Hello Costa Rica, goodbye Costa Rica
Trip Start Dec 30, 2013
21Trip End Mar 25, 2014
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Travel day. Farewell Nicaragua, hello Costa Rica! We had heard it would be a bit of a mission to get through the Nicaragua / Costa Rica border so we left early to try beat the crowds.
45 minute shuttle from Santa Cruz to Moyogalpa. 1 hour ferry to Rivas. Taxi (lazy option!) from Rivas to Penas Blancas (the boarder). A kiwi couple and a guy from Holland that were staying in our hostel were also heading south so there were 6 of us. Strength in numbers! Got through the Nicaraguan boarder with no issue, onto Costa Rica. It's the weirdest setup - you've to walk 1km to the Costa Rica side, along with all the massive 10-wheeler articulated lorrys that are passing through. Til we eventually get to Costa Rica. Massssssive queues there but finally made it through and onto a bus to San Jose
Costa Rica was literally going to be a pit stop on our way to Panama so we were just spending the one night in San Jose. We stayed in San Pedro - the college part of the city. It was a cool spot. We arrived late so didn't get to explore much more than the nearest open restaurant but I'm sure it's a nice place!
Day 40 - Friday 7th January
Travel day #2! Since yesterday went relatively smoothly it's only fair that we had drama today. Probably our own fault for not doing enough research on how to get to Panama from San Jose but sure isn't hindsight a wonderful thing!!
So we had heard random things about the bus to the boarder but nothing concrete so asked in our hostel and was told about busses. One at 6am and one at 10am. Yep 10am sounds reasonable, let's get that! Then we start googling and read about another bus at 9am from a totally different place. And then we find out that the 10am bus prob won't get us through the boarder in time to get the last ferry to Bocas. Stress insues. We had only figured this out from some middle of the night emails / googling. Too late to get the 6am so we decide to go with what the hostel says and go early for the 10am. We get to the bus terminal and are told by one guy that yes it's ok, the bus is leaving in a few mins (it's not scheduled for another 90 mins) and then by another that were in the totally wrong place and the bus is leaving in 20 mins from another place across town and he'll bring us there now. We had no idea what to do so we decide to trust the random guy that wants to shove us into the back of his car (slight exaggeration, he wasn't totally random, he was a Taximan!). He takes every sort of back street and short corner he knows and gets us across town with 5 mins to spare for a direct (and much comfier than public) bus to Sixola (the border!). Crisis averted, we'd found another Central American angel and were on our way to Panama!