The region of Rivas was the first region visited by the Spaniard Conquerors in 1522. The ciity was founded in 1736, and has some splendour as a main stop when there were ferries transporting passangers and goods from the Pacific to the Atlantic using the Lago Cocibolca and the Rios San Juan.
Most of the travellers just use Rivas as a stop for changing busses on their way to Costa Rica, San Juan del Sur or Ometepe, the town has a busy and dirty Bus Station down town. The city has few interest, but has a beautiful colonial church located in the main square or Parque Central, the Church of San Pedro from the 18th century.
There are a few direct buses every day departing from Merida going to Moyogalpa. I took the bus passing El Porvenir just after 9am. A woman waiting for the same bus as I told me that the lancha/ferry in Moyogalpa usually waited if the bus was late. From El Porvenir to Moyogalpa it took 2 hours and it was 20 cordobas (July 2009). In Moyogalpa the bus stopped just by the ferry terminal.
The lancha (small boat) left on time 11.30 for San Jorge on the mainland. The boat journey took 1 hour and the ticket was 30 cordobas (1.50 dollars). From San Jorge I shared taxi with two other persons and we paid 20 cordobas each to go to the bus terminal in Rivas. The taxi would have been 20 cordobas each even if we had been two passengers.
In Rivas I waited more than half an hour for the bus to Granada. The terminal is busy and you will find lots of food, snacks and drinks to buy and people to watch while you are waiting. The bus to Granada was one of those repainted old American school buses, so common in Nicaragua. To Granada it took 1.5 hours and the ticket was 24 cordobas. In Granada the bus stopped one block south of Mercado Muncipal.
Twice a week there is a ferry going to Granada from Altagracia. It takes 4 hours.
Buses leave San Juan del Sur about every half an hour for Rivas. The bus ride takes 45 minutes and cost 15 cordobas (July 2009). At the bus station in Rivas I asked for a bus to San Jorge, from where the ferries leave for Isla de Ometepe, and was told that there are minibuses passing on the street. Before I had time to cross the street a taxi driver told me he could take me to the port for 40 cordobas.
I took the taxi from Rivas to San Jorge and as I went into the car a friend of the taxi driver also went into the car. As the taxi left the station two men shouted ”take care”. Soon after the friend of the taxi driver took out a big tool. Having read in the newspaper only the previous day about fake taxi drivers robbing their customers in another Nicaraguan city I felt that this might be very bad, so when the car turned in a direction I thought was wrong I said that this is not good. The taxi driver assured me it was the right way and soon after his friend left. Arriving at the port of San Jorge I told the taxi drivers what I had read about taxis in Nicaragua and he just laughed and said that this is not Managua.
From San Jorge to Isla de Ometepe there are several boats per day. The ferry (bigger boat) only leaves twice a day, but the lancha (smaller boat) leaves more often. At the port I paid the admission of 10 cordobas (July 2009) and then sat down in the waiting hall for a while. The lancha was a little late arriving from Isla de Ometepe so we didn’t depart on time. When it was time to board the boat everyone tried to get on at once so for some time it was a bit chaotic. But soon everyone had taken a seat and we left. The tickets were sold on board and it was 30 cordobas. The boat ride took one hour. It was a bit wavy but not rough.
The boat stops in Moyogalpa, a small town on the western side of Isla de Ometepe. Here I arranged for a hike to Volcán Concepión and went to the supermarket to buy water and snacks. Then I bought an ice cream at Eskimos and sat down at the pavement waiting for the next bus. While I was waiting a pickup from Hotel Finca Playa Venecia (where I was going) stopped and said I could go with them, they were only picking up a couple of tourists arriving with the next lancha, which were arriving soon.
I arrived to airport Managua early in the morning. The exchange offices had not opened jet, but I found an ATM in the departure hall. I was approached by a taxi driver who showed his badge and told me he drove an official taxi (with red plates). He wanted to have 16 dollars (July 2009) for driving me to the bus terminal at Roberto Huembes.
As the taxi stopped at Roberto Humbes the car was surrounded with men asking me were I was going. One man grabbed my bag and I told him I wanted to carry it myself. He refused to give it back but told me not to worry and showed his t-shirt with the name of a bus company. He took me on board a bus to Rivas and put my backpack on the shelf above my seat. The bus was very busy with people going back and forth selling things and the man leaned over me and asked for 20 cordobas (1 dollar) for showing me the right bus. The situation felt quite aggressive so I paid and then took my backpack down and put it against the wall by my legs. There was still room for a passenger next to me. The bus was soon filled up and we left. The bus ride to Rivas took about 2 hours and it was 40 cordobas (July 2009).
In Rivas the bus stopped at the terminal, and from the same terminal buses leave for San Juan del Sur. They leave every half an hour so I didn’t have to wait long for the next bus. To San Juan del Sur it took 40 minutes and it was 15 cordobas. In San Juan del Sur the buses stop two blocks from the beach and it is easy to walk to most hotels from there.