Most travelers coming to San Juan del Sur arrive by way of the Managua Airport called the Augusto Cesar Sandino International Airport (Airport code: MGA). From the airport, you have a few options:
You can take a taxi, but they might charge more than a private shuttle, are not always the safest and rarely have air conditioning; which means a 2.5 hour ride at 100km/hour with the windows down.
You can also use the chicken bus which is very inexpensive, but getting to San Juan del Sur from Managua in a chicken bus can take you 3 hours or more, because of the frequent stops the buses make to pick up and drop off people. You would also have to change buses a few times, and good luck getting a seat once you are finally on the bus…
In the end, Private Airport Shuttles remain the fastest and most comfortable way to get from Managua to San Juan del Sur. The Shuttles cost approximately $80 – $90 and the ride takes more or less 2.5 hours.
Here is a list of a few Airport Shuttle companies that we recommend if you need transportation from Managua to San Juan del Sur:
If you are on a tight budget you can save money by sharing your private shuttle with a few people since the price is per vehicle, not per person.
Many travellers arrive in Nicaragua by land from Costa Rica; either because they flew to the Liberia airport, which tends to be more affordable than flying into Managua depending on where you are flying from or because they are travelling through Central America Northbound. The most popular border crossing spot between Nicaragua and Costa Rica is Peñas Blancas and it happens to be only 44km from San Juan del Sur. To get from Peñas Blancas to San Juan del Sur there is two options:
Chicken Bus: From Peñas Blancas you can get on the chicken bus to Rivas and get off at La Virgen for ₵20. From there, you will take another chicken bus to San Juan del Sur for another ₵18. Your total travel time will be somewhere between 1 hour & 1.5 hour.
Taxi: A taxi from Peñas Blancas to San Juan del Sur cost $20usd. The price is per ride, so share the taxi with as many people as you can to save some money. The ride will take more or less 45 minutes.