Home > Uncategorized > Thoughts on Nicaraguan Buses

Thoughts on Nicaraguan Buses


Inside the big yellow bus on a less busy day

Apologizes for the lack of posts in the last few days.  I was quite busy with meetings, and meeting friends in the evenings.  I am settling in quite well.  Now that I have a place to live, I will have more time to discover the country, which I am looking forward to.

I take the bus every morning to my work.  It is a straight shot down one main road called “La Carretera Masaya”.  It is very creative name, as are most street names in Managua.  It means, the road to Masaya.  I live at Metro Centro, which is km 0 of the road, and I work at km 13. 

This straight shot bus ride takes between 10 minutes, and 30 minutes depending on the time of day, the day of the week, the traffic, and also the type of bus you take.

The minibus seats between 16 people, and 30 people, and is basically a glorified large van that you might see in the movies which amateur bands use as their tour bus.  On busy days, they can get packed, but their advantage is that they are quicker, as less people jump on and off. 

The larger buses are the yellow buses I had talked about in a previous blog.  They are pretty much the same as the buses that we took to school in Canada and the US when we were young.  They actually receive a second life in Nicaragua, as many people make the trek up to the US from Nicaragua, and buy one or two buses, and drive back down.  The profit on these buses can be as much as $4000 each after gas and food expenses, and that represents a lot of money down here.

The mini bus costs about 10 cordobas, and the large yellow schoool bus costs about 5 cordobas, translating to a little less than 50 cents and 25 cents respectively.  These buses are packed like sardine cans, and it can be difficult to move your limbs during rush hour.

Several important things to note about taking buses in Managua (and possibly Nicaragua in general):

  • The buses usually stop anywhere to pick you up, no matter how dangerous it is, or how much traffic there is.  The exception to the rule is when there are random police checks, that all drivers know about.  When there are random police checks, the bus will only stop at “la parada de autobus”, which can also be located in a random, non safe area.
  • The buses will not stop anywhere to drop you off.  They will only stop in designated zones.  If you want to get off right at your destination, you have to hope that someone wants to get on the bus at the same point.
  • Fares vary.  Sometimes people get special prices, and sometimes there is ambiguity between what is a mini bus, and what is a regular bus.  It is not uncommon to pay less or more than a person going the same route.
  • The bus has a driver and there is also at least one person who stands with his head, or body out the window, or door (depending on the bus) to scream out the destination to people standing on the side of the street.
  • Buses are a nightmare on Sundays out of Managua, as many go to the Price Mart and other box stores to supply their stores in other cities.  Mini buses will be full, and the fact that there are less buses on the road compounds the space problem.
  • Buses are the safest mode of transport in Managua.  Much safer than taxi cabs off the street – I will speak about this in a later blog to explain.
Categories: Uncategorized
  1. December 8, 2010 at 09:51

    Oh my god, there is snow on your webpage! I did not notice we had moved back to 2003.

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