by: Robelyn Martinez Yambao
Third Trip June 2015 - Bus from San Jose to Peñas Blancas
Here I am again sharing my third visit to Nicaragua. For recap, I went to Nica alone during my first trip and I got my stamp successfully, I stayed over night in Rivas before heading back to CR. In my second trip, I was with a friend. Same procedures in getting stamp but we took the San Jose route and stayed at the border for few hours only and got bribed by officer at check point. This time, the building of the Nicaragua Immigration office transferred to the left side. The new building was in blue color and much bigger than the old building located on the right.
We did the same travel plan from Jaco to San Jose that we thought same terminal as what we experienced before but, we were wrong!
When we went to the terminal of deldu at 2:00 am, no passengers were waiting at the area, so strange. So we thought that we just arrived too early but, the gate was locked. Then, we went to the next terminal nearby to sit on the waiting area across the road. While waiting there, the guard of the said terminal asked us what were we doing there? and we told him about our trip with deldu. He said the terminal was transferred already a lil bit farther from there. He suggested to get a taxi since it was still dawn and not safe for us to walk. Luckily, we found one and the driver took us to the general terminal.
I asked the guard on duty about the departure time of the bus going to Peñas Blancas and where to buy our tickets. He showed us the way going to the booth where we can get our tickets. The terminal was so big compared to the old ones. When I got our tickets, it was same price with the previous trips I had.
I was expecting to see the same Deldu bus before but I was amazed when a double deck bus arrived on the station. That was my first time to ride a double deck bus ever. Our seat numbers were located at the upper deck and it was a great experience!
On the way, we had a stop over on the same restaurant I stated on my second trip. As usual, we ate the food I brought with us.When we headed to Nicaragua, we did not experience check point on the way unlike before where police comes inside the bus to check the passport of each passenger. It was a smooth trip and I slept all the way.
When we arrived at the border, I observed again that the booth in paying tax was transferred on the left side of the old booth. I paid the tax and they collected $8 dollars this time even it was stated in the receipt $7 only. I asked the man why they collected $8 instead of $7? He said $1 for service charge. So we left the place puzzled.
So, same process before. We exit Costa Rica and enter Nicaragua smoothly and no hassles. What was really annoying always was the people coming to you asking some offer or help and we always say no. Now, the Nicaragua Immigration Office was transferred to the building next to the gate where we gonna enter Nicaragua land.
So, that's it. We went to the same hostel I went before during my first trip. We paid taxi $10 going to Rivas and we stayed the night there. We observed food was really cheaper than Costa Rica. We changed some cash to Cordobas. $1 is 27 cordobas. I gave the $20 and he gave me 540 cordobas. I paid hotel 270 cordobas. When we return to the border the next day we paid the taxi driver 220 cordobas.
We had a smooth processing again. This time the officers were so good and treated us nicely.
COSTA RICA SIDE
At the Costa Rica immigration, the officer asked for my ticket and I was prepared and showed my itinerary using my phone. But, my american friend was not prepared. His ticket cannot be found in his email. The officer won't consider so he told her he's leaving Wednesday. It was Sunday at that moment. Then, the officer stamped his passport 3 days of stay in Costa Rica. What? Yes, only 3 days stay in Costa Rica. Luckily, that was a real trip. If not, he needs to exit Costa Rica again forcefully. Well, I got 90 days as usual.
That's all for today! I hope you will read more of my travel articles here.
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by: Robelyn Martinez Yambao
SECOND TRIP MARCH 2015: TAKING BUS FROM SAN JOSE TO PEÑAS BLANCAS
The first time I tried to travel in Nicaragua was very challenging since I had no idea about the border. This time, I was accompanied by a friend and I was really confident in crossing because I really know what to do and expect.
This trip was really different with my first trip. I can consider it as a first time again. Even though I already experienced crossing here, it was challenging again because we broke the 3 days rule since, we tried to comeback at the end of the day.
But, something annoying happened on this trip...What was that?
I renewed my stamp again last March 2015. We took bus going to Nicaragua from San Jose same bus liner, the Deldu. From Jaco where I lived during that time, we took the last trip going to San Jose so we arrived there evening that we needed a room next to the terminal because the first trip going to Peñas blancas was 3 a.m. We paid $15 for that room and stayed there till 3:00 a.m.
Early in the morning, we went straight to the bus terminal. They did not have ticketing booth. We just paid the driver four thousand or more colones equivalent to $9.
On the way, I was expecting to have a stop over at the same restaurant in my first trip but I was wrong. We ate our breakfast at the restaurant I posted as shown in the photo above (It was still dark when we arrived).
The road trip was still the same before, a tiring road trip. I just slept all the way until we reached Peñas Blancas at past 9:00 am.
So first thing we paid the exit tax, then got stamped. We walked towards Nicaragua border. There was a checkpoint to check our passports. After that, entering the gate with two officers checking the passport again and then we headed to the other side to get lil square piece of paper like stub and they asked me my nationality and wrote it down on the list. In short, same process with my first experience last 2014. But, this time I was prepared with my xerox of my passport. We waited for few minutes and I got my visa smoothly. No hassles...
GOING BACK TO COSTA RICA
After the stamping, my friend suggested that we can go back to Costa Rica after few hours. I was hesitant because I knew that I need to stay even a night in the country but I would never know if that is true if I wont try it. So we gave it a try!
We went to the nearby town in Nicaragua to find internet cafe to print out my ticket since my phone got empty battery. I was not able to print my ticket when we were still in Jaco. My friend told me not to worry about it because they won't ask for that. I was worried because I experienced already entering Costa Rica and they asked me my return ticket going back to my home country, Philippines.
When he saw my uncomfortable face, he found someone to help us find internet cafe. That was our mistake because that boy tried to bribe us.
We went to net cafe and paid the guy $5 for sending us back and forth by taxi. We never got my print out ticket because I couldn't enter in my email because of security code. In short, internet cafe hunting was a waste of time and money.
We headed back to the border since we decided to go back to Costa Rica after few hours. But the boy did not leave us pretending he was there to kill time. We did the step by step procedure in exiting Nicaragua which was the same in my first trip. When we reached the exit gate for check point of passport, the officer and the boy were talking in Spanish. Finally, the officer said we couldn't go back to Costa Rica because I have Visa and I need to stay for 3 days in their country. That was the start of annoying part of our journey. They bribe us!
I was annoyed because I already have stamp that I exit the country. I told him what would I do? Why the officer inside did not tell me? He shouldn't stamped my passport if that's the case! I already have this exit stamp!!!
My friend knows bribery so he to me to be calm. He talked to the boy to talk to the officer about our situation. They were asking for money. My friend offered $5 but they did not accept. They want 10 thousand colones that's $20. I was really reacting because they were just playing games. Anyways, my friend is an American.
After giving them money, the boy asked for a tip again in helping us. I did not talk to him because I was really upset. So my friend gave him another $5.
We spent $25 for exiting the gate, $20 for the officers and $5 for the boy. I really hate that officer and the boy!
So in entering Costa Rica was also same in my first trip. But, this time the officer did not ask me to show my return ticket. He just asked me how many days to stay in Costa Rica.
After that, my stamp for my stay in Costa Rica was renewed for another 90 days. I was so happy. We took the same bus at 1:00 p.m. and luckily we still got seats in San Jose which was the last trip going to Jaco. That was really a long hours of road trip.
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A licensed teacher in the Philippines who shifted her career into another direction to follow her passion to be a blogger. Her blogs are related in traveling and simple living as an expat in a foreign land.