Every 90 days, we must leave Costa Rica for 72 hours to renew our visas to stay for another 90 days. After our first 90 days, we visited family Stateside for Christmas, but after this 90 day set, we went to Nicaragua from April 1st-4th.
Our travel days took a LOT longer than we expected, partially due to delays at the borders (we had to go through border crossings on the Costa Rica & Nicaragua side). On Monday, after a 5 hour bus ride in Costa Rica, we were at the borders & after a total of 9 hours on the bus/at the border, we were in Rivas, Nicaragua. It was a little stressful for us at the borders, because this was our first time leaving/entering countries by land. We were very thankful for the forewarning that the bus employees probably would take our passports & entry/exit taxes and take them through customs, because one is generally taught to not let their passport out of sight! However, the bus's way of doing things certainly sped up the process.
Once we were in Nicaragua, the pastor who was to meet us was nowhere in sight (it turns out our bus was more than 2 hours late to Rivas). But one of the local taxi drivers, after learning that we didn't need a taxi since we were waiting for our friend, lent us his phone so we could call our Nazarene pastor. Instead of taking us straight to the hotel, the pastor took us around town to show the Nazarene district office, the Nazarene school we'd be working at, a gas station we could get lunch at, the beach (of a freshwater lake with an island with 2 volcanoes & 2 Nazarene churches on it), a Nazarene Bible institute, and then our hotel. He even had us over to his home for a supper of pizza & gallo pinto (rice and beans) with his family.
We didn't exactly know what we would be doing in the school until we got there. We visited preschool through 6th grade, teaching English songs or sentences depending on the age level. 3rd grade through 6th grade LOVED "Head and shoulders, knees and toes" and during recess, they would practice it. We also taught the chorus of "Jesus loves me", "My God is so big, so strong, and so mighty", and "I love you in the love of the Lord." We hit all 7 grades over the 2 days.
While the return trip was long, hot, and full of delays, it was really a blessing & an answered prayer in disguise. We had to leave Costa Rica for 72 hours (3 days), but we didn't realize that it would take 5 hours to leave Costa Rica. Initially our bus was going to reach the border at the 69-hour mark. It picked us up over an hour late from Rivas (70-hour mark) and we were delayed 2 hours at the Nicaraguan border (mechanical problems) (72-hour mark). At the Costa Rica border, we got our passports stamped for another 90 days after 72 hours and 15 minutes. (In our next trip we will add in more travel time so we won't need such drastic measures).