If you are entering Costa Rica via land from Nicaragua or, if you live in Guanacaste and need to renew your 90-day Tourist Visa, you will probably be crossing the border at Peñas Blancas. In this blog post, we will detail the entire process.
Here is what you will need for the whole process
- Your passport must be valid for a minimum of 6 more months - Verify if you need a visa to enter Nicaragua. (Us Citizens & Canadians don’t) - A plane ticket or bus ticket showing WHEN you will be leaving Costa Rica - Proof of 2 Covid-19 Vaccins Doses OR A negative PCR COVID test result to enter Nicaragua (taken within 72 hours)
Here is what it costs for the whole process
- $10 Costa Rica Exit Tax - $1 Nicaragua Municipal Entry Tax - $13 Nicaragua Entry Tax - $1 Nicaragua Municipal Exit Tax - $3 Nicaragua Exit Tax
Make sure you have the EXACT CHANGE for everything
To renew your 90-day tourist visa, you must first exit Costa Rica. Some people believe that it is necessary to stay out of the country for 3 days, but that is not the case. You can exit and re-enter immediately, the same day.
Leaving Costa Rica
Pay the Costa Rica Exit Tax
You must pay the $10 Land Exit Tax. The office to pay the exit tax is on your right, just before you arrive at the Immigration building. You must pay in US dollars. Make sure you keep your receipt.
Get Your Exit Stamp
Walk to the main building on your left. Once inside, hand your passport and your exit tax receipt to the officer. You may or may not be asked a few questions about your stay in Costa Rica. Make sure the agent stamps your passport with the Exit Stamp.
Remember that proof of 2 COVID-19 vaccin doses or a negative PCR COVID-19 test is required to enter Nicaragua. The test must have been administered within the last 72 hours.
Now that you have exited Costa Rica, you need to walk to Nicaragua. With the Costa Rica immigration building on your left, start walking away from it, towards Nicaragua. There is usually a line-up of trucks waiting to enter Nicaragua and other people walking in that direction.
Before you enter Nicaraguan territory, you will see a little hut on the right side of the road. There, a Costa Rica Border Police Officer will check that you have received your Costa Rica exit stamp.
First Checkpoint Entering Nicaragua
When you reach the Nicaragua side of the border, you need to cross the road to the left. You will see a small station on the sidewalk where a border agent checks passports and a doctor checks COVID-19 test results or vaccination proof.
After you have passed this checkpoint, you will need to cross the road back to the right side to get to the Nicaragua immigration building.
Covid Test Verification
Before entering the Nicaragua immigration Office, you need to stop at the small window to the right where someone will check (again) your COVID test or vaccination proof. You will receive a small piece of paper that confirms your that you comply with the COVID-19 restrictions. You must present this piece of paper to the border agent with your passport.
Pay $1 Nicaragua Municipal Entrance Tax
When you enter the Nicaragua Entry Office, someone will come to you to collect the $1 municipal Entrance tax. You should have the exact change. The person will give you a small receipt.
Get Your Entry Stamp
When you are in front of the border agent, hand him or her your passport, your municipal tax receipt and the piece of paper confirming that you comply with the COVID-19 restrictions.
The agent will ask you a few questions about the reasons for your trip to Nicaragua and where you are going. If you are doing a border run (renewing your tourist visa), you can tell them that you are simply entering and exiting immediately. They are used to it, and it is not against the law.
The agent will take your photo, and you will have to pay a $13 entry tax. You should have the exact change.
Once you have your Nicaragua entry stamp, walk to the luggage scanner, and put your luggage through. Exit the building. You will see the entrance to the Exit Office to your left.
Pay $1 Nicaragua Municipal Exit Tax
When you enter the immigration building to leave Nicaragua, someone will come to collect the $1 municipal Exit tax.
Get Your Exit Stamp
The immigration officer will ask you for the $3 exit tax. Make sure you have the exact change. Once you have your exit stamp, exit the building, and start walking back to Costa Rica.
Entering Costa Rica
You can find the Requirements to enter costa Rica in our previous blog post.
When you see the immigration building, go to the right. You will see a lot of orange cones, that is where you must enter.
When you are in front of the officer, they will ask for:
– Your proof of exit (bus ticket or flight ticket) You can have a PDF of your flight ticket on your phone. If you do not have a flight booked, you can buy a bus ticket. Across from the immigration building, there are different bus company booths where you can buy your exit ticket.
– Your address in Costa Rica, or the name of the hotel where you will be staying.
The officer will give you your entry stamp. If you have a flight ticket or bus ticket dated 90 days or so later as your proof of exit, your tourist visa should be for 90 days.