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Border Time - Feel like I'm going to lose my mind

I finally left a country!


View Central America 2021 on cblanc102's travel map.

What a crazy day!!!

I woke up at 6 am raring to go! Excited to be leaving to go to Panama. Not that I was happy to leave Costa Rica, It's a beautiful country, filled with amazing animals, stunning landscapes and lovely people. I would have stayed a bit longer, but to go anywhere new would have meant travelling about 11 hours back through San Jose to visit the Caribbean side of the country and I just didn't have it in me. Especially as many of the things I still wanted to see, like more volcanoes, tapirs, the aforementioned Caribbean Sea, are also in Panama. Decision made!

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Goodbye Costa Rica, you were Pura Vida for sure!

I had my shower, breakfast and coffees, sorted out my rucksack and said my goodbyes to the people at the hotel. It really is lovely there and the people who work there make you feel like family. Top marks. I decided to walk to the ferry pier, even though it was already 28 degrees or so, it was only about a kilometer away and the journey wasn't too bad.

As I sat waiting for the boat, I wondered where I'd put my travel adapter? I had definitely taken it out of the socket, but I couldn't remember which bag it had gone in. I went through both bags pretty thoroughly, the answer? Neither. I'd left it at the hotel. It was also during this search that I knocked my mask into the ocean and then couldn't find my backup. I was doing well.

I returned back to the hotel, both bags in tow and they had my adapter waiting for me. but by then it was too late. I would miss the ferry and the next one wasn't for almost three hours! But off I went, still carrying thirty pounds of bags in the now 30 degree heat.

I know what you're thinking, that I should have just forgotten about the adapter, I can get another, but it's a very good adapter and cost me £15 and I'm on a budget!!

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It's bloody great and worth walking 3km for

After walking there and back and there again, I had lots of time left to go through my stuff and find some masks, read a book and watch the world go by until the boat arrived.

After my ferry journey arrived in Golfito at midday, I was told the bus to Peso Canoas would arrive after 1 pm, which it did. About an hour after 1 pm! But arrive it did, and it was super cheap (about £1.40 for a 60 km journey) so I was happy enough and after an hour or so, we arrived at the border crossing into Panama.

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Welcome to Panama!

Now, I had read up on it, so I had an idea of what to do, but most of that went out the window and the next 90 mins or so was just a rat in a maze type puzzle that I was locked into. Here's what I had to do and bear in mind, no one spoke any English. Well, I did say I wanted to learn Spanish!!

1 - Firstly, pay the Costa Rican Exit tax ($9). Confusingly, this isn't at the Costa Rica border office, but over the road, in a hotel or restaurant.
2 - Take your passport with exit tax slip to the CR border office to get your stamp.
3 - Go to the Panama Border control (this took me ages to find, even though there's a big building that says 'Panama' on it. There were lots of places within that it could have been.
4 - Fill out your details, have your temperature taken
5 - Go pay for an antigen test where a woman will shove an impossibly long bud impossibly far up your nostril - Pay your $46 - Wait 15 mins
6 - Take this back to the guy in step 4, who then sends you along to another booth two or three places down.
7 - Show proof of your accommodation, proof that you're leaving the country (my flight out) and proof that you have at least $500, a credit card will do. Have your photo and finger prints taken, get your stamp.
8 - Walk out, not knowing really if that's all done, only to wander out into Panama without speaking to any guard or anyone.

As far as I can tell, I could have just walked right into Panama without anyone stopping me. My only issue would have been trying to leave I guess!

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Panama's Flag is great

I managed to find a bus fairly quickly, it was a bit bonkers! Going super fast, overcrowded, playing loud music, people jumping on and off at any time. It was pretty fun and again, super cheap.

But I'm here now. In Panama, with a day to spare in another city that seems a bit rubbish, in a room with a curtain but no window (??), but it's clean, has great wifi and a shop across the road and I'm heading North on Sunday to see some more volcanoes. All seems pretty good right now and after about 70 days of travel (this journey and the last) I've finally gone from one country to another!!!

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The curtain feels a tad redundant!

Posted by cblanc102 05:21 Archived in Panama Tagged water bus crossing panama costa_rica border ferry journey south_america central_america latin_america solo_travel Comments (0)

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