Los Chiles border crossing
Replies: 15 - Last Post: Nov 28, 2012 7:32 AM Last Post By: wiremu
Nov 8, 2012 6:40 AM
Los Chiles border crossingMy wife and I will be travelling from Arenal to Los Chiles to cross into Nicaragua and take the ferry across the lake to Granada. I have a couple of questions which I'm sure have been asked before but here goes anyway...
How long does the boat take from Los Chiles to San Carlos?
Any idea of the boat times as we read that they tend to leave pretty much when the buses arrive from SJ - that being said we're hoping that the boat will leave after the 10.30am bus arrival.
Cost of the boat one way?
Approximate time in immigration on both sides?
Nov 8, 2012 10:05 AM
this has some helpful informaion: http://www.sabaloslodge.com/english/gethere.html
and this: http://www.nicaliving.com/node/14002
this has some very helpful information, including prices ( which may or may not be correct but will give you a ballpark at least) plan on changing your money somewhere at the border because it is unlikely the boat from san carlos to granada will accept colones. http://www.montecristoriverlodge.com/howtoget.html
it's a loooonnnngggg boat ride to granada so make sure you have plenty of stuff to do or read or catch up on your sleep.
the boat will leave from los chiles to san carlos after the bus arrives from san jose. (the passengers are a big part of their business)
approximate time in immigration? i would say this: hahahaha
it could be 20 minutes..... it could be 2 hours. probably more like 30-45 minutes. unless you are traveling during a holiday time or some of the border agents are taking vacation or the office is closed for lunch.
Edited by: wiremu
Edited by: wiremu
Nov 8, 2012 6:22 PM
Nov 8, 2012 8:10 PM
Dont you want to go to Ometepe first, then Granada...?
Nov 9, 2012 5:22 AM
Nov 9, 2012 5:39 AM
5Yes, we def want to go to Ometepe but my wife needs to be connected to work first thing Monday morning so have to be in Granada by then - we will do Ometepe over a long weekend. We know we can get to Los Chiles by 9am Fri and were hoping that we would have enough time to get to the San Carlos ferry dock before 2pm to catch the Granada ferry. All depends on Los Chiles boat departure and how long immigration takes!
Nov 9, 2012 6:56 AM
6if you go by land, you can spend the night on ometepe along the way and still meet the time schedule.
from arenal, it's about 5 hours to rivas where you can get a taxi to the boat dock for ometepe - about 20 minutes from rivas. (this assumes that the border crossing is not jam-packed)
once you return to the mainland, it's about 1.5-2 hours from rivas to granada.
it's pretty easy to grab the shared van shuttle from arenal to liberia and then pick up one of the international buses there or even the regular public bus.
also: there is internet on ometepe so i don't quite understand why you have to be in granada to be "connected work on monday." unless, of course, you are not referring to an internet connection but a person to person connection.
Edited by: wiremu
Edited by: wiremu
Nov 9, 2012 7:07 AM
7Not only does Ometepe have Internet, so does Rivas, which is a town after the border crossing and before the San Jorge ferry, why not aim for that Sunday night then.
Nov 9, 2012 7:20 AM
8We already have paid accom from Sunday in Granada for a few weeks and a solid internet connection that is required. Would far prefer to go through Los Chiles crossing and experience ferry across the lake
Nov 9, 2012 8:14 AM
9Well you didnt mention that, but its a rush thru that area via busses/borders/boats, things dont always go as planned compared to the land route. If its a MUST to be in Granada for a meeting/internet Monday morning, then be aware it may not go as planned via boats. But I agree, a much nicer way to enjoy the journey to Granada.
Please report back when you complete the trip to Granada.
Nov 9, 2012 8:21 AM
Nov 9, 2012 5:49 PM
11I sure will.
I think we decided to head to Los Chiles on Thursday now instead and head to San Carlos whenever there is a boat that day, then stay the night in San Carlos. Do not want to miss the 2pm ferry on Friday!
Nov 9, 2012 5:56 PM
Nov 9, 2012 5:57 PM
Nov 28, 2012 6:50 AM
14So we left La Fortuna on Monday morning and got an 8am bus to Florencia where we only had to wait around 15 mins for the bus to Los Chiles. After walking through town we found Rio San Juan and paid a guy who looked official 60 Colons each for a port fee (or something like that - probably wasn't even necessary!). He told us where the entry / exit building was so we headed there to get our exit stamp, and fortunately only a handful people were in front of us, mostly Nicaraguans heading home. Outside of the building was another guy asking if we were going to San Carlos and telling us that the next boat was leaving at 1pm, almost in line with what we had been told regarding boat departures at 12.30, 1.30 and 3.30pm. We paid him $12 each after getting our passport stamps, had a quick beer with some new friends and boarded the small boat for the 1hr 15min ride to San Carlos.
We arrived in the port town of San Carlos at 2.15pm and were ushered into the immigration building. This also went seamlessly and after paying our $12 Nicaraguan entry fee we were on our way to find accommodation for the night. The walk through town was hot and humid and after going the wrong way to find any rooms we headed back out of town towards the square situated on the edge of the water where we came across Hospedaje Rio San Juan, a not so bad looking place from the outside but on the inside I guess we got what we paid for! Only $7 a night total for the 2 of us, and Wireless being installed as we were checking in so we had everything we needed. Prices were night and day different to Costa Rica and the food was as good, although the town could do with more of a facelift for sure.
The next day we bought our first class tickets at the ferry terminal for the 10 hour crossing of Lago de Nicaragua from San Carlos to Altagracia, Ometepe. I was definitely fearful of this ride as am not particularly good on the water and couldn't facing puking for 10 hours, although my fears were unfounded and we had a very uneventful crossing with 2 stops on the mainland before arriving in Altagracia just after midnight. A lightweight hammock would have been ideal as there was plenty of room on the upper deck to string one up - we chose to pay the 30 Cordoba deck chair rental fee which was a bargain. There was plenty of wind and rain during the crossing but it never got as cold on deck as it did in the air conditioned inside areas!
After arriving in Altagracia we paid $4 for a taxi to Hotel Central and were greeted by someone to show us to our cabin where we crashed out for the night. No views of the Volcano as of yet....
Hope this helps anyone heading from CR to Nicaragua using this crossing and I think its probably far more interesting and fun than taking the Penas Blancas route.
(3 star Hotel)
From US$85.33 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$153.39 per night
Tortuguero VillageBook now
(1 star Hotel)
From US$28.33 per night