Augusto C Sandino International Airport (MGA; tel. 505/2233-1624; www.eaai.com.ni) is 11km (6 3/4 miles) east of Managua and is the country's main airport. Here, you'll find direct flights from Miami, Houston, Dallas, Mexico City, San Salvador, Panama City, and San José. American Airlines (tel. 800/433-7300 or 505/2255-9090; www.aa.com) flies twice a day from Miami. Continental Airlines (tel. 505/2278-7033; www.continental.com) operates one evening flight from Houston. Delta (tel. 505/2254-8130; www.delta.com) has a daily flight to Atlanta. Spirit Airlines (tel. 505/2233-2884; www.spiritair.com) operates a daily flight to Fort Lauderdale.
Copa (tel. 505/2267-0045; www.copaair.com) has connections all over Central America, particularly to cities in Guatemala and Panama and to San José and San Salvador. Aeroméxico (tel. 800/237-6639 or 505/2266-6997; www.aeromexico.com) flies four times a week to Mexico City from Managua. TACA (tel. 505/2266-3136; www.taca.com) operates flights from Miami, Panama City, and San Salvador. Iberia (tel. 800/2772-4642; www.iberia.com) flies once a day to Miami with onward connections to Europe.
There are a handful of established international bus companies that trundle up and down the Central American isthmus. All have separate stations and offices in Barrio Martha Quezada in Managua, and some have offices in León, Rivas, and Granada where you can also alight. Tica Bus, 2 blocks east of the Antiguo Cine Dorado (tel. 505/2222-6094 or 505/2222-3031; www.ticabus.com), is the best-known operator, with intercity routes going as far as Mexico City. The bus from Honduras leaves Tegucigalpa daily at 9:15 a.m., takes hours to reach Managua, and costs C440 one way. The bus from San José in Costa Rica leaves daily at 3 a.m., takes 7 hours, and costs C572. They also operate a route from San Salvador, leaving from the Hotel San Carlos at 3 a.m. and arriving in Managua 6 1/2 hours later. The cost is C660.
King Quality/Cruceros del Golfo, opposite Tica Bus (tel. 505/2228-1454; www.king-qualityca.com) has a reputation for being more comfortable and provides meals. Their service from Honduras leaves at 6 a.m and 2 p.m. and costs C1,562. The Costa Rica service leaves San José at 3 p.m., takes 8 hours, and costs C968. The bus from San Salvador leaves at 3:30, 5:30, and 11:30 a.m.. It takes 6 1/2 hours and costs C1,694.
Trans Nica, 300m (984 ft.) north of Rotonda Metrocentro and 50m (164 ft.) east (tel. 505/2277-2104 or 505/2270-3133; www.nuevo.transnica.com), services El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Honduras. Their bus from Costa Rica departs from San Juan at 4:30, 5:30, and 9 a.m. It takes 9 hours and costs C577. Central Line, (tel. 505/254-5431), next to King Quality goes south to San José in Costa Rica. The service leaves Costa Rica at 4:30 a.m. and takes 9 hours. The cost is C580.
For those who are on a strict budget, are in no hurry, and don't mind the discomfort of jumping off and changing buses at the border, getting around by a chicken bus, is another option. The two main crossings on the Honduran border are Guasale and El Espino. These buses arrive and depart in Managua at Mercado Israel Lewites, also known as Boer (tel. 505/2265-2152) and Mercado Mayoreo (tel. 505/2233-4729). The main crossing into Costa Rica is Peñas Blancas. Buses arrive and depart from Mercado Roberto Huembes (no phone). It is very important that you get two stamps -- an exit and entrance stamp -- from the corresponding immigration office on either side, or you may have problems entering or leaving at the border.
By Cruise Ship/Ferry
San Juan del Sur is now a well-established stop-off for luxury cruise liners plying the Caribbean and Pacific coasts via the Panama Canal. Two reputable companies that make this trip are Miami-based Seabourn Cruise Line (www.seabourn.com) and California-based Princess Cruises (www.princess.com).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.