Board Crossing In Costa Rica.

Discussion in 'Latin America' started by chrisf14, Mar 25, 2010.

  1. chrisf14

    chrisf14 Been here awhile

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    I'm looking for more adventure. Has anyone done the boarder crossing in Los Chiles, Costa Rica to Nicaragua. I was told it's ruff and would have to put bike on very small boat. But has anyone done it?
    #1
  2. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi Chris,

    I went up to the Los Chiles crossing on a rental bike in 2007 but they wouldn{t let me go past the border to check out the ferry. Penas Blancas is a pain in the ass and I was thinking of trying Los Chiles last week on my way north from Panama. There is just a guard shack with a couple dudes hanging out at the Los Chiles border. If you are returning to Nicaragua on your way back north and your seguros obligatorio insurance from Nicaragua is still valid then I don{t see a problem. There isnt much in the way of services out there. Of course the Nica side might not look at your insurance like they did at the busy Penas Blancas crossing. The boys at the guard shack north of Los Chiles said there is a ferry a few clicks down the gravel road at the little town on Lago Nicaragua, and my map showed roads north along the eastern side of the lake. I ended up riding through Penas Blancas again since the wind was howling and I wanted to go to San Juan del Sur.

    I would definitely go for it.

    Adios amigo,
    John Downs
    #2
  3. chrisf14

    chrisf14 Been here awhile

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    Thanks for that info. Next week is Costa Rica's Holly week. The main boarder crossing is a nightmare. I would guess it will be very even worse next week with the holiday. I would rather be riding a extra 5 hour than sitting at a boarder for 3. Plus I have never been to that side.
    #3
  4. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    Yeah, semana santa is a complete nightmare, and I'm going to try and cross the Honduras borders from El Salvador to Nicaragua. That ought to be interesting to say the least. :rofl

    I think I will use good judgment and once I get to Nicaragua, stay put until Semana Santa is over. :strum

    ¡Buena suerte!
    #4
  5. Kamuk

    Kamuk lost in the ozone again

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    I thought this may be about the Sabilito / Rio Sereno crossing, which I have done and reccomend.

    I dont have first hand info on Chiles / San Carlos, but I have been wanting to do it my self. I look forward to hearing more about it.

    I understand that the crossers are pretty much local traffic and a few foreigners going day fishing / sightseeing, other than the hearty few. The shack on the other side at times is lacking forms and the staff can be playing hookie, but it is do able.

    There has been some anti import/export activity along the remote parts of the border in the last months and Semana Santa may notch that up in addition to all the people heading to see their familys. All the roads all over the country will be a ZOO with boner drivers too...

    I am in Herradura (Jaco) and offer a secure pad with garage and pool house, or tenting if you prefer, should you wish to kill some time on your way.

    That goes to the rest of you passing thru in the next few weeks.

    Send me a PM to coordinate.
    #5
  6. chrisf14

    chrisf14 Been here awhile

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    Thanks again for info. I'm currently living in Playa Del Coco. If you want to try the crossing together or come up this way. I offer you a place to stay also.
    #6
  7. Kamuk

    Kamuk lost in the ozone again

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    Most Excellent and look forward to it.

    I hear the Paquera ferry dock is reopened, maybe a run up the Nicoya in the cards either before the third week of April or after the later part of May if the gods allow. How would that fit?

    Off tommorow for a Paritta, Sabanitlas, San Ignacio de Acosta, La Lucha, Ciero del Muerte, Division, Rivas, Chirropo overnighter with four other riders.
    Return leg TBD!

    Got Nat'l double/single track routes to share?
    #7
  8. chrisf14

    chrisf14 Been here awhile

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    Change in direction. Monday I'm going to Panama. My girl (Tico) wants to see Canal. So off we go.
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  9. Kamuk

    Kamuk lost in the ozone again

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    Got back a few days ago from the Cierra del Muerte run. Adventure was had. No ruble no trouble, no blood no foul but there were challenges.

    Herradura may not be far enough away for a stop on the way down, but then or on your way back, you have a place to stretch out by the pool or rack.

    If you have the desire, try San Vito de Corto Brus to Sabilito crossing into Panama at Rio Sereno. Volcan to Concepcion gets you back to the Interamericana. Maybe overnight in Cerro Punta, above Volcan, neat lodge there Lodge de Quetzales, if its in the cards.
    #9
  10. flyde

    flyde Been here awhile

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    No further heads up on the San Carlos Los Chiles border?¿
    Im in Panama and will be up your way with my Boliviana at the beginning of may, would love to give it a go, it must be a great ride up the eastern side of the lake, but not keen on a compulsory U-turn :deal.

    Keen Kamuk or Chris??
    #10
  11. Kamuk

    Kamuk lost in the ozone again

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    I appologize for the delay in reply, new project...

    Im in for the run one of these days for damm sure, not on the near future though...
    Other opportunities, and the comings of the rain make me hesitate. By my experience, typically the rainy season comes in like a lion and tapers off towards the ´summer San Juan´ in mid to later June for a 2,3,4,week break.
    Maybe then?
    FYI I´d be on a plated EXC450 and traveling light.
    The ´road´ of which I have been told, may be not much more than a path. Not much more than a dotted line on the maps I have, and smaller than the other dotted routes that are on the same map.
    Riding here I have come to learn the difference between double track, single track, cattle track, horse track, and foot path. Its ALL Good, unless you have some where you gotta be at a set time.
    I dont yet know which one it´ll be, but it aint paved and may not be even gravel.

    Boat Taxi to Isla Ometepe would be the tits as a ´parachute´, or on to Granada?

    Back at Ya,
    Whaadda say?
    :D

    Back from Panama yet, Sir Chris14?
    #11
  12. flyde

    flyde Been here awhile

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    OK... round the normal way for me this time round.

    Do you Costa lads know anywhere who can rebuild my rear shock??
    #12
  13. Kamuk

    Kamuk lost in the ozone again

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    Try calling Moto Shop Jaco, they know where to get the things done that I need. Kaline is the owner, 506-2643-3907.
    Id call for you but currently in Bocas Del Toro...

    They would not be doing the work, but handle all needs for the area, and as I don´t think it will be an ´as you wait job´, at least you´d be at the beach...
    Hermosa for the big waves, Jaco for the little ones and night life, Herradura for the fishing.
    #13
  14. flyde

    flyde Been here awhile

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    Sweet, Thanks Kamuk!
    Trust your enjoying Bocas!!
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  15. briantn26

    briantn26 n00b

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    Crossed from San Carlos, Nicaragua to Los Chiles, Costa Rica a few days ago. The ferries are not big enough for cars but they fit my 650 Dakar no problem. Easy load and unload areas at both sides. No lines at the immigration areas and the officials where very helpful. The customs office in Los Chiles had a printer that was down so the guy drove to his house and got his printer from home so that way he would be able to print my bike form.. I was the only customer that day. The problem with going on this board is there is no place to purchase Costa Rican insurance in Los Chiles. I spent the night there and took a 5am bus to San Carlos, Costa Rica to purchase insurance and then took the bus back to Los Chiles to finish customs. The custom guy said he doesn't see very many vehicles coming across this boarder so there not really set up for it. Los Chiles is a nice boarder town, unlike every other boarder town in central america, not a bad place to spend a couple days. If you enjoy dirt back roads going through little villages with no traffic and no corrupt boarder officials this is the board for you.
    #15
  16. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Thanks for the update. I checked out the Los Chiles border crossing when I was cruising around northern Costa Rica on a rental bike a few years back. Pretty sleepy.

    A couple questions. Did you ride around the eastern side of Lago Nicaragua to get to San Carlos, Nicaragua? If so what were the roads like? How many ferry crossings? Or did you take a ferry from Isla Ometepe?

    Good to know that you can catch a bus to get insurance. How far is San Carlos, Costa Rica from the border? I don't see it on the map.

    If I don't hear back from you I am still taking this border crossing heading north from South America next year. Penas Blancas border crossing sucks donkey balls.

    Have fun riding. Maybe see you in South America if you're heading that way.

    Best,
    John Downs
    #16
  17. briantn26

    briantn26 n00b

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    I was riding on the eastern side of Lake Nicaragua but I didn't take the direct route from Managua. I was East of the the main route to San Carlos, doing a lot of dirt road riding through the mountains and countryside. From Granada I took 3 days to get to San Carlos b/c of all the dirt roads. If you ride the main road down the east side of the lake it should only take about 9 hours from Managua.
    I'm not sure where Isla Ometepe is, but I only had one ferry crossing. The ferry from San Carlos to Los Chiles.

    San Carlos, Costa Rica is also called Ciudad Quesada depending on what map you have. It would take about 1 hour to ride there on the motorcycle but in the bus it took an hour and a half there and three hours back. It all depends on how many people the bus has to stop to pick up along the side of the road. The buses are nice though, seem very new with A/C and clean seats. They start running at 5am from Los Chiles and then there is another bus every 45min until sometime late at night. Price was about $5 round trip, a taxi wanted $100 round trip.
    #17
  18. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Thanks alot Brian for the great info. Sounds like you're having fun. Nicaragua is a great country. I only scratched the surface. I'll definitely be heading through Los Chiles next time and hitting the Nica backroads. Isla Omotepe is the volcanic island in the middle of Lake Nicaragua. Most people take the ferry from the west near the Pan Am. But I think there is a ferry from San Carlos on the east as well.

    Gracias amigo,
    John Downs
    #18
  19. chrisf14

    chrisf14 Been here awhile

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    I will try that crossing then. I will be back in Costa Rica on Tuesday And playing in Central America for the next 7 months. That sounds like a fun day.

    http://www.crazycustomtours.com
    #19
  20. spittlehill

    spittlehill Adventurer

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    You may need to do this crossing in the next few months if you want a dirt road - albeit even now there are 90km of road works, 30km sealed, and 10km of the original "rough" road. The locals expect it to be finished by early mid-year 2011. Japan has sponsored a bridge across the river, and this will mean that within a few years, this may be the main truck crossing!

    There are about 4 boat types servicing the river, we got a barge-like one that was OK, but expensive ($40 for a bike & $10 per person), at midday. I think we effectively hired a charter, as it was just us, our bikes and one other passenger. If we crossed with only 1 bike, I think that we would have had it cheaper and been placed with the locals. The early boat on the day when we left was too small for bikes, but the 4pm boat would have been perfect. (as we found out latter) This would effectively been a ride on / off for 2 midsize bikes and was much cheaper. The quote we got was $50 for both of us and our bikes three days earlier for this one, but it is up to the captains to set the price on the day. The standard fare appears to be around $12, (or $6000). You can also charter boats for about $240 per trip. Email sales@aguatrails.com but not sure on the details about this.

    The crossing is the most laid back of any we have done so far. Fumigate, (only fee), and ride up to the immigration for the stamps & permits. We spent 20min browsing the web with officials to see cool places in Costa Rica and also to show them photos from New Zealand! Instead of running home (the printer is still broken), they FAX the import permit and the guy walks down to the copiar to copy it onto the official paper.

    There is no insurance on the border, and this is required before you can start the import process. We crossed at the main crossing to get this before returning to Nica to go back around the lake to Los Charlos. We tried without getting stamps and got as far as the first Costa Rican checkpoint before being stopped. So I stamped out and entered to get this and returned 30min latter. Be prepared for questions on the return trip. There are $14USD charges + $15USD insurance charges. Total time, 2 hours driving from Granada, 1 hour trying to cross without papers, and 1 1/2 hours crossing on foot. So about the same as arranging it after you cross, but it impressed the fuk out of the customs guy that we arrived with it!

    But in 2 or 3 years, this will be the main road and the pacific side will be nice and quiet. There is some opposition against the road, but my money is on the bridge.
    #20