Border Crossings - Nicaragua

Nicaragua - by Gonzalo Figueroa

Time Required:

Allow 1 hour. Most likely more than that. Don't be upset if three hours later you´re still there....

Carnet:

Not required

Documents:

Passport, vehicle registration, drivers license. Plus copies of all to be on the safe side.

Fees:

The Nicaraguan Embassy in Stockholm - after contacting its Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Managua - has reported that total entry costs are 200 Cordobas or approx. 17 US$ at time of writing. 7 US$ per person for "Migraciones" (entry permit) and 10 US$ for the bike.

Procedure:

We can tell you that first you must visit "Migraciones" and then "Aduana" (Customs). However, we are aware that the entry process involves a few more "middlemen" which means: more offices to visit. Please provide details on your experience.

Visa/Entry Permit duration:

30 days.

Insurance Requirement:

Not mandatory

Exit Procedure:

approve. 3 US$ total

Report:

Most overland travellers pay no more than 10 US$ to enter Nicaragua although the official price is said to be 17 US$ There is a bit of a discussion as to if you can pay in Cordobas or only in US Dollars. So, try to have the correct amount available in both currencies. Travellers report that although the entry procedure may be time consuming, Nicaragua´s Sandinista revolution seems to have taken the edge out of corruption. However, this does not mean you'll get away from the disorganization nor the bureaucracy. Therefore, you may expect somewhat of a "knot" at the border but you will most likely not be swindled. SOURCES: Embassy of Nicaragua, Travellers reports, guide books.

Reliability:

Travellers reports seem to be consistent with what is described above. Footprint Guides claim that entry fees total 30 US$ I find this hard to believe after reviewing travellers reports.


Central America border crossings (with 4x4's)- Easter 2000 - by Steve

Nicaragua - Entry

On the Nicaraguan side, the facilities were better, but the processing was less efficient. There was practically no one entering Nicaragua with us.

At this crossing you're required to stop at a small booth with immigration officers to fill out your personal and vehicle forms. All crossings require you to fill out a standard immigration form which you must request from one of the immigration officers who receives and processes the filled out forms.

This means every person that arrives needs to interrupt the line, wait for the officer to recognize him and to provide him with the number of forms he may need. We got our forms, filled them out & handed them in. No go--the non central Americans in the group needed to go to the main building and pay $7 per passport. Furthermore, we couldn't clear the cars until the passports cleared. At this point we sought out a "helper". It also turned out that photocopies were required too. All in all this took about 1 hour and 15 minutes. This crossing has several duty free shops that are air conditioned-- probably the best place to wait for others if you're finished or for your travel companions to hang out while you do the paperwork. The highlight of the stop was when an immigration officer ceremoniously announced we'd have to take our vehicle papers to the department of transit after she finished handling them. When we asked where that might be, she simply pointed the officer standing next to her!

Nicaragua - Exit

...After a couple of nights in Montelimar we headed for the border with Costa Rica at Penas Blancas. The Nicaraguan facilities were the most modern of the entire trip-- they seemed brand new. Here we were required to get photocopies after standing in line for some time. The photocopy place was about 100 yards away-- not usually much but temps around 100 degrees lend a new dimension to the 200 yard round trip trot. After getting the copies we returned to a wooden annex to the new facilities in which an officer typed up, in triplicate with carbon paper, a document for each vehicle. With this document you're then instructed to find the inspector who is supposed to take a look at your vehicle (he doesn't). The only problem is that you have no way of identifying the inspector so here again a "helper" comes in handy to track the inspector down. After getting the inspector's signature, we headed back into the wooden annex where we interrupted a young officer who was reading the day's news who subsequently informed us we needed another copy (another 200 yard trot in 102 degree weather). After providing the copy that was it-- off to the Costa Rican side after another 1.5 hours of questionable bureaucracy.



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