How To Cross the Costa Rica Panama Border


Follow along with us as we cross the border from Costa Rica into Panama.

Crossing the border for the first time can be a little intimidating. With the travel restrictions changing frequently, it’s hard to get the latest updates on what is required to enter another country.

Before we traveled we need to make sure that we had the necessary items to successfully exit Panama then return to Costa Rica. We needed a negative COVID test, proof of intent to exit the country, financial statements and of course our passports. With everything in place, we were confident that we were not going to be turned away, as we had heard that it could be a possibility.

We had stopped at a clinic on the way to get our PCR test done. With the results in just a matter of minutes we headed to check out of Costa Rica. This is when we found out that we need to pay our taxes first. So, off we went to pay our impuestos de salida (exit taxes). Then headed back to the checkout line. After this step, we had to check into Panama. This is where we had to provide proof of exiting the country. Our plane tickets out of San Jose were not enough and we had to purchase a bus ticket to the airport. They call it Tico Bus and is on an alley to the south of the border check in Panama.

Once we purchased the bus ticket and showed the rest of our paperwork, we were in Panama. With a little research beforehand, it was an easier process than we were expecting. We learned a couple of valuable lessons, like paying our taxes first, where to purchase a bus ticket and most importantly, don’t show up at lunchtime.

To get back into Costa Rica from Panama was a little different. We did not need a negative COVID test, but we did need to fill out a health/travel pass.

It’s important to check with the embassy before traveling to any country. Another valuable tool is social media. We checked with several ex-pat groups to see what immigration was required at the time we traveled.

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