How to Cross Costa Rica-Nicaragua Border: Peñas Blancas


woman in front of migration office costa rica nicaragua border

309 kilometers long, the Costa Rica and Nicaragua border extends from east to west, separating the north side of Costa Rica and the southern side of Nicaragua. To cross the border, you need to head to an area called Peñas Blancas. Today we’re going to be talking about the border crossing between Nicaragua and Costa Rica.


  • Cash for Fees (Dollars, Cordaba, or Colones)
  • Passport
  • Vaccines (Health pass)
  • Onward ticket (proof of when they intend to exit the country)
  • A negative PCR COVID-19 test

How to Cross Costa Rica-Nicaragua Border

You would get to the border. The border is really kind of peculiar. So if you’re coming from Costa Rica, there’s this one area. You have to go to this one section and pay a leaving tax from Costa Rica. The little places look like these dingy little stores.

exit tax house costa rica nicaragua border

Leaving Tax

Definitely does not look like a government-regulated place. You need to pay $10. Do not pay anything online because they don’t have any system to check that at all. You need to have cash. You cannot use anything else.

You could use Colones, Cordoba, or Dollars. Colones are Costa Rica money, Cordoba from Nicaragua. It has to be $10.

Stamping out Your Passport

After that, you have to get back into the vehicle, and you’re going into this area, which I call no man’s land. But before the no man’s land, it’s like the very last part of Costa Rica is where you go through the area with your actual passport, right, to get a stamp out of Costa.

sign costa rica nicaragua border


Then you walk through this pretty massive area. We’re talking almost maybe like half a kilometer walk, if not more. They do have these little bike rides over, but they’re very far and few between. And I called it no man’s land. It’s a huge area with no cars, with nothing.

It doesn’t make any sense. And the first step is, you have to go and show your vaccines. They’re very strict on vaccines. Then you get closer to the actual migration office, and once again, you need to show your vaccine.

Then you get in, and you enter the area where you get your passport stamped for Nicaragua. They ask you for a dollar. Why? No idea. But they give you some stupid little official paper. Then you go and actually get your passport stamped. And you have to pay again in cash, $13. They don’t take credit cards. You could again pay in Colones, Cordobas or dollars.

Once you’re done with that, then you exit out into the Nicaraguan border, and it’s the exact same in reverse going to Costa Rica.

So make sure that you have actual cash on hand because otherwise, you cannot get past those borders.

parking bus stop nicaragua broder costa rica


If you are driving, you have to go through a lot of stops to be able to get your car to the other side. Or if you’re taking public transportation because it is a tiny little area where there’s quite a lot of bustle going on. Be careful not to be totally bombarded with people trying to sell you everything. I would have things set up before you do this crossing just so that you know that you have everything you need, and then boom, you are on your way either to San Juan del Sur or south towards Liberia or wherever you’re going into Costa Rica.

welcome to costa rica sign nicaragua border

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Last Updated on September 30, 2023

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