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Car permit

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TooMuchSnow
3/11/2019 12:33 EST

Hola! I apologize because I think this is a repeat but I cannot for the life of me find the thread. We are visiting Nicaragua for 6.5 weeks with a car we purchased and is registered to Costa Rica. As is typical, we were given a 30day Permiso for the car at the border upon entry. I understand we can acquire another 30 day permit. Can anyone tell me where this can be done? We are staying up near Chinandega, so going back to the CR border is really not desirable!! Can this be done at a government office of some kind, and if so, where? Thank you.

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KeyWestPirate
3/11/2019 15:23 EST

You go to the Aduana office in Managua. It's on the Carretera Norte,, south side,, Km 6.5,, across from the CocaCola bottling plant. Google Maps will accept this "address".

There is gated parking,, enter, get a ticket,, documents are reviewed,, you walk a half bloc west to the bank, pay the $30 for a 30 day extension, return with the receipt,

Unfortunately, they will not do the permiso the same day. They do it in 15 minutes in Peñas Blancas ??? but insist that you come back the next day. You DO NOT need to have the car there,, but you WILL need insurance,, registration, title, and your license. The person who's name is on the title MUST be present. I tried a Carta Poder once when I was out of the country and the car was here,, no cigar!

If you overstay your initial 30 days,, there is a $50 fine plus $1 day. If the car permit expires on Saturday or Sunday,, they expect you to show up on the Friday before. They let me slide once when I claimed that I was there on Saturday and they were closed,, but there are no guarantees. They ARE closed on Saturday.
They kind of know me . . .

You can also cross into Honduras. You will have to buy a Honduras car permit ($40) and pay $3 immigration fee, BUT the permit to return to Nicaragua is free. You get 30 days plus the option to renew for another 30 in Managua. You are pretty close to Guasaule,, so this might be a better option for you, considering the gas and all. I'm close to the Honduras border,, so I often loop through Espino or Las Manos,, to do the same.

BECAUSE THIS IS ALL C4,, YOU WILL NOT GET AN EXTENSION TO YOUR TOURIST PERMIT!! But, it down't sound like you will need one for your stay.

Going to CR resets your 90 days, as well as gets you a new permiso,, which again, can be renewed in Managua for 30 days for $30. You will have to buy CR insurance,, about $40, and get a CR trip permit,, BUT both can be kept open and re-used again in 60 days,, which resets your tourist permit again,, and gets you another car permit which can be renewed in Managua for 30 days.

You MUST stop by the permiso office on your way out of the CR to request that the permiso be left open. The insurance is only sold in increments of 90 days,, so even if you are just there for a week,, you have to buy 90 days.

I think that I've covered everything. If you drove down,, remember that your 90 days started when you entered Guatemala!

The time you spent passing through the other CA countries is deducted from the 90 days total that you get. I've been bitten a couple of times by that.

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TooMuchSnow
3/11/2019 16:07 EST

Thank you so much for the detail!!!
So, the four options in order of appeal (based on my understanding so far) are;
1. Overstay the permit and pay $50 + $1/day on our return to CR. No time required for about $65 Usd or about the equivalent of 1.5 tanks of gas. Drawbacks?
2. Go up to Honduras and do a crossing and come back into Nica. Would take a day and some cash. Do I even need to cross the border or is there an Aduana office there to provide a new permit?
3. Two days in Managua plus a tank of gas and hotel room for a night.
4. Ditto but to Peñas Blancas. Need a night stay due to distance.

First option sounds best but I wonder what the risks are for us if we are randomly pulled over and are required to show a valid permiso (?). We probably won’t be returning to Nica for some time.
Cheers

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KeyWestPirate
3/12/2019 10:49 EST

Yes,, financially,, that is the best option. I've gone longer.


You WILL be at some risk of being hassled by Transito,, with the intent of collecting a bribe. They have been avoiding Gringos recently,,, but previously they would examine all documents,, desperately looking for any detail that would support a bribe requests.

I would put some C$ 100 bills aside ,, if there are two of them, you could start with 100 each,, ditto with four. I wouldn't go more than C$200 x 2, for two,, C$100 x 4, if there are four of them. It's important that you have individual bills for each,,, they don't ,trust one another to settle up later,, if you were to offer them a C$500 bill,, for example.

I once had them point to my DOB on my license and tell me that my license had expired. Someone could write a book about Transito interactions.


You can minimize the encounter by traveling later at night,, or earlier in the morning. The PN run some night checkpoints late at night,, but Transito outside of Managua,, very rarely. They will set up at 7AM,, and are usually off the road no later than 9PM

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KeyWestPirate
3/12/2019 10:54 EST

I just realized that you had a CR plated car. So,, you will not need to buy insurance. You will have to buy the $12 Nica insurance coming back,, and of course you have the Nicaraguan $2 out,, the $12 back in, and the CR exit tax.

So, yeah,, the $65 starts looking like a bargain,, especially considering all the time saved, and the inevitable hassle at the border.

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TooMuchSnow
3/16/2019 14:39 EST

Thanks again KeyWestPirate. It sounds like you might have experience in Honduras that we’d like to ask you some more questions about. We are thinking of heading there. Mind if we switch to PMs here? I’ll aend you a PM... Cheers

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KeyWestPirate
3/16/2019 16:41 EST

It's simpler to use my email address with opens on my phone.

NetLinkDigital@hotmail.com

Yes, I've been up and down those roads you describe. I used to drive 4 times yearly from the US,, Tucson,, through Mexico to Nicaragua.

I no longer go through El Salvador,, one less country, two less borders. But, year,, Antigua is nothing like it used to be, horribly commercialized, but still worth a visit.

The first thing I would do is get a phone plan that covers all the countries you go through. Then you can use Google maps. This allows you to stay at nice, cheap,, but off the the highway hotels. The savings is significant. Some places are almost impossible to get through,, like Guate City,, without Google.

Copan,,, I love it. German guy with a micro brewery and food, Cheap,, Via Via has rooms with hot water two people $10 night. Another more conventional hotel coming into Copan from San Pedro Sula,, about $25 night. Via Via doesn't have parking,, I park in front of the hotel,, they have someone there 24-&, tip him a couple of bucks to watch your car.

In a nut shell,,,,, Honduras,, car permit $40,, they claim you have to close it as you leave,, so another $40 to return. You can always ask . . Guatemala $29,, you can leave it open,, Remember,, if you go north to Mexico,, and it's not that far, you reset your 90 days. You can drive some distance from the Mexican border without a car permit, you could hit San Cristobal de las Casas,, another of my favorite places,, and cheap with the devalued peso.

Personal visa is free if you come and go within 7 days,, otherwise is $25.

El Salvador,, permiso is free,, avoid the cockroaches,, do the work yourself. No big deal,, I think that Guatemala is also $3 personal,, as I remember El Salvador is free,, Honduras is definitely $3 to enter,, nothing to leave.

DO NOT lose any of the scraps of paper they give you. There are some other minor costs driving,, fumigation is a couple of bucks,,

Gas is cheapest in El Salvador,, I've bought it for $1.72 gallon,, they use gallons and US dollars,,, a first world country. Too bad about all the gang violence. If you stay along the coast,, the most obvious way to Guatemala,, there is minimal crime problems.

There is a toll road to Guate City,, $2.50, from Esquintlas. Here again,, plug Antigua (or your hotel) into Google maps. I use Booking.com to reserve hotels and have never been dis satisfied.

The border coming back into Honduras at Copan is the friendliest,, most shaped up operation I have every encountered. They close for lunch,,

Coming back,, I would try to make Saguitapeque,, can't remember the name of the hotel I stay at,, $50,, really nice. A quazillion of fresh fish restaurants on the really good road back to Tegus,, use Google to get through Tegus,, it's only the last exit that is problematic.

If you spent an extra day in Saguitapeque (worth it),, and left early the next morning,, I could be back in Nicaragua before dark.

I had a Tico plated Toyota HIghlander that I used to drive all the way to the US,, no problem entering the US at Nogales. Your car title and information will be in "Folder X",,

Good luck,, if you have a specific question,, email me.


John

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