The cross-border bus operator Tica Bus has its only daily stopped at the Peñas Blancas border by Nicaragua immigration officials.
The company said only Nicaraguans would be allowed to enter on its service today, March 31, as a measure in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the transport company, the Nicaraguan government told them “that nobody could enter, nor could anyone leave” this Tuesday at the Peñas Blancas border. “The Nicaraguan government has put an exit restriction on people through the Peñas Blancas border, this indefinitely,” the statement released Monday by the company read, and was later withdrawn on its social networks.
The Q contacted Tica Bus.
The agent we spoke to told us there will service on Wednesday, April 1, at 7:30 am to Managua, but only Nicaraguans can travel. “After tomorrow, it is on a day-by-day basis, depends at the border,” said Marconi.
The Q also spoke to TransNica, which also offers daily transborder service between San Jose and Managua.
At TransNica business is as usual. The agent we spoke to said they have no issues with their buses at the border crossing and all – not just Nicaraguans – can travel on their service, which is now down to one daily, leaving San Jose at 7:00 am.
On March 18, Costa Rican closed its borders – land, air and sea – allowing entry only to Costa Rican nationals and legal residents, who must submit to a mandatory 14-day quarantine on return.
On Monday, March 23, President Carlos Alvarado, as a measure to stop the traditional massive exodus of Nicaraguans headed for the homeland for the Semana Santa (Easter Week) holidays, said, aimed at Nicaraguans in Costa Rica, foreign residents who leave Costa Rica during the national emergency would lose their residency status, thus not be able to return.
On March 25, the Nicaragua government deployed its army to closed the “blind spots” along its border with Costa Rica.
Colonel Álvaro Rivas, an Army spokesman, explained that the army’s function is to stop illegal crossings, that all legal crossings would continue at the authorized posts of Peñas Blancas and Las Tablillas.
“We will be rigorous and strictly comply with the missions that derive from the laws that bind us. We have reinforced with troops the border units of the 4th Regional Military Command that comprises the department of Rivas, the Southern Military Detachment that comprises the department of Río San Juan, with the Naval Force we increased to the south on the border of the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea and with the Naval Detachment of Internal Waters, the southern part of Lake Cocibolca, to increase patrolling and not allow irregular migrants to enter,” the Army spokesperson said to La Prensa, Nicaragua’s main newspaper.
The Tica Bus notice, dated March 30 at 3:00 pm, detailed:
“During these days we were offering our service to a minimum in tourist class from Nicaragua to Costa Rica and from Costa Rica to Nicaragua. However, today (March 30) the Nicaraguan government has placed an exit restriction on people through the Peñas Blancas border, this indefinitely.
In compliance with the provisions of the governments of all the countries we travel to, we inform you that starting tomorrow and until further notice, our highway operations will be suspended”.
The Q did not get a reply from Nica Bus and Central Line, who also operate daily service between San Jose and Managua.
This situation occurs in the midst of the health crisis caused by COVID-19. It is unknown whether the restrictive measure would apply to the transit of goods.