Getting around in Nicaragua
Nicaragua’s international airport, Sandino Airport, is situated about 8 miles from Managua and the city and has very good bus and taxi services. Latin American, European and North American Airlines offer daily flights to and from Managua. NICA Airlines, Nicaragua’s national airline has daily flights to and from Miami International Airport. La Costena is Nicaragua’s major domestic airline and has many flights to isolated regions such as the Corn Islands and Bluefields on the Caribbean Coast. Atlantic Airlines is the second biggest domestic carrier. It offers fewer flights but uses more comfortable planes and so the fares are slightly more expensive.
Nicaragua’s local bus services are regular and very frequent. But the buses tend to be crowded, slow, and in poor condition. A deluxe bus service is also available from San José, Costa Rica and other Central American capitals. These tend to be faster, more comfortable and less crowded as a seat booking is required.
By Ferry and Boat
Traveling by boat is the only way to get to some places in Nicaragua - particularly on the Caribbean Coast and in Lago de Nicaragua. Boat trips from Rio San Juan to El Castillo and San Juan del Norte are usually very expensive, but fishing and cargo boats are always coming and going from Bluefields, Puerto Cabezas and the Caribbean coast and you might be able to catch a ride with one of them. Note that there is a river border crossing between Nicaragua and Costa Rica at Los Chiles that is reachable by boat from San Carlos.
Radio-dispatched taxis can be found at the Sandino International Airport and at most larger hotels. Before taking a taxi, make sure that it has a red license plate and that the number is clear. Pick taxis carefully and note the driver's name and license number. Instruct the driver not to pick up other passengers, agree on the fare before you take off and have small bills available for payment. Also, check that the taxi is properly labeled with the cooperative (company) name and logo.
Nicaragua has ample car rental services. The fares are reasonable and the cars are usually very well looked after and in good condition. Several international car-rental companies have booths at the Hotel International in Managua. All cars in Nicaragua drive on the right hand side of the road.