Border Crossing: Nicaragua to Costa Rica

The Nicaragua/ Costa Rica border crossing is more formal than a lot of Central American border crossings and is made easy with frequent and varied bus services.

• If coming from Ometepe Island make your way back across the lake on the earliest boat.

• Taxi back to Rivas bus station that you came through on the way to Ometepe Island.

• From Rivas bus station catch the Penas Blancas bus (C20 per person, 50 minutes). If you are wanting to go to San Juan you can depart the bus at the turn off (let the bus driver know). If going to the border stay on the bus until the last stop. 

• Complete the Nicaraguan border formalities. You are required to buy a $1 admin sheet the office box attached to immigration. There are often people trying to sell unrequired documents to you beforehand for a higher price. Don’t fool for it. There is a $2 exit fee from Nicaragua.

• Walk 10 minutes to the Costa Rican immigration office. pencil iconWe were not asked for an onward ticket but it is common for officials to ask one so best to have something to present.

• There are multiple bus company kiosks at the Costa Rican border, most heading to San Jose (2915 per person, 6 hours 30 mins).

• For Monteverde catch the same San Jose bound buses. Ask someone around you or the driver to notify you of the Sardinal/Rancho Grande intersection and depart here. Apparently there are buses waiting here to connect directly to Monteverde/ Santa Elena. It’s definitely worth trying this route if bound for Monteverde however the bus did not stop for us. If you do end up in San Jose just grab a place to stay for the night and catch one of the buses bound for Monteverde the next day.

•NB: it may be fairly ambitious to make your way from Ometepe Island to Monteverde in one day. Consider breaking up the trip.


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