Border crossings Nicaragua

Content.

Honduras to Nicaragua

What do you need?

》Passport

》Precheque exit form (Honduras) that you fill out online(https://prechequeo.inm.gob.hn/Login)

》Precheque form Nicaragua, 7 days in advance(https://solicitudes.migob.gob.ni/Tramites/RegistroN)

》Reservation of the first night(s)

》Extra Limpiras to exchange for Córdobas

》$13 entrance fee Nicaragua (dollars only)

》Negative PCR test result (covid)

Helpful to know:

At practically every border crossing you will find many pulperias, small stores, where you can buy soda and snacks. And often you can easily exchange money with the people walking around there, as there are very few border crossings with an ATM/ cash machine. Check in advance what the current exchange rate is, then you can negotiate with that.

Honduras has 2 border crossings with Nicaragua. The southern and more touristy border crossing El Espino, is the closest to Choluteca in Honduras and if you are coming from El Salvador then this is probably the border crossing you take. And if you go directly to León, this is the closest border crossing. El Espino is also the border crossing where your luggage is checked. Please note that a drone is prohibited in Nicaragua. This one doesn’t enter the country, even if you don’t want to use it. It will either be confiscated or kept for you for a limited period of time, paying $2 per day. Also, you can only then pick it up again in the same place. In this there are no exceptions so keep this in mind.

You get to the El Espino border by taking a bus from Choluteca to the border (about 1.5 hours).

A more local border crossing is Los Manos. This border crossing is mainly used by locals. There is no baggage check.

You get there by traveling by bus from Tegucigalpa (the capital) to El Paraiso. The bus leaves about every half hour from Centro Comercial Alhambra, bus company Colinas del oro. You can go to Danlí or El Paraiso and there change to the bus to the border (la frontera). Bus to El Paraiso takes over 1.5 hours and costs 108 Limpira/€4. If the bus stops in El Paraiso walk a little further, past the stores and there are more buses there (large school buses). There is often a shout of ‘Frontera’ and that bus will take you to the border in 30 minutes and 20 Limpira/€0.75. Sometimes you have to wait a while for it to fill up, but often the bus leaves quickly.

At the border, you first walk past a number of counters on the left. You may be asked for your Precheque that you filled out online. The counters are the migration counters of Honduras. That’s where you get your exit stamp. There are also people walking around changing money. This can be useful for paying for the bus, for example, as there is no ATM and the dollar is not very common in Nicaragua. Therefore, take some extra Limpira with you to the border. After getting your exit stamp, you’ll see a barrier and pass it on the left. There are staff there to help you further. If you need another negative PCR test result you must first get it approved in a shipping container. Once that is all approved you go back to the barrier and fill out a migration form. When it is approved, walk further to the left with your luggage. There is another shipping container there and that is the migration office of Nicaragua. Most likely they will ask for the form completed online and you will have to wait. The waiting time can vary greatly, between 30 minutes and 2 hours. Eventually you pay $12, get a receipt and are allowed to proceed. Then walk on, to the left for about a minute. There is another barrier there with a small counter. There they check your receipt and migration form and you may proceed. You are in Nicaragua. Behind the barrier there is probably a bus (old school bus) waiting to go to Ocotal. There don’t seem to be any set departure times, so you may have to wait a while. Bus to Ocotal costs 25 Córdobas/€0.60 and takes about 30 minutes. From Ocotal you can continue your journey to Somoto, Estelí or León.

Costa Rica to Nicaragua

What do you need?

》Passport

》$9 exit fee Costa Rica

》Reservation of the first night(s)

》Extra colones or dollars to be exchanged to Córdobas

》$13 entrance fee Nicaragua (dollars only)

》Negative PCR test result (covid)

》Precheque form Nicaragua, 7 days in advance(https://solicitudes.migob.gob.ni/Tramites/RegistroN)

Helpful to know:

At practically every border crossing you will find many pulperias, small stores, where you can buy soda and snacks. And often you can easily exchange money with the people walking around there, as there are very few border crossings with an ATM/ cash machine. Check in advance what the current exchange rate is, then you can negotiate with that.

There are 2 border crossings between Costa Rica and Nicaragua. At Chiles (lesser known) going to San Carlos in Nicaragua. La Fortuna is the closest city to Los Chiles (about 2 hours). From the border to San Carlos is about another hour.

The most common is the border crossing at Peñas Blancas. You get there by bus from San Jose (about 6 hours, €12, bus company Deldu) or from Liberia (1.5 hours, bus company Liberia). An easier option is the Tica bus ($29, from San Jose and elsewhere) that runs between the larger cities in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. On their website you can book tickets online. Another option is a shuttle, but you’ll pay more for that. These can be booked in all larger cities.

At the border crossing in Costa Rica, you pay $9 exit fee (or $8, via an online credit card payment via a QR code) and first get your exit stamp at the migration office. Then in about 5 minutes you will walk across the border and to the Nicaragua migration office. To date (June 2022), you need a negative PCR test result. Complete an online form in advance (7 days). Also, you pay $13 and it can only be done in dollars. Your luggage will also be checked. Please note that a drone is prohibited in Nicaragua. This one doesn’t enter the country, even if you don’t want to use it. It will either be confiscated or kept for you for a limited period of time, paying $2 per day. Also, you can only then pick it up again in the same place. In this, there are no exceptions so keep this in mind.

Once you have your Nicaragua entry stamp you can catch a bus at the border to, for example, San Juan del Sur or Rivas. Nicaragua has many big old school buses. If you want to go to San Juan del Sur you take a bus to Rivas and get turned off on the side of the road at the point La Virgen. There you can catch a bus that goes to San Juan del Sur. Both rides take about 30 minutes and cost 30 – 50 Córdobas. Sometimes they charge more because you have luggage with you. If you go to Rivas, there is a direct bus from the border that you can take. The bus ride takes about an hour.

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