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The Idiotic $5 Costa Rica Border Tax Fiasco

Costa Rica News – As it is with most laws being implemented in Costa Rica the government did not think before putting it in place.  Now he has caused all sorts of problems for those that have been crossing into Nicaragua. 

costa rica nicaragua border

First Let’s Go Over the New Tax

The Finance Ministry has made a new tax of $5 for everyone leaving Costa Rica by road. It can be paid at Bancocredito branches. The fee is unavoidable and is effective December 2nd, although it was passed last July.

The reason behind the tax is that funds are needed to improve the land border crossings. Until now, only those leaving by air were charged an exit tax. The Immigration Administration says that 700,000 people exit by land, each year.

It is estimated that during the last week of December, 100,000 people will cross the border by land, most of them Nicaraguans returning home for the holidays, according to the Director General of the Tax Administration, Carlos Vargas.

Payments can be made in advance through travel agents, at Bancocredito, or at Coopealianza branches. The only exemptions are for cargo and bus drivers and diplomats or sports delegates.

Now Let’s Address How Costa Rica Screwed This Up

The law is now being enforced but (drum roll please) the devices required for border officials to accept the payments have yet to be installed.

As a result, the new $5 fee must be paid at any Bancrédito branch, which the closest branch in in Liberia about a 45 minute trip away.

Busloads of people  have nowhere to pay it at the border, which is forcing travelers to get off the buses on which they were traveling in order to return to Liberia to pay the tax – and make new transportation arrangements.

That’s right ladies and gentleman because Costa Rica has not set up places to pay this tax the travelers are forced to be inconvenienced and in many cases  have much larger travel costs due to the Costa Rica screw up.

Immigration has sent a request to the Ministry if Finance to have the fee waived until they are ready to accept it and have the logistics in place but the Ministry of Finance has failed to respond as of yet.

If the the Finance Ministry does not make some sort of decision soon this could cripple the border during the holiday season when 1000’s of Nicaraguans head home.

If you are headed to the border pay this fee in San Joe or your town before doing the border run. The line is going to be long and there are a going to be a lot of angry people but you will be able to get across without having to head back to Liberia.

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