How to get from San Juan del Sur to Liberia or San José ?

Published: April 26th 2018
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On Monday, 23rd of April, Rebecka and I left San Juan del Sur at 7AM with our taxi driver Dany who had brought us the day before from Rivas to San Juan del Sur. It was 1 hour to the border and cost us 25$US for both. At the border, there was a huge queue of trucks waiting and Dany said that it’s probably because the last days they were not able to leave Manágua or Granada and now all arrived to the border together. Fortunately, we could pass them all ! Just before the border, there were lots of shops and many people, but once we entered the border building, it got quiet. Since we were there very early (8AM), it was still very quiet and we might actually have been the first ones to cross the border that morning.

If you cross the border, first you pay 1$US (nobody knows why), then you get to the migration office where you pay another 4$US to exit the country. From there, you walk about 300m over the border to Costa Rica. There are many taxis that will offer to bring you there, but it’s not worth taking them. Every traveller can walk 300m with his/her backpack without a problem. :-)

Once you get to the migration office in Costa Rica, there are nice and clean toilets for free, but no more food, so you should eat before going there.

Since we were there early, it only took us 5 minutes to cross the border, everything was really easy and the staff in Costa Rica was very friendly (unlike the staff at the migration office of Nicaragua that was very unfriendly!).

Costa Rica doesn’t require an entrance fee, so that’s good! Some people say that the officers usually ask for a flight booking or something showing that you will leave the country within your visa limits, but nobody asked us to show anything. I guess, if they see that you have many stamps in your passport and that you travel a lot, they don’t doubt you’ll leave again soon when you tell them so.

After getting our stamp, we waited about 30 minutes for a bus to Liberia. In San Juan del Sur, there are many companies like Tika Bus, that will try to convince you to take a shuttle to Liberia or to San José, but they are quite expensive and it’s easy and much cheaper to just take a taxi to the border and then take a bus from the border to your destination. To Liberia, the bus was 4$US p.P. and with the taxi, each of us had paid about 15$US while a shuttle would have cost us 35$US !

So I can only recommend you to take this option rather than paying an expensive shuttle, it’s really easy and fast. You can even take a bus to Liberia for 4$US and then hitchhike to San José, no problem at all.


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