How not to cross the Nicaragua border from Costa Rica :) Unstoppable Family style…
How not to cross the Nicaragua border from Costa Rica 🙂 Unstoppable Family style…
So most of you might be saying…Good on ya Swano! No reason to plan for a 3rd world border cross with your family..you will figure it out your a world traveler….
Well, the moment we arrived “close to the border” the chaos began. The budget rental car guy couldn’t speak english so he drives up and there are about 20 Costa Ricans with big wads of money in their hands slapping them in our face..With my muey poquito Espaniol I figure out they are trying to sell us money to exchange our colones…to cordovas. Now when you are a seasone
d travelor you realize this is just a way for these dudes to make money. They love Americans because we have a ton of bags and usually dollars!!! Extra exchange value for them.
After that mini chaos subsided, Swano figured out we had to go in and get our stamps to leave Costa Rica. At that point we just had to put all out bags in the big metal cage that some dude was pushing and walk to the border…simple!!
Because our cage was filled with over 8 bags, the guys kids, amigo’s, boss, boss’s wife, their daughter, her boyfriend all decided we required help. So here we are..this gringo family this cage of 8 bags and a small army walking toward the border..simple!
Now we actually get to an area that looks like a border. There are a million dudes running around yelling at you and pulling at you to give them your passports. Do we trust these dark, no english speaking boys? We just lost our passports in Costa Rica so Swano is staring at these guys with the sight of a ghost and then spinning his head around to look for a glimps of someone that can make sense of this….No luck.
Finally Tim sends this little Nica kid that speaks decent English to tell us he is on the other side of the border. Swano gets smart and asks if he can be taken to the “border Wall” to ask a question.
Tim reveals that these guys trying to take your passports can help..they are just looking for a tip. So here we go..the process begins these guys take Swano and the passports and starts the wild chicken dance for getting our passports stamped and approved to cross the border, all the while Hanalei and I have to stand by the cage to be sure our 8 bags don’t get clipped…
Let me set the stage…It’s about 90′ 100% humidity..there are about 300 Nicaraguans and Costa Ricans standing at this border and running around like a circus taking people through their process. Swano’s eyes are bulging out in a fish like stare at these guys because he has no idea what they are saying to him…..until we finally get through the line and the guys says…NO entry, your passports require 6 months left on them and you have 3!!!! (Oh yea, our computer bag got stolen in Costa Rica and we had to drive 8 hours, miss a ferry, stay in a grungy hotel and go to the US embassy to get new passports. They only gave us temporary passports because we didn’t have time to wait…)
OMG! your kidding, we can’t cross? It’s been 2 hours and we have no ride anywhere and Tim is on the other side. Uno Momento the guys says..lets go talk to my Boss, after another line of heat and chaos the guy says, ok let them through…we go back in the first line to get the stamp..another hour, all the while Hanalei and I are standing next to the cage watching the bags and flipping coins in the air with some Nica dudes.
Its finally time to go pass the border..Now after this nutty 3 hours of chaos and procedure, I am expecting this massive border passing. Oh no, its a little gate with some chick asking for a $1 for us to pass. We give her our $1 and we walk through. The dude and his whole family grab our bags and walk through too. WHAT!!! I went through all of that for this? 3rd world process…its ridiculous.
They drop our stuff at Tim’s car and everyone and their amigos stand and wait for a tip!!! This part was so hilarious, I could only watch. Swano was handing out cordovas to all these dudes and only 1 agreed to help..he was so stressed and sweating I just sat and cracked up….
Cheers from our Unstoppable Family to yours….
Brian, Rhonda & Hanalei Swan