Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Costa Rica Nicaragua Border Crossing at Los Chiles UPDATE

Crossing the border from Los Chiles Costa Rica to San Carlos Nicaragua.

NOT to be confused with the more popular and EXTREMELY busy border crossing between the 2 countries at Penas Blancas, although we do have video of that border crossing as well. *BOTH Border Crossing videos are posted BELOW.

The majority of people who use the Los Chiles Costa Rica to San Carlos Nicaragua border crossing are usually folks who are affectionately or infamously, depending on your view, called 'perpetual tourists'. Briefly, 'perpetual tourists' are people who live in Costa Rica but do NOT have residency, so they have to leave EVERY 90 days (like a tourist would) to get their passport (visa) stamped in order to remain legal. It may not be the BEST way to live in Costa Rica but it is legal. And NO, you don't have to remain out of the country for 72 hours as evidenced by this video.

D'Angelo and I chillen' in Los Chiles Costa Rica waiting for the boat to leave.

Normally, we travel by bus since riding the buses in Costa Rica are a cheap and usually efficient form of transportation. We paid $4.00/pp from Muelle, which is about 25 minutes from our hometown, La Fortuna. Most buses to Los Chiles depart from Ciudad Quesada aka San Carlos. Often we rent a 'private' van if we have quite a few people who need to go (get their passport stamped). It's cost effective if you have enough people going.

The problem with this particular border crossing (at least with perpetual tourist types) at this particular time, is the boat only leaves TWICE a day, once at 12:30 and the other at 3:30 and the only return boat to Costa RIca is at 4:00. This gives you NO time in San Carlos to shop or even have a beer, let alone lunch, unless of course you want to stay a night or two in San Carlos. It used to leave earlier but what it really comes down to is 'supply and demand'... the more people crossing and the more times they will cross. Usually the folks working on the Nicaraguan side don't hassle you about 'coming and going' quickly,,but they could, which is ALWAYS the problem with these crossings...9 times out of 10, it's all good but get the wrong guy and they can give you shit, pretty much forcing you to at least stay 1 night, although this has NEVER happened to us.

THIS IS WHY YOU ALWAYS TREAT THE FOLKS AT THE BORDER WITH EXTREME COURTESY... and personally, I would give them a little something/something in the form of a 'present' or hell, bake some cookies..whatever, but if you live in Costa Rica and you ARE a perpetual tourist,,you don't need the problems, so do what you gotta do.

A couple years back, the boat left earlier and you could spend more time in San Carlos, which was a good thing, there's CHEAP shopping there, so technically, San Carlos shoots itself in the foot by letting you do a quick 'turn and burn' as we call it, but then of course, it could be Costa Rica fuckin with them since that's where the boat leaves from originally..... who knows.

San Carlos Nicaragua offers some good bargains.

Another option is to procur a 'private' boat in Los Chiles. A few years ago it was relatively cheap, NOW they gringo price you BIG time and a boat can cost you $200. or more if you don't know what you're doing. It's only cost effective to do this if you have a LARGE group.

No matter who you are, perpetual tourist or NOT, if you do happen to return to Costa Rica, you need to KNOW and REMEMBER one thing that is extremely important. When you return to Costa Rica to get stamped in, you probably and most likely, especially now, be asked to PROVE your leaving Costa Rica within 90 days... you either need to show a airline ticket or bus ticket with the appropriate dates proving that fact....if you can't, they won't stamp you back into Costa Rica, or they won't until you can produce said document,,which is a pain in the ass to do.. doable, but a pain in the ass. It also forces you to spend the night in Los Chiles because it's not possible to do it over the internet fast enough before IMMIGRATION closes for the night. This border crossing is not 24/7.

You may not get this if you can't prove your leaving Costa Rica within 90 days.

This VIDEO will give you a good idea on what to expect when crossing the border between Los Chiles Costa Rica and San Carlos Nicaragua. Below it, is the border crossing between Costa Rica and Nicaragua at Penas Blancas a much BUSIER border crossing to say the least.

TONS of Costa Rica Travel Info and VIDEOS on our website: Travel Costa Rica NOW and if you want to visit our YouTube Channel: iCostaRica24 ENjoY!