After our 48 hours in Granada were complete, we planned our trip up to the capital, Managua. We had arrived into Granada in style (okay – only a private taxi, but this felt luxury to us after a week of public transport!), but were planning on a much cheaper route this time.
Just south from Parque Central, on Calle Vega, is a bus station where shuttles run between Granada and Managua. Before even arriving at the station, a shuttle was leaving, and the bus boy grabbed our luggage and threw it onto the top of the bus in the middle of the road. We hopped on and realised it was completely full, so stood at the back of the bus clutching our backpacks. We paid 120NIO (70p/US$1) for ourselves and our backpacks (charged as a passenger!) and the journey took about an hour.
On arrival at the shuttle stop in Managua, we realised we were a 20 minute journey from our hostel. Gaby, our hotel manager in Granada, had warned us not to use the local buses in Managua. It’s too busy, takes too long, and is too complicated for two limited Spanish speaking Brits! We flagged down a taxi, but couldn’t explain where we were going and the driver didn’t understand our broken “Casa… Aeropuerto… Mañana…” Our second taxi driver again spoke limited English, but we were able to explain our hostel was right next to the airport. We had the cunning idea to phone the hostel and ask them to speak to the driver directly! I’ll remember that next time!
We stayed at the Flying Hostel – quite possibly the strangest place we stayed on the trip. It’s a converted house, in a gated community (hopefully for security!), and operates hourly shuttles to the airport. People obviously don’t spend an awful lot of time here, but it was fine for 5 hours sleep before our 4am shuttle to the airport.
We decided to fly to Roatan with Avianca (via San Salvador) and paid around ~£350 (~US$500), which is quite expensive for such a short flight, but well worth it considering the amount of miles we were travelling. The journey by land covers 775km and was a non-stop 13 hour trip which we had no idea how to even start! Yes, we could have stopped at Matagalpa in Nicaragua, or some spots in Honduras, but we simply didn’t have the time in our schedule. Sometimes speed and comfort out-trumps budget!