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  • Konrad Tillman

Review: Tica Bus From Managua, Nicaragua to El Salvador

Intro


The next portion of the Central America trip consisted of a bus from Managua to El Salvador through Honduras. Now, why might I choose to take a bus from Managua to El Salvador instead of flying? Avianca has a monopoly in the market, and with flights upwards of 500$ one-way for our dates (crazy for full fare), we decided to test out the Tica Bus on a 13-hour journey, crossing 4 borders.


Surprisingly, this journey was quite pleasant! However, there are definitely some tips you need to know before going!


Let's get right into it!


How I Booked


If you head over to the Tica Bus website, you are able to book almost any route within the Central America route map. For our dates, the price came out to 63$ one-way per person. In my opinion, this isn't too bad of a price!


Tica Bus Ticket

The fare was booked into the "executive class" service, but not much was executive about it😅.


Check-In


After taking a car service from Granada to Managua with an incredible driver, we arrived at the bus terminal. For reference, this is the location of the bus stop.


Tica Bus Location Managua

If you need directions, check out Google Maps, which is 100% accurate👍. The area is clean and relatively safe, and we had no issues during the few hours we were there.


Once we arrived, we checked in with the counter, grabbed our physical tickets, and were informed of the 1.5-hour delay.


Tica Bus Check In Managua

There is a snack shop across the road, but be aware that they only take cash.



We stocked up some snacks and killed the time playing some Yatzy😅 until it was time to board around 2 pm.


Boarding Tica Bus Nicaragua

First Leg


Once onboard, we found the bus to be less than half full. This is a big score, as we ended up both getting a row to ourselves!


Tica Bus Seats

The first leg was by far the prettiest and the most relaxing. The bus headed northwest, stopping along some towns before heading up to the border. The sunset views were gorgeous!


Moments like these is what brings me happiness

After about 4 hours from departure, we arrived at the exit border for Nicaragua. The fee TO LEAVE NICARAGUA IS 6$ PER PERSON, CASH ONLY!


Nicaragua Land Border

We had to exit the bus, put our bags through an X-ray, and get our passports stamped. We hopped back on the bus after that and had a short 5-minute drive to the border for entry into Honduras. Just one issue: we were behind schedule, and the border was backed up😂. The driver instructed the passengers we would be walking across the border🥴. Errrrm okay.


Walking across the Honduras border

The driver was waiting on the other side after we paid the 3$ PER PERSON TO ENTER HONDURAS. Please bring cash on this trip; otherwise, you will be stranded in a country...


Second Leg


At this point, it was about 8 pm after clearing the first two border checkpoints. This bus took the southern route to cross Honduras, and we made it to the exit by about 11:30 pm. We hadn't stopped since we left, so bring snacks, bring a portable charger as there are no plugs, and most importantly, there is a bathroom on the bus!


Once we arrived at the exit of Honduras, there was no fee to leave! Thank the lord!


Exit Border Honduras

Finally, we stopped after leaving Honduras at a little food spot. They do not take cards, so bring cash again! Because we had no money, we could not eat😅. It's our own fault, but at least we learned, so you don't have to🥴.


It was a short 5 minutes to the border for entry into Salvador. Ordinarily, as long as you don't have an American Passport, you don't have to pay. However, we only have US passports; therefore, an officer came on board to take our passports and collect 12$ from us each, payable by cash only. The fee to enter Salvador is 12$ for a US passport!! After ruffling through our bags, we managed to conjure up exactly 24$ to the dollar; we had 0$ left...


The officer returned moments later with our passports stamped and our blue tourist cards. It wasn't over yet as we pulled into a secondary security checkpoint as officers entered the bus to search everyones bags.


Security Search Salvador Border

This was an interesting experience as they searched our bags with torches and even took photos of our contents inside. Do I understand? No, not at all. I have to just sort of laugh this stuff off; it's a good memory to have.


After 20 minutes of being searched, the officers disembarked, and we made our way over to San Salvador.


The last leg was about 3 hours, and we arrived in the main town, right by the KFC, at 3 am local time.


Wow... What an experience.


Final Thoughts


Looking back at this experience, I loved it. However, I am not sure if I would do it again due to the hassle between the borders. The bus was comfortable and safe, but walking across borders, constantly getting off the bus, and not stopping for food had its downsides. If you are looking for a cheap and safe way to get between the countries, this is a good option. However, just make sure to bring a portable charger and at least 50$ per person in cash!




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