It was time to get the passports stamped, so we headed off for a visit to Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica. We have enough travel plans these days and didn’t want to do anything major, so an overnight visit to this pretty, laid back town was just the thing.
Going to Costa Rica is no problem. We got stamped out of Panama and walked to the Costa Rica checkpoint. There, the official was on his cell phone and didn’t even ask us anything, just stamped our passports and we were on our way.
Coming back, this was our first experience with the new tax to get out of Costa Rica ($7.00). If you are facing the windows at the checkpoint, on your left is a hallway behind these offices. There, in the middle of the hallway on the left was another office. Thankfully there was an official there to help us through the process of scanning our passports into a machine, putting our credit cards in, and then taking out the receipt. It wasn’t difficult and reminded me of a check in process at the airport. The machine was just a bit picky about how the passport was passed through the scanner, and there were a few things to touch on the touch screen. When we were done, off we went with our customs paper, tax receipt, and passports to get stamped out of Costa Rica which was fast and easy.
Of course, the most challenging part is getting back into Panama and I was ready. Big, noisy trucks were going by and I couldn’t hear a thing the official was saying so I handed over my passport. When she looked up at me I handed her the print out of our airline reservations back to the US in July. When she looked up again I handed her the printouts of our bank statements for 3 months. She looked at everything, handed it back, stamped the passports, and we were done! Whew! Even when you think you know what you are doing, there is always that niggling little worry that something will happen so it’s a relief when the whole process is done.
We took buses on this trip and I’m always appreciative of the Panamanian buses. The assistant helped me out of my backpack and stored it for me. He helps everyone with their packages, keeps track of all the various points where people get on and off, and collects the various amounts of money. He gets out at some points to recruit riders and communicates with the driver at stops and starts. He calls out the upcoming stops along the way, and does all these activities with a smile. The Costa Rican buses are fine too but there isn’t the assistant so you are more on your own to manage your stuff and get yourself off at your destination.
Of course, if I go anywhere I will have a camera with me.
If you need more information about doing this border crossing see my previous posts
We have been to Puerto Jimenez before too. If you want to see previous posts on that, just type “puerto jimenez” in that search box in the sidebar on the right and you’ll find them.
It was a nice little getaway, but it’s always nice to be home!