by: Robelyn Martinez Yambao
Costa Rica Border
Hola my friends,
Last September 20, 2017 I had a visa run to Nicaragua. Before way back 2014, I always take the Peñas Blancas border in taking care of my visa stamp crossing the Nicaragua. This time, I had a chance to try the other border. This border was opened last May 2015 so, I wasn't able to know about this since I went back to Philippines on the same date.
The photo above is what it looks like when you reach the border. Just follow the arrow I put in the photo for step by step instruction on what to do in the building. It was so easy and no hassle with a short walk to Nicaragua side compared to Peñas Blancas border.
I am living in Palmares Alajuela. I hired a car to take me to the said border with my child. I was lucky because I have a friend who is a gringo neighbor living next to our apartment who offered the service. I paid $160 for taking me there and he also waited for me until I finish my papers. We left Palmares at 10:30 a.m. and reached the border after 3 hours or so.
As soon as I arrived, I paid our exit tax at the window I showed above in the picture. I never experienced paying this in the bank nor in the machine like what other travelers experienced in paying through credit/debit card. Below is a photo of my receipt, I paid it CASH!
Before entering the gate of Nicaragua, the Costa Rican officers will check your passport, they were sitting in a tent next to the gate of Nicaragua. When you enter the gate, the Nicaraguan Officer will also check your passport and will ask some questions in Spanish. Then, you proceed directly to the building few meters walk from the gate after that. In my case, I was lucky to have a special treatment maybe because I'm pregnant and with a child too or what? I don't know but, this was what happened:
I saw people in line to immigration window and I was confused where to pay municipality tax. I couldn't find a booth unlike in Peñas Blancas I already know what to do since I experienced it before about their taxes. So, I asked the officer who was standing like a guard outside about it. She took our passports with the xerox [I got my xerox at the window where I paid the Costa Rican exit tax cost 100 colones each page]. She passed it to another officer then, they asked me if it was my first time. I told them no because I did the visa run before in Peñas Blancas. I think that was their first time to encounter Philippine Passports. So, they went inside the office and let me waited for 15 minutes because Filipinos need Visa upon arrival. They gave me chair and they were so friendly. After that, the same officer came back to tell me the cost I'm going to pay. I told him I know already through Peñas Blancas experience. I showed them my old passport and they saw my old Nicaragua Visa in it. They asked me if I just came for stamping. I said yes and I asked them if it is okay to come back to CR after the stamping. They said "no problem" I can wait for another 15 min and I am free to go back without exiting the Nicaragua exit gate. They forwarded me to another officer at the window for formality of stamping and fees. The officer asked me if where am I going to Nicaragua. I said I will visit a friend in San Carlos [a lie of course] but I wanna go back to CR today. He said they will be closed at 5 p.m. so If I have plan to go back to CR same day I can stay in their office or in that area. I was glad because that was my plan after all. He did my arrival stamp, exit stamp and visa stamp one time only. I paid $10 for visitor's card, $4 for exit/municipality taxes and $50 for my visa. Below are the copy of our receipts:
After getting stamps, I didn't waste time because my friend was waiting for me on the other border in Costa Rica. We headed back to Costa Rica, the officer checked our passports again at the gate then, I went straight to the building of Costa Rican Immigration and filled out the form again then submitted it to the officer at the window. The officer didn't ask for my return ticket to my home country and it was really a different experience in Peñas Blancas though I was prepared to show it. I got the stamp with 90 days again. So happy with my experience in this border. We headed home and reached Palmares at 6.30 p.m.
This is my hub for today and I recommend to try it next time when you need to renew your stamp. Nice experience ever!
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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.