In the province of Alajuela, Costa Rica, a new border opened from Costa Rica to Nicaragua and vice versa on May 2nd, 2015, to serve the increasing traffic between the two countries.
The new entry point between Costa Rica and Nicaragua is in Las Tablillas, Alajuela, on the Costa Rican side of the border. The tiny town was mostly a border stop until the $4 million project took roots as a joint venture of both Costa Rica and Nicaragua. The border represents the second after the border at Peñas Blancas, Costa Rica, and plans to divert nearly 40% of traffic from the Peñas Blancas site to Las Tablillas over the next ten years are underway.
The border has already seen a number of people trying to enter Costa Rica illegally over the last few months as construction was underway. Costa Rican border guards counted some 60 people per day trying to enter, but security will intensify now that the border is open.
Much of the trucking that brings products in from the cargo ports along the Caribbean will make their way to Las Tablillas rather than Peñas Blancas, because it is nearly 120 kilometers closer to the Caribbean Coast. This will certainly lessen the wait times at both borders, and make it easier for travelers heading north or south. During large holidays, wait times can be as much as three to four hours to cross the Peñas Blancas border into or out of both countries.
The big benefit will be in terms of commerce between the two countries, because the location is better suited to cargo initiatives, but travelers coming from Puerto Limón or Puerto Viejo will find that this is the more direct route of entry. That could result in a drug problem as both areas are known to already have issues in that department, but the government intends to keep a close watch on the activity.
A new bridge was constructed over the San Juan River by the Nicaraguan government to facilitate travel, but it may take time before it sees regular use. Although the border opened on May 2nd, the shift of traffic and the general dispersion of knowledge of the new borders existence will take time.