Border Crossing Costa Rica to Nicaragua 2020 & flights from Houston

As Costa Rica lifts it’s border restrictions on Oct 26th, 2020, Nicaragua and it’s tourists are taking a closer look at the process necessary to get access to Nicaragua!

In this post we will be taking a look at current flight options and the process to cross the border from Costa Rica to Nicaragua via the Peñas Blancas border.

Flying From Houston to Costa Rica VS Houston to Nicaragua

As we take a quick look for a 2 – week round trip flight (just for numbers sake), the flights from Houston, USA to San Jose, Costa Rica come up quickly on a Google flight grid. Please take note, most of the affordable flights are via Spirit Airlines.

Option available via Google flights for round trip from Houston, USA to San Jose, Costa Rica.

So now, let’s switch it up and take a look at Flying these same dates, but from Houston USA to Managua, Nicaragua and again Spirit airline flights show up!

Flight options from Houston to Managua, Nicaragua – Most of these flight are via Spirit and have crazy schedules and stopovers in FLL.

So what is the big difference? To someone who isn’t aware and hasn’t been in the mix these past few months, the result is, prices seem similar and connections seem just as dreadful. But there is so much more to consider since Spirit is not currently flying to Nicaragua. However, considering all option equal let’s look at what would be necessary to go from Costa Rica to Nicaragua via the land border.

The reality of Flying to Costa Rica and crossing over by land into Nicaragua will involve:

  1. Costa Rica no longer requires a PCR test as of October 26th, 2020.
  2. Costa Rica does require the Insurance which must be quoted directly.
  3. Flying to Costa Rica means you are likely flying to San Jose, this requires vehicle travel of minimum 6 hours to the border with Nicaragua.
  4. You will need a CoViD PCR Test – that can be done in San Jose, details on where and cost can be found below.
  5. You will need to stay in San Jose, Costa Rica at least 2 nights depending on the time your flight arrives. If you arrive on day 1, get test day 2 early in AM, receive results on Day 3 in the am you can then rush to Border as long as you arrive before dusk, cause the border is currently closing at 6pm!
  6. Cross border from Costa Rica to Nicaragua requires 2 processes: Leave Costa Rica (first Stamp in passport) and Enter Nicaragua (second stamp in passport). Be aware – you will likely need to cross border on foot. Rental cars cannot cross these borders.
  7. As of the time of this post, I am told Costa Rica Border is open 6am to 6pm.

Flying into Managua, Nicaragua will involve:

  • Getting a Test in Houston within the 72 hours arrival time in Managua. Still don’t have details from anyone who has done this yet but hope to collect info from someone soon as commercial flights have basically only been through Avianca via Miami and San Salvador.
  • Be mindful of your packing! Customs taxes have been fierce – for the new items you are bringing, make sure to keep your printed receipts for items in hand during travel. For more info on packing to minimize customs fees click here.
  • Avianca is still the only commercial airline flying to Nicaragua, as of the date this post in published.

Current Reality of flights

Current reality is that the only commercial airline flying to Nicaragua right now is Avianca. It’s the only airline willing to comply with Nicaragua regulation requiring all individuals be tested prior to arrival. This includes crew on the airplanes. No other airline is willing to have their crew submitted to constant testing and the rules don’t seem to be changing. Until the rules about entering Nicaragua change for airline crew, it’s doubtful any other airline will begin to fly to Nicaragua commercially.

So what are the options to get to Nicaragua?

  • Fly via Avianca on a Commercial flight
  • Fly via a Charter flight and rely on a tour operator to handle all dealings with government aviation department, immigration department and health department. Charters have successful flown from Mexico, Texas and Florida.
  • Fly to Costa Rica and get the Covid test there to then cross the border to Nicaragua

Get your Covid Test in Costa Rica in order to cross border to Nicaragua

In San Jose, Costa Rica a tourist named ‘Josep Puigdengolas’ recently posted on the Expats in Nicaragua Facebook page what he did to fulfill requirement to cross the border into Nicaragua successfully.

  1. Got the PCR Test at Hospital Clinica Bíblica.
  2. Cost of test for him was 52,000 Colones which is approximately $105 USD.
  3. Exact location is: Hospital Clínica Bíblica – 14 Avenida, Laberitno, San Jose, Costa Rica. Tel (506) 2522-1000
  4. Results of PCR test provided to patients within 24 hours.
Google maps screen capture for location of “Clinica Bíblica Hospital” San Jose. Costa Rica.

For more information on Travel from Miami to Nicaragua click here!

Interested in learning about leaving Nicaragua and entering USA? Click here!

Update Oct 26, 2020 – A Few recurring questions about travel through Costa Rica

Some questions we have received from readers include:

Where can I get the Test in Liberia, Costa Rica? The response was provided by a fellow reader – ‘I have requested info about getting a Test in Liberia Costa Rica’ and one our readers was kind enough to provide the contact information a location name.

Response from Arry: “Hospital Metropilitano Costa Rica” can be found on Facebook. She contacted them directly an receive the following info:

  • Price 53,000 Colones plus Tax
  • Results delivered within 24/48 after test sample is taken.
  • For more information you may call (506) 2521-9595

Where can I get a test in Houston, Texas? The following answer was also provided by a fellow reader. Note: Please make sure to get the “right test” you are welcome to review details provided in the post on Traveling from Miami to Nicaragua link for exact detail of the test that was accepted earlier this month).

Response from Jeffrey Bernhard ‘I found this when searching for 24-hour turnarounds. May do the trick for you in Houston.’

Is the land border between Costa Rica and Nicaragua open? The answer is a technical one, yes and no.

Currently the border to got from Costa Rica to Nicaragua is open, a negative test is required to enter Nicaragua.

The Border to go from Nicaragua to Costa Rica is currently closed but there are rumors this may change soon, possibly as soon as Nov 2020 since Costa Rica announced a slight lift in its border restriction to tourists arriving via air, as far as we understand, Costa Rica still Requires health insurance.

Do I need Health insurance to be in Transit through Costa Rica? Simple answer is, I honestly don’t know. This is a good spot to get more reliable info from the people who would know more about this specific topic. Check out:

Can I fly Spirit Airlines to Nicaragua now? As now, Spirit is not flying to Nicaragua although they continue to sell tickets. They have not made a public announcement on when they resume flights to Nicaragua as of Oct 25, 2020.

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