Rio Sereno border crossing / Panama into Costa Rica

Discussion in 'Latin America' started by Secret Agent Man, Feb 2, 2010.

  1. snohobo

    snohobo Supermoto hippy

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    If I still have my TVIP - does that mean that I suspended it or finalized it? We crossed 5 borders in 17 days and I'm still reeling from all the procedures. I don't actually remember exactly what I did when we left CR. We were in CR for one day.

    I don't need to be in CR long - I think 24 hour is sufficient to renew my bike permit in Panama. Unless I need to be out for more than 24 hours (I heard 3 days might be necessary but I cannot remember)?

    Other option - can I do everything in Sixaola? I'd rather do anything than to return to Paso Canoa. Anyyyything....
    #41
  2. PlasticSun

    PlasticSun Long Live The Supertanker

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    It means you likely suspended it, it should say on the TVIP "Suspendito" with your initials next to that. This is what CR customs is supposed to do when you exit the country is give you that option. Odds are high that it's suspended but every now and then some one stupid (like me) thinks they're going to South America and chooses to turn around after finalizing their CR TVIP which means a big hassle at PC.

    You can do everything at Sixola, there's insurance for sale and customs at both sides and if you do need to spend a couple extra days in CR Puerto Viejo is just 30 km away. :freaky

    The major difference is at Sixola they're still ruled by the office in PC, so if for some reason they need the jefe to sign off on something (like a dumb gringo who finalized his TVIP instead of suspending it....again me) they'll send you down to PC to talk to the jefe who will likely need to call San Jose to plead your case. However, if it's a routine crossing Sixola will serve your needs just fine and the bridge there is a fun ride.
    #42
  3. Bajarider2000

    Bajarider2000 Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the offer! Panama changed the tourist visas to 6 months from 3 so I don't have to do it as often which is nice.

    Luckily I have a buddy in Nosara so I'll be headed there this trip.

    Most likely doing a pleasure ride up in June.

    #43
  4. Bajarider2000

    Bajarider2000 Been here awhile

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    Take the dirt up the coast from Mal Pais. Fun ride. I'll be in Nosara if you want to meet there for a beer.
    #44
  5. Blind Warrior

    Blind Warrior Lost in the Ozone

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    Does anyone know if you can leave a bike in CR and fly back to the US for a couple of month? I'd like to make the trip, but can't get away for the time it would take for the return trip, so I wanted to come back for two months before flying back and riding home.

    Thanks.
    #45
  6. snohobo

    snohobo Supermoto hippy

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    If I'm not mistaken ,you can leave it in customs until your permit expires. I forget the daily fee - maybe up to $3/day.

    Check with the Aduana - I assume it can be done in San Jose near the airport but I'm not sure. I would double check.
    #46
  7. brecchi

    brecchi Been here awhile

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    Hey guys, I am in San Jose and plan on crossing into Panama tomorrow. I was thinking of taking the southern highway which parallels the coast more, and then cross at Paso Canoas. But, after reading this post I am probably going to stay on the main highway and cross at Rio Sereno.
    My question is, when I return from Panama in a couple of weeks, will I need to cross again at Rio Sereno in order to pick up my insurance papers again? (I still have 2 months left on it, have already turned them in once and picked them up again when crossiing back and forth from Nicaragua). I was planning on returning along the Caribbean coast and doing the Sixaloa crossing on my return, but I would hate to have to re-buy insurance again, since mine will still be valid.
    #47
  8. PlasticSun

    PlasticSun Long Live The Supertanker

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    If your insurance is still valid you don't need to re-purchase it, you also don't give the Panama side your CR TVIP or leave it there at Rio Sereno you keep it with you. You can cross into Panama at Rio Sereno and then leave via Sixola without a problem.
    #48
  9. brecchi

    brecchi Been here awhile

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    Cool, sounds pretty good to me. So, does this mean that after I stamp out of Costa Rica, I don't need to go to the CR aduana at all?
    #49
  10. PlasticSun

    PlasticSun Long Live The Supertanker

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    When you stamp out of Costa Rica you'll be given the option if you want to suspend or finalize your TVIP, you want to suspend it. The TVIP will be marked and given back to you, when you go to check back into CR at Sixola you'll go to the customs office (located in the same building as migration) and hand the the suspended TVIP, they'll unsuspend it for you and get you on your way. It takes far less time to unsuspend the permit than to issue a new one, but you do have to visit the customs office.
    #50
  11. brecchi

    brecchi Been here awhile

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    Thanks PlasticSun, sounds pretty straightforward. Ill post on here afterwards and let folks know how it goes.
    #51
  12. snohobo

    snohobo Supermoto hippy

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    Just got back from Costa Rica, turns out I didn't suspend or cancel my permit - we left without exiting the bike. I showed up on the 8th - and my permit was good until the 9th - so I was able to go to Puerto Viejo for one night. And let me tell you - there is a lot of nice scenery over there! I took advantage of the local fruit over there. Ricisima:wink::wink:

    So basically I was allowed into CR for one day - which was enough for me to renew my tourist visa and get another 2 months on my TVIP for Panama (with the allocation of another 1 month extension).

    I was told howver that since I never checked out - next time I wabnt to go to CR I can go to Paso Canoas and the hefe there will give me credit for the days I was out of costa rica - which would allow me to return with the bike before 90 days.

    And the brige was cool - i rode it through the middle.

    Me and my new friend Marlon McKnight at the Sixaola border - the boy loving Aduana man....


    [​IMG]
    #52
  13. brecchi

    brecchi Been here awhile

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    Crossed the other day. Currently staying at Snohobo's spot " posted above", Panama Passage. This place is so cool I don't want to get into it here, it deserves its own post. What these guys are doing for the riding community is amazing.
    The border is a pain in the ass to get to, but definitely not busy. It actually worked against me, as the only guy there, everyone took their sweet time, but 90 minutes later I was good to go. And the scenery is as amazing as everyone says. Thanks for the help PlasticSun, Im glad I made the extra effort to cross get there.
    #53
  14. ian moor

    ian moor n00b

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    I crossed the Rio Sereno (San Vito) border crossing from Costa Rica to Panama on 18th July 2011. 5km of dirt road on the Costa Rican side leads to the Rio Sereno border. No queues and helpful officials made the paperwork a breeze. There is a Costa Rican customs office there now so all the paperwork can be correctly processed. Compulsory vehicle insurance for Panama is available at the border ($15 for three months) but I believe if crossing into Costa Rica you stilll have to take a bus into town, buy your insurance and return for your bike. If there is a group of riders one may be allowed to ride into town for the insurance while the rest of the group waits at the border.

    With good roads on both sides of the border (apart from the 5km of dirt on the Costa Rican side) and great scenery why would anyone cross at Paso Canoas!
    #54
  15. rjzinc

    rjzinc The World is My Home

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    Just an update from my experience yesterday from Panama to Costa Rica at Rio Sereno border crossing. The ride from Volcan to Rio Sereno is awesome, with great scenery, plenty of twisting curves with elevation/descending curves. Highly recommended.

    At the Costa Rica side of the border, the migration office is staffed for your passport stamp, but this is low season, I was told, and the CR customs/aduana office for importing my moto is not currently staffed.

    I had previously imported my moto in to CR last week and then exited at Paso Canoas for a few days in Panama. My CR import paperwork was "suspended" at that time.

    At Rio Sereno, since I had my insurance and suspended import document, the migration officer called down to Paso Canoas and informed customs. The customs agent from Paso Canoas took a truck ride up to Rio Sereno and an hour and a half later I had a new inport document to enter Costa Rica. Cost a few tips but was worth not having to re-enter Panama and riding down to Paso Canoas.

    A suggestion, prior to riding to Rio Serento/Sambito crossing, call ahead to find out if the customs office is open. otherwise, enjoy the ride from Rio Serento to Volcan. Paved great motoring ride, flowers, scenery, more fincas and haciendas then I could count.

    RJZInc
    #55
  16. BeachGuy

    BeachGuy Lost in paradise!

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    Just in case it has not been stated before, Rio Sereno Aduana on the Costa Rica crossing is closed on Saturday and Sunday for vehicles. Foot traffic is still OK.

    Not sure about Panama Aduana, but if Costa Rica side is closed you can bet Panama is too.

    You may want to check on this before you head that way, things change especially on a major holiday; and weekends are major holidays to most of the locals.
    #56
  17. aadal

    aadal Adventurer

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    Just crossed yesterday Sunday Costa Rica -> Panama and it is possible, but the thing is that the aduana lady on costa rica side is not there, but migration man just put the permit under the door for her to cancel monday ;-)
    This is THE most plesant bordercrossing i have had in all latin america. Actualy it did not matter to me that Panama aduana lady took her time she was nice and the ambient at the border is super laid back. worth 100x the ride time up there(6km dirt on costa rica side) also you get bonus on Panama side with the most beautiful landscape and road going back to panamericana.
    Super crossing, love it! :D
    #57
  18. BeachGuy

    BeachGuy Lost in paradise!

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    To everyone who reads this post. I agree, it's the best place to cross into or out of Panama. Well worth the little diversion in getting there.
    #58
  19. Chiriqui Charlie

    Chiriqui Charlie Been here awhile

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    It is usually a very nice crossing, but there can be exceptions. I was in Rio Sereno when John Downs wenbt through. It took him about ten minutes to exit Costa Rica, and just a couple minutes to buy insurance and get his Sherpa into Panama. There was a short line at Panama immigration, should have been a snap. But the officer on duty was taking every body into his office for about a 20 minute interigation! It took what seemed like a couple hours to get his passport stamped! He said it was his WORST crossing in CA.

    I live down the hill in Volvan, so I have used this crossing many times. Last time I was coming from Costa Rica, took just a couple minutes to exit CR, Panama stamped my passport in two minutes, the customs lady was very efficient with my bike papers, so I thought I was done. The police called me back into the police/immigration building, told me to wait, I don't know what for, seems they needed clearance from Paso Canoas, but the computer was down! So I kept waiting and waiting, they kept saying "just five more minutes." Well, a couple hours passed, I told the cops that I had to leave, I didn't want to drive down the hill in the dark. They told me to wait. Finally I told them I had to go, arrest me if they had to, and got on the bike and drove home. I haven't heard anything, and still have absolutely no idea what we were waiting for. :huh
    #59
  20. Hektoglider

    Hektoglider One with Life

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    We also had to wait I believe it was for a fax from Panama City HQ about our entry papers giving clearance to enter Panama. It took about an hour. But ! The police/ military office where we sat waiting has high speed open wifi. So waiting wasn't so bad.
    [​IMG]
    When we arrived at the border, we got stamped out of CR in 2 minutes, but had to wait to buy insurance. The office was closed , so we went for lunch at the border restaurant .Soon there was 4-5 people milling around the ins office as we ate. Soon enough, someone showed up and we got the ins. The ride on the Panama side is great.
    [​IMG]
    #60