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From Costa Rica to Panama or Nicaragua

Departure tax Costa Rica

Recently it is mandatory to pay a departure tax if you are travelling overland from Costa Rica to Panama or Nicaragua. The departure tax amounts to US $ 7, – per person and should be paid by the border. This tax only applies when you leave Costa Rica by land! The tax is personal and at the payment you also must hand over your passport.


The departure tax can be paid in two ways:


  1. In advance at an office of Bancrédito
    Bancrédito is a state-owned bank and is currently the only bank who can give you the tax document. You pay directly at the bank US $7, – and you will receive a written confirmation of payment, which you have to hand over at the border. At the website of Bancrédito you can find a list of all the Bancrédito offices in Costa Rica. Pay attention, there is no Bancrédito office at the border. Please also note that the offices of Bancrédito on Saturday are only open till 12 pm and on Sundays they are closed.

  2. At the payment machines at the border
    At this moment it is also possible at the border in Peñas Blancas, Paso Canoas, Sixaola and Sabalito to pay your departure tax at one of the payment machines. You must scan your passport with the machine and pay the US $7, – by credit card. It is NOT possible to pay your departure tax in cash at the border.


It is expected that there will be long queues at the payment machines and the disadvantage of a machine is that it can be defective any moment. Besides that, there is no office at the border where you can pay your departure tax in cash!! That is why we strongly recommend you to pay your departure tax at an office of Bancrédito as soon as you arrive in Costa Rica. Without this tax document you cannot cross the border!!


When you leave Costa Rica by an international flight, the information above does not apply for you! You need to pay a departure tax of US $29, – per person at the airport.



Important information crossing the border to Panama

The government of Panama has tightened the rules relating crossing the border. When travelling overland from Costa Rica to Panama there is a chance that the immigration authorities at the border ask you for some specific documents.


Important: Therefore it is really important that EACH PERSON carries with him the following documents:


Passport, which upon departure of Costa Rica is valid for at least 6 months.
A tax document bought at a office of Bancrédito in Costa Rica or paid directly at the border through the payment machines worth US $7,- per person (see information above)

A copy of your passport (minimum 2 copies)

Flight ticket or e-ticket (to prove that you leave the country again)
US $500.00 cash or a valid credit card with corresponding transcription in your name indicating that the credit card has an amount of spend of at least US $500.00 or more.