After more than a year of partial closure, the border between Costa Rica and Nicaragua fully reopened on Monday, 5 April 2021. As a result, we've put together a step-by-step guide on getting to Nicaragua from Costa Rica and back again.
Without wishing to go into all of the background detail behind the closure of the border between Costa Rica and Nicaragua, and the lack of available flight options into Managua, we're simply looking ahead as to how the recent reopening of the border works in your favour. First of all, here's a little reminder why you should come and explore Nicaragua in the first place!
There is a lot of information to digest, so we'll dive straight in. At the moment, there are only weekly flights between Managua and Miami (via El Salvador) on Avianca, and Managua and Panama on COPA Airlines. With the stringent testing requirements of most countries when re-entering, this made travelling to and from Nicaragua costly and complicated. However, all of that changes with the reopening of the border.
Receiving over 40 daily flights in to either San Jose or Liberia International Airports, Costa Rica presents a much more convenient and cost effective option flying to and from North America and Europe. With freedom of movement at the land border restored, this means that you can now add Nicaragua back to your itinerary, hassle free. We'll break down it all down for you in turn below.
Step 1: Landing in Costa Rica
Costa Rica does not require a negative test to enter, however there are other criteria that you need to fulfil:
a) Travel Insurance - full travel insurance (with Covid-19 Cover) is needed for the duration of your time in Costa Rica. If you're just passing through, you will still need to purchase at least five days insurance.
b) Proof of Onward Travel - you'll need to show that you have an exit ticket from Costa Rica. A bus ticket to Nicaragua or a return flight home would do.
c) Complete 'Health Pass' Online - This must be completed within 48 hours of arrival. You can find the form here.
d) Arrange Transport to the SPACE - we can make your trip as painless as possible. Private vehicles, bilingual drivers and border assistance. Door-to-door.
Liberia International Airport to the SPACE: $115.00 (1-3 people).
San Jose International Airport to the SPACE: $270.00 (1-3 people).
Step 2: Arriving in Nicaragua
Most countries do not require a visa when visiting Nicaragua and will receive 90 days on arrival. To be sure, check with your country's foreign department prior to departure. When crossing the border into Nicaragua, here's what applies:
a) Negative PCR Type Test - not more than 72 hours from point of departure.
You can get tested in San Jose at the following locations:
Hospital Metropolitano +506 2521 9595
Clinica Bíblica +506 2522 1000
Hospital Cima +506 2208 1000
Lab Echandi +506 2568 4334
Laboratoria San Jose +506 6063 6363
You can get tested in Liberia at the following locations:
Lab Echandi +506 6223 2290
Liberia Airport - More Info
b) Submit Heath Department Form - this must be done in at in anticipation of your visit. The form can be found here.
c) Proof of Onward Travel - your return ticket from Costa Rica will suffice.
d) Border Fees - These have to be paid in cash, so try and have the exact change because they do not always have available.
Costa Rica Exit Fee: $10.00
Nicaragua Entry Fee: $14.00
e) Accommodation Information - provide your details on booked accommodation (name, address, reservation confirmation). Print outs are preferred.
f) Yellow Fever Certificate - if visiting from a country on the CDC yellow fever list.
e) Border Opening Hours - the Nicaragua and Costa Rica border is open from 06:00 until 23:00.
Please note the following restrictions for entry into Nicaragua: bring no more than two cellphones and one laptop per person. Anything additional will be subject to taxation.
Step 3: Returning to Costa Rica
a) Nicaragua Border Exit Fee - like the entrance fee, this must be paid in cash. It costs $4.00 - try to have the exact amount available as they do not always have change available.
b) Travel Insurance - see above.
c) Proof of Onward Travel - see above.
While Costa Rica does not require a negative test to enter, you will most likely need one for your next flight. Most labs in Costa Rica will only provide PCR results the next day so if time is tight, you can get same day testing and results in Managua for $150.00 prior to departure.
The test is done at the official Ministry of Health (MINSA) testing facility. Testing is available from 08:00 and 11:00 and you will get your results via email any time between 15:00 and 17:00 that same day. We can help arrange this if required.
Having recently done this ourselves, as well as having assisted recent guests, we can assure you that the process is smooth and safe. It might seem a little overwhelming at first, but it's easy if you're prepared.
We hope that you found this blog useful and cannot wait to host you at the SPACE!