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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.


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We do not 100% guarantee that all schedules, times and prices are exact. The information in this website is based on personal experience and by information submitted by other travellers. Information has been gathered from station schedules, station managers, bus drivers and driver helpers. We have done our best to get as much accurate up to date information as possible, but prices and times change. Also, remember that you are responsible for your own health and safety. Travel safe and travel smart - and have fun!



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23 travel tips for Estelí - share your tips below!

  1. Marian

    I took the minibus from Leon to Esteli on 5th March, the last one leaving for the morning at 11.30am. Took 3 hours due to roadworks but otherwise fine. There’s a chicken bus that also leaves around 2.45pm/3pm (best to get there early) which is meant to be the last bus from Leon to Esteli for the day. It seemed like there’s no buses between the 11.30am one and the 2.45pm (14.45) one. Arrived in Esteli’s Cotran Norte.

  2. Johnny

    All the buses from Esteli to Managua go directly past the front entrance to the airport and they will stop for you. I make the trip often, just alert the driver or door man that you need to exit there. Buen viaje

  3. Esther

    To go to Miraflor there are 2 options.
    A yali bound bus (make sure it passes through Miraflor) and a la pita bound bus.
    We took the yali bound one at 11.30 am from cotran norte to la rampla parada in Miraflor. 33C Beautiful 1,5 /2 hour ride.
    Back we took the 2.30 pm (in reality 3 pm) bus from la pita. Even more beautiful ride.2 hrs 35 C
    Got off at ‘la shell’ an UNO gas station on Pan-American (next to casino), walk up few blocks to central square.
    Good place to stay in Miraflor is finca lindos ojos (which is in between those paradas mentioned above). They have all the bustimes on their site btw.

  4. Esther

    Bus Estelí-Somoto leave every hour.On the half hour. We took the 7.30 one. Costs 42 Cordoba’s.
    To go back the last one is at 17.00 from Estelí.
    There is an expresso one (50 cords buts faster) at 3.15 pm leaving Somoto. Buy your ticket in small hidden office before entering the bus. Are assigned seats. The expresso does not go to the terminal, but drops you off at ‘la shell’. A gas station on the Pan-American that in a far past was a shell. You can walk a few blocks up to the centre from there.

    The Somoto – el.espino bus (to get to the canyon entrance) leaves hourly from Somoto station and stops at paradas. Costs 12C

  5. Céline

    Estelí – Tipitapa – Masaya – Granada

    I took today (tuesday) a bus in Estelí which leaves at 8.30 am. It goes to Managua. But you get out of the bus in Tipitapa. It tooks 3 hours and cost 75 cordobas.
    Then took a minibus to Masaya at the same stop. 40 min and cost 15 cordobas.
    Then took another minibus to Granada at the same stop. 40 min and cost 20 cordobas.
    So to do the travel from Estelí to Granada it’s almost 4h30.

    • Céline

      Forgot to say that the bus in Estelí leaves from Cotran South

  6. Elaine

    I took the bus from Estelī to Leon today, got the 15.00 from cotran Nord, cost 95c. Arrived in Leon at 17.45. Got hassled to death by the bike taxis who were all trying to overcharge so I took a car taxi. Cost to anywhere in Leon is 30c.

  7. DannyQ

    As of August 5th 2019, the price for the regular bus from Esteli to Managua is 80 cordobas.

  8. Anyi

    MATAGALPA – ESTELI … August 2019
    Like you said buses leave from Cotran Sur station in Matagalpa every 30 mins. The ride takes 2hs and costs 40 Córdobas. In Estelí you arrive to the Cotran Sur terminal, which is 2.3 kms away from city center. From there you can take a colectivo (shared taxi) for 20 córdobas per person, a bus interurbano (chicken bus) for 5 córdobas -bus stop is 2 blocks away- or just walk, like I did. Taxi drivers will say anything to get you, but walking and bus are both safe options.

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