After only 5 days in Nicaragua, we decided it was time to move on to Costa Rica! We spent the night on the beach at ‘Mathilda’s’ and after a healthy breakfast of locally grown bananas, oranges and pitaya (an experience which seems to leave a trail:)), we packed up the car and headed to the border!
When we arrived at the border, we met the typical scene… no sign posts anywhere, a long line of trucks blocking the view, a bunch of guys jumping on the car flashing a home-made badge… and a bunch of officials who couldn’t care less. We have already learned that the people who are desperate to help us are the non-officials and the bored people in the back wearing the official costumes are the officials. We had to be quite firm to deny any help (people even jumped on the car, again) but in the end everybody left us alone.
So we headed to the officials – reversing a bit down the road as we had driven a bit too far and started the process. First we checked ourselves out of Nicaragua at the cost of 3 USD per person. Then our vehicle permit was signed off once, then once again by somebody else outside (who held the paper on his knee when we received the stamp) and then once more by a police officer who inspected the car from 100m away. Then we stepped into an air-conditioned office (lovely as we had a very humid day with 33°) and somebody typed it all up and sent us on the way to Costa Rica!
On the way to Costa Rica we handed over the old vehicle permit to the officer in the middle of the road and drove through the fumigation stand but there was no one there to collect any fees. We did not feel like waiting around to pay either so we continued. After driving for about 1km to the left we finally spotted a white building which looked to be the immigration desk. We got our passports stamped by the nice lady at immigration and Marijke’s bag was x-rayed on the way out. We then headed to the customs desk #1, across the street, where we filled out a piece of paper and handed over copies of our documents. We then walked over the parking lot looking for the insurance office, which was on the complete other side and hidden behind the many parked trucks. (Honestly, I sometimes wonder how we manage to find these places! Somehow Marijke has a knack for these things and can read the minds of the Central American government architects as she always seems to be aware of where these buildings are located, maybe its a sixth sense?). In any case, we got insurance for Costa Rica and then headed to customs desk #2 to finalise the paperwork. We had to wait for about half an hour because somebody cut in front of us and they just take a very long time to finish up the paperwork, but then finally we received all the necessary documents. We walked back to the car and then drove across the border where an official did a check-up of all our papers. It was not the most difficult border crossing but the distance between all the different desks was the furthest of any experienced so far. You wonder who invents these things…
We drove to ‘Liberia‘ and stopped at the Burger King to use the internet. The burgers smelled great but we resisted. We booked a hotel/motel/hostel (mostel? *) for tonight to plan our visit to Costa Rica. Also, four nights in a row in the tent is more than enough! As we had planned to take Rodrigo in for a full maintenance at a Toyota dealer, we tried the local one just around the corner. Unfortunately he did not have any availability until 30 September. We went on-line and through the magic of on-line chat (in English thankfully) we have an appointment this Friday at 7am in San José!
Border line, feels like I’m going to lose my mind
You just keep on pushing my love over the border line
* I will copyright this word