Day 17: Close to Other Countries

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One of the great things about being in Central America is how close you are to other countries.

In order to maintain a legal tourism status, non-residents must leave Costa Rica every 90 days for at least 72 consecutive hours. We spent two out of the country trips returning to the U.S. to visit our families, and for weddings and what not. Surprisingly, we never made it back to our actual home in Vegas. Instead, we opted to spend our time in the States with our families in Missouri and Texas, which we are happy about!

The other two times that we had to leave the country, we chose to visit the two countries that border CR, and that’s Nicaragua to the north, and Panama to the south.

Nicaragua was our first trip we took in February. Peter had been here since Dec. 1, so we had to leave before the end of February to be safe. There are two places that are popular to travel to in Nicaragua from CR. One is San Juan del Sur, which is a beach town. The other is Granada, which is more inland and near a very large lake. We chose Granada and were not disappointed!

First off, we got a really nice bus from San Jose to Granada for      $           which took us across the border and all the way through to Granada. It is quite a long bus ride. Around 9-9 1/2 hours!

Next, we only spent about $25 a day for both Peter and I to eat and drink, including alcoholic beverages!

pizza and beer, yum.

pizza and beer, yum. Tona is the best beer, btw.

Third, the place we stayed was really cute and the guys who run it are extremely helpful and friendly and speak English really well. It was called La Islita Boutique Hotel.

La Islita

La Islita breakfast area

Last, there are a lot of fun things to do there. Everything from tour volcanoes and bat caves to just taking a stroll through the city to view the Spanish architecture.

Nicaragua 115

Nicaragua 102

Nicaragua 096

Nicaragua 045

Nicaragua 060

Nicaragua 085


We did all of the above. We had an AMAZING night tour of Masaya Volcano. Actually, I guess it was more of a sunset tour because the sun was setting while we were touring the volcano.

The crater was HUGE! And sulfur smoke was rising from the deepest part of the crater.

The crater was HUGE! And sulfur smoke was rising from the deepest part of the crater.

Sun setting...gorgeous coloring! This was when Peter was bald! :-)

Sun setting…gorgeous coloring! This was when Peter was bald! 🙂

View of the crater from up on a hill nearby.

View of the crater from up on a hill nearby.

After it was dark, we got our flashlights and helmets and toured a bat cave and underground, dormant lava tube!

Ready for the bat cave!

Ready for the bat cave!

Trekking through the lava tunnel!

Trekking through the lava tunnel!

All in all, you could tell how Nicaraguans are struggling so much more than Costa Ricans. There was even a man that came up to our table at dinner (we were eating outside on the restaurant patio area) and asked to take our food that we had not eaten after we were done. It was just a few chips and some salsa. Definitely a humbling moment that made us appreciate all that we have….


The other place we went in order to stay in CR legally was Bocas del Toro, Panama! We had an amazing time with two of our amazing new friends, and you can read all about that trip in the following links

Bocas del Toro: Part 1

Bocas del Toro: Part 2

Bocas del Toro: Part 3

It was such a great trip, it took 3 posts to cover!

We have loved traveling to other countries while here. Each time was a different experience from CR. The U.S. is so big and only borders Canada and Mexico. You know though, I’ve never been to Canada….maybe we should try there next. Then I can at least say that I’ve been to the two countries bordering my own home country!

Guess you’ll just have to continue following to see what the future brings!

~Thanks for reading~

Pura vida!

Categories: Photography, Travel | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Day 17: Close to Other Countries

  1. Pingback: 30 Day Challenge: My Costa Rican Experience « ticavida

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