Business and tourism are the main reasons moving thousands of Costa Rica to travel to Nicaragua by sea, land or air.
Data from the Costa Rica immigration service (Dirección General de Migración) shows that (up to August 2015) 117,874 Costa Ricans travelled to Nicaragua, while 119,524 to the United States.
Among the reasons for the high rate of travel is proximity and prices. From the Central Valley, the Nicaraguan land border of Peñas Blancas is only several hours away, less than two hours more to Managua. A return bus ride costs about US$65, a little more for VIP service.
By air, Managua is a short flight, less than 40 minutes. However, the cost of flying is prohibitive for many, prices over US$350 return, hitting a high of a most US$700 during the holiday season.
Third on on the list of Tico travel destinations is Panama (116,873), followed by Mexico (47,731), Guatemala (18,413), Peru* (17,913), Dominican Republic (8.423), Honduras (8,034), Cuba (5,721), Spain (10,135), Germany (3.351), France (2,791), Great Britain (2,306), Holland (2,012) and Italy (1,920).
*In July 2014, Peru eliminated visas for Costa Ricans. Until then, Costa Ricans need to continue applying for a $30 visa.