ARRIVING BY PLANE
Augusto C. Sandino airport in Managua, Nicaragua, is one of the most modern airports in Central America. The immigration officials will give you a 90 day tourist visa to enjoy Nicaragua. After immigration you proceed to the baggage area where also you will find counters of the major Hotels in Managua. Reach the hotel respective kiosk if you already pre-arranged with one of them. They will direct you to your transportation. There are several duty free shops you can stop by before going to the final exit through customs. After leaving the baggage claim area you will find two lines: One (frequently the longest) is for the Nicaraguans bringing several suitcases and bags subject to be taxed. The other one is shorter and only requires a quick check.
Outside of the airport it will be very crowded, full of bellboys and taxi drivers offering help with your luggage and transportation. If you don´t have a pre-arranged transportation is better to use the airport taxi drivers. They should be wearing red shirt and identification card. Do not use non accredited taxis. Less expensive local taxis can be found through the airport parking lot, across the street. Many robberies and scams by these unlicensed taxi drivers have been reported. As the old saying goes: “Cheap is expensive.” Avoid the risk of a bad experience.
ARRIVING FROM COSTA RICA ON BUS LINES
Traveling from Costa Rica on Tica Bus, Transnica, or King Quality bus lines, is simple, comfortable and secure. They have modern, air conditioned buses showing movies during the trips. During the border crossing, the bus staff takes care of all the documents making the immigration inspection faster and simpler. Across the border you will find a pleasant journey to Rivas where a lot of taxis will be ready to take you to San Jorge´s dock (where you take the ferries to Ometepe).
ARRIVING FROM COSTA RICA ON PUBLIC BUS OR TAXI
If you arrive to the border using public bus or taxi, follow the steps below:
- You have to find the immigration checkpoint on the Costa Rican Side of the border. Wait in the line.
- Once in the counter, give your passport to the official. He/she has to put an exit stamp in your passport before crossing over to the Nicaraguan side.
- Cross walking (just a few meters) over to the Nicaraguan side. Wait again in the line and get your 90 days tourist visa. It will cost from 5 to 9 dollars depending of the time of year and day of week. There is slightly more expensive on weekends.
- Leave through a gate and you are in Sapoa. You pay a $ 1.00 entrance fee.
- Passing through the gate a lot of taxis and buses will be waiting to transport you the market in Rivas in a 30 minutes, $ 1.50 trip.
- On the market of Rivas you will find two transportation alternatives for traveling to San Jorge. If you take a private taxi, it costs $ 3.00. If you take a shared one, 50 cents. You can request a direct trip to the dock paying an extra fee.
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION FROM MANAGUA TO OMETEPE ISLAND
If you choose public bus transportation from Managua to Ometepe Island, we advise you to keep a close watch to your luggage. Keep your passport, credit cards and money on your person and not in your luggage. Follow the below steps:
Take a taxi in your Hotel and ask to be transported to Huembes Market in Managua (being specific, to the bus station).
From the Huembes market you can take an express bus to Rivas for approximately $ 3.00. Many express buses take you directly to the dock in San Jorge.
If your bus does not go directly to San Jorge, you have to get off in the market of Rivas.
While in the market in Rivas you can:
- Take a shared taxi for about 50 cents or
- Reach a private taxi for about $ 3.00
PRIVATE TRANSPORTATION FROM MANAGUA TO OMETEPE
Traveling in a vehicle is the easiest and fastest way to go to Ometepe. If you choose to hire a private taxi we advise you to arrange it through your hotel in Managua. You also can do it through San Juan de la Isla. This wonderful journey lasts from an hour and forty minutes to two hours.
Along the way a lot of interesting destinations are waiting for you. The colorful and exotic markets in Masaya are famous for selling pottery, cigars, hammocks and other handicrafts. We encourage you to make a 40 minutes stop at the central market “Mercado Nuevo”.
You will find the opportunity to visit the colonial city of Granada, one of the oldest in Central America. It is not directly in the way to Ometepe and could lengthen your trip by about an hour, but is worth. There is a nice pedestrian mall and many places for a quick lunch. You will have the chance to take pictures in the town square.
Also in the route is Catarina, a beautiful place with a wonderful Apoyo Lagoon view. There is another market with handicrafts, hammocks, and pottery. Much of the ceramics are made in the neighboring town “San Juan de Oriente”. Is allowed a visit to a pottery maker, and you may witness, or even participate in the making of pottery. You can make this happen by requesting it to us.
The taxi will take you to the dock in San Jorge in order to take a ferry to the island of Ometepe. If you need to withdraw money or any other transaction, you may make a detour to one of the banks in Rivas. Also, in Moyogalpa there are several ATMs and banks, while there is only one ATM on Altagracia and it only accepts VISA. Dollars and credit cards are accepted almost everywhere on the island.
FINDING TRANSPORTATION IN SAN JORGE
Many bags boys, taxi drivers and tour operators will reach you in your arriving to San Jorge. Maybe they will make you feel nervous because they might seem aggressive, but most are friendly and pressing is their way to find customers. The tour operators work on commission for specific hotels or taxi drivers and they will try to convince you to stay in specific hotels. Just tell them that you have already made transportation and hotel arrangements and they should let you be.
TRANSPORTATION TO OMETEPE
There are some transportation alternatives:
Comfortable and one of the largest ferries.
Arrives to Moyogalpa in about one hour.
Cost: $ 3.00 per person.
Air conditioning on the first two floors.
Open air seating on the third level.
Bathrooms Snack Bar
CHE GUEVARA FERRY
Medium sized with a space for vehicles on the main deck.
Open air seating on the second level.
Arrives to Moyogalpa in about one hour.
Cost $ 3.00 per person.
Bathrooms Snack bar.
EL REY DEL COCIBOLCA FERRY
The newest, largest and fastest ferry.
Arrives to San Jose in an hour.
Cost: $ 2.00 per person.
Room for vehicles on the main deck.
3 levels of indoor seating and open air seating on the top level.
Bathrooms and snack bar in the main level.
For those who enjoy adventure:
- Wooden and open boats rather uncomfortable.
- A unique experience if the waters are rough. However, they are safe.
- Arrive to Moyogalpa in 1 hour.
- To San Jose in 1.5 hours. Cost: $ 1.50 (to Moyogalpa or San Jose).
ARRIVING TO OMETEPE
There are two destination ports:
There are many taxis waiting for you in Moyogalpa, and some bus options as well. In Moyogalpa are located several cash machines: BAC, Procredit, La Fise, BDF, Banpro, A number of restaurants and small hotels are located in Moyogalpa if you decide to stay the night. Buses leave every hour to Altagracia.
SAN JOSE DEL SUR
Only “El Rey de Cocibolca” ferry and "La Mozorola" boat arrive to San Jose del Sur. The dock in San Jose is relatively new and there are not many transportation alternatives by bus or taxi but you can walk 200 meters to the main road to catch the regular buses going to Moyogalpa or Altagracia.