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-   -   Currency for crossing Nicaragua Costa Rica border? (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/central-america-and-mexico/currency-crossing-nicaragua-costa-rica-67338)

cb160racer 15 Nov 2012 03:24

Currency for crossing Nicaragua Costa Rica border?
A minor detail, but is it OK (and common) to use $US for paying all of the separate border fees when crossing between Nicaragua and Costa Rica?

If we'll need Cordobas for Nicaragua fees, is it possible to withdraw some from an ATM while still in northern CR or must a border moneychanger be used?

We will already have some Colones because we're starting from San Jose, but if it's preferable to use $US for returning to CR we can do that.

Oh yeah, is that border closed on holidays? I seriously doubt that we'd do a crossing on Christmas or New Year's Day, but it is nice to know what is and isn't possible...

cruiser guy 15 Nov 2012 19:33

The US greenback works almost everywhere, borders especially!!

Sjoerd Bakker 15 Nov 2012 21:25

Using border money changers is entirely your choice.They are not the ripoff artists they are made out to be . They are up to speed on all international exchange rates and gold prices, probably spot crude oil prices too if you asked them . Their rates are in the ball park when you factor in that they are not charging bankers service fees and they are conveniently available there, when you need them.
Some borders require certain fees to be paid in the national currencey ( Moneda Nacional) while certain others may be paid in US dollars.
I suggest , since you are leaving Costa Rica , that you get all the CR side payments done with then exchange all your residual CR currency for that of Nicaragua . Use Nic money to pay for the Nicaraguan fees, filling in with US money if it is accepted or you run out of Nic cash. Then if yu need more Nicaraguan currency to fund your stay in their beautiful country you can get that from the BANK MACHINES using your own bank card. The money will come off your home bamk account and you get the BEST exchange rate
Repeat this same scenario at subsequent borders. Try not to leave with a lot of any country's money in the expectation you will get a better deal exchanging it at a bank. Won't work ,the banks will soak you for service fees.
The major border crossing on the Panamerican Highway will usually be open 24/7 year round.
The small road crossings can have very variable hours.

cb160racer 28 Nov 2012 02:32

Sjoerd, I didn't intend to disparage border moneychangers, I was just trying to find out what the options are. Sorry about being unclear.

I also failed to make it clear that we will be returning to Costa Rica after visiting Nicaragua, so we don't actually want to deplete all of our Colones.

Crossing at Penas Blancas both ways is really our only practical choice, so that's what we'll be doing. Just trying to be as prepared as possible.

Thanks for the help!

Jessica_LifeRemotely 1 Dec 2012 14:14

We did this crossing back in April, but going the other direction. This is a huge crossing, it will definitely be open on Christmas.

Everything was accepted on the Costa Rican side, dollars, colones and cordobas. The only fees were for fumigation and insurance, since you are going the other way, you won't need to pay this, but expect to when you reenter.

We entered Nicaragua from Honduras. You have to pay a $12 per person entry fee to enter Nica. At this border they accepted US dollars and cordobas. We did change money when leaving Nicaragua on the Nicaraguan side. And, we got a shockingly good rate. I don't remember seeing an ATM.

We wrote a report up about the crossing in painstaking detail, if you want more info: Nicaragua to Costa Rica Border Crossing | Life Remotely

Good luck!

checkerdd 2 Dec 2012 19:35

The only thing I can add is the insurance people would not take a US bill larger then a $20. That may be true for other incidental costs, but I don't remember that well. Dave

cb160racer 3 Dec 2012 19:33


Originally Posted by Jessica_LifeRemotely (Post 402546)
We wrote a report up about the crossing in painstaking detail, if you want more info: Nicaragua to Costa Rica Border Crossing | Life Remotely
Good luck!

Thanks for that, Jessica! I will read it right now.

Speaking of insurance: We will already have insurance for Costa Rica, since we will have come from there only a few days before. Is that going to confuse the border guards? Twelve dollars isn't a major expense, but if we already have a policy to cover us until January, I'd rather not pay again. On the other hand, if it adds hours and hassle to our crossing, it might be worth the cost...

cb160racer 3 Dec 2012 19:35

From all responses, it seems as though the best idea is to carry small bills in US dollars (ones and fives, maybe) for both directions, and to expect total cost to be ten to twenty bucks at most. Does that sound about right?

Sjoerd Bakker 3 Dec 2012 21:21

Your estimate on costs is about right. So is the idea about keeping
a supply of small US Dollar paper money with you for the small
fees at borders. Interesting to note that many times if the 1 , 5, 10
or 20 dollar bill is crumpled , faded or even slightly torn it will
not be accepted out of fear of counterfeits.
Your are absolutely correct in thinking that your insurance for
Costa Rica is still valid even afte being out of C
R for a while.
That insurance is good for the full term that is stated for it in your
passport stamp and the forms you got at time of purchasing . The customs
People wil know this but always save all your documents and
receipts from the entry process

cb160racer 3 Dec 2012 21:30

Great tip about the crumpled bills, Sjoerd! I will make sure to keep some relatively crisp ones and fives in my wallet specifically for the border fees.

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