Importing your car into Costa Rica from Nicaragua
1) Pass through immigration. You will have to pay $2USD to exit.
2) Get your car 'inspected'. Essentially means some person in the car park will sign your import documents to say you are okay to leave.
3) Find a police officer to stamp your import document to say it's okay to leave. For steps 2 and 3 nobody even bothered looking at out car.
4) Go to customs. They will shuffle some paper and then give you the form back.
5) Try and find the entrance into Costa Rica. Nothing is sign posted.
6) As you cross into Costa Rica you will get to a final check point where you will have to give your paper work in. Cross to Costa Rica side..
NB: All of these steps are spread over around 1km distance and none of the stops are in a logical order. It took us 3 attempts to get this side of things correct. It wasn't just us, local, Spanish speakers were having just as much trouble.
Costa Rica side
1) Pass through immigration.
2) It is compulsory to get insurance in Costa Rica. Find the insurance booth and get insurance. We paid 17,800 colons for the standard 30 day period.
3) Get a photocopy of your new insurance document, the page in your passport which has been stamped by immigration and your ID page in your passport. You will also need a copy of your vehicle title.
4) Go to customs and fill out a few forms. They will look through your van and then give you a ticket.
5) Return to the insurance window where they will put your details into their computer system and give you your final documentation. You're now done, so hit the road.
Driving in Costa Rica
Here the roads deteriorated once again. Bumpy main roads will suddenly turn to dirt roads.
Down the Nicoya peninsula the dust kicked up from the roads was incredible, like thick fog. If you plan to go into any of the national parks you will be off roading. These roads have lots of river crossings of varying depth. You need a 4WD vehicle for these.
The main hazard on the main roads is when the road crosses a river and a two way carriageway will go down to one way.
Diesel was 619 colones ($1.48usd/ 0.87GBP) per litre across the country.
We used Caarte Data GPS sat nav. Again it worked but we had our problems with it crashing and freezing.