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In the summer of 2009, Nicolas Rapp decided to take a break from his Art Director job at The Associated Press to attempt a one-year overland travel around the world in a 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser. He was back in New York in February 2011 after traveling 15 months and 37,000 miles.

Visited countries


November 2020



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  • Lines long like a day without bread

    Posted on January 5th, 2010 Nicolas No comments
    Driving through the Costa Rica border

    Driving through the Costa Rica border

    After few days at the beach, we eventually made it to Costa Rica. We left in the morning of Jan. 2nd, and it took us two hours to reach the border between Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Here, our worst border crossing was awaiting us. It took us more than five hours to go through.

    The first line, Nicaragua side

    The first line, Nicaragua side

    Two hours to exit Nicaragua and do the exit papers for the vehicles (US$ 4 for everything), and three-and-an-half hour to do immigration and vehicle paperwork on the Costa Rica side.

    This really was our worst border crossing. Before the trip, I read a lot about difficult crossing, and hours of waiting time. Because we only used very little crossing until now, it never took us more than an hour-and-an-half to do this necessary step for each country. The trouble here was a massive reflux of visitors coming back home after the holidays.
    This time, it was more difficult. We reached on the Costa Rica side around 2 p.m., and the sun was high and strong. Lines were outside, and there was no shade. Multiple photocopies of everything were – as always – needed. We met a family of French people who are doing the trip Canada-Chile by road (blog here, in French). Like us, they will have to go around the Darien Gap, and we may meet later on in Panama.

    Second line, Costa Rica immigration

    Second line, Costa Rica immigration

    Less than US$20 later, and as once again the sun was about to disappear, we were back on the road. I was now driving toward Tamarindo, on the Pacific side, where we were scheduled to meet with Steve and Jocelyn.
    Steve invited us few days back, when he eared about our mechanical problems. Back in 2000, they did the trip with a land Cruiser between California and Costa Rica, where they finally decided to start a new life. You can check out their website here.
    We arrived in town around 9 p.m., and quickly found the house, where we would be able to take advantage of luxuries we didn’t see in a while, including hot showers (last seen in Mexico) and a swimming pool (last seen while squatting the Best Western in Managua)

    On our way to the beach with Steve and Jocelyn

    On our way to the beach with Steve and Jocelyn

    In any case since we arrived Steve provided us great help with the car, and diagnosed some transmission problems that should be corrected before the end of the week. I cleaned up a little bit our truck, had some good food and nice nights of sleep.
    The plan after that will be to go to the Arenal Volcano, come back on the Pacific side, and go south to Panama, where we should be next week.

    Tamarindo Beach

    Tamarindo Beach

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9 Responses to “Lines long like a day without bread”

  1. Wow what a big line you had to deal with. Glade to hear your friend will help with the truck. Thanks for the friends pages of their site looks like you have meet some good people and have things in common as well.

  2. So glad you are on the move again. Best wishes for continued safety. I look forward to every update.

  3. So you made it to Ticoland huh? Don’t know why they call themselves Ticos. Just to update you, New York is freeezing and it’s only going to get colder. I bet you are happy to be in the tropics. Looking forward to seeing more images of Costa Rica and Nadia of course. Hope everything goes ok in CR and as Ticos say: “pura vida” or is it puta vida, I’m not too sure.
    adios amigo.

  4. It is amazing the great people you’ll meet along the way. Continued safe travels. Hopefully some time in Costa Rica help you get the Toyota back in good shape.

  5. Glad to hear everything is going much better for you, especially with Steve’s help. I hope you don’t run into anymore car troubles. We’re still here following your every move. Here in New Jersey, it is very cold and we are up for another snow storm on Thursday night. I look at those beautiful tropics and wish I can also be enjoying the sun. I hear Costa Rica is a beautiful country….wish you can give us more pictures. Hasta luego!

  6. How ironic that in China, it’s The Year of the Tiger. However, in the USA, he is..oops… it is—The Year of The Cheetah——actually, the Lion Cheetah. Not a good year for Toyota either. Stuck gas pedal recall on US cars and their Land Cruiser causing havoc for our world travellers. It looks like the word is spreading among the mechanics as you journey onward—look, here comes Nicolas and Nadia–time to make some money. All jokes aside, as many of us have stated before, it’s the people you meet—and it looks like Steve and jocelyn are taking care of you on this leg of your journey–as the others did before them. Travel safe and keep us posted.

  7. Just got 5 inches of snow on top of the 5 we already had here in central Illinois… Wish you were here – no wait, flip that. Wish I was there, Tamarindo looks wonderful! Be safe!

  8. Fascinating comment! You cannot beat home made tasty bread. Count me in for a ‘slice’ of the action!

  9. @ NYC Hombre lol
    Ja ja, we are “Ticos” because of a funny way we talk in spanish, more our grandpas use talk in that funny way that end some words with “tico” like “Little” can be said in spanish “chiquito” but ticos use to say “chiquitico” that ear us the “Tico” name from people of other countries.
    And is “Pura Vida” in a fashion of saying “life is good”, “Puta Vida” its like saying life is a whore, ja ja, we dont say that … a lot.