Public transportation in Nicaragua is well regulated. There are fairly regular buses on many routes, the buses connect with each other and are an inexpensive way to get from A to B. On the destinations we visited during our trip, we also describe for each place how to get there and back with more travel details.
The buses in Nicaragua are generally big old American school buses. Some more beautifully decorated than others. They are also called chicken buses because they either literally carry animals like chickens or the buses are regularly filled with people. There is always a spot seen to bring more people. Not always comfortable and the seats are often very close together leaving little leg room. But the buses are effective, efficient and cheap. Often you pay a few euros for a ride of several hours.
On some routes there are also the so-called Expreso buses. These are coaches that go directly from A to B (in practice, the buses stop less often than chicken buses). Still don’t expect great luxury.
Almost every city has its own bus station (terminal) from which buses depart. Only Granada does not have a clear bus station. That’s where the buses leave a bit of the city center. See Granada’s article on how to get from A to B there.
At the other bus stations, there are often large signs with the bus times on them. Generally, the buses run on this schedule and so you can assume that a bus is going at that time. You pay for your bus ride by paying the bus driver.
Sometimes minibuses run between the different cities. The minibuses do not have a set driving schedule and leave when they are full. It is helpful to ask in advance how much the minibus will cost. Keep in mind that if you are traveling with luggage, you will have to pay more than the other people on the bus without luggage.
In general, you can get on and off the train whenever you want. You can either tell the bus driver in advance or walk up to the front during the ride (if it’s a chicken bus) and ask to stop. You can also very easily stop buses when you are standing by the side of the road.
Nicaragua also has shuttles that can take you from one city to another. The prices of the shuttles are always higher than the regular buses. And because the bus system works well enough in Nicaragua, there is no immediate need to travel by shuttle. Of course, shuttles are more effective than regular public transport. Do you want to take a shuttle? Often you can arrange this in your ho(s)tel or at one of the travel agencies in town.
Rent a car
Renting a car in Nicaragua is also possible. The roads are generally quite good, although it is good to take into account the occasional pothole or threshold.