Maybe i should first do a post about San Juan Del Sur, SJDS, but no that will follow shortly. All you need to know is that its a "sleepy" beach "town" in the south of Nicaragua.
I thought my trip to SJDS, would take me 11-12 hours but happy to say that it took me under 9 hours to travel the 253 km. And that includes arriving all the way to my hostel within those 9 hours. This is how i did it, summery can be found below.
Bus from Monteverde to Sardinal at 530 AM, this time ticket was bought before boarding. Always confuses me if i should pay the driver or if i should pay at the counter. When boarding the bus i made it clear to the driver that i wanted off at the Panam highway and not the village. The Spanish i remembered this morning was "Pare el bus para Peñas Blanca, porfavor". This basically translates to "stop the bus to Peñas Blanca please", the driver was clever enough to understand where i wanted to be dropped off despite my little error in my commends....
Walk fifty meters to your left when the bus driver let you off. Here you just wait and hope for the best. Buses to Peñas Blanca, the boarder should pass every 45 minutes. Just flag down what ever buses that comes along and ask. I was luck and i had a TransNica bus passing first. This bus would take me through the boarder and all the way to Rivas in Nicaragua. This meant that i didn't have to change bus at the boarder and they also have priority if you come to the boarder and its busy:) You also get some help getting your passport stamped when entering Nicaragua.
Great comfy bus but with the AC turned on to max as with all big comfy buses, so don't forget your hoody. After half an hour we stopped for breakfast at a typical bus place. Eggs and tortilla for me please and coffee finally.
You have now reached the boarder and everyone will rush in to get their Costa Rican exit stamp.
Its also good to exchange your Costa Rican Colones or USD to Some Nicaraguan Cordoba. Just make sure you do your homework so you know roughly how much you should get. There are plenty of money exchangers here so ask a few before finalising your deal.
Most people on this bus is headed for Managua, the capital, but the driver has a list of where everyone wants off so they will call the stops as they come along. I was the only one getting off at Rivas where i would take my next bus. Oh do I hate being the only one getting off the bus at some places. It took about a split second and i had 5 taxi drivers and 10 bicycle taxis getting in to my personal space up my face trying to convince me that 1. the next bus to SJDS is in two hours so much better take a taxi 2. there are no more buses to SJDS 3. the bus terminal is an hour walk from here. Since i came unprepared and didn't know what direction to go i went for a coffee just to get a way. It was only 1205 PM so i knew i had time on my side. With Google maps in offline i figured out that it was a ten minute walk to the bus station so i finished my very sweet coffee, have to remember to say no sugar next time, and walked to the bust station.
After a ten minute walk I was once again met by taxi drivers and collectivo drivers saying that there are no buses to SJDS but i just smiled and refused to give up so i pushed myself through the bus station and a kind man pointed me toward the right direction. It was a tiny bus station so no need to be scared of getting lost. I had my bag put on the roof of the chicken bus, paid my fair and managed to squeeze myself on to a seat. Felt a bit silly excited since this was my first time on a chicken bus and I had heard so much about them:) Forget about legroom, as expected travelling on a remodelled school bus. This was the last leg of the journey and SJDS is the last stop so I just had to get off when everyone else got off.
See that was easy or what do you think!?
How and cost???
Bus Monteverde to Sardinal at Panam highway @5.30 AM, 1 hr 40 min -CRS 1185/ USD 2.20/ EUR 2
TransNica bus from Panam highway to Rivas, mine passed @720 approx 5 hours inclusive the boarder crossing. -USD 25/ EUR22.
If no Transnica bus then you need to take a bus from Panam highway to the boarder, Peñas Blanca (should pass every 45 minutes). Here you get off at the Costa Rican exit point and then get on another bus at the Nicuraguan side. Was told buses leaves every hour to Rivas from here.
Boarder crossing was smooth, only took an hour -USD 8/ EUR 7 to exit Costa Rica and USD 14/ EUR 13 to enter Nicaragua, can be paid in local currency or USD.
Walk 10 minutes to the bus station in Rivas. You could take a bicycle taxi as well.
Chicken bus Rivas to San Juan Del Sur @145 PM, one hour -NIC 30/ USD 1/ EUR 0.90. Leaves regulary -Do NOT listen to taxi drivers....
Total cost and time travelled???
USD 50/ EUR 44 inclusive boarder crossings
Approx 8.5 hours
I decided that it was time for a career break. So handed in my notice to the company who I worked with for the last ten years. It's time to pack my bag and depart from Amsterdam which been my home town for the last 4.5 years. -"Amsterdam, it's not you it's me and I need a break!". Read more
WHERE AM I?