We're applying for legal residency in Costa Rica and as a result we DO NOT HAVE TO LEAVE COSTA RICA every 90 days as some say...
However, there's a crazy catch to this:
If you want to DRIVE in Costa Rica after 90 days here, even though you are legally applying for residency, you DO have to leave the country after 90 days.
It doesn't matter if you stay for 3 days (like some forums say - this is akin to an "old wives' tale" - not true!) but yes you DO have to leave the country and come back in, to renew your driver's license!
My attorney says we can walk across the border, then turn around and walk right back across the border and that will suffice. So literally I have to leave the country for 5 minutes to renew my driver's license!
How dumb/stupid/insane is that?!
Well it's hard to measure...
But I'll say: "REAL DUMB! EXTREMELY DUMB!
AND REALLY, REALLY CRAZY!"
But that's just one of the crazy things we have to do to become residents here in Costa Rica and no point in getting upset about it or letting it ruin your day.
There are buses you can take. or you can drive..
Here's a link to one recommended service:
Costa Rica Bus Tickets For Border Runs
And here's a link to another:
Bus Tour From Costa Rica to Nicaragua for Border Run
There are other buses to Nicaragua and also to Panama. You can go anywhere, of course, these are just the generally cheapest options.
In Panama there are sometimes some strict rules (apparently
depending on the border agent you encounter) like having to show financial solvency of $1000 credit or $500 cash and so on. I say FU to Panama for this reason. You of course can decide for yourself.
I just want to say in closing that some Costa Rica immigrant advocacy attorneys and organizations (are you listening, ARCR?) really should make it a point to fight this rule that you have to leave the country for 5 minutes just to get your driver's license renewed, if you are legally processing your Costa Rica residency and can provide proof of such. It's really dumb and makes Costa Rica look bad and is a reason for gringos not to want to immigrate to Costa Rica.
Most gringos bring money into Costa Rica one way or another and I think it would be in Costa Rica's best interest to change this stupid rule.