We jumped on the 6 a.m. TransNica bus in Granada, Nicaragua. They asked us to be there at 5:15 a.m. which we did (lots of people up and about at that hour so we felt quite safe sitting on the sidewalk steps outside the TransNica terminal).
By 7:30 a.m. we were at the Nicaraguan border (Peñas Blancas). On the bus you give your travel documents (passport) to the bus agent, as they take care of the immigration movements. Nicaraguans don’t pay any fee. However, Nicaraguan residents pay a $1 Rivas tax fee. All other foreigners pay $3, which includes the $1 Rivas tax fee and other fees.
We were on the bus again at 8:55 a.m. and on to the Costa Rican border. There each traveller must personally present him or herself to the immigration offices. Note: all travelers who are not Costa Ricans or Costa Rican residents must show a return ticket or a ticket valid for departure from Costa Rica. If you don’t happen to have one, you can buy one for $25 outside the immigration office. It has no expiration date so it can be used at any future time. U.S. citizens and those with a U.S. tourist visa do not pay anything upon entrance to Costa Rica.
By 9:45 a.m. we were done and on our way to Liberia, Costa Rica (our final destination), arriving at around 11:00 a.m. Our ticket was good all the way to San José but our destination was Tamarindo Beach, so we asked the driver to leave us off in Liberia, close to the Food Mall (with Burger King, Pollo Tropical and Papa John’s).
Liberia is a good stopping point for all the beaches in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica. It also has an up and coming international airport – Daniel Oduber Airport (LIB) – which has become a popular arrival and departure for tourists and residents of Nicaragua alike.
TransNica tickets can be purchased in many travel agencies in Nicaragua. One-way passage costs $29/round trip $58. The busses are comfortable with A/C and a bathroom on board.