Safety Traveling from Managua to Playa Maderas – Nicaragua Forum – TripAdvisor


Safety Traveling from Managua to Playa Maderas

I’m taking a taxi from the Managua airport to Playa Maderas and am feeling apprehensive about safety all of a sudden.

I am a solo female traveler and it is my first time visiting Nicaragua.

Does anyone have any tips?

elportonverde Managua, Nicaragua Level Contributor 894 posts 25 reviews

7. Re: Safety Traveling from Managua to Playa Maderas Feb 09, 2017, 10:06 PM

Greetings Larissa: We receive a lot of single female travelers and they really appreciate having a trusted person come and pick you up at the airport. Your driver will be just fine, knows the route, etc. To get to your question/concern, you don’t say if you are traveling during the daytime or at night time. During the daytime or even the early evening I wouldn’t worry too much about the trip. But if it’s full nighttime, as lots of flight come in at 8, 9 and even like tonight, I’m going for a pick up from the Copa flight from Panama that gets in at about 10:20 pm. I wouldn’t want to drive another 2 1/2 hours to SJdS (and about 20 more for Maderas…)! The driver you would be using certainly does it all the time, but of course it’s really your decision. Another point is that during the night time you won’t see any of the scenery, which includes viewing at least four volcanoes! Traveling that late could feel a little bit daunting, especially for first-time visitors, so some visitors will book something a bit closer and someone who offers good services in addition to quality lodgings. Cheers, Mike @ El Portón Verde, Managua

Source: Safety Traveling from Managua to Playa Maderas – Nicaragua Forum – TripAdvisor

Hey Larissa (and any other readers or robots!) Yes it can feel a bit odd coming to Nicaragua the first time. I certainly remember the semi-terror feeling of not so much landing in Managua but more when first stepping through those automatic sliding glass doors that lead you either to the curb and the street or staying inside the terminal heading towards the rental car companies.

Lots of taxi drivers ask you if you want or need a ride. Sometimes it might take a little while before you find the person that’s supposed to be picking you up. Not so often anymore, but occasionally in the daytime you might get a couple of kids that want to give you something made out of a sort of straw and using that to extract a dollar out of you.

It can be a lot to take in for some people not accustomed to international airports, especially in Latin America.

Also, when you get here, in addition to a warm welcome from an old Nicaragua hand, you may want to:

  • exchange money
  • buy groceries
  • buy a SIM card and setup a pre-paid starter data and/or phone call plan

Contact us for further information or book your room!

by over_kind_man Karen Leavitt surfing at Playa Maderas, Nicaragua, December 23 2009. | by over_kind_man

Arriving in Managua ~8pm-Feasibility of making a minibus from UCA at 9, or shuttle from airport to Granada available?



I am arriving in Managua around 8pm and was wondering if I have time to get to UCA for a 9 pm shuttle to Masaya, and also if shuttle buses from the airport to Granada run that late. Any suggestions on the best way to get to UCA at that time? Would it be more advisable to stay in Managua and travel the next day?
Thank you!

Greetings emgtravel:

I’d say no chance to get to La UCA at that time and that there would be no bus leaving that late. Like others have written, it is basically either do the shuttle or private sedan, so max $40 but you can split that up to three ways with 3 pax. The other option would be to look for a nice place to stay that will come pick you up and be located near the route from UCA to Granada and then the next morning you would only pay about a buck to go to Granada instead of up to $40.

Cheers, Mike_elportonverde


Arriving in Managua at Night?

This question comes up fairly frequently in the travel forums about Nicaragua, as a lot if not a majority of flights come in at night, when arriving in Managua how would one get to Granada or is it better to wait until the next day?

I’ve answered this before in an original blog post: Head-to-Head Comparison: After Arriving at the Managua Airport, Going Directly to Granada vs. Staying near Carretera a Masaya

Bottom line is that, after arriving in Managua, you should be able to decide if it’s okay with you to get to Granada the next morning instead of at a late hour at night.

If you decide to go with the El Portón Verde solution, you can:

Now I’ve had expats of Granada give me a really hard time about this modest proposal I make, as if enough tourists don’t go directly to Granada as soon as they land! I don’t argue that what is right for an individual traveler is always the best thing for everybody, but I do contend that for someone who wants a softer landing to Nicaragua, have a chance to see a friendly face, be greeted by someone who speaks your language meets you at the Managua airport, gives you a nice comfortable ride and room at a farm where in the morning you’ll have an incredible view, eat a great filling breakfast, have a chance to do a quick farm tour or a dip in our swimming pool, then we get you on the bus for a short trip to Granada that only costs $1 USD, well, that is a good proposition for some people, am I right?


Managua – Nicaragua Forum – TripAdvisor

Re: Managua

There are several private shuttle services serving Nicaragua.

There are several private shuttle services serving Nicaragua.

elportonverde Managua, Nicaragua Level Contributor 754 posts 22 reviews 2.

Feb 08, 2016, 2:13 PM

Greetings winger88: Coming in at night there would be no public bus available. If you are up for another 2 1/2 hours in a vehicle after flying all day and are okay with arriving late at night, then you can use a private shuttle service like iSKRA Travel, NicaRoads, etc.

The last scheduled (shared) shuttle is cheaper but leaves the airport at 5:30pm so you might not be able to make it. The private shutlle is $80 for one or two passengers.

Taking the bus the next morning would be a lot cheaper if that is important to you, If you go that route, I would suggest staying at a place off of Carretera a Masaya so you could catch the bus as it heads out of town. Otherwise, go to the Mercado Huembes and get the bus to SJdS or to Rivas, then switch to a bus to SJdS from there.

Cheers, Mike @ El Portón Verde, Managua

Source: Managua – Nicaragua Forum – TripAdvisor

Farmstay El Porton Verde Reviews – Airbnb, Alexandra


Mike was very helpful with our traveling logistics, he picked us up from the airport for $20 and helped us get cordobas and on a bus the next day . His farm,family and Bnb were all lovely . His wife made a delicious local breakfast and mike gave us a tour of the farm . We enjoyed the quiet location and pool. Thanks so Much Mike , Tara and señor Micky!

Pool Bunkbeds Tranquil Farm B&B (w)

December 2014

via Mike’s Profile – Airbnb.

Travelling from Managua Airport to Granada

We were robbed at gunpoint travelling at night in a Paxeos shuttle from the airport to Granada in July of 08.  There were 9 norteamericanos in the Paxeos van, including young children.  I no longer travel at night, and would emphasize this rule for travelling in a van full of gringos fresh from the US with all their cash and goodies.  I recently heard that several other groups of tourists have been robbed on the same road (Tipitapa cut off) traveling from the airport to Granada at night.  Cuidado.

via Travelling from Managua Airport to Granada.

Another reason to stay at Farmstay El Porton Verde that first night in Nicaragua!

Calidad, Seguridad, Confianza, Comfort y Compromiso

Calidad, Seguridad, Confianza, Comfort y Compromiso.
Always Rent a Car$$

Just for my own sake, I want to blog about this rental car and driver company. Instead of just renting a car, how about renting a car and driver? Hiring a driver in Nicaragua doesn’t cost too much more and you have way more security and less of a hassle getting around Nicaragua.

If someone wants to hire a car and driver when you come and visit us at the Farmstay, let me know when you want to rent a car and we’ll give these guys a chance!

Transportation is always an important consideration in planning any trip to Nicaragua. While the public bus system actually works pretty well and is certainly inexpensive, a private shuttle is usually fairly costly. And using a rent a car comes with the need to drive it yourself, which for some can be stressful.

Overall, driving in Nicaragua is not too difficult, but it is certainly handy, for example, to hire a car and driver to take you to the Flor de Caña distillery in Chichigalpa. If you have a driver, you can REALLY enjoy the fine rums served and sold at the distillery when you take the fabulous Tour that the Pellas’ little rum operation offers! Don’t miss the 18- or 21-year old rums. Smooth as buttah…:)

Leon-Managua – NicaShuttle

Leon-Managua – NicaShuttle.

                      MINIMUM 2 PERSONS

This is a new (to me at least) shuttle service with what looks like very fair prices. This would be a very good alternative to either a private taxi or a mini-bus/expresso bus from Managua to Leon.

I notice they leave from Galerias, which is very close to the farmstay. They provide travel to other areas of Nicaragua also, Granada, San Juan del Sur, etc.

How to travel around within Nicaragua: An Overview

How to travel around within Nicaragua: An Overview

Hey reader(s)! Thanks as always for checking in, we hope you enjoy
our ramblings and that you find some value in what we post here.

So, the question of the day is, how does one travel around within
Nicaragua? What are your options? There are five main options that immediately come to mind:

  • Taking buses and/or expresso vans
  • Renting a car
  • Hiring a point-to-point shuttle service
  • Hiring a private car and driver
  • Joining an organized group tour

Buses and Expresso Minivans

Taking buses and expresso minivans has its pluses and minuses to be sure. Pluses are that:

  • Bus fares are very inexpensive for visitors from other countries.
  • They arrive and leave at fairly frequent intervals, (at least between the main towns they are).
  • Buses travel to nearly every small village, so you are not necessarily limited to the big towns and cities.

Expresso vans are smaller passenger vans that hold up to 20 people absolutely jammed in

Additional pluses for expresso buses are:

  • they make less stops, hence the use of the term “expresso”
  • they tend to arrive and leave at different, and sometimes more
  • convenient locations to the big bus stations usually located in busy markets

Discussing the downsides to both bus and mini-van expressos is a
little trickier as it can involve subjective feeling and individual
preferences, so YMMV as they say 😉

Minuses for buses and expresso vans include:

  • They are public, cooperatives, and individual owner/operators of buses and some buses, are literally “chicken buses” in that passengers bring onboard live chickens going to market.(I’ve also seen a live pig strapped to a bus roof.)

    Yes passengers do bring their chickens on the bus…

  • Can be quite crowded; you are not guaranteed a seat, which is why it is best to go to the bus station to have the best chance of getting a seat. Even if the bus goes by on its way out of town, all the seats may already be taken and then you will be on your feet for awhile at least until some people get off.

    Buses can be crowded, especially during peak times

  • Not as secure; obviously it is not as safe as being in your own vehicle.While the inter-city buses are not perfectly safe, they are much safer than the Managua city buses. Just follow the basic tips like don’t flash money, cameras, jewelry etc. around, keep your passport, credit cards and other personal information on your person, preferably under your outer clothing in a travel belt or pouch.

    Pickpockets and crowded buses sometimes go together, unfortunately.

Rental Cars

Renting a car has pluses in that you can:

  • Decide when and where you will travel, coming and going on your own schedule.
  • The ability to explore small villages, isolated beaches, mountain valleys, and other places that are not frequently served by bus or expresso vans.

Minuses are:

  • Cost
  • Stress of driving

The cost, even for a compact vehicle, is currently at or above $50 a day. Fuel and extra insurance coverage is of course extra. So if you are really doing some driving, let’s say from Managua to Leon, and then Leon to Granada, then to San Juan del Sur and want to take about six or seven days to do it, you are looking at an average daily fuel cost of ~$20-$50 (estimating here…literally this is YMMV). Before you know it you are looking at about $100 a day if you get full coverage insurance and drive around a bit.

Stress of driving is another factor and it is real. Actually before discussing that, you should know that Nicaragua is one of the better countries to drive in because it is still fairly rare for individuals to own their own vehicles. So once you are out of Managua, the traffic is not a big factor. What will get you are the traffic hazards; imagine a typical first-person driving video game but where taxis cut in front of you on a two-lane road and then come to an abrupt stop as soon as they slip in ahead of your vehicle. Buses stop and disgorge people in the middle of the road, oxen- and horse-driven carts plod along, school lets out and hundreds of kids are walking on the side of the road and inevitably they leak out onto the road, people playing chicken on the side of the road who decide they just must run out right in front of you to cross instead of waiting for you to pass, lousy drivers that might be drunk, beliggerent, or just piss-poor. Don’t forgot just a few of the rest; lots of times there are no street signs, stoplights are out, potholes are horrible, construction closes a lane but there is no one directing which direction passes when, in cities one-way streets with non-existent or non-obvious signage, etc etc.

Hiring a point-to-point private or group shuttle service

There are several shuttle services operating at any particular time. What i mean is that they seem to come and go. So check the latest on some of the various forum groups out there, Tripadvisor, Gotonicaragua, Lonely Planet, etc.


These services are relatively expensive for most travelers. Best for non-adventurous visitors whose Spanish skills are lacking.

Hiring a Car and a Driver

The more I think about this option the better it seems to me. You get all the advantages of a private car without the driving stress! These services cost about the same or perhaps slightly more than renting a car and driving yourself. An additional plus is that the driver may also speak English or another language besides Spanish, and act as your tour guide during your visit. A great guide will also know of and suggest interesting little places and experiences that will make your trip even more memorable.

Joining an Organized Group Tour

This is also a good option for some people who want to be catered to, do not want the responsibility of deciding “what’s next,” and in general, those who are first time visitors that want to experience a good part of Nicaragua in a stress-free manner. The obvious downside is that you are part of a group and that means that if the group is leaving town at 8 am from the hotel lobby, you need to be on-board with that whole program. This can be a good thing though, don’t get me wrong. I wanted to take a trip to Ometepe and a local Managua tour company had the transport, two days tour, one night lodging, with all the little fees included for $60 and I was totally up for doing it. I would like to see quite a bit of Ometepe, and it really is not worthwhile driving, putting the truck on the ferry, and driving around over there, plus I don’t know the island but want to try different adventures during our travels there. What better way than to take an organized group tour! Get to know the island and not worry about the hassles.


Link to Nicaraguan Bus Schedules

Additional related posts:
Bus Schedules for Nicaragua

Four Essential Nicaraguan Driving Tips