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Thread: Tourism visas: Is there a 72-hour rule?

  1. #1
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    Default Tourism visas: Is there a 72-hour rule?

    It has always been my understanding that people who leave Nicaragua because their tourist visas are expiring must stay out for 72 hours before returning.


    However, last week I met with a Nicaraguan immigration lawyer who insisted that it was perfectly legal to cross into Costa Rica and return on the same day.


    The lawyer I spoke to is highly regarded in his field and teaches immigration law at a law school here.


    Nonetheless, on the weekend I spoke to a foreigner who said that border officials recently told him that he was not allowed to re-enter Nicaragua for 72 hours.


    I do know that some foreigners leave and return on the same day with the help of 'coyotes', but I will not pay bribes for this.


    Has anyone reading this recently crossed into CR and returned on the same day without being challenged by Nicaraguan border officials (and without the help of coyotes)?


    Conversely, has anyone recently been told directly by Nicaraguan border officials that they must stay out for 72 hours?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Tourism visas: Is there a 72-hour rule?

    Another one of those yes, no, and maybe things.

    Maybe some of the confusion stems from this; Gringos in CR can come into Nica and go right back, BUT if they want to declare items duty free must stay out 72 hours.

    I have been told conflicting stories by both people in immigration and those who are paid to know the law.

    The thing I have seen is that for those going and coming right back, someone will notice you and then the bite begins. Last trip I went I saw a guy getting to open his wallet a few times.
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    Default Re: Tourism visas: Is there a 72-hour rule?

    On a side note I have only once paid a "propina" (not to be confused with a morbida). Showed up one Sunday morning early and the border on the CR side was not yet open. Hundreds of people were piled under the awning due to rain. The line would have taken hours upon hours (once it formed) and there was no beginning or end to it. I was approached by a guy, and for $10 I was the first person out of CR that morning, I would not call him a "coyote", more of an "expeditor".
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Tourism visas: Is there a 72-hour rule?

    I made a point of asking this question each time I crossed the border into Costa Rica. Most answered very disinterestedly that I could simply turn around and come back when I want, that there was no official 72 hour rule, which is the case in Costa Rica.

    Now, I have seen people turned away for doing the quick turn around, but I believe it was more officials looking for bribes and trying to create a precedent.

    Something of interest to note is the amount of guys who hang around the border who can get "things done" for certain prices. One of their more common services is getting you back in same day for around$30, so I suppose there might be something to it.

    In my experience, certain laws are so poorly codified, or nothing has been on the subject, that no one can really provide you with a black and white answer and it depends on whatever it is the person you are dealing with believes the correct answer is (or how he is feeling towards you that day).

    I did a couple of turn arounds and never had an issue, guys did try to tell me they could get me back in for $30. I normally enjoyed a few days in Liberia anyways, change of scenery, so don't have much experience on the topic.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Tourism visas: Is there a 72-hour rule?

    I usually spend some time in CR as well, enjoy it, but recently did a quick turn without any issue. It was early November 2014, nobody going south, but lots of Nicas coming north.

    I wouldn't pay $30, but if it was a matter of $5 to the exit guard I think I'd pay rather than argue with him. Try to stay away from the tramites unless you really need them. I was robbed of $200 by one in CR. Took me two days to process all the paperwork with the police.

    The tramites work in league with the corrupt officials, facilitating the corruption. They are not working for you.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Tourism visas: Is there a 72-hour rule?

    30 bucks to turn around and get back in?
    well, i guess they can get money from suckers any day.


    in all the times ive had to go to costa rica, only once have i ever HAD to stay, and that was just one night. Otherwise, im just up front about wanting to turn around and get back, and no one cares.
    The first time we literally turned right back, and on the way back in, the guy in between the borders told me, in great english "dude.....come on. next time you gotta at least stay a couple hours and make it look like you came for some reason."
    One time the guys told us that we could come back same day but if we do it enough, one day they might look at the stamps, and say, we wont let you into CR again because you are just using us, so its best to stay one night. So we did.

    One time we voluntarily stayed 3 days just because we needed a break.

    But otherwise, we go and turn around same day every 90 days (its cheaper than paying at the immigration for an extension). no one has ever tried to extort us for 30 bucks, and no one has ever had an issue.

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    Default Re: Tourism visas: Is there a 72-hour rule?

    Quote Originally Posted by methionine View Post
    ...that there was no official 72 hour rule, which is the case in Costa Rica.
    Just FYI, CR does NOT have an "official 72 hour rule" either. Some recent "crackdowns" at the Panama border with Panama requesting proof of onward air travel. And yes, CR is also making noises about perpetual tourists and visa "runs" -- same old, same old for at least 12 years!
    .
    I've looked on many women with lust. I've committed adultery in my heart many times. Maybe if I had gotten laid, I wouldn't be such a nincompoop?

  8. #8

    Default Re: Tourism visas: Is there a 72-hour rule?

    last time i went through, which was in december, costa rica said they no longer cared about the tourist runs now that they were charging for their services. Their issue before was that it was free, and tourists who werent supporting the country in any way were clogging up the lines and slowing it down, etc. So thats why they had been making issues before. But now, you gotta pay the $7 exit tax in Costa Rica, which pays for their time, so according to them this last time around, they couldnt care less now that they are making money off it.

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