The public bus from Granada to Leon is simple. Even for those who don’t speak Spanish. And it’s cheap. You can easily take a public bus from Granada to Managua. Then, it’s a second bus ride from Managua to Leon. If you do want to the trip from Granada to Managua and then from Managua to Leon can be undertaken in half a day on public transport for around US$3. While shuttles in Nicaragua are priced in US dollars, you’ll pay in local (cordoba) currency, and prices of microbuses and chicken buses are priced in Cordobas. Here are your options on how to go from Granada to Leon, by bus and the shuttle from Granada to Leon.
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Transport Options to Leon from Granada
There are 4 ways in which to get from Granada to Leon. The first and most expensive is a taxi, which is likely to cost you around US$80. The second most expensive way to travel between Granada and Leon is a shuttle. This will cost you around US$36. The third way is to take a minivan from Granada to Managua and then a minivan from Managua to Leon. This will cost you around 110 NIO (Cordobas) in total. The final way is a series of camionetas (chicken buses), which will cost the least, but take the longest and is likely to be the most uncomfortable.
1. Taxi from Granada to Leon
The best way to organize a taxi to Leon from Granada is to organize it with your hotel. Ask several people for prices. You may be able to book online, and organize a private transfer – RidewithLess offers transfers for US$40 per person, or US$80 for a private single-person transfer from Granada to Leon – more details here (updated prices).
A tourist shuttle to Leon from Granada costs US$36. Shuttles run from Granada to Leon at 12:30 and the journey takes 2.5 hours. If you are travelling from Leon to Granada then the shuttle leaves at 09:30am and also takes 2.5 hours.
3. Granada to Leon Public Minibus
The minivan trip from Granada to Leon is in two parts. First, you get from Granada to Managua. Then from there take a bus Managua to Leon. You will swap buses within feet of the previous bus. there is no need to taxi between bus stations in Managua. The bus interchange in Managua (UCA) is the same place, literally steps from getting off your first bus.
Follow these easy steps to take the Granada Leon route on a budget.
Granada to Managua Bus
First, get to the micro bus station in Granada. It’s REALLY easy to find. It’s a block south of Central Park. Find Lucy’s Hostel and Restaurant on Google Maps and its opposite there. We walked from our great room at Hostal Casa Aryen in just a few minutes.
Map of Granada Micro Bus Station Location
It looks like a parking lot with microbuses in. The bus from Granada to Leon Nicaragua begins running at 0430 and run until 1930.
Finding the Right Bus from Granada to Leon
As soon as you walk in, someone will point you to the right bus. It will be obvious if you’re not the first people to the bus, as it will be the only one with people on. If you have a backpack, one of the helpers will offer to take it off you and put it at the front, on the dash, under the driver’s seat, wherever there is room.
These minibusses also have fold-down seats in the aisle, so if you don’t like the comfort that you’re getting, just wait until the next us goes. As usual the buses go when full, or nearly full, or when the driver feels like it. It feels very like the minivans we caught in China, including the memorable Hekou to Xinjie bus with the escaping chickens!
Granada to Leon Bus have no A/C
All the buses in this “station” were of the natural air conditioning variety – i.e. they have windows that open and curtains.
Granada to Managua – Bus Cost
A ticket from Granda to Managua will cost you 33 cordobas. We were also charged the same price for two 40-litre backpacks that sat on the dashboard while we traveled. Others report being charged the price of a seat for a backpack. I guess it depends on how big your pack is. The fare is displayed on the bus, up in front of the driver.
This bus journey between Granada and Managua takes about 60-75 minutes and takes you into the UCA bus station Managua. It’s pronounced ooka. UCA Managua bus terminal really is just a series of shacks along the side of the road. This is also the location where you take the Managua to Granada bus from.
Managua to Leon Bus
How to get from Managua to Leon is really easy. As you get off your microbus from Granada in the Managua UCA “station”. There are different Managua bus stations depending on where you are going. If you’re looking on a map you need Managua UCA – (which is more like a layby with food stalls and covered areas for other buses), just keep walking in the direction that the bus was going. Within 10 feet or so you’ll see signs above and to the right for Managua to Leon Nicaragua. These Managua Leon buses run from around 5am until around 8pm.
This bus station is a location for other cities as well. It took us less than 15 seconds to spot the Managua to Leon buses. Again they’re mini/microbuses. However, these ones have AIR CONDITIONING. It may be because Leon is Nicaragua’s second hottest city (it was 36 degrees when we arrived!), but it will be welcome anyways.
These micro buses do NOT have specific backpack storage areas. Your pack will go on your knees. So you’ll want to try and get the FRONT SEATS, where there’s a little more legroom. Or pay for a seat for your bags. We didn’t. Our 40-litre Ospreys go on our laps (albeit somewhat uncomfortably when we’re on the back seat of the bus again). Tickets on this bus cost 54 Cordobas. The trip from Managua to Leon took about 90 minutes. We then walked to our hotel from the bus station. You can get off before the bus station.
The cost for the minivan from Managua to Leon is 71 Cordobas.
We ended up in the back seat between Managua and Leon. Where the air con reached us. Almost.
Managua to Leon Bus Payment
You won’t be charged for your ticket until you are WAY into the journey. Our bus stopped at LA PAZ CENTRO, and the driver opened the back door to get the fees from us folks at the back.
Leon to Granada Bus Station
The bus stops at the Terminal de Bus in Leon. This is where you catch the bus from Leon to Granada Nicaragua. It is also where you catch the bus from Leon to Managua. It’s about 2 kilometres from the Central Park and Cathedral. It’s an EASY walk, the many, many taxi drivers who will bug you to take a ride because it is MUY LARGO (very far), but who will give you directions in the end. Google also works well. Maps.me is also well worth downloading before your trip. We were offered a trip to the Central Park for US$2 each ( he quoted in dollars) but we chose to walk.
Leon Bus Station Map
It was slightly disconcerting as we arrived in Leon seeing the tricycle and taxi drivers looking through the window of our microbus, obviously trying to figure out from baggage who might want a ride, it also looked like they were scouting out who had expensive possessions. It’s a welcome reminder to hold onto all your bags in any situation.
We try to walk when we first arrive in a new place, to get a sense of it. To see what the area is like and to also understand the geography. This was a flat walk, albeit rather warm (it was 36 degrees when we arrived, but there was cloud cover). Find out how we spent the next 3 days in Leon.
Where to Stay in Leon, Nicaragua
There are a host of places to stay in Leon, Nicaragua – here’s our pick of the luxury places to stay in Leon, Nicaragua, mid-range places to stay in Leon, Nicaragua, and budget accommodation in Leon, Nicaragua.
Hotel El Convento, Leon, Nicaragua: Hotel El Convento is a four-star hotel located in the heart of Leon, Nicaragua. Each room at the luxury Hotel El Convento in Leon, Nicaragua, is fully air-conditioned and equipped with a cable TV and rustic décor. The top-rated hotel in Leon, Nicaragua, provides free WiFi in all areas, a restaurant, and an outdoor pool that is open all year. Rooms have en-suite showers, and a delicious breakfast is provided with gorgeous views of the garden. The Hotel El Convento is a stunning and luxurious place to stay in Leon, Nicaragua. See room rates here.
Hotel Mariposa, Leon, Nicaragua: The Hotel Mariposa is located in Leon’s suburbs. The Hotel Mariposa, a mid-range hotel in Leon, Nicaragua, provides rooms with air conditioning or bungalows with thatched roofs. All rooms here are equipped with wardrobes, fans, and a separate open-air bathroom. There is also a garden, a terrace, and an outdoor pool at the fantastic Hotel Mariposa. It is a lovely place to stay in Leon, Nicaragua. Want to see more about Hotel Mariposa?
Hostal La Tortuga Booluda, Leon, Nicaragua: This fabulous hostel is great for the ‘tranquilo traveler’. The Hostal La Tortuga Booluda is a nice small hostel located in the heart of Leon, Nicaragua. This budget Leon Hostal, the La Tortuga Booluda has a covered common area with hammocks and seats and a small pool. There is also free WiFi available throughout the property. Enjoy the on-site self-service bar and play foosball in the colonial ‘sala’ while staying at this charming hostel in Leon, Nicaragua. Breakfasts here include pancakes and bananas or a traditional Nica breakfast (rice, beans, cheese, and egg). The Hostal La Tortuga Booluda is a great budget place to stay in Leon, Nicaragua. Rooms at the Hostal La Tortuga Booluda are popular, so book
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Final Words on How to Go from Granada to Leon
The Granada to Leon bus trip is an easy trip. Very little to no Spanish is required if you’re observant and prepared to step out of an air-conditioned shuttle bus. We hope you’ve found this useful. Arriving in Leon it’s fabulous to see all the Volcanoes around us – similar in a lot of ways to when we arrived in Antigua, Guatemala – having had much the same bus experience there!
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