Known as the country of Lakes and Volcanoes, the southern coast of Nicaragua is no exception to the charm and beauty of this central american gem.
The most common travel route to the Emerald Coast is flying into Augusto Cesar Sandino International Airport in Managua (MGA) and then making the 2 hour drive south to any of the local beaches and communities.
Costa Rica is another common route when traveling to the Emerald Coast. You can fly into Liberia International Airport take the bus to the Nicaraguan border, walk across the border and take a drive from there. From the border, the drive to San Juan is only 45 minutes while Playa Colorado and Popoyo are about 1.5 hours away.
As an alternative, commercial or private charter flights are available from Liberia directly to Costa Esmeralda International airport. This local airport is located just 5 minutes from Playa Colorado and only 45 minutes to San Juan del Sur. This option can seriously cut down on travel time and could be the best option for shorter trips.
We can help you book your airport transportation and schedule a driver! The ride will cost anywhere from $80 to $160 depending on vehicle size.
Local buses or chicken buses are also available if you are looking for a low-cost option. Although, we don’t recommend this option if you are travelling with young children or a lot of luggage as space is usually limited. While this option will only cost you a few dollars, expect about a 4 hour trip with multiple transfers.
Make sure you book a private driver and not a local taxi as the rates are usually much higher and less reliable.
If you are visiting from overseas or the USA, or you’ve moved here permanently, make sure that you are driving legally and safely. If you are just visiting Nicaragua, you can drive the same type of vehicle as your current license allows, but you must drive according to any conditions on your current license. You can also rent a car with your country’s current driver’s license. Your home driver’s license is valid for driving in Nicaragua for the duration of the entry stamp in your passport.
Nicaragua highly recommends an International Driving Permit.
Whether renting or driving your own vehicle you must purchase obligatory third-party insurance. If arriving in Nicaragua in your own vehicle, you’ll purchase it at the border. For rentals it costs around US$12 per day. Your credit card may already cover it; call to make sure.