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Introducing Sixaola

This is the end of the road – literally. A bumpy tarmac leads to an old railroad bridge over the Río Sixaola that serves as the border crossing into Panama. Like most border towns, Sixaola is hardly scenic: it’s an extravaganza of dingy bars and roadside stalls selling rubber boots.

Sixaola is centered on the optimistically named Mercado Internacional de Sixaola, a gravelly square where you can find taxis and a handful of sodas. The market is about two blocks from the border crossing.

There's no good reason to stay in Sixaola, but if you get stuck, head for safe, clean Cabinas Sanchez. From the border, head down the lower road, which is lined with sodas, and walk about 100m to the tunnel on the left. After exiting the underpass, walk another 100m to find the cabinas.

The bus station is one block north of the border crossing, on the east side of the main drag. Buses to either San José (US$11.60, six hours, departs 6am, 8am, 10am and 3pm) or Puerto Limón (US$3.30, three hours, departs hourly from 5am to 6pm) all stop at Bribrí and Cahuita.