León


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The main terminal in León is a classic busy bus station. All of the regular buses line up in one area and microbuses each have their own zone. Buses are constantly coming and going as are regular and pedal taxis. Much of the streets surrounding the terminal are clogged with little market shops and traffic.

 

The terminal is about a 15minute walk from the city centre touristy zone. A taxi should cost you about 20C$. I don’t know why I do it to myself, but every time I have just walked it … and then half way through I am trying to remember why I am. It’s not a horrible walk, but León is hot and a taxi is pretty cheap. Treat yourself! If you are leaving from the station by taxi see if you have the address of your hotel available. There are so many hotels and hostels don’t be surprised if you taxi driver isn’t familiar with a lesser known one.

 

León to Managua

Microbuses arrive at the UCA.

Expreso (bus)  every 30minutes, takes 2.5hrs and costs 52C$.

(microbus) leaves when full, operates between 4am and 7pm, takes about 2hr and costs 61C$

 

León to Chinandega

Buses arrive at the Mercado Bisne.

(microbus) leaves when full, 31C$, about 45min (4:30am – 8pm)

(bus) every 20 minutes, ~18C$, 1.5hr (4:30am – 6pm)

 

León to Matagalpa

From León there are 3 express buses per day to Matagalpa. I’d arrive early just in case.  The schedule according to the driver is 4:20am, 7:30am,  2:45pm, 88C$, 2.5-3hrs. We are told there are also microbuses that make the trip but we don’t have any info at the moment.

 

León to Estelí

Have a read through the comment below for some great trip info! There are mini buses to Estelí in the morning but  the better option is to route through san Isidro and link up to another bus headed to to Estelí or Matagalpa.

 

León to Las Peñitas

Here is some advice from a fellow travellers. Thanks, Melanie!:

“We took a bus from Leon to Las Penitas. It should leave at every hour but honestly it just goes when full, which in our case was 30min later. It is really cheap, around NIC10 and even though there are shuttle services from Leon to this lovely beach for around US $4, If you are on a budget the local bus is a nice experience and it didn’t even take much longer than the shuttle (about 30min). Note: the bus first goes to Poneloya, but if you want to go to the Las Penitas just stay in the bus, it will turn around to stop in front of Barca de Oro (bigger hotel) and some other stops in Law Penitas too”.

 

León to Rota (Cerro Negro)

5:50am, 11am, 3:30pm, 2.5hrs, ~40C$

*I need to double check this one – let us know if you have taken this bus.

 

León to Granada

To get to Granada you route through Managua. It’s very easy and door to door you are looking at about 3.5hrs and a total cost of 79C$ (2016) when going by microbus. First head to the Main Terminal in Leon and get the microbus going to Managua. You will arrive and depart from the UCA terminal in Managua so it’s easy!

 

León to Masaya

Same as above, you need to route through Managua, but when you get to the UCA look for the microbus headed to Masaya. Microbuses leave when full from 6am to 9pm. From Managua to Masaya they cost 24C$ and the trip takes 0.5hr

 

Tica Bus

You can now finally purchase your tickets online with Tica Bus! Or you can buy your ticket from a very nice and helpful travel agency in town called Benitours (505-2315-2349) see map. Be aware that you need to get to the highway on the outside of town to catch the bus. If you don’t speak Spanish then best to have the travel agent at Benitours write the location of the Tica Bus stop on a piece of paper which you can then give to the taxi driver. I met one traveller who missed her bus in the morning after the taxi took her to the wrong spot, so it’s good to have this info just in case! The bus stop where the Tica Bus will pass is indicated on the map above but you can also find it by using the landmark: El Restaurante Caña Brava (google maps). The bus will stop about 50 meters north from here. It will stop in en frente de la entrada de la Ceiba. 

 

Other destinations

San Isidro (46C$), Nagarote, Salinas Grandes (18C$).

If you have taken these buses, share your information below!

 

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!

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FINE PRINT

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!

CONNECTING STATIONS

PHOTOS TO SHOW YOU THE WAY

Nicer bathrooms here than in Managua

Photo taken: February 29, 2016 (leap year!)

Inside the station

Photo taken: February 29, 2016 (leap year!)

Inside the station

Photo taken: February 29, 2016 (leap year!)

Outside the station

Photo taken: February 29, 2016 (leap year!)

Outside the station

Photo taken: February 29, 2016 (leap year!)

Busses driving in

Photo taken: February 29, 2016 (leap year!)

UCA Microbus dropping passengers off

Pedal Taxis available if you should want one.

Photo taken: February 29, 2016 (leap year!)

Outside the station

Photo taken: February 29, 2016 (leap year!)

Taxis are constantly rolling through.

Photo taken: February 29, 2016 (leap year!)

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25 travel tips for León - share your tips below!

  1. Elisa

    Hi all, we took the chicken bus from Leon to Salinas Grandes this week. The price was 20$/person, it takes around 1.5 hrs. The bus leaves from the old train station at 11:30 – 13:00 -16:00. There is also an earlier bus, probably at 8:00.
    It is an odd bus station, but taxis know where it is. Taxi rides are always 30$, so if unsure just grab a cab.
    The terminal is not too far away from the main bus station. I added the bus stop on Open Maps, look up “station for salinas grandes”.

  2. Anita

    I plan to take Tica bus from San Salvador and get off at Leon. On the Tica bus website, I was asked to select the town to get off and behind Leon, it says Bahia del Sol. I googled Bahia del Sol but didn’t get anything that seems related to Leon. I read your paragraph on Tica bus, is it the same place? How much would a taxi cost from there to city centre eg. Cathedral? Thanks.

    • centrocoasting

      Hi Anita, best to contact Tica Bus directly to find out.

    • Josef

      The bus stop is approx. in the middle of the bypass of León. Taxi to the center, depending on negotiating skills, between 30 and 40 C$.

  3. Eduardo Martinez

    Hey mate, all of this is very helpful u never imagined there will be such a page like this for Nicaragua. You have saved my trip. 🙂

    • centrocoasting

      Sweet, thanks!

  4. Sanna Kontinen

    Hi there, and thanks for such a helpful site.
    We used your tips to get from Santa Ana (El Salvador) to El Tunco and it all worked perfectly – the photos were very useful too! (Although the microbus was pretty full and it was quite an interesting journey juggling our backpacks between our legs whilst the driver was taking curves at 100 kms/hour!)

    This morning we wanted to get from Leon (Nicaragua) to Matagalpa. After doing some research here as well as on Nicaragua’s official bus timetable website and asking at our hotel, we realised everyone had a little conflicting info. The lady at our hotel said the bus leaves Leon at 8am and that there is no afternoon bus as it was Sunday. Later on her husband told us that the bus was at 7am – as he is dropping us off for the 8am bus?!
    We still don’t actually know when the buses direct to Matagalpa go, but got on a bus that was on route to Esteli, which was leaving in literally 5 minutes (I think these leave fairly regularly throughout the day), then changed near San Isidro junction (the men on the bus will tell you when to get off) and waited for 10-15 minutes for the Matagalpa bus. The whole journey took approx 3.5 hours this way and costs us 80 Cordobas (US$ 2.57) in total.

    • centrocoasting

      Thanks for the info and the nice words about Centrocoasting 🙂 So happy to help. And yes, getting correct Schedules to Matagalpa from Leon is hard! I walked around and asked the bus driver and then also the taxi driver and then someone else and got different info, haha classic! The times I wrote above is what the driver of the Matagalpa bus told me. I am glad you made it and sounds like the bus change was easy. Good job on goign with the flo!

      • Jasper

        We recently took the bus on sunday from Leon to Matagalpa, it went at 7:30 am 🙂

  5. Ash

    The price from Léon to Managua is now 61C$.

  6. Lynsey

    Hi, I’m looking to get from Managua to Leon early morning of Good Friday. Do you know if the holiday will affect the minibus schedule?

    • centrocoasting

      HI Lynsey, there usually are some changes to bus schedules around easter but I can’t say for sure this far in advance. If you are staying at a hostel in Managua before you go then I would ask them as they would know or can call someone who does. There is a little add above for Nicatime shuttles, you could always book a shuttle that day to remove any stress about buses.

  7. Melanie

    We took a bus from Leon to Las Penitas. It should leave at every hour but honestly it just goes when full, which in our case was 30min later. It is really cheap, around NIC10 and even though there are shuttle services from Leon to this lovely beach for around US $4, If you are on a budget the local bus is a nice experience and it didn’t even take much longer than the shuttle (about 30min). Note: the bus first goes to Poneloya, but if you want to go to the Las Penitas just stay in the bus, it will turn around to stop in front of Barca de Oro (bigger hotel) and some other stops in Law Penitas too.

    • centrocoasting

      Thanks, Melanie! I added your info above.

  8. Josef

    Salinas Grandes costs C$ 18.
    One thing about arriving and get catched by the tricicletas. Leave the market and one or two blocks later the have all regular prices😁 “regular” for a drive to the center would be CS 20, with luggage a bit more.

    • centrocoasting

      Thanks!

  9. Ebba

    When I arrived in Leon from Managua with my minibus, the guys with the bicycle taxis were literally JUMPING on our bus and when we stopped, they opened the doors and the back and tried to make me go with them. Very intense! And after speaking to other travellers, it seems like they do it to everyone at this bus station. Just a heads up guys!

    • centrocoasting

      Thanks for the comment, Ebba. I agree! It is really stressful when you get mobbed like that. In the past I have been so frustrated by feeling like a raw piece of meat that I just walked to my hostel instead!

  10. Fiona

    Just wanted to say we travelled by microbus from León to Estelì this morning……a Sunday. An old guy was ‘recruiting’ passengers for the Estelì bus before it arrived and a short queue had formed by the the bus arrived at around 1100. We waited on the bus for a further hour until the final three seats were taken. We paid 100 NIC each but had the good roomy seats behind the driver. Our packs went on top and were roped on. We arrived in Estelì Cotran Nor on the Pan American just over two hours later: 1410, and took a taxi into town from there. The road was good, scenic and often straight. We stopped for 5-10 mins en route for snacks/baño.

  11. Sarah

    Hi we just travelled from Leon to Managua then onto Grenada, we got the micro bus which was super easy. They were very frequent and leave when they are full.
    Prices were for January 2nd 2018, it cost 61 Córdoba each for Leon to Managua and it stops right at the UCA station where again all the buses have names of where they are going. We jumped off our bus and straight onto the next.
    The bus from Managua to Granada we were charged 30 Córdoba each plus 30 for both our rucksacks taking up one seat. I guess this is fair if they can’t fill a seat but make sure they don’t try to charge you for each bag rather than each seat.

  12. Radu

    I have a question regarding the time estimates. Is it realistic “about 1 hour” for a distance of ~100km? It will need to travel non stop with a speed of 100 km/h to make the distance in 1 hour. Google Maps says it’s close to 2h with a car. Did you guys actually made just 1h with the microbus?

    • centrocoasting

      Hi Radu! Thank you for catching that typo. You are right, it should be 2hrs.

  13. Janni

    There are minibuses to Estelí leaving in the morning, one at 9 and I think one later as well, but it fills up fast and you have to be there very early. I went once and the bus was maybe an hour delayed with loads of people waiting, the second time we came well before 9 and we realized we wouldn’t nearly fit on the bus. A better option in my opinion for both Estelí and Matagalpa is to look for a chicken bus to San Isidro, they’ll drop you at the crossroads with some hammock stands where you’ll catch a second chicken bus to either Estelí or Matagalpa in no time. Lots of people change there so you can just as someone where to wait. It worked out super well for me, but I caught a San Isidro bus pulling out of the station in León so I don’t know how often they leave. This was about a year ago, but probably hasn’t changed much.

    • centrocoasting

      Thanks Janni! Great contribution of info.

  14. Ali

    Great to meet you and thank you for the bus travel advice. You reaaaally helped me make a plan for the next part of my travels. I took the Chinadega bus and you were right. 31C, and about 1hour.

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