Yes you an cross a personal car to Nicaragua, from the border to Granada will be between 2 to 2-5 hours. Rentes cars cannot cross the border into Nicaragua, what you can do is rent another one on the Nicaragua side in places like Budget Rent a Car.
Thank you. Is as I suspected.
Hola R Rodriguez
A pair of pens
• current valid passport
• Visa stamped output
• Output documents valid for the vehicle. This documentation is obtained from the local police in the town where your vehicle was registered.
• Vehicle Registration valid.
• Proof of vehicle insurance
• valid driver's license
• 3 photocopies of the passport. Vehicle registration, car insurance certificate, exit visa for your self, identification card (including the front of all documents that are stamped or printed stamps)
• Patience - generally more than usual - simply because they know what kind of adventure is why you are going.
• Lots and lots of patience because it is worth
• A positive attitude and humor.
• Bring enough change - Cordobas or dollars (U.S.) in the case of Nicaragua and colones or dollars (U.S.) in the case of Costa Rica. Contrariety what many believe you can get a better exchange of coyotes that banks but that if you have to know the type of changes you have at the moment.
And i also recommend to ask your local police station or migration office as they have more documentation
About safety i recommend to drive during the day as is dark at night there are few street lights on the road and stick to the main roads get some basic stuff that police will ask on the road as Reflecting triangle, Fire extinguisher, etc.
And as my friend Rodolfo said only personal cars and no rent a cat and the driving time is 2 to 2.3 hours.
I did a border crossing with my family of four two summers ago. Here is how I did it:
Rodolfo sent a driver to Liberia (actually Playa Del Coco) from Granada, Nicaragua. He picked us up and drove us in an very new and comfy minivan to Granada. (and we round tripped back with his very courteous driver Jamal) However the trip, a 3 hour excursion by car, is stalled on the border by all the stuff said by Byron in #4. OMG a bureaucratic fiasco by comparison to what you might encounter in the US. Which will extend your trip by at least 2-3 hours. (So plan 4-6 hours)
Here is how I would have changed my trip w/hind sight: If you are renting a car it is avg. $100 per day, so seriously park the car and take a reliable taxi driver on each side of the border to get you there. With a reliable driver on the CR side you will be able to maneuver the very long line, quickly, of lined-up semi-trucks to get to the border and I guarantee you will not have the skill to do this on your own, which could cost you another 1-2 hours. Trust me I learned to drive in San Francisco the local drivers are very skilled at passing. And not to mention if you ride instead of drive you will not be stressed from spending 2 hours getting to the border with your passengers watching for potholes in the Pan American Highway.
Once at the border you can walk across and just do the passport and entry visa stuff, therefore skipping all the vehicle paper work, from #4, which is a ginourmous time glut. (not to mention... it is sunny, 90F, humid, with no AC) On the Nica side of the border have Rodolfo send you a driver. Also once you get into Nica the taxis are less expensive, but read (here) on TA to know which ones to take or even better get a reliable driver.
Drivers are equal or less then renting a car and you can enjoy the trip. Less expensive: bus to the border..but I have not tried it and do not know the timing. Nica and Granada are well worth the effort from CR as it is a beautiful colonial city, with a lot to see in the city as well as its surrounding areas. If you are going in July...I will see you there:) Nica is fantastic, as is CR!
Buen Viaje you will have a great time.
Thanks for your information. We have a house and live in Costa Rica four - five months out of the year and have gotten used to getting around. We are bilingual which really helps. Overall, the good advise we received will assist us, hopefully to get through immigration and customs fairly quickly. We will get our departure car permit in Liberia and try to get to the border early in the morning.
Again, thanks for your advise.
Sorry to answer the question that was asked nativesonjo.
One small but important reminder. When you cross immigration coming back into Costa Rica; immigration is going to ask you for a proof of your departure out of the country - i.e. flight reservation, etc.