Crossing from Nicaragua to Costa Rica

Our Nicabus at the border

Crossing land borders can either be a pleasurable and easy experience or a hassle and time wasting experience, our crossing with Nicabus from Nicaragua to Costa Rica was a pleasurable experience.

We had left Ometepe Island the day before and spent the evening at Hotel Hamacas in San Jorge close to the ferry port.

The Bus Shelter in Rivas Opposite Maxi Pali Supermarket in Nicaragua

The Bus Shelter in Rivas Opposite Maxi Pali Supermarket

Our tickets were purchased in Granada a few weeks before, we recommend to pre purchase tickets where you can as the bus stop is on the main road in Rivas opposite the Maxi Pali Supermarket beside the Rivas Stadium.

Nicabus departs Managua at 5.30am in the morning and travels via Granada and Rivas picking up passengers.  We were advised to arrive at the bus stop at around 7.00am and the bus would arrive anytime before 8.00am, in fact it arrived at 7.45am.  The Nicabus representative spoke English which is a bonus in a land crossing. Our bags were loaded and we boarded the bus.  We were impressed with the bus, new, fancy, spacious and very comfortable.  We were handed immigration documents that had been completed with information provided by us at the time of booking our tickets, we checked them and handed our passports back to the representative who would process the exit formalities at the Nicaraguan Immigration. There are two fees that need to pay in USD although we paid them in cordobas.  The first is a 1USD border crossing fee and another 3USD exit tax.

Nicaragua Immigration

Nicaragua Immigration

At 8.25am we were at the border. After about 5 minutes waiting on the bus we were told to disembark. There are a lot of money changers hustling passengers as they alighted from the bus, be on your guard at this stage.  You can purchase drinks, hot meals and souvenirs etc at this time.

At 8.45am customs boarded the bus for their routine checks.

Costa Rica Immigration

At 9.05am we boarded the bus again arriving at Immigration in Costa Rica  at 9.15am.

The entrance to Costa Rica Immigration

The entrance to Costa Rica Immigration

The Nicabus representative does not assist in the entry formalities here.  We were instructed to retrieve our bags and head to the Immigration building.

The Costa Rican authorities need proof of an airline ticket showing your departure date from Costa Rica.  We had known of this in advance and had a return flight booked, we handed this document and our passport over to the Immigration official where it was stamped and handed back to us.

Looking back at Costa Rica Immigration Building - luggage scanner section

Looking back at Costa Rica Immigration Building – luggage scanner section

Our bags are then put through security and we boarded the bus at 09.27am.  This was all done fairly quickly as there were no queues at immigration at this time.

Through Costa Rica Immigration and heading towards the bus

Through Costa Rican Immigration and heading towards the bus

We left Costa Rica immigration at 9.40am.

3 hours into the journey we made a stop for 20 minutes for food and a toilet break. Nicabus does have a toilet on board.  The journey was estimated at 5 hours from the border to San Jose and we arrived on time after making one stop to let passengers off at the airport.

Ticket Cost: USD28.75 per person

We would highly recommend Nicabus for the journey to Costa Rica.  They are professional, the bus is modern and clean and the driver was of a high standard.

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1 Comment

  • Jo says:

    I can’t recall the bus company but it wasn’t Nicabus. The funny thing is – we did not pay anything at any time of our border crossing and neither did we have to show a return air ticket to Immigration in Costa Rica.

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