Our Border Crossing from Costa Rica to Nicaragua Part 2

I have lots of great stories about our time in Nicaragua to share with you, but I won’t leave you hanging any longer about the drama that unfolded trying to get back into Costa Rica. So we are going to go a little out of order here. Hang on tight, I know you can handle it.

Oh and also, with the high stress nature of this situation, picture taking was not a priority, so please enjoy my home made art work to depict how things went down. I’ve added additional notes about this artwork at the end of the post.

So, if you’ve read yesterday’s post, you know that our trip to Nicaragua went off without a hitch. We sailed smoothly through the entire process, and ended up in San Juan del Sur safe and sound.

Despite the ease of our voyage, we were still a little wary of what would happen on our return trip. We had booked in with the same tour company, and the idea was we would be meeting up with that same day tour from Grenada on their way back into Costa Rica.

Things started out great!

Things started out great!

A great idea in theory, but the timing of this rendez-vous seemed pretty sketchy. We were told to be at the Maxi Pali, a grocery store chain, in Rivas, Nicaragua at 4pm. Our shuttle would arrive to pick us up sometime between 4 and 5:30, depending on how long the sightseeing on the tour took.

We had never been to Rivas, and the though of standing outside a grocery store parking lot seemed rather unfortunate. But, based on the great experience we had with the tour company on our way over, we figured everything would be fine. We also confirmed everything that day before,just to be on the safe side. So we were entering into the situation  with confidence.

Oh dear, where are they?

Oh dear, where are they?

We arrived at the Maxi Pali around 3:40. We took turns going into the grocery store, and grabbing a couple snacks for the road. Then we sat and waited

and waited….

and waited….

and waited…

Every time we saw a shuttle go by, we would stand up thinking it was ours, but no luck. Before we knew it, it was 5:25, dusk was setting in, and we were suddenly faced with the real possibility of being stranded in Nicaragua.

We instantly went into problem solving mode. Although I didn’t have the number for the tour company, I did have one for the tour operator who booked our trip. It was just a matter of finding a phone that we could use. Well, not only a phone, but one that we could use to phone another country.

Shaun headed into the Maxi Pali and asked every employee he ran into. No one was willing to give us a hand. Meanwhile, I waited outside with the bags, and for the first time in the entire trip, I got a little nervous about being alone, being a women, and being so obviously a tourist.

I swayed back and forth from wanting Shaun to find a phone so we could sort out the shuttle, and wanting him just to come back and stand with me. After about 10 minutes, Shaun came back out, no phone. It was time to make a decision.

We're saved!

We’re saved!

Just as we started discussing our options, a tourist van pulls in. We recognize the company name and we are extatic. As a couple of their passengers get out, we grab our bags and walk up to it, but they don’t open the door for us. We walk over to the driver’s window who is now giving us a very strange look.

The tour guide comes out and asks us  “What are you doing here?” We respond that we are waiting to go to Tamarindo with them.

“Not with us,” he responds. “We are going to Playa Coco in Costa Rica, the Tamarindo bus is long gone. The only reason we stopped here was because someone had to pee”

Our jaws dropped.

Our shuttle had forgotten us. We would have been stranded, but by some amazing, magical twist of fate, someone asked the driver if they could pull over to pee, just as they were about to pass the exact grocery store we were waiting at.

No pee…no stopping…no border

Without a moment of hesitation the guide whisked us aboard his bus, telling us just how close we came, and how lucky we were.

We felt LUCKY! I literally have never been so elated in my life.Everyone on the bus marvelled at our story and welcomed us into their tour group with open arms. I told the guy who had to pee that he had a magical bladder, and I was so thankful for the massive beer he had had with lunch. We ended up having an amazing ride back to Costa Rica, and met so many cool people along the way.

In the past, I might have focused on the “what if’s” and been mad at the tour company for screwing up. But I don’t feel that way at all. I’ve been working so hard lately on gratitude and positivity, and I truly feel that living my life with this kind of outlook is sending all sorts of magical situations my way. This amazing lucky moment, being one of them.

A couple of notes about the art work in this post

  • Despite what it may look like, Shaun and I were actually fully clothed during this adventure
  • I can also attest that we both had hands at the time of this event as well.
  • Yes, my head is consistently larger then Shaun’s in these pictures for a reason
  • The stringyness of my hair is actually a fairly accurate depiction of its actual state at that time
  • This will be the first and last time I make my own art work for the blog. You can’t even begin to imagine how long these took me lol

Have you ever experienced something that made you feel lucky?

Pura Vida!


Follow me on Twitter:@caketress

8 thoughts on “Our Border Crossing from Costa Rica to Nicaragua Part 2

  1. This reminds me of a time I decided to take an overnight bus back to Holland from the UK. When I booked the tickets it said it would be dropping me off in Breda, a city I had never been before catching the bus out, at 6am which was perfect because the first train to Bergen Op Zoom was at about 7am. I figured I could rest on the bus and then grab some breakfast at the station before my train.
    The bus ever so miraculously managed to drop us off around 4am and it had to be about thirty degrees F. The station had not opened its doors yet and this Florida girl was stuck in the cold cuddling her backpack. There was this really creepy guy that kept staggering around and trying to talk to me and every other lonesome person in the cold. I was definitely the youngest there and most clearly a tourist. With such a feeling of vulnerability I stayed right next to the doors of the station… next to the cameras… just in case. When the station finally opened the doors, the creepy man followed me in and kept trying to talk to me. There was nobody else around and all I could think about was finding somewhere safe. Lucky for me, a group of young guys around my age came bustling through. They were still turned up from the party they came from and knew the creep from other visits to this city. The first guy only spoke dutch, but the second spoke english as well. Tim asked me, “what are you doing out here by yourself this late? It is not safe.” I told him of my travels and returning to my job in Holland and he and his friends agreed to shoo off the creepy man and keep me safe until my train arrived.

    It was such an experience and I made a nice friend out of it, so in the end the cold and the fear was worth it… I even got to smoke dutch weed on the platform with these guys. It felt like such a typical dutch experience, I couldn’t pass it up!

    I truly enjoy your blog and your writing. This story is quite a doozy!

    • What an adventure!!! It’s amazing how wonderful people can come out of the woodwork right when you need them! So glad you made it!

      I’m so happy you like the blog. I love hearing such awesome feedback.

      Pura Vida!

  2. So, the border crossing went smoothly? It was just GETTING to the border that was way more excitement than you signed up for? I’m glad it all worked out. Now I’m interested to hear about Nicaragua. I want to go there too, hopefully sometime this year.

  3. Pingback: 4 You Hostel, Playa Guiones, Nosara, Costa Rica | Hostels and Hot Rollers

  4. Pingback: Botella de Leche, Tamarindo, Costa Rica | Hostels and Hot Rollers

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