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León & Northwestern Nicaragua

Getting there & around

This region is relatively untouristed, despite its wealth of attractions, because it's separated from the tourist-packed Granada zone by big, bad Managua.

Fear not! Take any minibus from asaya or Granada to Managua's Universidad Centro America (UCA) bus lot, where you can catch another minivan for the short, sweet trip to León. Or take a regular bus to Managua, then grab a cab to Mercado Israel Lewites, where buses and minivans leave regularly for León, less frequently for Chinandega.

Both León (92km from Managua) and Chinandega (37km north of León) are transportation hubs. Buses to more remote beaches and volcanoes can be inconvenient, with perhaps only one bus a day.

You can rent cars in both León and Chinandega; hire a 4WD in rainy season, if you plan to do much exploring. The roads of the Cosigüina Peninsula are some of the country's worst, and beach access can be a muddy mess by October.