Travelling on the TIca Bus or Nica Bus or any other tourist like transportation bus this is what to expect while at the border between Costa Rica & Nicaragua and general information while crossing the border Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
TRAVELLING ON THE TICA BUS
Make sure you get the required paperwork you need for the border crossing and complete it before you get to the border. This is usually given to you while at the main bus station or when you get on the bus.
While on the Tica Bus (our bus for this trip), you should have free wifi while on the bus. The password is located at the front of the bus, but it’s simple (ticabus insert year). They speak some english, but not all (sometimes none of them) speak english just a heads up, but everything is manageable evens without english. It does has Air Conditioning; sometimes it’s extremely cold or warmer then you would like. So bring a long sleeve if you get cold easily, but also be prepared to take a layer off.
Everyone is assigned seat which do recline which makes sleeping easier, and to watch the movie, there is a bathroom at the back of the bus. Maybe don’t choose a seat so close to it, just a recommendation in general. These buses don’t always stop while going from point A to point B, so be prepare for a few hour bus ride. Tica Bus does stops at some main towns along the way to let people off, or pick up. This you can inquire with when you buy tickets, which should be done a few days before the day of travel.
Food On The Bus: They will pick up a local on the side of the road which will have 2 coolers, one with water and soft drinks, and one with hot/warm food. The locals did buy some of these and eat on the bus, not everyone enjoyed the food however. My suggestion is to bing food with you, like a sandwich, snacks and most importantly water!
WHAT TO EXPECT AT THE BORDER & BORDER CROSSING PROCEDURES WHILE ON A BUS
Lots of big trucks (well really there is like thousands) there will also be cars, but you will mostly likely see transportation buses. There are a few every hour, some are the same company, and a few other less popular companies.
At one point you will have to give up your passport. Don’t worry…..you will actually get it back. And yes the bus staff/operators who are wearing company logo shirts will ask for money. This money is for your exit fee from one country (Costa Rica Exit fee is $8 USD, Nicaragua Exit fee is $2 USD). Depending on the transportation company, this fee might be paid at the main bus terminal, or just before you cross the border.
While on the bus, they will take you from 1 building to the other, which includes getting on and off the bus a handful of times. While waiting outside the bus expect lots of wind or no wind, which can include a lot of sand and sun, during the day some shade is available, so be prepared. You will also see lots of vendors selling the product they have for sale and you will also find some fresh cooked food on the spot, some of which is pretty good.
Looking for currency exchange? From USD to the colón or the córdoba, you can do this with the vendors at the border, but don’t expect the exchange rate to be the best.
Crossing the border at night is a bit more nerve racking, there is very limited light. If you have a flashlight keep it handy. There is also not much direction of where to go, and what to do. It’s also much less people trying to cross, so it’s much quicker and no line ups. You will also find little to no vendors.
NOT TRAVELLING ON A BUS? That’s fine you will survive the boarder crossing
Not on a tourist like transportation bus, thats ok! First building you require a stamp out of the current country you are in. Afterwards you are on “The Boarder” or “No Mans Land”. From there you walk to the next building in the direction of travel (north/south), which is a few 100 feet away. Here you will most likely find a line up, go ahead and join it what will take you inside to get your new stamp to enter into the country.
FYI – To gain entry into Costa Rica for the FIRST TIME you must have $500 on bank statement/credit card/cash or an ticket leaving the country, either bus or plane. If you are re-entering Costa Rica you will have to have a ticket that says you are leading the country within 90 days. And yes you can use a fake ticket for this. The tourist visa is only good for 90 days in Costa Rica. These requirements are different depending on which country of residence you are from. Entry requirements and fee are always subject to change, check with the country of final destination.