We left San Juan del Sur at 7am and cycled against strong headwinds to the border to Costa Rica. It's our 9th border crossing (8th by land), so we are getting into a routine.
Leaving Nicaragua was easy: we paid 1US$ tax to some woman when entering the migration office, then 2$US for some other fee at the lady who checked the passports and got our exit stamp.
Then we cycled some 300m to the Costa Rican migration and had to wait in line. We used the time to exchange the rest of our Nicaraguan Córdoba into Costa Rican colones. We had to queue for about an hour until it was our turn at migration. (If you pay the right person enough money like some other people did, you can actually skip the line and go directly to the migration desk.) Quick questions about our profession and our first place to stay, then we got our stamps. Next, we had to unload the bikes in order to have our bags scanned. Like in Nicaragua, noone looked at the screen, so it's a totally useless procedure. Then we could load the bikes again and were in Costa Rica.
In Costa Rica, we passed a long line of trucks waiting to enter Nicaragua. After 5km, I stopped and asked a guy how long it usually takes to cross if you go by truck. He told me they had been waiting since the day before and were hoping to cross tomorrow. He also said that it's all dependent on relationship and you should better have a relative or a friend working at the border to accelerate the process. Hmm, and we thought 1.5 hours was already long... We continued passing the line of trucks which was 12km long in total.
Even though it was only 1pm, we decided to stop in La Cruz and call it a day. We found a hotel, discovered a well-organized supermarket with Paderborner beer (!), prepared dinner and the central square and enjoyes the sunset view.
At first impression, Costa Rica seems greener than Nicaragua, people are very friendly and it's more developed (and more expensive) than the Central American countries we visited before. Let's see what is awaiting us here in the next few days.Read more