Published: November 28th 2009September 22nd 2009
entering the border compound
they should use all the US$1 entry fees to buy some tarmac
The Nicaragua-Costa Rica border was always going to be the worst crossing. Initially everything was running very smoothly, far too smoothly in fact. We arrived at 8:00 and negotiated all the parked trucks to get into the border compound (entrance fee $1). Getting out of Nicaragua was fine, plus we'd been successfully decontaminated and moved into the Costa Rican area taking with us a very important scrap of paper with some stamps on it - we have to had this in to get out, if we loose its there's a US$100 fine.
Costa Rica involved a lot of forms and queueing but was going ok
- fill in entry form then queue to hand in the form and get entry stamp
- queue to buy Costa Rican insurance (from a man in a building rather than a man under a tree!!)
- queue to get insurance photocopied
- queue to get form at vehicle inspection office
- queue to hand in completed vehicle inspection form
- wait for man to inspect vehicle i.e. check the registration plate & VIN match your documents.
- take bike to vehicle permit office - oh there is no vehicle permit office it burnt down
2 months ago. Instead there is a bus in the car park that is the temporary vehicle permit office.
- queue at vehicle permit office and watch a truck drive into the power cables, pull them all down and black out the vehicle permit bus. It cant issue permits without power as the permit is a computer print out and a handwritten one just wont do. Everything grinds to a halt and we retreat to the cafe, this is going to take a while to fix. Some people hang around and we get reports of several generators arriving but they all have the wrong plugs. Eventually several wires with different connectors arrive and a selection of these are strung together a la Heath Robinson to provide power to the bus - its only taken one hour. However now the printers aren't working - it takes another 30 minutes to get them working.
By now the drivers from all the trucks we passed earlier are also queuing for their permits. They are not to happy when the advance guard who had remained at the bus hand over 20 application forms. It takes 45 minutes to process 3 forms. There starts
our very important piece of paper
If we lose this we will be fined UD$100. We only have to keep hold of it for another 5 hours or so before we hand it in at the exit gate.
to be a lots of grumbling so we sent in the 3 chaps who are over 6 foot to look menacing. It was all made worse as they keep entering the wrong details onto the computer so most of the printed forms had to go back to be corrected - Edwin's took 3 attempts.
Finally after 7 hours we have all the correct pieces of paper and can leave the compound.
We drive down the coast to Playa Hermosa and rush into the Pacific for a dip - we have travelled a total of 75 miles and its taken us 9 hours. When we arrive its happy hour at the bar - not a good thing as we are all ready for a drink and indulge far too much on empty stomachs after standing out in the sun all day
There are more photos below