Costa Rica News – I did what I hope will be my last ever border run yesterday. Peñas Blancas was worse than usual. By the way, they are actually collecting the exit tax now, so pay it in advance to avoid having to wait online twice. Another thing I didn’t know is that Nicaragua has ATMs that only accept Visa.
The distance in between immigration offices is short but takes forever to cross because of so many checkpoints. At the very first one the craziness began. Right in front of the cop, a guy came up to me offering illegal immediate entrance into Costa Rica. The cop asked him to offer that a little further from the checkpoint.
The second checkpoint was new. An ebola screening area from Nicaragua’s Ministry of Health. Everyone was confused and asking what this was all about and if it was mandatory. There were no cops there but everyone stood online anyway, believing we needed the paper that says we are ebola-free. We did not ever need to show that paper. If you can, skip this stop all together.
When I got to the front of the tent I knew something was wrong. The man was supposed to write down my passport info and check my temperature but instead he backed away from me and started asking very repetitive questions. The conversation was like this:
What part of the States are you from?
New York State?
When were you in NY?
When did you arrive in Costa Rica?
Ok, like August/September.
August, September, November, December. We’re in December. Since when have you been in Costa Rica?
What day did you leave NY?
Since then, you have stayed in Costa Rica?
New York had ebola.
Oh yeah? I didn’t know. I was just there a few days.
New York had ebola cases in August.
I wasn’t there in August.
Have you ever had a fever?
Have you had any of the following symptoms….
(I didn’t understand half of the words)
Where will you go in Nicaragua?
I don’t know about this. (Long pause. I didn’t plan on entering Nicaragua anyway.) Well, for how many days do you want to stay?
And you promise to leave after 2 days?
I continued on and didn’t even have to show my ebola-free paper. I was given a 90 day visa even though I was warned to only stay two days. I wonder why it was ok to let a potentially ebola carrying person in for two days but not three. Nicaragua!
After waiting two hours because you are not allowed to leave Nicaragua immediately unless you pay $25 I got my stamp and went back to Costa Rica.