How to Cross the Border from Costa Rica to Nicaragua

You want to visit Nicaragua but the flights are much cheaper to Liberia? You can cross the border from Costa Rica to Nicaragua with ease. Read below.

For many travelers, the convenience of flying from their departure location to Liberia Airport has become increasingly appealing as a way to enter Nicaragua. If you’re finding better flight prices to Liberia than Managua, however, you might be interested in knowing how to cross the border from Costa Rica to Nicaragua. In that case, you have come to the right place!

Border Crossing from Liberia, Costa Rica to Nicaragua 2023

Updated November 2023

Crossing the border is easy! And we’ll show you how!

COVID Update: Costa Rica and Nicaragua no longer require COVID vaccination or testing to arrive.

How much does it cost to cross the border from Costa Rica to Nicaragua?

You will need $17 US dollars in total for your border crossing, round trip. It is best to have exact cash in USD for each payment as they may not have changed. Bring a few extra small bills as these taxes and fees may be inflated. We will update these prices as quickly as we can as soon as we receive new information.

How to get to the Costa Rica/Nicaragua border in Penas Blancas?

There are various ways to arrive at the border. There are buses from the Liberia airport for a few dollars. Or you can take a taxi for approximately $80 from the Liberia airport to the border. Contact us to arrange your shuttle from the airport to the border or to our beachfront surf lodge in Playa Gigante, Nicaragua.

Border Crossing Liberia, Costa Rica to Nicaragua
 Border Crossing Costa Rica to Nicaragua

Arriving at the Costa Rica Migration Building.

Cross the border from Costa Rica to Nicaragua

Your taxi or bus will bring you as close as they can to the border crossing. You will see the sign for the BCR bank. Around the corner to the left, you will enter the Costa Rica Migration building (walk towards the large BCR sign, around the corner to the right).

Dollar Bills Y’all!

Upon your arrival at Costa Rica migration, you will be required to pay a fee of $3 per person for the exit to Nicaragua. We did hear that this may be increasing to $4, so it’s important to be aware that the cost may go up soon. Therefore, be prepared for the $1 increase.

Cross the border from Costa Rica to Nicaragua  - Costa Rica Migration Building
Costa Rica Migration Building

Passport Check

Upon your arrival at the Costa Rica migration building, the immigration officers will check your passport. As you make your way into the Costa Rica migration building, you should be aware that the immigration officers will check your passport. If you are staying with us at Giant’s Foot Surf Tours, you can show them your hotel confirmation received by us in your email. This confirmation paper should contain all of the information they require. The only other thing they may ask for is your occupation.

Enroute to Nicaragua

You will exit, and walk along the road towards an additional passport checkpoint for your border crossing. On the left side of the road (sidewalk), there will be officials who will want to see your passport.

Cross the border from Costa Rica to Nicaragua - Costa Rica Passport Checkpoint
Passport Checkpoint

Next, you walk towards the Nicaragua migration building. If you are with our shuttle drivers they will instruct you where to walk and your next driver will be waiting outside the Nicaragua migration building to bring you through.

Cross the border from Costa Rica to Nicaragua - Nicaragua Migration Building
Nicaragua Migration Building

Nicaragua Migration

Enter the Nicaragua Migration building. Someone holding a stack of receipts like the one below will approach you. Pay them $1.00 for a municipal tax. You will pay $13 at the counter and receive a tourist visa for 90 days. The slip of paper they give you might say 30 days. Don’t worry. You have 90 days from the date of your passport stamp. 

Cross the border from Costa Rica to Nicaragua - Municipal tax receipt

Leave the Nicaragua Migration building, and head towards the left. There is one final passport checkpoint for your border crossing. At this checkpoint, you will see an official in uniform under a shade. Show your passport to this official and you’re done! 

Cross the border from Costa Rica to Nicaragua - Final passport checkpoint at Nicaragua border

You’re done!

You have now completed your border crossing from Liberia, Costa Rica to Nicaragua! Welcome and enjoy your adventures! If you plan on staying with us at Giant’s Foot Surf Tours, rest assured that our shuttle driver will happily make a stop for snacks or a cold beverage. So, don’t hesitate to ask for ‘una cerveza por favor’! If you are not staying with us but need help during your Nicaragua stay or travels from Liberia, don’t hesitate to contact us or stay with us at Giant’s Foot Surf Tours. Finally, we wish you safe and happy travels!

12 Comments

  1. Pete on February 9, 2022 at 11:20 am

    This blog made crossing the border so easy. Thanks!

    • Tara on August 14, 2022 at 5:37 pm

      Con mucho gusto!

  2. Bean on February 9, 2022 at 11:32 am

    Gracias, very informative!

    • Tara on August 14, 2022 at 5:37 pm

      Con mucho gusto!

  3. Tiffany on February 9, 2022 at 11:36 am

    Tara, thank you for all your help. Amazing trip and so much helpful information on crossing the border. You made this a super smooth transition that I was quite nervous about!

    • Tara on August 14, 2022 at 5:36 pm

      You are most welcome! Always happy to help out! 🙂

  4. Liz on February 9, 2022 at 5:19 pm

    That you so much for writing this, it was so helpful when crossing the border!

    • Tara on August 14, 2022 at 5:37 pm

      Con mucho gusto! 🙂

  5. James on November 24, 2023 at 6:03 pm

    Any tips on how to set up travel
    To the border and then how to be picked up from the border ?

    • Tara on December 7, 2023 at 4:32 pm

      Hi James!

      We can arrange your travel to the border and from the border on both sides. You can email me at giantsfoot@gmail.com and I’ll take care of the logistics for you!

      Cheers,
      Tara

  6. Pete on February 2, 2024 at 7:56 pm

    Can you cross and cross back to Costa Rica “straight away” just to say you have been?

    • Tara on February 4, 2024 at 5:00 pm

      Hi Pete, You can cross into Costa Rica and return. However, you will need to pay an exit tax from Nicaragua an exit tax from Costa Rica, and a re-entry tax to Nicaragua.

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