I am not a huge fan of border crossings so was not looking forward to this one and was quite pleasantly surprised. Although it took 2 hours and the process is just silly complicated everyone was extremely nice, helpful and friendly. This put me in a good mood for the day as nothing spoils your day more than a bad border crossing.
I arrived at the border at 7am and was the second person in the immigration line to get stamped out of Costa Rica. I had paid the exit fee in the hotel the night before and they had given me the correct paperwork so that was great. The immigration lady then told me where the customs building was however I had trouble finding it and was riding past lines and lines of lorries looking lost when a lorry driver hooted at me and pointed to building and gave me a double thumbs up, I guess he knew exactly what I was looking for. I had to wait until 8am for the customs people to arrive and when they did the lady who served me spent the entire time on her cell phone. However this was not a bad thing as she simply stamped the form and never bothered to come and inspect the bike to if I was taking the right one out the country. No problem for me the less time wasted the better.
Everyone I spoke to was very pleasant and answered my questions in a very friendly way. The questions were mostly where is xy&z. The Nicaragua immigration went smoothly as well and then on to Customs. The customs lady got very flustered because I did not speak Spanish, not in a mean way just worried. She asked me where I was going and I said Nicaragua Granada but she kept asking. Eventually she called a fixer over and he translated, asking me in English where I was going to which I answered Nicaragua Granada and all was okay. She then gave me the form to fill our and the fixer took me to the insurance people. I asked Charlie the fixer how much he would charge me for this help (which I had not asked for) and he said no it is a favour but you can give me a tip if you like. In the end he saved me a ton of time as the Nicaraguan custom process sucks so I gave him usd5.
Heading out of the border control about 5kms down the road I hit an army road block and they wanted me to open my luggage. I took my time pretention I had lost my keys and got all flustered about it, so in the end they just said okay go 🙂 This was the only road block I came across and the roads in Nicaragua are excellent. The drivers are not bad, no hooting and going nuts like in Bolivia or Panama.
I arrived in Granada at about 11am had a shower and went to see the city. I like Nicaragua and Granada is nice. The country is certainly a lot poorer than Costa Rica but feels good. Granada is a touristy place but not overly so that it irritates me and there are a fare few excellent restaurants.
There are loads of working horses in Granada which I really hated to see
I left Granada and headed off to Chinandega where I would be staying the night before the border push crossing Honduras in one day so doing 2 border crossings hmmm not looking forward to it.
On the way to Chinandega I stopped in at Leon and it is a nice town. I just stopped for a quick look and a drink as I wanted to get to Chinandega and chill by the hotel pool. I had spoilt myself and booked into a very nice hotel, making the most of the cheap Nicaraguan prices.
church in Chinandega (I had to borrow this off the net as my one was very blurred)
In the evening I was reminded that I was in Central America when I was sitting relaxing in the hotel garden and I heard gunshots down the road. I am hoping it was the police doing away with some idiot criminal and not an idiot criminal hurting an innocent person. It’s funny that it did not bother me at all, it was just one of those things. However I did decide to have dinner in the hotel and not go out 🙂
There is no shortage of fruit in Central America and it is so yummy