Estelí has two bus terminals. The Contran Norte and the Contran Sur.
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Estelí to Matagalpa
Several buses per day to Matagalpa. Every half our from 5:15am to 5:30pm.
Matagalpa to Estelí: Several buses per day leave from Terminal Mercado Sur to Estelí. Every half our from 5:15am to 5:30pm.
Managua to Estelí
Several buses per day to Estelí with both regular and expreso buses. The expreso leaves every hour from 4:30am to 6:30pm and takes 2.5hrs and the regular bus that takes 3.5 hrs and leave often and costs a bit less.
One helpful traveller named Dave shared this schedule (March 2018) for all of the northern routs of expresso buses passing through the Mayorero Station:
Expresos from Managua: 5:10AM (Ocotal) — 5:45AM (Esteli) — 6:10AM (Jalapa) — 6:45AM (Ocotal) — 7:15AM (Somoto) – 7:45AM (Ocotal) — 8:15AM (Esteli) — 8:45AM (Ocotal) — 9:15AM (Esteli) — 10:15AM (Jalapa) *CAUTION: This is a school bus* — 10:45AM (Esteli) — 11:45AM (Ocotal) — 11:45AM (Esteli) — 12:15PM (Ocotal) — 12:20PM (Esteli) — 1:15PM (Esteli) — 1:45PM (Esteli) — 1:45PM (Somoto) — 2:15PM (Ocotal) — 2:45PM (Esteli) — 3:00PM (Jalapa) — 3:15PM (Esteli) — 3:30PM (Jalapa) — 3:45PM (Esteli) — 3:45PM (Somoto) — 4:15PM (Ocotal) — 4:45PM (Somoto) — 5:15PM (Ocotal) — 5:45 (Esteli)
** When buying ticket and boarding bus, always confirm there is a stop in Esteli **
Estelí to Masaya
A huge thank you to Ardennl for this:
“If you want to make it back south again, and want to bypass Managua there are a couple of options. You can take an expreso bus from Terminal Cotran Sur (actually stops along the road instead of in the Terminal) and get off in Tipitapa. From Tipitapa you can easily take buses to Masaya or Granada. This seem to be the most sane and flexible way to go back south again.
There are also two direct buses to Masaya that leave daily on 2pm and 3pm, except for Sunday. This one leaves from Cotran Norte. It doesn’t have an assigned stop, but you’ll recognise it when it rolls in as it says ‘MASAYA – ESTELI’ on the front. We thought 2pm and 3pm seemed like strange times, but it turns out the 3pm bus is there for those who don’t fit in the 2pm bus anymore. It can get pretty crowded, basically people were trying to get in before the bus even stopped. We still managed a spot on the 2pm bus and it was a great, albeit crowded ride. Gaseous were sold during the whole trip (not just at the stops by people who got on). The bus stops at Estación Mercado Masaya which is not that far from Parque Central. It takes about 3hrs and costs 65 Cordobas a person”
Estelí to León
One helpful traveller has let us know this schedule:
Cotran Sur : Estelí to León. Regular bus = daily at 5:45am, 6:45am. Takes about 2.5hrs.
Cotran Norte : Estelí to León. Regular bus = daily at 3pm. Takes about 3hr 15min. Microbus = 5 per day leaving between 5:30am and 12pm. They leave when full and take 2hrs 10min.
Estelí to the Canyon
Thanks to travellers Connie and Stephen for this one: Cotran Norte : Estelí – Somoto – 34c per person at 7:30am (to return we think the last bus was 5pm). Somoto bus station – got the El Espino bus (Honduras border) a got dropped off at Somoto Canyon entrance 10c per person.
Help your fellow traveller
If you have taken any of the buses on this page, please drop us a comment below about how the trip went, what time you left, how long it took and what it cost. And, definitely let us know if we have anything wrong.
Lets help each other in our travels!