How to Cross the Border: Costa Rica-Nicaragua by foot


To all of you fellow travelers that do not like to take buses or organized tours. Here are some tips on how to cross the border by yourself and not getting ripped off by any of the hundred people who want to sell you the immigration forms.

If you come by car from Costa Rica, you can park it about 100m on the left hand side in a secure parking lot, or so they say. I parked it there several times and nothing ever happened to the car. Make sure thought that you do not leave any electronics or personal belongings in-sight.

Costa Rica – Nicaragua Border Crossing

The immigration building will be on your left hand side. Once there, go inside to one of the immigration officers and ask for “boleta de immigracion”. Fill out the immigration form and go get your passport stamped at one of the windows. Once you have done that you can start walking towards Nicaragua.

The walk is about 1.5km – make sure to keep your passport in hand as you will have to pass several security points.

The immigration building for Nicaragua is the one on the right hand side, go to the back of the building, that’s where you will have to pay the entrance fee and get your passport stamped.

Stop at the first booth, pay $1 and proceed inside. Ask an immigration officer for “boleta de immigracion”. Fill out the immigration form, prepare $14 and go get your passport stamped. Make sure not to lose the receipt they give you because sometimes at the last check point they ask you for it.

Pass by the Duty Free if you want to. BTW… Alcohol, but rum especially is very cheap there. Their national rum “Flor de Cana 7 years” costs $12 for a 1L bottle.

After you did all that, you still have to walk for another 200m and pass the last check point. They will verify your stamps there and then you are ready to go.

If you are looking for transportation: Taxi – go to the left hand side. There are always a ton of taxis parked.

Fare to San Juan del Sur: $25

Fare to Granada: $60

If they tell you a higher price, negotiate!

It’s that simple to cross the border by yourself, you don’t need the help of anyone.

Nicaragua-Costa Rica Border Crossing

First you will see the Duty Free Shops. If you want to buy alcohol, make sure you do not buy more than 4 bottles. Costa Rica might give you a headache if you do so.

The immigration building is the one on the left hand side, go on the right side of the building, that’s where you will have to pay the entrance fee and get your passport stamped.

Stop at the first booth, pay $1 and proceed inside. Ask an immigration officer for “boleta de immigracion”. Fill out the immigration form, prepare $4 and go get your passport stamped. Make sure not to lose the receipt they give you because you might need it later.

Start walking towards Costa Rica. The walk is about 1.5km – make sure to keep your passport in hand as you will have to pass several security points.

The immigration building is on your right hand side. Once there, go inside to one of the immigration officers and ask for “boleta de immigracion”. Fill out the immigration form and go get your passport stamped at one of the windows. There are no fees to enter in Costa Rica, so make sure you do not pay anything.

If you are looking for transportation: Taxi – they are all parked in front of the building.

Fare to Liberia: around $70

Fare to Playas del Coco: $120

Other Things you should know:

  • Make sure to have a copy of your returning ticket. What this means: if you are going to visit one of these countries just for a couple of days, make sure that you have an exit ticket from the country that you will leave from. Example: if you go from Costa Rica to Nicaragua, make sure that when you come back to Costa Rica you have a ticket showing you will leave Costa Rica within the next 90 days. If you do not have it, they will not let you back in.
  • If you are going for a visa run to Nicaragua and do not know when you will go back to your home country, you can always buy a Tica Bus ticket for $26 and they will let you back in.

I hope that these tips helped and maybe we will pass each other at the border!

Market on the Nicaragua side

About Mrs. Sasu

Expat from Montreal, now living in beautiful Costa Rica. I am a travel addict, a photography passionate and wine & food lover.
This entry was posted in Costa Rica, Travel, World and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to How to Cross the Border: Costa Rica-Nicaragua by foot

  1. Abby says:

    I found it so exciting for some reason the one time we crossed on foot without a guide. We also had Denise’s chihuahua with us… That’s all I remember!!

  2. ellbyrne says:

    Hi. Thanks for the post! Very informative. I just made this run a month ago and wish I had had your post to guide me. I took buses from Liberia and the border, much cheaper than the taxis, but crowded and u have to wait.🙂 still, very doable.

    Question: how/where do you buy the tica bus ticket? It’s a year round ticket, right? I’m interested in getting one of those for my next visa run.🙂 thanks a lot!

  3. Wendy says:

    thank you for the information! regarding the secure parking, did you have to leave your car key? much appreciated!

    • Mrs. Sasu says:

      No you do not need to leave your keys to anyone. Make sure you don’t! lol
      There is just a guard there that watches the cars.

      • Wendy says:

        Great! I will let you know how it went! Really appreciate the information.

      • Mrs. Sasu says:

        Cool! Have fun!🙂

      • Wendy says:

        Just got back to Costa Rica and I must say that this was the SMOOTHEST border crossing to date. Parked for 5,000 colones (yes, expensive but worth it) in the parqueo just past CR immigrations on the right. It is a fenced location with a couple of offices, and two dogs that are on duty during the night. There were other cars/trucks staying that were much nicer then mine. On the way back into country, I was able to do some shopping in the Duty Free and put the goods in the truck before checking back into costa rica. could not have been better. Thank you, thank you for the recommendation. The truck was just the way we left it. Hope this finds you well! all the best, W

      • Mrs. Sasu says:

        Thank you Wendy! I hope you had a great time in Nicaragua. I am really glad that this blog post helped you… I hope you will share it with your friends and family! Pura Vida!

  4. Lisa at fLVE says:

    We just crossed the border and it looked exactly as you described it. We did do the tour thing though because we are visiting and not doing the visa thing, but it was so cool.🙂

  5. Pingback: My few days in Paradise ~ Costa Rica to Nicaragua (part 2 of ?) | ft. // la vie éclectique

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