How to get from Costa Rica to Nicaragua
Updated October 7th, 2021
You’ve most likely done some research to get to this point, and yes it is better to travel through Costa Rica to get to Nicaragua. Liberia, Costa Rica, or in some cases San Jose, Costa Rica. Both have international airports with many more flight options, direct flights and in many cases cheaper prices.
Flying directly to Managua, Nicaragua is an option but please be careful. Airlines are advertising flights and then cancel them as the date gets close.
For most people Liberia will be the airport of choice, with tons of options, better prices and just a little over an hour away from the Nicaragua/Costa Rica border, people have been choosing this option pre-pandemic. For travellers headed to southern Nicaragua, Liberia airport (LIR) is the closest international airport.
Bienvenido a Nicaragua, The land of Lakes and Volcanoes. Lake Cocibolca and la isla Omotepe greet you on your arrival.
While you don’t need a Covoid test for Costa Rica, if you are not yet vaccinated it is required that you purchase a special health travel insurance to cover you as you pass through. This is varies around $11 a day with a 5 day minimum, here are some approved options : BlueCross , INS Sagicor or trawick intrernational. You will also need to fill out a health pass (example here) and proof of onward travel (your return ticket) to enter Nicaragua.
Arriving at the land border of Pena Blanca border into Nicaragua you will have to present a negative covid test that has been taken in the last 72 hours. That gives you the option to take a test before you get on a plane or can be done at the Liberia airport https://www.metropolitanocr.com/ .
AN APPROVED PCR (POLYMERASE CHAIN REACTION) NEGATIVE COVID TEST IS REQUIRED BY NICARAGUAN IMMIGRATION LESS THAN 3 DAYS BEFORE ENTERING THE COUNTRY. THIS CURRENTLY APPLIES TO ALL AGES AND IS STILL APPLICABLE AFTER HAVING VACCINES. REQUIREMENTS INCLUDE HAVING TEST RESULTS SIGNED AND STAMPED BY THOSE WHO ISSUE THE TEST RESULTS.
OVERVIEW: Costa Rica to Nicaragua
1 – Taxi from Liberia to Border (90 minutes $80)
2- Exit Costa Rica (30 minutes, $12 tax)
3 – Cross the border (10 minutes)
4- Enter Nicaragua (30 minutes, $3 per person)
Total time : Liberia – to Nicaragua 2.5 hours.
From San Jose 7 hours.
So yes a little trickier then ordering in. But that’s the point, get out and get some adventure! You can take the easy road and stay in Costa Rica (aka the same old pizza) or you can cross the border and get some distinct culture and genuine travel experiences with some stories to take home with you.
The other way to get from Costa Rica to Nicaragua.
Ay yae yae los Chiles, spicy! That’s a town in Costa Rica on the Rio Frio which flows into lake Nicaragua.
This route makes sense for people who are in the La Fortuna area of Costa Rica as it’s only about an hour and a half to the border from there.
Look out for Iguanas as you pass through the area of Muelle (Iguana hot spot).
It used to be a romantic boat ride down the Rio Frio, now simpler but less flavour land border crossing.For the master chef I bet you could cook it up according to the old recipe as seen here.
Not many people use this border crossing which means it’s practically empty. Which makes for a fast and very easy process to go through immigration on both sides of the border.
The Border officers are much more relaxed about the official rules, so for people doing a border run there is a good chane travelers won’t need to wait the standard 72 hours in the other country before renewing their visa.
The physical border crossing itself is quite short, on the Tico side (Costa Rica) buses drop you off right in front of the immigration/border office. After clearing immigration it’s just a 100m walk on a paved road to reach the Nicaraguan office.
On the Nica side of things, mini-vans pick up/drop off passenger right at the border and take about 45-60 minutes to reach San Carlos. These vans leave when full.
Now you are in Rio San Juan, the gateway to Nicaragua’s Caribbean.
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