Traveling in Nicaragua

Nicaragua transportation

Airplane: Most domestic flights take off and land at Managua International Airport. Other airports in Nicaragua are much smaller, often little more than airstrips outside the city. These include Waspam, Big Corn Island, Bilwi, Las Minas, San Carlos and Bluefields. On the Pacific coast there are airports in Granada, Montelimar and near Chinandega.

There are two domestic airlines, Atlantic Airlines with daily flights to Bluefields and Corn Islands, and La Costena with flights to Las Minas, Waspam, Bluefields, Corn Islands, San Carlos, and Bilwi. Try to reserve tickets, especially for the Managua – San Carlos and Managua – Bilwi routes. there are also several charter airlines in Nicaragua.

Ship: since there are numerous lakes, rivers, lagoons and two adjacent oceans in Nicaragua, traveling by water is an ideal option. Many travel destinations are impossible or difficult to access without boats. In areas with no regular service, you can often rent a boat or a dugout canoe. Many passenger boats only leave when there are enough passengers – so there is no fixed schedule. It is much more difficult to rent boats on the Atlantic side than on the Pacific coast.

Boats go daily to Pearl Lagoon and El Rama, and twice a week to Big Corn Island, and twice a day between Big Corn and Little Corn. Bluefields is also approached several times a day.

From San Carlos there is a regular boat service to Granada, the Solentiname Islands, Río San Juan, the border crossing to Costa Rica and several nature reserves.
A ferry connects Granada with Isla Ometepe and San Carlos twice a week.
Waspam is the gateway to the Rio Coco. You can arrange private boats to get on the river to the Honduran border crossing.

Train: There is no passenger train service in Nicaragua.

Car: Nicaragua has some of the best roads in Central America (the country’s Pan-American Highway is in great shape), most of which have low traffic as so few people can afford cars.

The roads in the north of Leon and in the mountain regions are tarred, but the pavement is not particularly well preserved. There are mostly gravel roads on the Pacific coast. The roads in eastern Nicaragua, on the other hand, are bad. San Juan del Sur is connected to Corinto by a tar road.

On the Pacific and in Central Nicaragua, having your own vehicle is a very good idea, on the Caribbean side you should use public transport, as the roads are too bad here.

Renting a car in Nicaragua is relatively inexpensive, with a day in an average vehicle costing around $ 20. If you want to leave the main roads in the rainy season, an off-road vehicle is recommended. A driver’s license and credit card are required to rent a car, and in most cases there is a minimum age of 25 years. Rental costs at Managua Airport are around 15% higher. Gasoline prices are about as high as in Western Europe.
Driving at night is generally not recommended in the country, especially in Managua, and taxis should also be considered when renting a car.

Bus: The bus service in Nicaragua is very good, but not particularly comfortable. Most of the cities in the country are connected by regional express bus routes.

Public bus transport is usually provided by decommissioned US and Canadian school buses. Try to avoid depositing your luggage on top of the bus, but try to put the luggage next to the rice and bean bags on the bus. The buses are often overcrowded.

Bus stations in Nicaragua are often huge, especially if you don’t speak a lot of Spanish they seem chaotic. However, if you state your destination clearly, you will always find helpers who will show you the right bus.

More comfortable microbuses cost about 25% more than buses and run on most major routes. They leave when they’re full. Many rural places with bad roads are used by military trucks approached with benches, the costs are roughly the same as for a bus.

Taxi: Almost all taxis in Nicaragua are shared taxis (colectivos) that take detours on the way to the desired destination in order to collect more passengers.
Managua taxis have no meter and are notorious for overcharging tourists. Find out on site which prices can be charged for which routes.
Taxis can also be hired for routes between two cities, but this is more convenient but also more expensive than taking the bus.

Bicycle:Nicaragua is very popular with cyclists because of its smooth, paved roads and wide hard shoulders. Car and truck drivers are also more considerate of cyclists than in other third world countries. Bicycles are also widely used by locals. There are also many opportunities for mountain bikers in Nicaragua.

Nicaragua climate

According to Bridgat, Nicaragua is located in Central America between Costa Rica in the south and Honduras in the south. That climate in Nicaragua is tropical with little temperature fluctuations during the year. In the country, however, there are different climates due to the differences in altitude. In addition, the dry and rainy seasons of the Pacific and Caribbean sides also differ.

In the lower regions (up to about 700 m altitude, tierra caliente) the average maximum temperatures between 30 and 33 ° C, the night-time lowest temperatures are between 21 and 24 ° C.

In the central highlands of Nicaragua (750 to 1,600 m) the temperatures are lower, only values ​​between 15 and 27 ° C are achieved here.

At even higher altitudes, the temperatures naturally drop even further.

On the Pacific side, the invierno season (winter or rainy season) is between May and November, with the wettest time in September and October when the sea turtles come to the beach. Verano (summer or dry season) is from November to April. An average of 1,500 mm of precipitation falls here per year. The best time for hiking and camping is during the high tourist season (December to March), especially along the border with Costa Rica. Towards the end of the dry season, the trees in the Pacific forests lose their leaves and the water levels in the lakes decline.

On the Caribbean side, especially along the Río San Juan, it is rainy all year round, and the total annual rainfall (up to 4,000 mm) is greater than on the Pacific coast.

Traveling in Nicaragua