One thing I hate to drive in is wind and that means a wind farm is never a good sign. Gusting to 35mph. I guess it could be a lot worse it could be dark and raining. I really used to dread the border-crossing day, but as Guaterider says expect the worst, but hope for the best. I really look at it as a game now. We really find the horde of “helpers” that descend on you very stressful. We just continue to say no gracias and they eventually get tired of us.
The exit for two bikes and us from Nicaragua and entry to Costa Rica is 3 hours 45 min (2 hours was standing in line to get passport stamp at CR immigration). Step 1 is to get out of Nicaragua. You stop at small blue shack in the middle of the road where the official looks at your passport and signs your Nicaraguan import permit. Ask for a tourist exit paper. You need to fill this out for exit. Drive past the white Migration building ahead and turn left, then continue past the buildings and go left again around to the back to park. Here you pay 1$ each tax and then 4.50$ exit fee at different unmarked windows of course. Keep your receipts. You get your passport exit stamp here as well. Then the official will check your VIN and sign your permit (again). Then you need to find a cop to sign your Nicaraguan import permit. Look for them across the lot sitting in the shade under a tree. Then take the permit back in side for more signatures.Finally you take your import permit with multiple signatures and give it to the official on the road as you leave Nicaragua.
Step 2 is to enter Costa Rica. Drive to the fumigation station where they ask to see you passport. We did not have to have fumigation done. Luckily there are no “helpers” here. Drive to the gate where they ask for your passport and direct you to the white migration building ahead. We had the bad luck to arrive at 845 am along with 4 full buses that unloaded just in front of us. The line was glacial and took 2 hours. Make sure you fill out a second CA tourist paper for here (the police there have them). No one ever looked at our luggage, despite the bus passengers having to put theirs thru an x-ray scanner.
Next walk or drive 300 m down to the Aduana (not across the street to the yellow building marked Aduana, that comes later). At Aduana number 1 you pay 30$ for 3 months of CR insurance and then get copies of the insurance paper, passport photo page, immigration stamp page, Drivers License, and vehicle title across the street. Then proceed back to the small yellow Aduada number 2, where they will check all your papers, then your VIN, and send you back to Aduana number 1 with your stapled stack of papers. Back here at Aduana number 1 they then enter your data into the computer and give you your Costa Rican import permit. Check the VIN, Plate numbers, and dates carefully.
There was an elderly French man here who was livid as his paper had incorrect dates and implied he had over staid his visa. This of course could not be corrected on a Sunday. This photo was taken just after he backed into the parked semi truck, but luckily no harm was done.
Finally made it!!!
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for more see our ADVRider Ride report Finding Freedom.