We were ready to leave San Juan del Sur and move on to Costa Rica. We boarded a bus in SJDS headed for Rivas, although we weren’t going all the way to Rivas. We asked to be dropped at La Virgen, which is simply the intersection where the road to SJDS meets the Panamericana Highway. From there we would flag down pretty much any southbound bus that would get us to the border city of Penas Blancas.
After waiting for a few minutes on the side of the road, a “collectivo” taxi stopped that had 2 seats available. These taxis will collect passengers until they have a full load and give everybody a break by sharing the fare. He offered to get us to the border for a little less than $5.00 so we took it. Penas Blancas seems to exist only to serve the “needs” of those crossing the border with Costa Rica. It’s more than a tad seedy, very busy and confusing. When we exited the taxi, we were immediately handed 2 immigration forms and asked to pay $1 each which I think is a fee levied by Penas Blancas. We then had to clear a checkpoint where our passport and immigration form were glanced at and asked to pay another $1 each for exit from Nicaragua. As an aside, I would also mention that there were long lines of semi-trucks with trailers waiting on both sides of the border. Apparently, the process for them to clear is quite time consuming.