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Old 10-16-2010, 06:34 AM   #16
JDowns
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Thanks for the update. I checked out the Los Chiles border crossing when I was cruising around northern Costa Rica on a rental bike a few years back. Pretty sleepy.

A couple questions. Did you ride around the eastern side of Lago Nicaragua to get to San Carlos, Nicaragua? If so what were the roads like? How many ferry crossings? Or did you take a ferry from Isla Ometepe?

Good to know that you can catch a bus to get insurance. How far is San Carlos, Costa Rica from the border? I don't see it on the map.

If I don't hear back from you I am still taking this border crossing heading north from South America next year. Penas Blancas border crossing sucks donkey balls.

Have fun riding. Maybe see you in South America if you're heading that way.

Best,
John Downs
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Old 10-17-2010, 07:02 PM   #17
briantn26
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I was riding on the eastern side of Lake Nicaragua but I didn't take the direct route from Managua. I was East of the the main route to San Carlos, doing a lot of dirt road riding through the mountains and countryside. From Granada I took 3 days to get to San Carlos b/c of all the dirt roads. If you ride the main road down the east side of the lake it should only take about 9 hours from Managua.
I'm not sure where Isla Ometepe is, but I only had one ferry crossing. The ferry from San Carlos to Los Chiles.

San Carlos, Costa Rica is also called Ciudad Quesada depending on what map you have. It would take about 1 hour to ride there on the motorcycle but in the bus it took an hour and a half there and three hours back. It all depends on how many people the bus has to stop to pick up along the side of the road. The buses are nice though, seem very new with A/C and clean seats. They start running at 5am from Los Chiles and then there is another bus every 45min until sometime late at night. Price was about $5 round trip, a taxi wanted $100 round trip.
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Old 10-18-2010, 04:35 AM   #18
JDowns
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Thanks alot Brian for the great info. Sounds like you're having fun. Nicaragua is a great country. I only scratched the surface. I'll definitely be heading through Los Chiles next time and hitting the Nica backroads. Isla Omotepe is the volcanic island in the middle of Lake Nicaragua. Most people take the ferry from the west near the Pan Am. But I think there is a ferry from San Carlos on the east as well.

Gracias amigo,
John Downs
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Old 10-30-2010, 08:19 PM   #19
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Great News

I will try that crossing then. I will be back in Costa Rica on Tuesday And playing in Central America for the next 7 months. That sounds like a fun day.

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Old 12-21-2010, 06:29 PM   #20
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New Pan american?

You may need to do this crossing in the next few months if you want a dirt road - albeit even now there are 90km of road works, 30km sealed, and 10km of the original "rough" road. The locals expect it to be finished by early mid-year 2011. Japan has sponsored a bridge across the river, and this will mean that within a few years, this may be the main truck crossing!

There are about 4 boat types servicing the river, we got a barge-like one that was OK, but expensive ($40 for a bike & $10 per person), at midday. I think we effectively hired a charter, as it was just us, our bikes and one other passenger. If we crossed with only 1 bike, I think that we would have had it cheaper and been placed with the locals. The early boat on the day when we left was too small for bikes, but the 4pm boat would have been perfect. (as we found out latter) This would effectively been a ride on / off for 2 midsize bikes and was much cheaper. The quote we got was $50 for both of us and our bikes three days earlier for this one, but it is up to the captains to set the price on the day. The standard fare appears to be around $12, (or $6000). You can also charter boats for about $240 per trip. Email sales@aguatrails.com but not sure on the details about this.

The crossing is the most laid back of any we have done so far. Fumigate, (only fee), and ride up to the immigration for the stamps & permits. We spent 20min browsing the web with officials to see cool places in Costa Rica and also to show them photos from New Zealand! Instead of running home (the printer is still broken), they FAX the import permit and the guy walks down to the copiar to copy it onto the official paper.

There is no insurance on the border, and this is required before you can start the import process. We crossed at the main crossing to get this before returning to Nica to go back around the lake to Los Charlos. We tried without getting stamps and got as far as the first Costa Rican checkpoint before being stopped. So I stamped out and entered to get this and returned 30min latter. Be prepared for questions on the return trip. There are $14USD charges + $15USD insurance charges. Total time, 2 hours driving from Granada, 1 hour trying to cross without papers, and 1 1/2 hours crossing on foot. So about the same as arranging it after you cross, but it impressed the fuk out of the customs guy that we arrived with it!

But in 2 or 3 years, this will be the main road and the pacific side will be nice and quiet. There is some opposition against the road, but my money is on the bridge.
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Old 12-22-2010, 09:19 AM   #21
Kamuk
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Bad roads bring good people

Oh No!!!!

Good roads bring everybody!

Looks like Ill have to bump up the schedule on this run...

Spittlehill - I'd love to have some more detail of what there is on the Nica side. I live in CR, have a bike plated here, and have done all (three) border crossings into Panama but though have visited Nica am yet to ride across as the Main Crossing is a zoo. Any fotos or inside tips would be most appreciated of what is to be found on the East side of the lake and / or that side's ferry run (San Carlos?) to Ometepe (a fantastic Island - try the beach of Choco Verde at sunset- carbon and quartz as "sand").

If you are to be in Quepos M/A area, beer on me for a personal run down of the scoop. If you like the dirtier side of dual sport I'll share some personal CR routes as well.

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Old 12-24-2010, 08:37 AM   #22
meekador
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I'll be down that way late Jan., any chance you can get insurance for Costa Rica online before hand?
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Old 12-30-2010, 08:13 AM   #23
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border dispute

Just for your information there is a bigtime border dispute going on between Costa Rica and Nicaragua right now on the Caribbean side. Nicaragua has landed armed troops on the Costa Rican side of the San Juan river. I don't know for sure but I doubt you can get through until it has been settled. Look into it before you head that way.
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Old 01-19-2011, 05:48 PM   #24
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We didn't do too much riding apart from the road, but this road does continue down to the coast for about 20 miles.

Sadly, you can not get insurance online, so I had to do the main crossing to get this. The alternative way on the chicken bus didn't sound appealing.

"bigtime border dispute going on between Costa Rica and Nicaragua right now on the Caribbean side"

lol, that was because one side was using google maps as their official map. This died down as quickly as it started, with some very red faces....
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Old 01-20-2011, 08:49 AM   #25
Kamuk
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South to North

Would any Adventurer know the insurance requirements/availibility for a CR registered bike heading North into Nicaraugua and doing so at this crossing?

slightly off topic:
As far as the Border "dispute", yes it is related to a Google map reference for the National limits; the map was incorrect. The circumstances for the disagreement may be a bit more complex however. It deals with dredging through an island clearly within the territory of Costa Rica (with env. impact concerns) to possiblly offer an shorter access to the Rio San Juan, which is one of the only rivers in the World claimed as fully for right of passage/control of only one of the neighboriing Countries. Nica troops, flags, dredging equipment, ex-Nica rebel leaders, funding by Pres. H. Chavez, and National fervor on the part of the neighbor to the North are all in play. Costa Rica has declined to intervene in any physcial way and instead is looking for peaceful resolution in front of the World Court / Hague. There doesnt seem to be any threat/issue to travelers to either Country other than some travel restrictions to the exact zone (Atlantic/Carrib. side). For some reason it gets very little play time in International news but more can be found on www.amcostarica.com , a webbased english newspaper here, for those interested.
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Old 03-07-2011, 06:02 PM   #26
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Any more news on this I am looking forward to riding around the lake or the ferry to the center on my way back North later this year.
I forget if insurance is mandatory in Nicaragua

Sounds like a good ride and an even better boarder crossing.
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Old 03-07-2011, 06:28 PM   #27
chrisf14 OP
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Insurance

When we did the crossing we went from Los Chiles Costa Rica to San Carlos Nicaragua. I did this on Christmas eve. Last boat with no insurance. You do have to have insurance so when we got to the nicaragua side. I stayed with my bike and my girl went by taxi to get insurance (she speaks Spanish). They where closed so we went without.

At San Carlos fuel is $4.00 per gallon and the next fuel stop is 77 miles north. There is nothing, NOTHING during those 77 miles. Good news $1.00 per gallon up north for fuel. There is only 3 ok hotels at San Carlos and NON have hot water. Food was good and people where nice.

It's a cool trip but the other guys are right. The super highway is coming. When leaving San Carlos you will thing this can not be the road but yes it is. Then it turns into a gravel free way 10 lanes wide with almost no bends. I was going about 80mph average with my girl like nothing. It kind made me sad so see another highway like in the states. It's a cool trip I will do again.

I'm from the states but now call Play Del Coco, Costa Rica home. Anyone needs a place to stay or help send me a message.

Chris Fischer
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Old 03-07-2011, 07:32 PM   #28
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I will keep this in memory and probably take you up on the offer when I finally get turned around and start heading North again. Thanks for the info. I bet a person could get all the way around the lake with out getting checked for insurance going from CR to Nic
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Old 03-08-2011, 05:25 AM   #29
chrisf14 OP
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Insurance

I did make it all the way around the lake. Then back home to Costa Rica. The boarder people did not want to let me go without insurance. But is was Christmas Eve night (about 5pm) and that was the last boat. They had to let me go or let me sleep in there office. They let me go.
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Old 03-08-2011, 07:41 PM   #30
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GPS Info.

I just found the trip a did in Every Trail Program. Forgot I had it. Check it out it's a good ride and a cool program. I did not track the 1st day but still came out good.

http://www.everytrail.com/fullscreen...7429e0d321bfc4
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