Need a quick and cheap way to take an El Salvador to Nicaragua bus? Local travel is the only way to go. It’s an easy trip that costs $13 and takes between 10-12 hours, so try to leave early and avoid crossing borders in the dark and missing your last bus at 5:30pm.
Here’s a great step-by-step guide that will ensure more money in your pocket and less in the hands of over-priced tour companies and buses.
1. San Salvador to ‘el terminal oriente’. First make your way to the main bus terminal in town. If you’re staying at Cumbres de Volcan it’s super simple. Walk to the corner, flag down the #52 and ride it till the end. Otherwise a lot of other public buses head there from the crack of dawn. 30Mins – 20c
2. El terminal oriente to Santa Rosa de Lima. They run more frequently in the morning and surprisingly aren’t chicken buses, which makes the journey a lot more enjoyable. The express bus, which seems to stop frequently anyway, costs $6 and takes 3 hours. While the routine bus costs $4 and takes a little longer. 3/4 hours – $4/$6
3. Santa Rosa de Lima to the border. You can connect straight to the public bus #330 which takes you within walking distance to the border. 20Mins – 90c
4. Exiting El Salvador. Walk to the El Salvador immigration and disregard the peddle tricycles. It’s a refreshingly easy walk after hours on a bus and only takes a few minutes.
5. Enter Honduras. Yep you need to pass through a whole country just to get to Nicaragua. Honduras immigration officials take a handy $3, even though you’ll only be in the country for 2 hours.
6. El Amatillo to Guasaule. Straight through from border to border. In Honduras the official currency is the Limpiera, but you’ll be able to pay in USD if you’re only passing through and don’t want to exchange at rip-off rates. You’ll find a shuttle leaving just past the border that’s quick and breezy. 2 hours – $6
7. Honduras to Nicaragua immigration. Exiting Honduras is easy, but entering Nicaragua may come as a surprise to your wallet. Be prepared to pay $12USD! Old guide books will tell you it’s just a US thing, but they were unfortunately outdated. There is an ATM at the border and you can pay in USD or the official Nicaraguan currency Corbodas. You won’t get a stamp because you’re still in the C4 region and they’ll continue to count from your initial 90 days when you first entered the C4 region.
8. Guasaule to León. Walk a couple of hundred feet past the border and ask people for the buses to León. The last one leaves just after 5:30pm, so make sure you get there in time. The last thing you want is an expensive taxi ride or being stranded at a dodgy border. 2 1/2Hrs – 50 Cordoba – $2
9. León to the hostel center. Once at the bus terminal in León you’re a little out of the main hostel centre. It’s walkable, but if it’s dark, save yourself the potential hassle and get a taxi for 20 Cord per person.
10. Enjoy the activities. There’s a host of places to stay and activities to do! While we were there we took a tour of the famous Flor de Caña rum factory, surprised Christine with some salsa classes for her birthday and also volcano boarded down the famous Cerro Negro. All stories coming to Don’t Forget To Move soon!