We eventually left Panamá for Costa Rica. We returned from Boquete on Monday and spent a final night in David, our hub city, drinking beer and watching movies at the local theatre.
It took us over two hours to figure out how to do the border crossing. We could either take a frontera bus (David is only an hour drive away from the border) and then hop on another bus on the Costa Rican side. Or we could take an international bus going to San Jose, Costa Rica. The bus station in David was very chaotic and dusty and we went back and forth looking for the ticket booth. When we found it, the employees had gone for lunch and would be back an hour later, más o menos. We ended up buying a ticket on the international bus, leaving the following day at 8 am.
On Tuesday morning, we boarded the bus, barely awake. It took us just an hour to get to the border. There, we had to take our bags (stored underneath the bus) and go to a small round room, with tables. We put our backpacks on the tables and waited for what was coming up next. Sure thing, a custom officer arrived 30 minutes later and searched us.
After that, we rushed to put our backpacks back on the bus, and started queuing to get our exit stamp from Panamá. We bought an actual stamp for 1$ that a lady stuck in our passport (no idea what was that for) and then had our passport stamped.
The bus was waiting for us on the Costa Rican side, so we walked about 200 meters to the other border control. We got our Costa Rican entry stamp without much troubles. We weren´t even asked any question.
But once again, the bus driver called us and we had to take our backpacks with us. A border officer took our passports and we were told to line up. We were called, one by one, and searched again.
Back in the bus. Phew.
We had decided to skip San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, for now, and to get off at San Isidore Del General. We bought a Coke and braced ourselves for a quite original ride…