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The largest country in Central America, Nicaragua has something for all types of travelers. With an abundance of volcanoes ready to be climbed, lakes to swim in and laze by, colonial towns to discover and endless beaches on both coastlines, you’ll be spoilt for choice in Nicaragua. If you’re journeying from Guatemala or vice versa, here’s our guide to traveling through these countries.

How to travel from Guatemala to Nicaragua:

Antigua in Guatemala sits in the southern east corner of Guatemala and is usually the town used to transit to neighboring countries – Honduras and El Salvador. The easiest way to get from Antigua to Nicaragua is by tourist shuttle. The journey takes 15 hours and involves three border crossings but it is the most direct service, cheaper than flying and doesn’t involve changing buses in Guatemala City. The first major town in Nicaragua is Leon and due to the long journey from Guatemala all shuttles finish here and arrive late at night. Onward travel to the other towns of Nicaragua is possible the following day.

Leon is famous for the sandboarding experience on the active volcano, Cerro Negro. It’s worth a stop over for a few days to experience the adrenaline pumping volcano boarding and a wonder around the city.

A couple out over Volcano Cerro Negro in Leon

View from the top of Cerro Negro Volcano in Leon, Nicaragua.

Traveling from Leon to Granada

Travel from Leon to Granada, Nicaragua can be done two ways. Firstly a tourist shuttle can be arranged to continue the transit to Granada. This journey takes three hours and is door-to-door. The alternative and the more economical option is to use a mini-bus colectivo service, which requires a stop off in the capital, Managua. Firstly get to the bus terminal in Leon, La Terminal, here you will find minivans with the final destination of Managua UCA (the university). Hop in one of the minivans which will leave once it’s full. When arriving in Managua at the university cross the road and jump into a minibus heading to Granada.

Pool at Selina Granada, Nicaragua

Selina Granada’s pool area.

Traveling from Granada to San Juan del Sur

Similar to transport to Granada, there are a few options on how to get from Granada to San Juan del Sur. A door-to-door shuttle can be arranged taking you into the surf town of San Juan Del Sur or to the popular surf beach of Playa Maderas.

Traveling by public transport is also an easy option and entails two buses. Firstly, catch the bus from the Granada bus station to Rivas. Once in Rivas change to the bus heading to San Juan del Sur. Ask your accommodation to provide an indication of up-to-date prices for these buses as often tourists will be charged more than locals. It’s wise to have an idea of costs so you can negotiate with the person collecting the money. Sometimes tourists will be charged a fee for backpacks / luggage. Once in San Juan del Sur, you can organise a shuttle to Playa Maderas. The price is usually for a round trip with the return journey valid for seven days.

Surfboards all lined up at Selina Maderas

Surfboards for rent at Selina Maderas

Where to stay in the Nicaragua:

Whether you’re looking for the best surf spots or love getting lost in colonial cities the Selina properties in Nicaragua are a great base to explore the country and connect with like-minded travelers. Surf until your heart’s content in Playa Maderas or party, chill or work in the neighboring town of San Juan del Sur. For those that love colonial architecture get lost in Granada exploring the colourful streets or get up and close to an active volcano, Masaya, and then relax by Laguna de Apoyo.

The outside of Selina Maderas.

Selina Maderas’ Facade.

Connecting you to more Selinas…

Explore the lush mountains and coastlines of Costa Rica
Is your next stop Costa Rica? Here’s the ultimate guide to crossing borders from Nicaragua to Costa Rica and onward travel into the next Central American country.

How to navigate around Costa Rica

Costa Rica has so many desirable destinations – an abundance of beach towns, chilled
mountain towns and a buzzing capital. Knowing how to get from beach to beach, or the mountains to the beach is necessary to have a smooth journey through this diverse country. Check out this helpful post to get you from A to B in Costa Rica.

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