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How To Get From Managua To Leon

How To Get From Managua To Leon

If you have just landed in Managua, Nicaragua and are looking for how to get from Managua to Leon from the airport in Managua to Leon you are in the right spot. Just follow the steps below for a step to guide to make your way from Managua to Leon.


How To Get From Managua To Leon

Directions From the Managua Airport to Leon

STEP 1: Taxi from the Managua Airport to the UCA Bus Station Managua

After making your way through Managua airport customs head toward the exit and you will encounter drivers from two different companies one in yellow shirts and the other in blue, the guys are in blue are cheaper and will start at $15 and you can get the closer to $10.

Tell them you want to go in Spanish: “Enfrente de UCA, Estación de Autobus a Leon” 

You are looking for the bus station across the road from the large UCA, University de Centroamerica.

They might tell you they can take you all the way from Managua to Leon for just as cheap and faster, but they want $30 US per person and it can’t be much faster.

Alternative STEP 1:

An alternative to the guys in the airport is you can walk out to the street and pay a fraction of that if you are adventurous enough. We did not do this but were told afterward that it would only be about 20-30 cords persons to the UCA bus stop.

STEP 2: The Bus from Managua to Leon

How to Get from Managua Airport to Leon

Note: Keep you guard very high at the bus station in Managua. We met countless travelers that had been robbed or scammed here. There are many tricks they use, so don’t talk to anyone but the driver to arrange your ride. One couple we met had a car part drop in front of them, and when they went to pick it up the man who dropped it grabbed their bag a passed it out of the bus window to his accomplice. This is only one of hundreds of scams, keep your valuables very tight.

The microbuses cost 51 Cords ($2USD), most are air-conditioned and relatively comfortable. Approximately 1.5-hour ride. *Note the bus pictured is not the bus, the buses from Managua to Leon will be smaller 16 passenger van/minibuses.

At the UCA bus station, you can go to Masaya or Granda as well.

Step 4: Arriving at the bus stop in Leon, Nicaragua

The bus drops you at the bus stop outside the market in town. From there you can catch a taxi or a bike Tuk-Tuk for around 20-30 cords into Leon. Use the map to find directions to your hotel.

 Where to stay in Leon Nicaragua

We stayed at Bigfoot Hostel mainly because they offer the volcano boarding, which I highly recommend doing if you are in Leon. However, I would not stay at the hostel again, there are many other cheap accommodation options for as low as $6 night. If you have a few extra dollars little splurges go a long way in Nicaragua. There will also be hostel hawkers trying to help and get you to stay with them if you need.

 Things to do in Leon:

volcano boarding-7

Most people come to Leon for volcano boarding which is a lot of fun, but that’s not the only fun thing to do there are many things to do in Leon.

  • Volcano Boarding
  • Trip out to the beaches
  • Leon Cathedral
  • Ruins of Leon Viejo (UNESCO site)


Wednesday 21st of March 2018

Hi there,

I arrive in Managua at 6:55pm and would like to go straight to Leon (as airport hotels are quite expensive and seems like Managua is not very safe, and would rather not lose a day in transport the following day). I'd assume I can get my bags and be done in the airport by 7:30/8:00pm. Will it be possible to get a taxi driver that will drive me from Managua to Leon (safely), and approximately how much USD will it cost?

Thanks in advance!

Hannah Lukaszewicz

Monday 30th of April 2018

That time of night you definitely should book transport online in advance. You can book a private transfer for $105 here on Viator. Do not take the bus at this time of night or go to the bus station.


Thursday 22nd of February 2018

How trustworthy do you think the drivers are? I'm arriving in Managua at 9:15 at night and heading to Las Penitas. I'm wondering if it might make more sense to just grab a car and drive straight there that night instead of wasting time checking in/out of a hotel in Managua.

Also, I leave at 6:20 in the morning and I'm trying to decide if I could just head to the airport late at night and stay there until my flight. I'm a little worried if I get a room I'll oversleep my flight :)

Patricia Houlihan

Thursday 12th of April 2018

stay across the street at the Best Western...not too expensive and then take a taxi the next day but try one of the good services on trip advisor not random one!


Tuesday 20th of March 2018

Sorry for the delayed response, but this is something that is hard to answer - if you plan to do this I would only suggest licensed and marked taxis from the Managua airport, but this is going to be expensive even in Nicaragua. I think you have the right idea about skipping Managua altogether, might as well get to your destination. I personally would trust booking a taxi or transport from the airport, but you are going to have to use your judgment when you are there. Is there a way to book transport from your hotel or where you are staying, I would feel better about that for a 2+ hour drive. Alternatively, I would recommend arranging your trip so you visit a more commonly visited city for your first night like Granda, we personally liked Granada a lot and transport is much easier here at the time of night, and much closer.

David Draper

Thursday 9th of February 2017

I am currently in Leon, and traveled from Granada to the UGA station in Managua, in order to catch the microbús to Leon. The price listed by law that they are allowed to charge from Managua to the Leon bus terminal is 54 Córdoba. However the drivers insisted I pay 180 Córdoba because I had a duffle that easily fit under the seat. Luckily I had mad a friend on the bus from Granada as I managed to get an abscess, while traveling, and happily had given her a kilo of mixed nuts, raisins and M&Ms from the states. Everybody at that bus station is trying to steal and scam. She almost physically fought with 3 UGA station drivers. We at least got on an air conditioned bus for the price of two seats. We were asked body to body. A police officer commuting to Leon slept next to me the entire ride which was uneventful and cool.

In the daytime Leon auto taxis may only charge 30 cords to take you anywhere in the city. The bicycle guys will charge a minimum of $5US or 150 cords. Just be aware that at the bus stations scams are everywhere, but there are many great people in Nica. Try to use some Spanish and don't get hustled. There are many quiet single bedroom hostels/BnB with shared bathrooms or individual bathrooms, that are very clean and tranquil for about $13-$15US. If you enjoy security and comfort on a budget, there are plenty to enjoy. The fine art museum is well worth the 120 Córdoba. Currently through the end of February there is a traveling Goya exhibit.

Leon is best described as "tranquilo." While it may see a bit dirty as the day goes on, they quickly clean the streets around 4am. Great city to use as a base camp for other Nica destinations.

The Masaya volcano lava experience was excellent as were 3 days in Granada, even if it has some higher prices. Leon has great street food and supermarkets if you have forgot anything.


Friday 10th of February 2017

Thanks for all the updated information! Hope you had a great trip to Nicaragua.

Deirdre Fahy

Wednesday 24th of June 2015

Hi Hannah and Adam! Love the blog, so jealous of your African travels!

Quick question - I am flying into Managua, arriving around 9pm. Ideally I would like to continue immediately to Leon as airport hotels prices are so high! Do you think I would be able to follow your helpful instructions above to get there that night, or do you think it would be too late at night?

Also, if it is too late, any recommendations for budget accommodation near the airport?

Thanks a million! Your Irish fan, Deirdre.


Thursday 25th of June 2015

Are you traveling alone? Even Adam and I wouldn't do this trip after dark. There are so many scams/thieves in Managua. I have never heard anything good about Managua/San Jose is where every traveler I know has been robbed...If during the day keep all your valuables close to you, don't chat with anyone or be distracted for anything.

We picked up a friend in the Managua airport, which seemed pretty decent. See if you can stay there overnight until daylight. We have never spent a night in Managua. We paid $30 for a taxi to bring us from Granada to the airport to get my friend and back, maybe start your trip in Granada??