GUIDE IN CROSSING THE COSTA RICA - NICARAGUA BORDER AT PEÑAS BLANCAS [MARCH 2015] with Bribery
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.