Welcome to Nicaragua

Trip Start Apr 26, 2006
Trip End Aug 01, 2006

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Flag of Nicaragua  ,
Sunday, May 14, 2006

We crossed our second border from Costa Rica to Nicaragua and although it was easy enough to leave Costa Rica, once we walked over to the Nicaraguan side, things got hectic. Nicaraguan Immigration put up a sign (hand written) advising foreigners that there is a $5 entry fee plus a further $2 tourist fee to enter the country and have your passport stamped. (And having your passport stamped is an important necessity since you won't want to be detained in a Central American jail when you try to leave the country and Exit Immigration don't see the entry stamp). We paid the $7 each to enter and found the bus to Rivas where the bus "conductors" and a skinny man with a rifle in military uniform yelled at us that we had to pay another fee. We were standing with a middle aged American woman and none of us had a clue what was going on. They pointed to a booth with an old man in it and as young boys hollered and waved their arms telling us to hurry up and pay or the bus would leave without us and there isn't another bus, we stopped to confer. The American woman exclaimed "aha! I seem to remember something written about this in my guide book". So Shane and I got closer as she pulled the magic book from her pack. Silence descended among the many onlookers as they waited with baited breath to see what the confused Gringos would do. She thumbed through the pages and read aloud (paraphrase): "You will be advised to pay a further no-reason-explainable-for-it fee before boarding the bus to Rivas". So we shut the book and decided to pay the fee. Our audience seemed happy and once we moved towards the payment booth, the shouting and waving and pulling and pushing and prodding commenced again.
In San Juan we found a lovely room in a hostel right on the beach. (Actually across the street from it). But our room, although without walls that reached the ceiling and with bats, had a cute little balcony which overlooked the street and the beach.
We spent the next day maxin' and relaxin' on the beach and at night watched the sun set while sipping on lovely Nicaraguan beers.
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