San Juan del Sur

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The main bus stop is in front of the Market (see map and photos) and leaves basically every hour. There are several different buses that do the loop to Rivas and back and some are nicer than others.


Rivas to San Juan del Sur

5am, 5:45am, 6:30am, 7am, 8am, 8:25am, 9am, 9:30am, 10am, 10:45, 11:30am, 12:10pm, 1pm, 2:20pm, 3:20pm, 5pm, 30C$,  about 45minutes

Rivas to San Juan del Sur: Every half hour. Takes about 45mins and costs 30C$. Last one 5:30pm.


Peñas Blancas to San Juan del Sur

From Peñas Blancas, grab one of the many buses heading to Rivas and ask to be let off in La Virgin, this used to cost 30$C  (Dec 2018). From here you can get another bus for 20C$ to San Juan del Sur. This is a very common spot for both travellers and locals to get off. You then need to cross the street and walk about 50meters down the road that branches off of the highway. You will come across a nice covered bus stop. Wait there for your bus to San Juan del Sur. (see photos) If you don’t want to get off in La Virgin, you can go all the way to Rivas, and switch to the SJDS bus.


San Juan del Sur to Peñas Blancas

If you are heading to Peñas Blancas you can get off at the highway junction mentioned above and then wait for the bus heading to the border. The only drawback to waiting on the highway, as opposed to heading all the way to Rivas and taking the bus from there, is that by the time in reaches you on the highway you may not get a seat. But, fear not, the trip is only about 25minutes from this spot.



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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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!



The main stop in the center of town in front of the Market

If you are coming from the border you dont have to go all the way into Rivas to get the bus to San Juan del Surf. Tell the driver you want off at La Virgin.

In this photo: one road is going to Rivas and one is heading towards San Juan Del sur. Get off at this spot (see map) and then walk to the stop (50meters) for the bus heading to San Juan del Sur.

This is what the stop looks like from the other side of the street

If you get off at La Virgin - the walk towards the San Juan del Sur pick up spot is easy and looks like this

Here is the bus stop outside La Virgin where you can wait for the bus to San Juan del Sur

San Juan del Sur has some pretty amazing sunsets.

30 travel tips for San Juan del Sur - share your tips below!

  1. Agustin

    Always have Cordobas! Change a little at least at the border! Today I saw some germans paying 10 u$d ( ten dollars) each one for the route ‘la virgen-San juan del sur’. I just paid 30 cordobas (less than 1 u$d) for the same bus. Outside the driver, the rest of the people is really friendly. The

  2. Fiona Eccleston

    I just got the bus from SJDS to Rivas and they charged my c50 because I had a rucksack. That’s even though it went in the overhead luggage racks.

  3. Sally

    You don’t need to pass by Rivas to get to Costa Rica. Just ask the Rivas bus to drop you at La Virgen (15 cords). Then wait at the bus stop in the triangle for the bus to Peñas Blancas (30 cords). Likely it’ll be very full.

    Probably best to change money before this because although money changers at the border are legit, the rate is pretty bad. Or make sure you won’t have much left (spend it on overpriced border market snacks). The $1 municipality fee can be paid in cordobas, but the $2 exit fee cannot.

  4. TONY


  5. Hugo Silva

    We took a bus from Las penas to La virgen and we had one backpack and a bag each and we had to pay 3 dollars each. Even the guy outside the bus saying it is 1 dollar each.

    From La virgen to SJDS we payed 1 dollar each

  6. anna mckeogh

    Looking to get a shuttle from Monteverde to San Juan del Sur tomorrow morning if possible

  7. Niamh

    Hello love your website such great information. We just took a bus from Managua to San jorge on the 22/1/19.
    We are travelling with two 55l backpacks and two surfboards. All luggage went up top. A man came straight on bus and demanded 40usd. We said no and he continued to Hassel us up in our personal space. I asked the local beside me how much the ticket be he said 80 cordobas each to rivas. We paid him 500 Cordobas and asked for change. He refused to give us change and demanded more money we refused. We continued to ask for our change but refused and then walked off. We could not leave the bus as all our stuff was strapped up top. When the actual ticket man came around a few minutes into the journey we explained what happened and he said it was for the surfboards which is ridiculous. Turns out the bus only went to rivas anyway not even San Jorge. To sum up we paid 500 cordobas for a trip that should of cost 180. Have change and no the fair we will be ready next time. Real bummer.

    • centrocoasting

      Hi Niamh! thanks for all the info.

    • Brian

      Never pay anything until the bus is moving. I watched those guys scam so many gringos at Rivas. They’re all colluding and working together to give you disinformation. The locals could careless and don’t get involved or they don’t speak enough English to intervene. Luckily l, i only had to pay $50 cords from Managua and $30 from Rivas to SJDS.

  8. Amber

    Updated price 19 dec:

    Peñas Blancas – Rivas = C$ 40
    Peñas Blancas – La Virgen = C$ 30
    La Virgen – San Juan del Sur = C$ 20

  9. Jamie

    Hi. In about a week’s time we want to get from Bluefields to San Carlos. So two questions: one, can we get a lancha from blue fields to El Rama, and two, can we get a bus from El Rama to San Carlos. We know we can go to Managua from Blue fields ( where most of the information lies) but we want to get from here to Costa Rica without having to go back to Managua because I don’t know if my nose or my heart can take it again.
    If anybody knows where I can find times for the buses connecting between El Rama and San Carlos, it would be greatly appreciated.

    • centrocoasting

      Hi Jamie, sorry I didn’t get a chance to reply in time, can you share your experience here so other travellers can benefit. I’d love to know what you did in the end 🙂

  10. OllantoPuntoCom

    We took a bus from Rivas to SJDS the other day. The trip took almost 2 hours as we didn’t go through La Virgen but took the dirt road!
    Costed C25 each…

    • centrocoasting

      Wow, that’s a pretty long trip! Is there some construction on the main road? Did you find out why it was so long?

      • OllantoPuntoCom

        No, there was no construction going on, but it was simply a very slow and bumpy ride…
        I Guess the take away here is to ask what road is the bus going to take at the Rivas bus terminal. This is the same bus you can take from SJDS to go to madera beach, and that continues to Rivas (I think), just that we took it in the opposite direction 🙂
        By the way, when leaving SJDS we hopped on the empty bus and the guy came collecting the cash (prior from leaving) asking additional C20 for our two backpacks. We declined and got off the bus (he rudely said that if I didn’t pay I should look for another bus). Once the bus was filling up, we jumped on again and took our seats (as it was semana Santa weekend it was packed with people and all sort of stuff from pillows, mattresses etc.). Anyways, when the same guy came collecting the cash later on, I simply passed the value of the fare and nothing additional for the luggage and no questions asked.

  11. Alice

    Hi! I was wondering if there is any way to get to the Managua Airport from San Juan Del Sur? Is there any direct buses going there?
    Thank you!

    • centrocoasting

      Hi, Alice. No direct buses to the airport, sorry.

  12. Marion

    San Juan del Sur to Santa Teresa:

    6:30 am chicken bus from SJDL to Rivas. They will probably charge you double the price ifyou have luaggage. The guy also tried to charge a couple who wanted to go to Managua 300 instead of 160. I had to pay 60 instead of 30, and he tried to not give me a ticket.
    Bus had 30 min delay and left after 7. In Rivas I went across the street and 100 m back to catch the bus to the border. Again was charged the double price. No arguing and he tried to also cheat me with my change. So if you have some extra cash I would suggest sharing a taxi from SJDS to the borderas this was the most annoying and time consuming part.
    Arrived short before 9 at border. Ignore everyone trying to sell you something. Bring exact change for the 1 and 2 dollar charges at border.
    To Costa Rica was no line but they asked everyone for onward ticket so be prepared. The bus to Liberia was already waiting outside and cost me around 1.800 colones or something like that. It took 90 min to Liberia. Right on time to catch the 10:30 bus from Liberia to Puntarenas. Fare is 2800 but got charged 1500 more for luaggage. Bus arrived at 1:30 pm close to ferry. Took a taxi for 1.000 to ferry terminal. 810 for ferry at 2pm. On the other side the bus was waiting to Cobano. Around 1.400 and then Cobano to Santa Teresa for 1000.
    Arrived in Santa Teresa by sunset.

    • centrocoasting

      Thanks, Marion!

  13. Bob

    From San Juan del Sur to southern beaches: take the bus to El Ostional at the bus stop opposite of Casa Oro. There is at least one at 1pm.
    We did a half day trip to Playa El Coco which took 1 hour each way and costs 40 Cordoba pp. The bus returns from Playa El Coco around 4pm.

    • Bob

      40 cordobas pp each way that is, so 80 for a return trip

  14. Tsveti

    San Juan Del Sur to La Virgin costs now 20 cordobas. (Jan 18). From La Virgin to Peñas Blancas was 30 cordobas but I think they just overcharged me…

  15. Isabel

    Locals pay 18 cordobas from San Juan del Sur to Rivas .
    They just tired to charge me 40 cordobas because of my pack back. I negotiated to 30 cordobas.

    • centrocoasting

      Well, that’s annoying. Somehow in the last year or so Nicaraguan bus drivers/helpers turned onto the idea of making more money by charging tourists for baggage. One of my last bus trips had me paying more for my surfboard than my seat. This stuff used to only happen in Costa Rica. Sad to see it’s becoming a Nicaraguan thing too! Thanks for sharing.

  16. Samuel

    Last bus from Granada to Rivas on Thursday is at 1:30pm. Did not stick around to know if their was one at 3pm

    • centrocoasting

      Thanks, Samuel. When I was in Granada last month the guy working at the station had said there wasn’t a 3:10pm bus on Thursdays or Sundays. Thanks for confirming the 1:30pm. I have 1:10pm written but usually anything within 20 minutes of the departure time is pretty much on time! 😀

  17. Kris Love

    Greetings:) I give thanks for all your information as it is soooo helpful!!! Let me ask if I would like to get my passport stamped. Would I get off at La Virgin?
    Thank you, Kristine

    • centrocoasting

      Hi Kris, so happy to hear this site has been helpful to you in your travels. To answer your question, the only place that will stamp you in/out of a country is at the border. If you are heading to Costa Rica, you go to Peñas Blancas and cross there. They will stamp you out of Nicaragua on one side of the border and then into Costa Rica on the other side of the border.

      La Virgen is just one option of where you can wait for the bus heading to the Border (Peñas Blancas), if you are coming from San Juan del Sur. You can get off in La Virgin and wait on the highway instead of going all the way to Rivas to get the bus to the Border. Have a great trip!

  18. Bert

    Grade A stuff. I’m unlqisteonabuy in your debt.

    • centrocoasting

      Thanks, Bert! Glad we could help. 🙂

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