As most towns/cities in Nicaragua do not have physical street or address numbers, it is recommended to use public transportation rather than renting a car. There have been several reports of foreigners being stopped by police intent on obtaining a bribe so as to avoid that take public transporation or taxis - they are cheap and will take you to most spots around the country.
If you really don't have to drive in Nicaragua, don't. Let someone else do the driving- the roads (probably because of the rains this past year) are full of potholes - to the point, where the traffic along some stretches try to avoid the potholes and it ends up looking like a line of cars going down Lombard Street in San Francisco!
Also, honking in Nicaragua isn't like honking in the states - so if you are "honked at," it could just mean another driver is passing, or just basically saying 'hi, just making sure you know I'm driving here too.' The other things to always watch out for are the 2-wheeled, 2-wheeled plus four-legged and just the four-legged travellers.
make sure you bring warm clothes for the busride and I advise not traveling during the Christmas season as the wait at the border will last forever. We took the bus just over the boarder and then a taxi. The bus drivers usually know who will take you and make sure you ask someone on the bus how much it should cost so you dont get ripped off. Also, there's some risk involved if its a pirate taxi. Another method is to get off the bus somewhere near the junction with San Juan del sur and take a local bus. When traveling from San Juan del Sur to Granada, ask at your hotel for advice or find other travelers heading that way.
is air conditioned and is called Transnica S.A. Tel. (0)552-6619 Granada.
Salida Granada - San Josè 6:20 am 8:00 am 11:00 am
Ticket price: two way $20 - one way $10
Tica Bus Tel.(0)552-4301 Granada.
Salida Granada - San Josè 6:15 am 12:15 pm Ticket price: two way $ 20 - C$ 280 - one way $ 10 - C$ 140
Salida Managua -Panama 6:15 am Ticket price: two way $ 70 - one way $ 35
Salida Managua - San Pedro Sula (Honduras) 4:00 am Ticket price: $ 28
Salida Managua - San Salvador 4:00 am Ticket price: $25
Salida Managua - Guatemala 4:00 am Ticket price: $ 33
Information provided by Nicatour.net
The most common type of transportation in and around Granada is the collective taxi.
The fare is 5 cordobas per person within town during the day ( 6 am to 10 pm): after
10 pm the fare is 10 cordobas. Fares double when traveling to the suburbs.
Also, you can take a horse and carriage for the same price as taxis.
Several months ago, a bus service started that uses small, old buses that can carry about 20 people. This service has a fixed route within city and costs 2 1/2 cordobas.
A different way to enjoy Granada is with a colorfully painted bus, that for 5 cordobas, offers a city tour accompanied by latin music emanating from large speakers in the rear of the bus. There is also a colorfully painted tractor that pulls carriages where you can sit and take in the
scenery while listening to typical latin music.
When travelling outside Granada, you must use the local bus system.
24-passenger direct bus. This bus station is one block south of Central Park. The bus leaves Granada every 20 minutes starting at 6 or 6:30 AM.
Granada - Managua C$ 15
50-passenger and is usually yellow.
Prices: Granada - Masaya C$ 7 The bus station is near the market
Granada - Managua C$ 10 The bus station near ìthe old hospital
Granada - Rivas C$ 15 The bus station near the gas station Shell Palmira
With the exception of the Pan American Highway roads aren't in the best shape but local transportation in cities and between them is cheap and efficient. Getting around with very little spanish is not a problem.
very old buses are the main atracction on the capital road.
be sure you are in good condition to hold strongly, you will be traveling standing for sure.
prices are about US$0.15 or US$0.25 max
Take taxis for about C15, or 1USD to almost everywhere around managua.
i did my travel to granada by using local chicken bus. it took me an hour to get there, but a backpacker told me at the hotel that he did it by taxi, including a stop by city of masaya for about 25 dollars.
taxis inside the city of granada just 1 dollar and less!!!
Difficult to go from West to East.
The main road goes down the west coast, then the road to the East is more an adventure !!
Flying is a good option to cross the country as you can save time and avoid the areas with paludism.
The only way to get around Nicaragua is by chickenbus. The name comes from the fact that everything, including chicken and other alive creatures, are put on the roof. It's a cheap but not really comfortable way of travelling. The chickenbusses are originally american schoolbusses (made for children... get the idea of 'not really comfortable'?)
But you join the locals which is ofcourse a great experience. The busstations are fairly good organized. Can't find your bus? Just ask some of the boys yelling really loud. They yell in a funny way the name of the destination of the bus!
Well... not only were we being pulled over but we also had a flat tire, in the middle of nowhere! After showing the police our passports, I quickly pulled out my camera to snap a couple of "ice breaking" photos and my trusty bag of melted candies followed in hopes of softening any potential police fiasco. Meanwhile, our cab driver pulled out the "flat" spare.
When something like this happens, it's all about rolling out (or concocting) a contingency plan. Unfortunately, it was a little late and given our resources, or lack thereof (no traffic or taxis), we quickly dismissed any possibility of dreaming up any clever 1st world McGiver plan.
While our taxi driver stared blankly at our "flat" spare a local Nica approached our driver and began discussing the situation. Before we knew it, both of them disappeared down a small dirt road and into a dilapidated tin-roofed shack. We wondered how they could possibly repair a flat, bald tire in the middle of nowhere? I couldn’t imagine they could do much without electricity, (perceivably) no tools or an air compressor???
Things were not looking so promising.
Operating on 3 hours sleep, this was certainly not a welcomed edition to our last day in Nicaragua, but what can you do? The police however seemed rather amused with our dilema and it was nice to know we brought happiness to someone :-)
30-40 minutes later we were very surprised that our driver, and new found friend, had returned from the dilapidated shack down the dirt road with a fully filled, albeit bald, tire. After a few minutes and with a quick thank you and handshake (between our driver and the local), we were back on the road. We arrived at the airport in Managua with 20 minutes to spare.
This experience encompassed the magic, generosity, spirit and ingenuity of Nicaragua and its people.
Taxis are cheap in Nicaragua. In Managua it's pretty much 1-2 dollars anywhere within city limits and 5-8 to the airport. In the country, it's typically less. Be sure to bargain for a fair (non-gringo) price but remember that everyone has to make a living!
On the way from San Juan to Managua we decided to buck up 30.00 for the 1+ hour taxi ride back to Managua so that we could spend as much time as possible in San Juan del Sur. After all, we only had 10 days in total. We thought leaving two hours of travel time from San Juan to the airport in Managua would be more than enough time for any 'unforseen logistical problems'. Much to our chagrin, this became a near impossibility.
En route, we were gestured to pull the taxi over by the police. Let the fun begin!
You can take either La Costeña or Atlantic flight from Managua to Corn Islands through Bluefields. There are many flights per day.
You should be able to buy your ticket on the spot and ticket dates can be changed with no fee. La Costeña has smaller airplanes and you can take nice photos from the airplane. On the other hand, Atlantic has more propellers... Return flight to the islands is around 100 euros.
You can also take a flight to Bluefields and from there a boat to Big Corn Island but the boat only goes twice a week, on Wednesday and Sunday. It takes about 4 hours.
p.s. Be careful not to put your films in the checked in luggage because on the way back they are scanned with X-rays.
Para llegar a San Carlos hay tres opciones: en avioneta desde Managua (700 C$ trayecto), en autobús (11 horas desde Managua por carretera sin asfaltar) o en barco desde Granada o Altagracia.
Yo tomé el barco desde Altagracia, en Ometepe (12 h, 30 C$) a eso de las seis y media de la tarde (noche). El viaje hubiera estado bien de no ser por dos cosas:
1- El barco estaba lleno de gente, con lo que era imposible tumbarse o sentarse dentro
2 - Al no haber sitio dentro nos sentamos en cubierta. El problema es que toda la noche estuvo lloviendo y acabamos empapados.
El viaje fue una auténtica odisea, y volvimos a Managua en avioneta. Sin embargo, al menos la ida, sí que os recomiendo hacerla en barco (aunque lleguéis destrozados). Es una experiencia de las que luego cuentas a tus nietos.
There are three ways to get to San Carlos from Managua: by plane (700 C$) by bus (11 h by unpaved road) and by boat from Granada or Altagracia.
We took the boat from Altagracia, Ometepe Island (12 h, 30 C$) at 6:30 PM. The trip could have been nice unless:
1- the boat hadn't been crowded and it had been possible to lay or sit inside.
2- It hadn't rained the whole night, for we tried to sleep outside on the deck
The trip was terrible and we went back to Managua by plane. Anyway, I recommend you to take this boat, although you arrive pissed off and return by plane. It's one of those experiences you'll tell your grandchildren.
I left from Madrid on Iberia (best&fastest connecting) service via Miami where you have to change (15 minutes transit)for a smaller plane which always waits for intercontinental connection to arrive. Iberia left Madrid 3h late and still it worked smoothly, no worry.
taxi or rental car. Bus works only for experienced traveller's who are fluent in Spanish AND got plenty of time at hand. Boat, there's a jetty down at the lake from where you can reach a few places.
Picture gives an idea of local roads and facilities outside town.
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