panama to costa rica and San Paulo to Santiago

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Last Post This thread is marked as being about Costa Rica
1. Posted by UKtraveler (Budding Member 2 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!


I was wondering if anyone had made an overland trip from panama to Costa Rica as I was thinking of doing this instead of buying a flight. I was wondering if anyone could advise me on the best way to do this and whether I will have any problems crossing borders e.t.c

I also have to get from San Paulo to Santiago again overland but want to visit the igazu falls on the way. Has anyone done this kind of trip? If so can you suggest any specific routes and whether its possible to do this by coach?

Thank you :0)

2. Posted by steff (Travel Guru 1162 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!


I've travelled overland from Panama to Costa Rica. It's really easy and all you have to make sure is to have an onward ticket that indicates you're leaving the country again.
For means of transport you have a choice between two very similar bus companies and Panaline (I went with them one way and it was fine!), they leave daily from Panama City to San Jose and cost around $ 20 one-way and take about 14-15 hours to complete the trip. An alternative and cheaper version is taking a local bus to the border, cross it and then catch another local bus from the border to your final destination in Costa Rica. Keep in mind that these buses are less comfortable and it takes you longer to get from one place to another.

For entering Costa Rica you will first have to be cleared by Panamenian Immigration before you proceed to the Costa Rican immigration. I had a bit of a hassle at this point as I didn't have my flight ticket (proving I was ever going to leave Costa Rica) with me. "Officials" then asked me to purchase a return ticket to Panama at the border, even if I was never going to use it.
Better not ask how pissed off I was paying money for a ticket a didn't need .
Therefore just make sure you have a onward/return ticket (even a E-ticket is accepted!) and you're fine.

Hth and if you have any more questions let me know.


3. Posted by chase (Budding Member 33 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Border crossings are really easy. I crossed at Guabito after leaving Bocas del Toro. Get exit stamp at Panama immigration, walk over the bridge, then get Costa Rican entry stamp before continuing your journey. You will need to show proof of onward travel - any air ticket will do - sometimes they will just ask for the onward flight number. From Sixaola in Costa Rica, there are bus connections to most of the Caribbean coast and to San Jose.
From Sao Paolo you can get a direct bus to Foc de iguacu( Brazil), but I would advise to visit the Argentinian side of the falls as they are much more impressive. From Foc you can get a bus to Puerto Iguazu(Argentina) - really simple border crossing.
From Puerto Iguazu there are great bus connections. The best route would be to go Iguazu - Cordoba - Mendoza - Santiago de Chile. It is a long journey but you could take a few days. Buses are excellent and you can take "cama" night buses to save on accommodation.
Argentina / chile border crossing again is really simple. From Mendoza, the international bus will wait for all formalities. Check the weather reports first - bad weather sometimes means that the border is closed.
Hope this helps

4. Posted by mrmoke (Budding Member 2 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Hello! Personally, I have not crossed the Panama/Costa Rica border, but I do know that the Tica Bus runs in Panama and will take you to Costa Rica. The buses are comfortable and the price is not that bad. If you decide to cross the border by foot, my guess would be that you would need to know decent Spanish. I have crossed the Nicaragua border by foot and by the Tica Bus. The Tica Bus was a cakewalk, by foot was a chore, but at the same time a hell of an experience.

No worries!

5. Posted by UKtraveler (Budding Member 2 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Brilliant thank you all for your advice!Only 2 weeks till I go I can't wait. We have a flight booked from costa rica to Sau Paulo so we should be ok getting through the border.

The only thing I need to do now is book a flight from Lima to Panama - thinking of going with Copa airlines but they seem quite expensive - does anyone know of any cheaper airlines?

6. Posted by chase (Budding Member 33 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!