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Specifics on crossing the border to Nicaragua

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Rahway, New Jersey
posts: 186
reviews: 103
Specifics on crossing the border to Nicaragua

We will be taking a bus from Liberia and want to cross on foot (not take the tourist bus that goes directly across). I just want to make sure I have all the info, so a few questions...

We will take a taxi to the bus station in Liberia. Is there more than 1 station? Do I need to specify or just say bus station?

http://www.thebusschedule.com/cr/index.php seems to indicate buses every 45 minutes via a company called Tranbasa. Is this the only company? So I will look for the Tranbasa bus marked Peñas Blancas, and it should cost under $10?

Entrance fee on foot = $7 and we do not need to pay the Costa Rica departure tax, right?

We will then take taxis to & from San Juan del Sur. When we return to Costa Rica, the re-entrance fee is $3? And how will we find the bus back to Liberia?

Sorry if this is really over thinking... I just want to make the trip as efficient as possible! We are staying 2 nights so hopefully it will be better than some of the nightmarish day trip stories.

Costa Rica
posts: 23,229
reviews: 26
1. Re: Specifics on crossing the border to Nicaragua

1. There is just one bus station in Liberia.

2. It is a municipal bus station so all the buses just line up in various parking spots. This way, it's easy to see their destination. Just look for the bus with "Penas Blancas" on the front. If people are in line for an empty space where the bus has not arrived yet, you can just say "Penas Blancas?" as a question to see if that's the bus they are waiting for. If so, get in line. I think the bus company is actually Transportes Deldu -but not matter -- just look for the sign on the front.

3. It will cost less than $10 - pay the driver in colones. You can get colones at an ATM before you exit the airport. (As you exit the secure area, it will be on your right....)

4. You do not pay the Departure Tax. Get off the bus and get in line to go inside the building to have your passport stamped on the Costa Rican side. Then walk to the Nicaraguan side. I think the entrance is $7 - they accept dollars but NOT colones - but it may change at any time.

5. The easiest thing for you is to take a taxi to San Juan Del Sur. Very convenient and probably less than $20.

6. When you return, have your passport stamped on the Nicaraguan side, walk over to the Costa Rican side and have your passport stamped. There may or may not be a luggage inspection at either place. As far as I know, there is no entrance fee for Costa Rica.

7. Buses for Liberia or San Jose will be waiting near the building where your passport gets stamped. You will see a bus shelter there with people waiting if the bus is not there.

Rahway, New Jersey
posts: 186
reviews: 103
2. Re: Specifics on crossing the border to Nicaragua

Thank you so much, Hattie!

Bx
posts: 233
reviews: 18
3. Re: Specifics on crossing the border to Nicaragua

There are 2 bus stations in Liberia. There is the Pulmitan Terminal. This is the buses to San Jose and occasional express buses to Playas del Coco. Hattie's information seems inaccurate.

The other bus station is the one you want. It is about two blocks from the Pulmitan station. It has the local buses to Guanacaste and to the Frontera. The bus schedule to Penas Blancas is on the billboards posted above the stores. These are the local buses. Transporte Deldu are the buses that go from San Jose to Penas Blancas and does stop there as well but is infrequent compared to the local buses.

The fee for the local buses is 1600 colones.

There are three fees to enter Nicaragua and no fees to leave Costa Rica.

1. The first fee is a $1 municipal tax to Cardenas (assessed for both entering an leaving. Give the person in the booth $1 and get the slip of paper, stick it in passport).

2. The is a $2 fee for all non Nationals of Nicaragua to enter the country. The will give you a receipt at the window. (This is also charged to leave Nicaragua as well)

3. There is further fee charged for those who are not from Central America Countries. It varies, depending on your nation of citizenship, but for US passport holders it is $10. They will issue a receipt.

The biggest hassle is getting the immigration and customs forms. Get 4 for each person (leave CR, enter Nic, and for your return leave Nic, and enter CR). Often these forms are not readily available and you will be directed by the border agents to the guttersnipes that hustle these forms for coins.

There will be taxi drivers there if you want a taxi. The Rivas bus also boards there. You can take the Rivas bus to the San Juan del Sur cut off and then switch to the San Jaun del sur bus or take the bus into Rivas and get on the San Juan del Sur bus at the Rivas terminal.

Your bags will be xrayed after immigration on the Costa Rica side when you return to Costa Rica.

Costa Rica
posts: 23,229
reviews: 26
4. Re: Specifics on crossing the border to Nicaragua

Apologies, majesty318, for forgetting about the Pulmitan Bus Station!

You can see the frequency and times of the buses from Liberia to Penas Blancas at thebusschedule.com Both Deldu and Tranbasa go from Liberia to Penas Blancas and the buses leave the station pretty frequently - sometimes only 20 minutes apart. Actually, Transporte Deldu stops pretty frequently, as you can see.

Rahway, New Jersey
posts: 186
reviews: 103
5. Re: Specifics on crossing the border to Nicaragua

This is great information, exactly what I needed. Thanks again!

Rahway, New Jersey
posts: 186
reviews: 103
6. Re: Specifics on crossing the border to Nicaragua

One more question. How much should I expect for the taxi from Liberia airport to the bus station? And how far of a ride?

Barrie, Canada
posts: 2,153
reviews: 38
7. Re: Specifics on crossing the border to Nicaragua

"guttersnipes" Micky And you seriously wonder why your posts get removed???

Costa Rica
posts: 23,229
reviews: 26
8. Re: Specifics on crossing the border to Nicaragua

From the airport to the bus station, a taxi will cost around $20. There are also frequent buses from Liberia to the airport and back so you could also take the bus. That will probably be around $3-$5. It takes about 20-30 minutes from the airport to the bus station, depending on traffic, etc.

Rahway, New Jersey
posts: 186
reviews: 103
9. Re: Specifics on crossing the border to Nicaragua

Would the bus from the airport be easy to find (follow signs for ground transportation or such)? And it would be marked as destination bus station?

Costa Rica
posts: 23,229
reviews: 26
10. Re: Specifics on crossing the border to Nicaragua

It will be the only "city" bus you will see. It will probably say "Liberia/Aeropuerto" on the front.

The Liberia airport isn't very big. Once you exit the customs area, you will be "herded" down a roped off area where drivers and friends and rental car shuttle drivers are waiting. If you look to your right, you will see the access road that runs in front of the airport. It's about 40-50' from where you exit the customs area.

You can just go outside and wait. You could ask one of the helpful gentlemen where the bus stops (there may even be a sign - I don't remember) - or just flag it down as it arrives.

Probably, it will stop at the door to the "Departures" area where the airline check-ins are located. As you exit the customs area, this will be to your left. So if you walk straight out the doors and turn left and walk towards the Departure entrance, it should be easy to pick up the bus there. You will pay the driver in colones. You can get colones at an ATM before you exit the airport -- when you exit the roped-off area after customs, look to your right.