Tourism visas: Is there a 72-hour rule?

It has always been my understanding that people who leave Nicaragua because their tourist visas are expiring must stay out for 72 hours before returning.

However, last week I met with a Nicaraguan immigration lawyer who insisted that it was perfectly legal to cross into Costa Rica and return on the same day.

The lawyer I spoke to is highly regarded in his field and teaches immigration law at a law school here.

Nonetheless, on the weekend I spoke to a foreigner who said that border officials recently told him that he was not allowed to re-enter Nicaragua for 72 hours.

I do know that some foreigners leave and return on the same day with the help of 'coyotes', but I will not pay bribes for this.

Has anyone reading this recently crossed into CR and returned on the same day without being challenged by Nicaraguan border officials (and without the help of coyotes)?

Conversely, has anyone recently been told directly by Nicaraguan border officials that they must stay out for 72 hours?

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By the way, please do not reply to this thread by suggesting that I go to an Immigration office for the answer. Information I've recently received from Immigration officials in Managua has turned out to be incorrect.

Well, ...

Like so many things in Nicaragua, there is no correct answer here. Your question may get you as assortment of answers about what has happened to someone recently and, from that, you may be able to guess on the most likely thing that will happen. When you are at the border yourself, you will get one more data point.


Fine enough. Nonetheless, I would like to hear from people who recently had first-hand experience with the topic of this thread.

Your fate is in the hands of

The last Migracion officer you meet (and the first you see on the way back - same guy). He stands in no mans land just before the tables where the CR cops sit. He will tell you long you need to be out. If you are flying solo, no grease, then expect him to say 6 hours. (The coyotes have already sent a man over to tell him you didn't play the game so no commission to him and he will have to get his own lunch from you. An empty passport is the same statement you gave the coyotes and confirms they were being straight with him).

Come back sooner and he will tell you to sit in that restaurant over there until your time is up.

Argue and he will try and grab the passport out of your hand or tell the CR cops he's not letting you in.

I would leave the sweetie on the Nica side at Migracion central with a cell phone. She can talk to someone if need be.

You will need the $25 Tica ticket voucher thingy.

Remember they all know that you are a rich gringo that lives in Nicaragua and you won't get a residency or buy them lunch to help you get a 3 month visa extension!

On the other hand, you could sail in and out in 30 minutes....


Thanks Juanno, I can read between the lines.

What do you think is the amount of "commission" per person which the coyotes pay the gate-keeper?

Regarding the "$25 Tica ticket voucher". Did you mean $25 dollars or 25 cordobas?

The last I heard, it was possible to "rent" a bus ticket back to Nicaragua on the CR side just before entering CR immigration. Does anyone know whether this is still going on?

Thank God this will probably be the last time I have to run the gauntlet.