Road Routes

Road Routes: El Salvador to Nicaragua Bus

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 Old guide books will tell you it’s just a US thing, but they were unfortunately outdated.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!

     11. Moving On. Looking for the next location? Why not head to the our favorite beach location in the Caribbean, the amazing Corns Islands. Or perhaps you’re a hiker and want to tackle the impressive lake volcanoes of Ometepe Island!


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El Salvador to Nicaragua bus

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Julian Hatfield

Co-Founder and Travel Blogger at Don't Forget To Move
Sports mad, surfer, high school teacher, little sense of self embarrassment and indefinite wanderer. On the flip side: grumpy when hungry, fidgety when tired and no tolerance for people pushing onto public transport before others get out. Wanna know more?

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6 Comments

  1. perfect! that’s exactly what i was looking for! great description! since i am already in san miguel it won’t take me that long and i am glad not to have paid 30 usd for a direct bus – it is so much less fun!

    • Don't Forget to Move says:

      Absolutely, it’s heaps more fun! Just remember to load up on the pupusas before you leave the El Sal border, you might not find them as often down south :(
      Enjoy the ride and travel safe.

  2. Super helpful! I am currently planted at La Tortuga Verde in El Cuco and I’ve been told my options are a $50 shuttle to Leon or a $75 boat ride to Potosi, Nicaragua–neither of those things are in my budget! I have been chicken busing it around Central America for 2 months now, but for some reason was intimidated by needing to pass through 3 countries in one day.
    I’ll be taking this route in a few days!

    • Awesome! I’m glad you found the article and it’s going to help you save some funds. If you’re already familiar with the chicken buses then this is going to be easy. Just make sure you get an earlier start so you don’t miss the last bus going to Leon from the Nica border. Otherwise it’s very straight forward. Let us know how the trip goes. Where you off to next?

  3. I’m so thankful for your blog and how much easier it has made traveling! When you say leave early, are we talking about 4am?

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