Penas Blancas - Costa Rica

In Penas Blancas one can cross the border from Costa Rica into Nicaragua.

There is a last gas station close to the border to Nicaragua. The line of waiting trucks, to cross into Nicaragua, usullay reaches up to here.
There is a last gas station close to the border to Nicaragua. The line of waiting trucks, to cross into Nicaragua, usullay reaches up to here.

The border here is secured with barb wire. Penas Blancas is located 18.6 kilometers north of La Cruz, and is the northernmost town in Costa Rica.

A street vendor offering watches at the Penas Blancas border.
A street vendor offering watches at the Penas Blancas border.

The border building includes a restaurant and a bank where one can change money and or travelers cheques. Official money changers offer their service outside the building. They have their identification badge hanging around their neck. Those money changers can be found on both sides of the border.

On the Nicaraguan side of the border there are several duty free shops. The most popular product is the Nicaraguan rum, Flor de Caña.

Crossing the border can take anywhere from 1-7 hours, less than 2 hours is what is normal. The longest waits happen at times when the hundreds of Nicaraguans that are living in Costa Rica are traveling home for Christmas or Easter Week.

Ticabus, Transnica, Central Line, King Quality and Nica Expresso are bus companies that travel direct between San Jose and Managua. Rental cars may not leave Costa Rica.

Crossing the border to Nicaragua...
The Cordoba is the national currency of Nicaragua, it is divided into 100 centavos. If you do end up exchanging money at the border just know the exchange rate, money exchangers will approach you nonstop.
The Cordoba is the national currency of Nicaragua, it is divided into 100 centavos. If you do end up exchanging money at the border just know the exchange rate, money exchangers will approach you nonstop.

The official currency of Nicaragua is the Cordoba. It is not possible to pay with Colones in Nicaragua.

Penas Blancas on the map

Alajuela on the map

Facts about Penas Blancas, Costa Rica

  • Penas Blancas is located in the province of Guanacaste.
  • Penas Blancas is the northernmost town in Costa Rica.

Driving times and distances

  • Distance from San Jose to Penas Blancas: 289 kilometers respectively 179.4 miles.
  • Travel time from San Jose to Penas Blancas: 5.20 hours.
  • Distance from Liberia to Penas Blancas: 78.1 kilometers respectively 48.5 miles.
  • Travel time from Liberia to Penas Blancas: 1.18 hours.

The border office of Nicaragua is 1 kilometer away from the Costa Rican border control.



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