i marked yes but was not asked for documents. i didnt pask if they wanted anything. costa rica agr office said they just ask for cert de salud and copies of vaccines.

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The border crossing was a little annoying, but nothing to worry about! The „helpers“ asked us politely if we need help and immediately accepted our „no gracias“s. So that was no problem at all.
We drove past the building, parked to the right and went to the immigration building, where we were asked to pay 1 US$ or 28 Cordobas per person for some municipal tax. Another guy also wanted 1$ per person for the Costa Rican Customs Paper (it was a scam, didn’t pay and got it for free at the Costa Rican side). Inside the immigration, our passports were stamped for 2$ per person (we could NOT pay in Cordoba).
After the passports were stamped we had to find the „guy in the light blue shirt“ (Aduana) for our car. He gave us a paper, which he started to fill out and to sign. We had to fill out the rest and look for the police officer (in our case a woman with a dark blue uniform). She signed the paper, as well. Then we had to go back to the immigration building - there is another custom’s desk (behind the people immigration) for the car export. That lady took our TIP which we got when we entered Nicaragua and signed the custom’s paper as well. This funny little paper (which apparently everybody had to sign) we had to hand over to the custom’s guy when we drove over to the Costa Rican side.
We had to drive through fumigation (NO fee). We parked behind the Aduana office on the right side. The immigration office is on the opposite side. We had to fill out a waiver there and present the title of our car (he wanted to see a proof that we will leave the country (normally flight or bus ticket)). We got our passports stamped (NO fee) and went to the Aduana on the other side. We had to fill out two papers. The officer „checked“ our car (walked there with us and had us open one door). Then she sent us to get the compulsory insurance (THEY DID NOT ACCEPT ANY OTHER INSURANCE!!!!!), 36US$ or 18889 Colon for 3 months (only cash accepted, but there is an ATM on the left side of the immigration building). She showed us the way (pass all big trucks). Lunch break here was around noon ;) Then we had to make copies of the passports, including the entrance stamps of all drivers, driver’s licenses, the insurance, title of the car. (One copy was 50 Colon.) With all that we went to the Aduana office in the same building as the insurance-office. Eventually we got the TIP, which we were supposed to copy again, in case someone wants it when we leave the border (apparently sometimes they want it, sometimes not. In our case, he only wanted to see the original and a little paper we got from the first Aduana lady.)

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Really one of the most tiring boarder crossings. Just be patient.

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ohhh this border was fun. bring lots of patience and follow the instructions below and you will get through it.

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Exit Nicaragua

Approaching the border on the PanAm, stay to the left and go through a fenced complex. There may be a line of trucks on the right, just drive into oncoming traffic to get around them. You will see a tent set up directly beyond the fence. We assumed they would check passports here but they just waved us on.

Nicaraguan Immigration: Look for the smaller building that looks a bit like a bus station. At the entrance there is a ticket booth where they will charge you 1 USD before you are allowed to get in line for Migracion. Once at Migracion, fill out a short form and pay 90 NIO, answer questions about why you don’t speak fluent Spanish in a Spanish speaking country, and receive your exit stamp. 1 USD/per person PLUS 90 NIO.

NOTE: If you do not ask for your change, the guy in the ticket booth will just keep it…

Nicaraguan Customs: On the other side of the road, across from the Immigration building,wait in the longest line imaginable. When you finally get up to the window present the driver’s passport, vehicle title, driver’s license, Nicaraguan Import Permit and Customs Declaration. The friendly, but tired, customs agent will look everything over, sign and stamp the Customs Declaration Form and keep the Vehicle Import Permit. Find a police officer (they are wandering around, just find one) to sign and stamp the Vehicle Import Form AND a Customs Agent (Light Blue Shirts) to do the same. Note – get those first signatures and stamps while your overheated traveling companion waits in line. Once through the Customs process, find a police officer to AGAIN sign and stamp your Customs Declaration Form. No Fee.

Enter Costa Rica

Drive out of the parking lot towards Costa Rica. A Customs agent will stop you to check your passports as well as take your Customs Declaration Form.

Costa Rican Fumigation: At the fork in the road, veer to the right and drive through the Fumigation Station. No charge.

After Fumigation, make a sharp left and then a right onto the road into Costa Rica.

Costa Rican Immigration: You will see a large building on your left and some smaller buildings on your right. Drive past these buildings and park on the right. Walk back to the large building on your left. Wait in line, if there is one at all, before entering the air-conditioned Migracion office. Present your passports and receive your entrance stamp. No Fee.

Costa Rican Insurance: After leaving Migracion, they will direct you across the street to Customs. Do not go here, instead get back in your vehicle, drive (or walk) a bit further, enter the fenced off area on your right, drive towards the back past all the semis and buses. You will see a ramp to the 2nd Customs office, park here. Walk up the ramp, go past the Customs office to the Insurance window. Hand over your Title, Vehicle Registration, Driver’s Passport and Driver’s license. They will look everything over and issue you 3 months of insurance. 36 USD.

Take everything, along with the Insurance Certificate, to copy shop and make 1 copy of each. NOTE: If you are traveling with a dog now is a good time to make copies of all their paperwork as well. 50 CRC per copy.

Costa Rican Cuarentena: Further down the building, away from the ramp, second to last door on your left is SENSA. The door is not marked. Go in here and present all your original paperwork along with one copy or each. They will look everything over and stamp your paperwork. No Fee.

Costa Rican Customs Window 1: Drive (or walk) back to the Aduana across from Migracion. Give the friendly customs agent your stack of copies, they will attach them to a form for you to fill out. Once you have filed out the form, return the copies to the customs agent for him to review and stamp. No Fee.

NOTE: If you are traveling with dogs, they will also ask to see your stamped paperwork here.

Costa Rican Customs Window 2: Get back in your car and drive back to where they sell insurance. The first office at the top of the ramp is the second Aduana office. Hand over your packet of copies and stamped form to the customs agent behind the desk. He will keep your packet and issue you the Temporary Vehicle Import Permit. No Fee.

Drive into Costa Rica. We were stopped by a customs agent who looked at our passports and at the dogs’ paperwork.

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Crossed the border at 12:30pm.  Many many Nicas returning from holidays. 

Leaving Nica.
1. Stay left at gate.  Stop get form from gate guard, plus import paper stamped and signature.
2.  Meander thru buildings til open area between 3 buildings, 4-6 large palms on left, with building behind them.  Remember this.
3.  Go to center building.  Pay $1US at ticket booth enter, barred Immigration area.  Go to window ask for form. Once filled out return to window. $2US.  Correct coins from Slavador work. You have been now stamped out of Nica in passport.
4. Find Aduanas.  It is no loner in the small glass office sharing immigration.  Leave barred area, go to building behind large palms.  3 unmarked windows are the new Aduanas.  Show paperwork.  Get stamped out with Expoert papers.
5.  Find the wandering policeman, to get his stamp and signature.  No one tells you this, I left to cross out of Nica without this and had to return to search for him.  Aduanas uniform is Celeste Blue, Police navy blue.  Once you have 2 stamps and signature on the form given at the first gate , you may head to exit, back out to the right.
6. Stop, give form to Offical.
7. Go 50 meters, Stop again, show passport to exit immigration officer, white uniform.
8. Go 50 meters stop, show passport to Costa Rica Police.
Entering Costa Rica.

As above, head past immigration building, go to chain link area, enter, head all the way to the end past all the trucks.  2 metal containers make offices, one copies.
1).  walk up ramp past sign for Aduanas, along ramp.  Small sign for Insurance.  Purchase insurance, $26 us Bills 3 months.
2). Go to copy container office, copies of insurance, title, registration, lic, passport.
3. Go back to Immigration building.  There were 300 people waiting,  1 hr.  I suggest making the crossing early in the day Dec, Jan, and Easter weeks are the heaviest.  Get exit form, fill out.  Tell you are importing moto.  Offical will write in Passport.  
4). Go back to Copy container office, and get copy of the page with stamp, and writing.
5. Return to small building across from immigration, sign above window.  Revision de Equipo Aduanas.  Have copies of title, passport, lic, insurance, registration, page in passport.
6.  Offical will had back a package, of all forms, after looking at your bike. ( I tired to park close, next to mobile BCR bank RV.
7.  Go back to Aduanas past all the Trucks #1,  enter waiting hall for Aduanas.  Pass in paperwork.  Review import form to check for correct info.   
8.  You are done.  There is a check out gate 100 yards down the road.  Offical asked for import permit, plus a small slip of paper, ticket, (though I did not have, or was lost in jumble) He let me pass.
Comment,  not hard to do, but lots of running around on both sides.  Always be patient and courteous to all officials and it will get your further then getting upset.  Happy Riding.

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Border Crossing: Nicaragua / Costa Rica Posted on July 12th, 2013 at  http://www.vangabonds.com/border-crossing-nicaragua-costa-rica/

We cross borders by land in a CR-V with US passports and our two dogs. We do not carry drugs or weapons or disallowed fruit (usually). 

When, Where, and Which Direction: July 4, 2013 – Nicaragua > Costa Rica at Penas Blancas

What We Needed:
Passports,Driver’s license(s), andVehicle title and registration.The Process: Driving south near the border on the Pan American, veer to the left to go through a fenced complex. A group of helpers may be there to help guide (We, questioning their motives and thinking the fenced area was solely for making duty free purchases, continued straight only to find the road blocked a couple of blocks later by some semis and a taxi, where we were again told that we needed to go through the fenced area.), and a 10×10 tent should be set up on the far side of the gate. Here, passports are reviewed and travelers are sent on to migración and customs. There are helpers in the area and the buildings are not well marked, making first timers easy to spot. For exit stamps, go to the building that is connected to an outdoor pavilion space that looks like a bus station. There is a stand alone box office type window where visitors must buy a ticket/slip before proceeding to the numbered windows of the main building for processing. A short form will also need to be filled out; they are available at the windows or from helpers. Another fee must be paid to actually get the exit stamp. Next, take your import permit to the nearest border official (ours was standing near a food stand on the bus station looking pavilion) for their initials. You probably won’t get questions or your car noticed or even eye contact for that matter. Then, take your permit inside of the building through the door at the end of the pavilion thing (or if you’re looking at the migración windows, it is around the left side of the building). An officer sitting just inside the door will also need to initial the permit. He may want to see drivers’ licenses and title or registration prior to doing so. The officer will then send you across the small room to another desk where a staff member will officially cancel your permit. There is no fee. The process itself was quite quick and painless, but we did wait on staff for a few minutes here and there.

Driving out of the Nicaraguan side of the crossing, passports will be checked again by an officer. At a fork in the road upon entering Costa Rica, signage directs cars to the right through a giant car-wash looking fumigation machine. Other travelers indicated a highly varying fee here, but we were not stopped and cruised right on through without any cost. The road then leads to the Costa Rican border area with a bigger building in the middle and smaller ones on the right. Drive past them to park, and then walk back to the bigger, nicer building that had been to your left while driving past for an entrance stamp. There was no line when we arrived earlier in the morning, but a system of barricades was set up in a way that looked like they were used at times to organize a long, winding line of people. There was no fee for the entrance stamp; it was quick and easy. Getting the import permit was a little bit more convoluted, but still not difficult.

The first step is to purchase insurance, which must be done at an office next to the second customs office. There is a customs office across the road from the migración building where officials may point you if you ask where to get an import permit, but they will send you on for insurance before processing your paperwork anyway, so it’s not worth wasting time in there until you’ve got your ducks in a row. To get to the second customs office, get back in your car and drive just a bit further, pulling off to the right into a fenced area full of semis. It looks like a warehouse or 18-wheeler parking lot of some sort, but this is the right way. Money changers will be at the gate, and the insurance office accepts only USD or colones, so exchange some cash here if you’re only carrying córdobas like we were. Driving past the semi-trucks, there is a ramp leading to an office on the left side. The window for purchasing insurance is on the far side of the second customs office when walking up the ramp. There is a sign above the window. Here you will need to show the title, registration (or license plate number), and driver’s passport and license. After paying the fee, the agent directs purchasers of insurance to a window in a building at the bottom of the ramp where copies can be purchased. Though the agent told me what I needed copies of, the person making copies seemed to know the drill as he quickly made all of the appropriate duplicates in an organized fashion. The photocopy station requires/requests “moneda” only, which I was told meant coins rather than bills.

Next, get back in the car, park in the spot you started in, and head to the first customs office. The official will take the stack of photocopies and attach them to a form for the driver to fill out. Once that is done, he will review them and stamp them and send you to the second customs office, back by the insurance window. Climb back in the car, drive back to customs office 2, and then hand your nicely stapled packet of information to the agent behind the desk. He will keep your packet and provide you with the official temporary vehicle import permit. On the way out, an officer reviews passports, and then visitors are free to enjoy Costa Rica!

Costs: The cost to leave Nicaragua is $3 USD total per person, or 24-25 córdobas per person for the ticket/slip and an additional 48-50 córdobas per person for the actual exit stamp. There is no fee to cancel the temporary auto import permit, nor is there a fee on the Costa Rican side for an entrance stamp. Insurance must be purchased in Costa Rica, and we were automatically given a three month policy for a fee of 17,216 colones ($35 USD). Perhaps shorter policies are available, but we had read from other travelers that they weren’t allowed to purchase them and we went through the process without thinking to ask. Photocopies cost 200 colones ($.41 USD). After purchasing insurance, there were no further charges for the vehicle import permit to Costa Rica.

Dogs: No one came anywhere near our vehicle, except the last officer who checked our passport. He smiled kindly at the dogs, barked at them, and then sent us on our way. We did not pursue a permit or pay any fees.

Our Experience: Over all, this crossing was very hassle free, but did include a few counter intuitive steps in terms of order of operations. At the time we crossed, there were no helpers trying to show us around on the Costa Rican side which made a big difference. In fact, we found the crossing quite peaceful. Great experience!

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This post is from Logan and Brianna of  PanAm Notes. To read their full experience and see photos, see the detailed article at:  http://panamnotes.com/how-to/costa-rica-border-crossing/

Penas Blancas Border Crossing
Open: 6AM
Remember: No necisita ayuda. Por favor, dejame in paz, no voy a pagar. Vaya!
$US accepted at all points except for Costa Rica auto insurance
Exit Nicaragua:Pass the line of big rigs. Pay $1US/person municipal tax (keep stamped receipt). Be sure to have cordobas or exact US change.Veer left toward a dirt road, there will be a man at a guard station who will check your stamped receipt and passports.Continue forward and follow the signs toward Budget car rental (you will circle left around a set of official looking buildings).Park to the left of Budget car rental.At the far end of the parking lot near the blue water tower is the unmarked immigration building.Nicaragua Immigration
There will be a few unofficial individuals offering immigration exit forms for a small fee (tip). We tipped 5 Cordobas for two forms.Inside, hand over the form and pay $2US/person for exit stamps. Exact change was not necessary but is recommended.To check your car out of the country find a customs agent, they wear polos with DGA embroidered on the front. You can find these agents milling around the parking lot. The agent will sign your Nicaraguan vehicle permit.Next, find a police officer to sign the vehicle permit. Neither official inspected our vehicle or even asked to see it.Aduana is next, the building is located near the red water tower at the opposite end of the parking lot.Nicaragua Aduana
The agent will look over your original registration, title, vehicle permit and passport before handing you over to a police officer (next window) who completes the exit paperwork for your vehicle.We made a couple of copies of the canceled permit (but this is not necessary). The original vehicle import permit (now canceled) will be given to the last official as you drive out of the country.Costa Rica Border Crossing

Open: 8AM
$US accepted at all points except for Costa Rica auto insurance
Enter Costa RicaFumigation is first, there is an office on the left and you will veer right to go through the sprayers. Pay the fee at the office before driving through.We paid $6US but our receipt was for $10US. This price seems to vary greatly depending on the whims of the agent on duty.We don’t recommend stopping as the automatic sprayers douse your vehicle completely. Take an immediate left after going through fumigation.Once you get back on the paved road veer right and drive half a km to the blue immigration building. There is a connected restaurant and bar. Park under the overhang.Costa Rica Immigration
We encountered a helper before parking who handed over tourist forms and tried to get himself hired. We said no thank you and drove away.Fill out the form and get your entry stamp inside the building ($0US).Mandatory insurance is $15US and must be paid in Cordobas. The insurance office is next to the bank inside the immigration building.Make copies of your new insurance policy and your freshly stamped passport in the insurance office.To get your vehicle import permit go across the street to a small building, an official will ask for copies of insurance, title, passport, and driver’s license. You will receive a form to fill out vehicle information. When the form is complete the official will record the information, inspect your vehicle, and provide you with a vehicle inspection receipt (save this).The final aduana stop is about a half km down the road on the right. The building is hidden away among the trees and you cross a covered walkway to get there.Costa Rica Aduana
This is where all accumulated paperwork is taken and turned into a formal vehicle permit (valid 3 months). This step is the most time consuming as the official must type up all the information that was previously handwritten at the last stop.At the border exit, further down the road, show your vehicle permit, passport, and give up your vehicle inspection receipt.

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From my border crossing in January 2010. Full write up on my blog at A Few More Miles http://afewmoremiles.com/2010/01/15/border-crossing-nicaragua-costa-rica/
Step 1: Check yourself out of Nicaragua

Before we can even begin this process we’re told me have to each pay $1 USD for some random fee. Everyone is paying it so we do the same. We get a ticket with stamp (they love stamps down here). Now to find the immigration office. There’s a building 200 meters away that has lines that seem just as long. We get in line and pay some lady walking around with a pad of forms 5 Cordoba ($0.25 USD) for an exit form. We wait in line for an hour before we arrive at the window. After answering a few questions – where are you from, where are you going – we get an exit stamp in our passport along with an exit ticket.

Step 2: Check your bike out of Nicaragua
We’re told we need to get a stamp from a customs official. We do this and ride towards the gate. They won’t let us through because we need more stamps or something. We ride back to the entrance gate and we’re told we have all we need and we can leave the country. We go back to the exit gate and tell them the guard said we’re good to go. They don’t agree and now we’re getting frustrated. We’re told we need to go find a police officer to sign our exit ticket. The guard tells us to talk with a helper. No way! So we walk around for 10 minutes trying to find the police man. Finally we located him and he signs our ticket. Back to the exit gate. They want more stamps. UUUGGGGGHHHH!!! Some friendly kid about 10 years old takes pity on us and tells us which unmarked building to go to. He’s nice and doesn’t even ask for money (I had no small currency, otherwise I would have given him a few cents). We wait in the line at the building for 15 minutes and hand the papers to the girl at the desk. She completes it and then puts it into a pile for the police officer to sign when he returns (if he ever does…). I tell her that I already have his signature but my pleas fall on deaf ears. Another 15 minutes later the policeman comes back, signs and stamps the papers, and we head back to the exit gate. FINALLY we’re out of Nicaragua after 2 hours! Here’s both sides of the ticket with countless illegible signatures and stamps.

Step 3: Check yourself into Costa Rica
Drive into Costa Rica (no signs stating that we’re in Costa Rica). Some guys wave us over and tell us we need to be “fumigated” for $3USD. They spray our tires for 3 seconds with a splash of water – a lot of good that did… We don’t really want to pay so we drive forward and the policemen wave us on. No looking back now. A little bit down the road and we see the line for entry into Costa Rica. It too is about 200 meters long. Charles goes to by some lunch and I hold our spot in line. An hour later we make it to the window. The organization in the office doesn’t make any sense (but I won’t go into that…). We get our stamps and we leave the sauna office.

Step 4: Check your bike into Costa Rica
Across the dirt path we find the Aduana (customs) office/shack. We hand our paperwork over and he tells us we need insurance. We show our USA cards and tell him it’s valid. He doesn’t care and won’t process our paperwork until we purchase the $14 USD insurance. Back across into another building we purchase the insurance. Again, back across to the Aduana building and he completes the paperwork but tells us we need to drive further down for more paperwork. Huh? We move on and Charles spots some random unmarked building. We drive up and look confused but some guys tells us to park and go to the window. After 10 minutes waiting in line the lady takes our papers and basically types everything into the computer. The first guy didn’t have a computer so he wrote it all out on paper. Now this lady types it into the computer? Efficient… I see that I’m not the first to think this and there’s scribble on the wall at the window.

So, after 4.5 hours we’re out of Nicaragua and into Costa Rica!

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This post is from  Life Remotely. To read their full experience and see photos, see the detailed article at  http://liferemotely.com/trip-shenanigans/costa-rica/179-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
Date crossed: Saturday, April 23, 2012

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.

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This is guest post from Sellheim (Dom), originally posted on  Horizons Unlimited [LINK: http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/central-america-and-mexico/complete-central-america-mexico-colombia-71892] .
Costa Rica-Nicaragua, Penas Blancas Border: Crossed 22/9/12.
Usual Pan Am heavy traffic jam coming up to border. Also about 10 helpers rushed out at me to get business as I entered the Nicaraguan exit, nearly hit them. Definitely be cautious. Bit more of a run around than other borders, as there are 4 different buildings which you have to go to several times to get everything done. I would have preferred to go to the more mellow Los Chiles border but I was pressed for time. For the Los Chiles border however, you have to drive a fair way into Costa Rica to get insurance and back to this border to get properly stamped in though. 

Exit Nicaragua: 
Aduana and immigration in same building. Showed tourist permit paper and passport to immigration who stamped out passport and also tourist form. Cost USD$1.85 or 44NIO. Make sure you go to the exit side of immigration (2 separate offices) and not the entry, as they think you have just entered and try to get the entry fee again off you. Then you get directed to take your vehicle to across the parking lot to a policeman who checks your papers and is supposed to search your vehicle and signs them. He didn't search my bike, just signed them and directed me back to the aduana where you hand over all the paperwork. They didn't seem to care too much about the SAT paperwork or sticker from Guatemala. Just took the Nicaraguan paperwork, signed, stamped it and kept it. 

Enter Costa Rica: 
No fumigation necessary, just waved me through. Waited in line behind about 100 tourists for about 50 mins and got stamped in (no cost). Next ride 2 mins away from the immigration building where all the trucks are parked up. This is where the insurance office and aduana #2 is located, to get necessary insurance - cost USD$17. Get a photocopy of this and also your Costa Rican immigration entry stamp at the building next door, cost USD$2.00 or 1000 Costa Rican Colons (CRC). Next, back to aduana #1 (building across from immigration) to show all the paperwork and hand over the copies. The guy then checks the bike, gives you a paper to copy at the copy place next door USD$1 or 500CRC and give one back to him (no charge for aduana #1). Then go back to aduana #2 where they take all the copies and issue you your temporary vehicle permit (no charge). Nothing stamped in passport. Whole process took about 2hrs. There were hotels down towards Liberia and beyond. Most places take USD. 

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