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Visitor Information 

Exchange money or withdraw cash at Bancentro, a half-block east of Iglesia San Francisco (tel. 505/2563-0001), or at Banpro, in front of Parque Central (tel. 505/2563-3323).

The post office, northwest of the park (tel. 505/2563-3600), also provides a fax service, as does ENITEL, 1 block west of the park (tel. 505/2563-0003); it's open daily from 7am to 9:40pm. There are a cluster of Internet cafes northwest and west of the park.

Farmacia Rivas, 2 blocks east of park (tel. 505/2563-4292), is a well-stocked drugstore, as is Clínica María Inmaculada, north side of Parque Central (tel. 505/2563-3555). Both are open Monday to Friday from 8am to 4:30pm and Saturday from 8am to noon.

Crossing the Border into Costa Rica

On Foot or by Bus -- Peñas Blancas is the main crossing into Costa Rica, and its size and modernity reflect the huge numbers that cross back and forth. Avoid crossing just before major holidays, as crowds of returning Nicaraguans who live in Costa Rica create lengthy delays. Make sure to get stamped on both sides to avoid problems later on. If traveling with an international bus company, an attendant often collects the passports and fees on the bus and does the process for you, though you do have to disembark with your bags to be searched at Customs. A C80 fee is charged when leaving Nicaragua, and a C180 fee is assessed when entering, though these fluctuate slightly if you attempt to cross early in the morning or late at night, when the charges are higher. Be aware of an extra C20 mayor's tax as you enter the Customs area. The border crossing is open from 6am to 10pm every day except Sunday, when it closes at 8pm. Make sure to sell all your córdobas as you leave Nicaragua, as you will not be able to change them farther south. Buses and taxis are available on both sides if you're not traveling on an express bus.

By Car -- Rental cars are not allowed to cross the border. To cross with your own car is a little complicated but not impossible. Those going south must pay an exit tax and get an exit stamp. These details are then used to cancel the vehicle papers in the aduana (Customs). Without this stamp, you will not be allowed to leave the country, so double-check you have everything in order. If traveling north, go to the Vehículo Entrando window, where a permit is issued and a vehicle stamp put in your passport. Title papers, license, passport and insurance are all required to get the permit, which costs C200. Be careful not to lose this document, as its loss incurs a fine of C2,000. Again, double-check that everything is in order, as a zealous official down the road may force you to turn around. Expect your car to get a good dousing in chemicals (for which you'll be charged C10-C20) before being allowed to enter either country.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.