The tropical country of Costa Rica, which is situated between Nicaragua and Panama on the Central American isthmus, has been seeing a wave of visitors because of its focus on ecotourism and adventure travel. However, due to the increasing migration from one of its border countries, Nicaragua to the north, as well as from other Latin countries in the region, the border crossings near Costa Rica can create a massive headache for travelers. Some believe the lengthy process that involves paperwork and long lines will help alleviate this growing trend in immigration, despite the unintended impact it is also having on tourists. There may be some methods to alleviate the headache and smooth the process, such as taking a bus.
Crossing from Nicaragua
There are many steps involved in the mission to cross from Nicaragua. First you have to complete the process of leaving Nicaragua. You will be asked for a $1 USD fee and receive a stamped ticket to take to the immigration office. You'll pay to receive your exit form, roughly $0.25 USD and wait in an extremely long line to reach the window where you'll be asked the typical questions (i.e. where you are from, where you are heading) before getting your passport stamped for exit and also are handed an exit ticket. Head into Costa Rica where you'll be greeted by another line for an office to be stamped some more and hopefully are good to go!
Crossing from Panama
The biggest hurdle you'll encounter while trying to cross into Costa Rica from Panama is the time their borders open. Yes, borders have opening and closing times and Costa Rica does not open theirs until 90 minutes after Panama, which opens at 5:30 a.m. Losing that extra hour of sleep to get in line is definitely the proper choice in this situation because you'll be right up front when Costa Rica opens at 7 a.m. After that, it's just a matter of following signs and directions to get through the process as smoothly and swiftly as possible.
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