Arriving in Panama this time on November 1st, 2014 and planning to stay until June or July, we thought that while we were up by the border in Bocas Town, it would be a good idea to reset our passports and make a border run to Costa Rica and back. We contacted a company called Caribe Shuttle in Bocas Town and told them we we wanted to go to Costa Rica and back. Since you can’t, as far as we know, just go across the border, get your stamp and come back in the same day, the girl at the desk suggested we stay at Banana Azul just outside a town called Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. We paid our 30 dollars each for the shuttle and made reservations at the Banana Azul.
2 days later, we took the water taxi to Almirante
and boarded the waiting shuttle to Changuinola,
a small town right on the border of Panama and Costa Rica. We were directed by our shuttle driver to the immigration office and we received our exit stamp that shows we left Panama. We then paid the exit tax, yes you need to pay to leave, and we walked across the river on the train bridge
into Costa Rica. We stopped at the immigration office and got our entry stamp, and were directed to another Caribe Shuttle van for the ride to Banana Azul. We spent the night at Banana Azul,
had a wonderful meal
and even saw our very first wild sloth
before the Caribe Shuttle picked us up for the ride back to the border. Once we got to the town of Sixaola,
we reversed the process. We paid our exit tax to Costa Rica, took the receipt
and got our exit stamp, walked back across the train bridge
to Changuinola, paid our entry fee, got our entry stamp resetting our passports and got back on our Caribe Shuttle BACK to Almirante and the water taxi back to Bocas Town.
Just a few notes. The drivers of Caribe Shuttle in Panama and Costa Rica were wonderful. They made sure we knew where to go, which office we should go to and they were on time and waiting for us at each location. As to the “taxes” we paid to leave and enter both Costa Rica and Panama, it’s just part of the process at this border crossing. If we had to pay a few bucks extra to leave and enter the two countries overnight, I’m not going to worry about it. It’s really no different than paying more money to get a FBI Background check overnight instead of 12 weeks later (story to follow at some point).