I went on my first border run up to the Tablillas crossing better known as Los Chiles. Many clients of mine need to go on the 90 day border run. Generally when you come into the country here they give you a 90 day visa, once that is up you need to leave the country and come back in. Lots of people think you need to be out of the country for 72 hours but that is for customs if you are bringing in merchandise. Even after you have successfully applied for residency and have your expedia number to keep your drivers license legal you must leave and get a new stamp. The expedia number is your number that Immigration gives you when are waiting for your residency and all of your paperwork is complete. Most people go to Nicaragua because it is the closest border to the Central Valley.
I went with one of my clients who asked if I would go. I have legal status in Costa Rica so I didn’t need to cross the border I just went to see what it was like. My client contracted Jorge Vasquez to take us up and walk us through. Jorge picked us up at our own home and then dropped us off at the end of the trip. We left at 5am!
I was excited about a road trip. There was one more seat so my mom came as well. She is always ready for a road trip. We had car trouble 15 years ago and were stranded in Muelle for a couple of days… a not so pretty town in north central Costa Rica. We knew that we were going to be passing by so both of us were curious to see if it had changed.
I was interested to do the border run because lots of my clients have done it and many in the future will so I thought it would be good to experience it myself.
He was very helpful and fun to talk to. He told us exactly what we needed to have and got us out of Costa Rica and was waiting upon our return 1 hour later! I had recommended Jorge to other clients based on the great reviews he got as a border run guy…he also does lots of tourism. He is a great driver and is pleasant to talk to.
The drive from Naranjo is about 4 hours and is straight north, basically the route is Naranjo-Zarcero-Cuidad Quesada-Muelle-Los Chiles, its a beautiful drive and you go through several climate changes. You pass by the Zarcero park famous for its’ topiaries, and Ciudad Quesada (San Carlos) the biggest city in the northern part of Costa Rica. On the way we stopped at a soda and had breakfast.
We arrived at the border at about 9am and Jorge shuffled us through to the special preference line because my mom was with us. It was really busy because it is Christmas and coffee picking time so lots of Nicaraguans were going or coming home for Christmas. Despite how busy it was everyone was calm, polite and nice. Once we were stamped out of Costa Rica we crossed into Nicaragua by foot.
There we were greeted by the Nicaragua police who checked our passports and waived us through. We then had to go into Nicaragua Immigration. That was very busy and the line was long. Everyone had tons of bags and luggage. We made it into the small air conditioned room with about 6 windows and waited our turn. They took us as a group and I was the spokesperson. Our immigration agent was a young handsome Nicaraguan that I quickly hit it off with so we laughed and joked. He asked what we were going to do in Nicaragua…I told him we were just there for the stamp and would leave the same day. He suggested we go to the San Juan river for fish and a beer. It was 10am in the morning! A little early for beer and fish for me. Once we finished with immigration we opted for a cold drink at a tiny little covered stand. Again, everyone was very nice and they accepted dollars, colones or cordobas.
We hung around about an hour, chit chatted with the border police, watched the cars coming in get inspected and took a couple of pictures. Then we headed back to the immigration building to get stamped out. The cute guy that checked us in popped his head in to where we were and asked how we had beer and fish so fast! I told him next time. He asked for my card but as usual I was out so Ill have to try to get him one next time! Maybe a new client?!
We walked back over to the Costa Rica side and began our stamping in procedure, that was fast and flawless thanks to Jorge’s help. I saw other clients of mine in line and we said hi to each other. It was pretty hot and the line was long so people were a little more subdued than when we went in.
On the way home we stopped at the Crazy Iguana north of Muelle where we saw some big…. I suppose crazy iguanas! The food was terrible but the ambiance was ok.
Jorge sped us home safely and we were home by 3:30 in Naranjo. A long day of driving and talking but it was fun.
If you need to do a border run don’t be scared, its not a traumatic ordeal, have patience and you will do just fine!
Jorge Vasquez is on Facebook: trips to the border, to renew your visa his phone number is 8848-5488 he speaks great English and at the time charged $50 a person for the trip.