My first land border crossing from Costa Rica to Nicaragua wasn’t fun at all, if anything it was a sh*tshow!
We started our travel from Santa Ana, Costa Rica, woke up 4am to get a 4:30am Uber to TICABus. Got there too early so they put us to the 5am bus instead of the 6am booking that we had. That was a blessing!
7hours into the trip we finally reached the Costa Rica border – no problem there, went by smoothly. (Not to mention the long queue and with only one immigration they have).
Few meters away, we reached the Nicaraguan border. This was where the shi*tshow started.
First they checked our PCR test result, no problem with that. Then the dreaded immigration. Of course being a PH passport holder I always have issues entering other countries.
For Nicaragua I need a visa on arrival, paid 50 USD to process for it. Took an hour for them to finish. At this point I’m already very anxious, what if they won’t give me the visa and the fact that all the other people from our bus already passed the border wasn’t helping. Few more minutes and finally they stamped my passport. Phew! Relieved!
Now I’m up for another obstacle- Customs. Prior to traveling, we researched about Nicaragua and found out that drones are illegal in the country and that’s a problem because we have one. Base on our research they would confiscate drones and more other than not, owners were not able to get it back even after paying storage fee when they travel out of Nicaragua.
So day before our trip, what I did was disassembled the drone detached the propellers and scattered the accessories all over my luggage hoping for them to not spot it and I can get through custom smoothly. It turned out to be a very bad idea. I had to open all my luggage take out all the accessories and they took the drone either way.
Ay this point I’m sweating rocks, worried about our bus to Managua, all the passengers must be so pissed at me for delaying them (2 hours had passed since we got to the border), and the drone being confiscated.
What happened next was totally unexpected, Customs people gave us a paper, said we had to go to the annex building and had to get the paper signed. One local started helping us, went to the annex building with Linsey, had the paper signed and lo and behold they handed the drone back to us.
The local person even helped carry our luggages as we ran to the Tica Bus, we thanked him immensely and handed him some money. There’s always a great samaritan wherever we go and we’re always grateful to those people in moments like these.
We’re back on the bus, and it’s apparently the 6am bus that was waiting for us. So at this point I’m totally relived. They didn’t have to wait for us that long at least.
At the end of the day I am grateful for going to the bus station as early as we did, that enabled us to get the 5am bus. It gave us 1 extra hour to cover for the 2 hours delay on my visa processing. Grateful for the immigration officer for being so patient and for trying so hard to understand us despite language barrier. Grateful for the good samaritan that helped us with our drone snafu. And for the TICABUS for being such a great company. And for Linsey who’s been really patient and collected during the entire delay.
My first land border crossing was a complete sh*tshow and definitely a memorable one. It’s a great story to tell in the future. Bus started rolling 5:20am we arrived in Managua 7:13pm. It was a helluva journey for sure.