Ariving in Managua at 2am. Any cheap hotels nearby? Bus stations?
Replies: 41 - Last Post: Nov 12, 2012 7:52 PM Last Post By: brandeeinflorida
Nov 1, 2012 4:21 PM
Ariving in Managua at 2am. Any cheap hotels nearby? Bus stations?My flight from Florida arrives at about 2am in Managua. The sleepinginairports website doesn't have any info on the Managua airport in the last 1.5 years so I was wondering if its now possible to catch some sleep on the floor in the airport. Back then they said it was way too noisy. I don't like the idea of catching a cab in an unfamiliar city, not speaking Spanish in the middle of the night. My daily budget is extremely limited, hence Nicaragua being my travel destination, so I can't just fork over $80 for a nice bed near the airport.
Are there any $10 or under hotels near the airport I wonder?
Could I go to the bus station from the airport and hop on a bus to the coast? I wonder how often they run? I wouldn't want to hang out in the bus station after being exhausted from the flight all night. Ideally I'd like to spend a few days in Managua resting up and familiarizing myself with Nica culture before heading to some beaches.
Nov 2, 2012 6:04 AM
1If there is a lesson in this post, it would be not to take Spirit Air or similar and arrive at 2 am in a place you don't know and don't speak the language and need a $10 hotel. I don't think the airport bank is open either at that hour.
Anyone reading my other posts knows I admire budget visitors but I have to shake my head at this. I don't know of any hotels near the airport within your budget and Managua isn't so safe to be roaming around in the middle of the night especially if you don't speak Spanish. The only hotel I know of within walking distance to the airport charges many times over your budget. I mean, really, do you find airport hotels for $10 and under?
Good luck to you. If it is not too late to change to an airline that gets you in during the day, I think you will have to forget the bus station and plan on spending much more money for your first night, The airport is small and I don't think they will let you sleep there. If they will allow you to do so, maybe you can just hang around till daylight and after head on your way.
There are buses on the main road. You will need local money for them. Using them without speaking Spanish won't be easy, but it can be done.
Nov 2, 2012 6:20 AM
2Just stay awake for a couple of hours until daylight comes. A flight from Florida can" t be that exhausting......The easiest way to go to the towncenter or busstation is by taxi, taking a citybus with luggage is not recommended, succes..
Nov 2, 2012 6:33 AM
3I would like to add a word about "bus stations" in Nicaragua. Aside from the international deluxe type companies, the most common type of "bus station" is a big muddy lot without facilities. They are not a place to hang around in the middle of the night, so stay at the airport if they will let you.
I use the bus and speak Spanish and would be very careful if I had to go to any of Managua's "stations" at the hour you mentioned if I didn't know my way around. This is not to be a fear monger, just please be careful. Once it is daylight, things will be better. The markets around them open up. In my opinion, Managua requires no special panic regarding being safe but middle of the night outings need some thought.
Edited by: RobertoGustavo
Nov 2, 2012 9:25 AM
Nov 2, 2012 3:30 PM
5Great advice from you all.
Regarding Spirit: If only some other airline could come close to their sub $100 fares from Florida. I wish I knew of some. Any recommendations? I'm actually leaving from Central Canada so I have to make my way to Minneapolis to hook up with their ultra cheap, cross country flights to get me to Florida. That's not so easy in winter. I'm only taking a small carry on bag so there are no other charges.
So it looks like I could hang around the airport until dusk. Or I could take a taxi to a bus station and get the first one out to the Pacific coast. Does anybody know how often they run to the coast? Any danger like in Mexico when taking buses at night? I'll be exhausted (thanks to Spirit's red eye flights getting there) and not very alert to danger. If it was a more expensive first class bus would that be safer? Do buses ever get held up by bandits on deserted areas of the highway in Nicaragua like in Mexico? Or a train? Can I get a train somewhere north out of Managua? I probably will want to head north first, then south making my way to Panama City eventually and don't want to backtrack.
And would a major bus station take US $ as well as local currency? Like someone said, it might be hard to change my money at 3am.
But are there really no cheap hotels within a few miles/km's of the airport? Taxis are cheap so that's no problem.
Nov 2, 2012 3:52 PM
6Buses don"t run at night. There are no first class buses like in Mexico, not even highways, Trains don"t exist anymore. Welcome to the third world.
Stay at the airport, take a taxi to a busstation by daylight and take a bus wherever you want to go. You already mentioned staying in Managua, going north and going to the pacifi..?!
Buses going northeast (Matagalpa or Esteli) pass the airport, going righthandside, so you can just hop on without taking a taxi to a busstation.
Nov 2, 2012 4:02 PM
I don't know of any hotels that cheap near the airport. The one near the terminal charged me about $100. You might try to see if a cheap one will pick you up for more money if you can't wait at the airport. The terminal is well outside the city center (as a center exists in Managua!)
Local buses do not take US money. Maybe you will find an attendant who will be happy to overcharge you taking your dollars. Maybe you will get a blank stare pulling out dollars on the bus.
There is no train service.
Buses between cities tend not to run overnight although they often start in the early morning. Roads are darkened outside cities very often and crime can be an issue on roads at night . Although I went from Managua to Granada after dark by Paxeos shuttle without incident. Deluxe buses like Tica go to other countries from Nicaragua. I have never heard of them being used to go from one place inside Nicaragua to another.
The road outside the airport has buses running by that go to some northern cities. If you wait till morning, you can go outside the airport terminal and flag one down. They are old schoolbus type buses. Not air conditioned but they can get you there.
PS...after I wrote this I saw the other post giving much the same answer. Everyone is in basic agreement. Bob, please consider our advice.
Edited by: RobertoGustavo
Nov 3, 2012 1:59 AM
8Hi Bob, The above information is good advice. I personally would just bite the bullet and spend $35US on a taxi to Granada right from the beginning. You will feel much more comfortable there if you want to spend a few days before you move onward. It is only a little over an hour away. There are no cheap hotels near the airport and going into Managua is the wrong direction and just opens up a different can of worms in my opinion.
Nov 3, 2012 4:42 AM
9Well, the good thing about this topic would be that it is a rather rare time on the forum everyone is on the same thought about something. I am often someone wanting to do things maybe someone else will think is too dangerous. But I sort of feel like an old mother hen with the OP....but he seems to want to do it his way (notice how he is getting to Nicaragua) so "Lots of Luck".
I sincerely hope nothing happens to you, Bob, if you still decide to roam around Managua at 2 am looking for that $10 hotel or still decide to show up at the "bus station" at that hour seeking your bus to the coast and not speaking Spanish. Just think about how you will feel when you find you are in Nicaragua without ANYTHING, not speaking the language and no one can help you. People have enough difficulty trying to live themselves. You can't buy a drink of water or make a call. That won't be fun.
Nov 3, 2012 5:04 AM
10Agreed, Often spending a little bit more or even a lot more on things like taxis will really pay off. Then you can save money with food, lodging and activities when you are relatively out of harm's way. I also find it astounding how folks from the richest countries on earth want to come to the poorest and expect to get jobs and perks fro nothing.
Nov 3, 2012 11:58 AM
Nov 3, 2012 5:37 PM
Nov 3, 2012 10:19 PM
13No nighttime buses at all? That seems incredible for a city of more than a million. I'll look into that. If its true, I'll wait til morning and try to catch some sleep in the airport if possible. I remember so many airports situated outside of cities so it looks like this is the typical "awkward airport". Coming into a 3rd world city by bus is so much easier. You're right there around the hotels usually.
I do speak a little Spanish having traveled for several months in Mexico but it was years ago and it will take awhile for me to remember most of it. Better brush up before I go!
I just looked at a map and it looks like the airport is only about 6 miles east of the city center. If so, couldn't I just take a taxi to a cheap hotel area? Granted, its not ideal at 2am but then I could at least get some sleep and not be a total zombie in the morning. And surely a hotel will take US$. If they give a lousy rate I'll just pay for one night. Do you guys think that taking a taxi alone from the airport late at night is unwise? Another option is to not go as far into town and spend more on the hotel as it will be not as lousy. That might help me get a better night's sleep. Surely I can get a $20 hotel without going downtown?
Nov 4, 2012 4:18 AM
Managua was destroyed years ago by an earthquake and there is no longer a real downtown. What exists is a rather suburban and often unmarked group of neighborhoods and shopping malls and shanty towns. Manholes are uncovered. No one walks around at night. No, there are no night buses. See for yourself. The local bus system in Managua is not user friendly, armed hold ups are common and I think I am one of the few foreigners who use it and when I tell people I do, both Nicaraguans and foreigners tend to look at me in shock and dismay. But I can't always afford taxis. And I have to say, I have found local people on the bus to be friendly and helpful. Sometimes curious as to why a person who doesn't look local and poor would travel on the local bus. I've been a real "star" on some trips.
Yes, you can take a taxi from the airport to the "center" where there are cheap hotels and hostels. The taxis in the airport driveway are more expensive than the ones on the main road. If you are planning to get a hotel at that hour, have a reservation because the reception may not stay open in small places and you don't want to be stuck on the street late. Maybe a hotel would be willing to pick you up for some extra. Look around on the net, although the cheapest ones tend not to have websites.
There isn't much to see in Managua but the next day you can take an interesting walk around what once was the central plaza and later stock up on things at Metro Centro mall or the markets. Personally, Managua is not what you come to Nicaragua to see so you will want to move on after getting some rest. When I took a friend to Managua he asked "Lets go into the city and see something. Where is the center of town?" "We are in it"
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