Is there a bus route map, including border crossings of Central America?
Replies: 30 - Last Post: Mar 20, 2012 5:48 AM Last Post By: lucapal
Mar 14, 2012 1:28 PM
Is there a bus route map, including border crossings of Central America?Hello! I am in the process of planning my 30 day itinerary of traveling south from Copan, Honduras. I will be either traveling to Panama City or just to San Jose, Costa Rica. It will depend on how long this journey will take me.
It would help me greatly, plan where I am going to go, and when to travel, if I knew where the buses went, and how long they took.
Is there a bus routes map of Central America?
If there is not, who are the best long distant bus companies, so that I could look up each of their schedules?
So far, I have looked up some point to points, but it would be even better if there was a bus route map, that also contained border crossings routes, because perhaps there is a route I hadn't thought of before. It would also help me to not backtrack.
For example, I would like to go Nicaragua without passing through El Salvador. I would also like to see some of the Caribbean side of both Honduras and Nicaragua. Is this possible to do overland?
I would prefer to always travel during the day, and hopefully not more than 10 hours a day, so it would be handy to know where I could stop to break the trip up.
Is there such a thing as a bus routes map for Central America, that contains the times?
All I have seen so far is a map from Tica Bus.
Thank you for your help and advice in advance!
Mar 14, 2012 1:41 PM
1The main busses that go between the capitals are all on the Pan Am Hwy, most maps show this route as CA 1 or CA 2 depending on country and area.
You can use Google Map for the area, and the roads connecting the various countries are easily visible. Most guidebooks also have maps of each country in them, with all main roads and many secondary roads.
Mar 14, 2012 3:31 PM
2Virtually any road in CA will be traveled by bus. what kind of bus may vary. the coaches and department bus generally stick to the main hiways . Yer bluebirds pretty much everywhere else.
So what you got against El salvador? It is a nice country.
Mar 14, 2012 7:08 PM
3If you go to the Caribbean side of Honduras or Nicaragua you would be backtracking.
For example to Corn Islands the journey from Managua takes two days with an over night stop in Bluefields or El Rama - or one night and one day.
To Bay Islands you have to backtrack till San Pedro de Sula I suppose.
I am doing the same route at the moment and to me the most challenging thing has been avoiding capitols which all seem to be dangerous, expensive and ugly. The problem with Tica bus and other companies is that they mainly stop in the capitols.
The border crossings that are not covered by international buses are served by local transportation. For example it makes sense to cross the northern border from Costa Rica to Panama.
Note that the international buses don't keep up on time. Two hours' delay is normal.
Mar 14, 2012 8:03 PM
4The "northern" border from Panama to Costa Rica? is there any other kind? Or do you mean eastern vs western? Though the western border (Pacific side) is the Pan Am Hwy CA1, between capitols, the eastern border (Atlantic caribe) side is not served by bus from PC, though you can get a bus on the CR side direct to San Jose.
Umm, Corn Islands is one bus route, to a ferry, or a plane, both from Managua.
Bay Islands Honduras is via bus from San Pedro Sula and to La Cieba, then a ferry to Roatan or Utila.
Mar 14, 2012 8:33 PM
5Thanks for the tips!
I also wondered if I had to go to the Capital cities of each country, or if, instead I could get out of the bus in the smaller town before it, and call that home for a few days.
So does that mean that these major bus lines don't have stops along the route? Would I ordinarily have to go to the big cities first, transfer to another bus line, and then bus out to a smaller city?
Hmmm...if that is case, then maybe I will keep my countries to a minimum, and concentrate on exploring 2 or 3 more.
Mar 14, 2012 8:46 PM
6It really depends on where you are wanting to go, and what transport you are taking. There are local bus services from main towns to borders, but again, depends on country, border and where you are.
Last week you asked if Guatemala/region was dangerous, now you are going to just get off the bus in a random town and hangout? Thats confident to say the least. There are some places a tourist has no business going, just so you know.
Mar 14, 2012 11:30 PM
7Why is this so difficult? OP, decide where you want to go first. Once you've decided, you can then figure out how to get there. Then, and only then, can you learn how long it will (or more likely *might*) take.
Suppose you're starting in Copán Ruinas (how are you getting there in the first place?). You decide to head for Roatán. You figure out you'll need to take a boat from La Ceiba (How? You read your handy guidebook, or you Google Roatán and read thirty-four thousand blogs on just this subject). You find out there are buses from Copán to San Pedro Sula, then another to La Ceiba (same deal: guidebook or Google).
You can look up countless posts about how long this bus or that one will take, which bus service to choose, when it leaves, what the bus station is like, whether there are toilets on board..... Any information you please is available by Google search, but first you have to know what you're looking for.
There are no bus maps of the sort you're for some reason imagining. Why would there be? Individual bus companies sometimes put maps on the internet, but there are thousands of bus companies, and they're changing all the time. Who would produce a map? What good would it do? There are buses heading anyplace you'll care to go, and most places you won't ever know exist. You don't need a bus map: you need to decide where you want to go.
Hope this is helpful, but somehow doubt that it is.
I wholeheartedly recommend: stop planning your trip. The more you plan the more you spin around in nonfunctional circles. Get a map of Central America, and identify a couple of places you'd like to see. Find a place to fly in, and a place to fly out. Buy your tickets. Go. It'll all become apparent, and you'll wonder what all the fuss was about. If uncertain, start someplace where other people much like yourself go---like Copán Ruinas. Meet some of them. Watch how they do it. Do what they do. This will work far better than what you're doing right now.
Mar 14, 2012 11:45 PM
I didn't say I was going to pick a town at random and cross my fingers for the best, I said I prefer smaller towns. Statistically, smaller towns have less reported violent crime against tourists, than the bigger ones.
Of course I was worried about my safety of traveling through Central America on my own. That hasn't changed.
But, this week I have also read all that I can (sometimes twice) about the incidents of violence reported, I know more of what to do to decrease the odds of being a target, I am taking self-defense classes (which I love), I've made some friends in Guatemala, I've talked to other women who have made this trip solo, and I have a better understanding of what I am walking into in Guatemala.
Mar 14, 2012 11:50 PM
9I wholeheartedly recommend: stop planning your trip.
Would love to. However, I still need to actually purchase my return flight. So this is why I am trying to figure out how long everything takes, because then I will have a better sense of how far I can actually make it in 4 weeks. And also, if it turns out that there aren't any stops between San Jose and Panama, then I will probably save Panama for next time and not fly home from it, and will instead fly home from San Jose.
Some things, need to be planned.
Mar 15, 2012 12:08 AM
10Yes, some things need to be planned. But your manner of planning seems to wander far astray from anything useful. A bus map? What in the world for?
Once again: you don't need a bus map to plan. You need to know where you want to go, and perhaps even how long you think you might spend there. If you insist, you can plan the trips between too, down to the second. In the end, you'll be making half of it up on the fly like all the rest of us. That's ok.
A bus map would merely give you more variables to juggle. You're making it difficult on yourself. Again.
Repeat: get a map of Central America. Anyplace on the map you can see a place name and those little squiggles which represent roads is going to have bus (or collectivo) service. You can go there. Your task is to decide where you want to go. All else follows. Hey, your map will even show you border crossing points.
Without looking at a map, I can tell you that if you're going to see Guatemala, both coasts of Nicaragua and Honduras, and maybe one or two sites in between, you're going to run out of time long before you make it to Panama City. Unless, of course, you're not planning to see anything, but merely to ride buses back and forth all day.
So there you go: forget Panama. Fly out of San José. Probably you won't have much time to look around at Costa Rica either, so start planning your return trip. Next time, include El Salvador: it's a great country, and by the time you've spent a month in Central America you'll no longer feel compelled to ask about the State Department warnings about travel there.
If this is not useful, please do ignore. I'm here trying to answer you mainly because I'm so perplexed at how no one seems to satisfy you. On this thread and the last, people answer and answer and we all seem to miss the point. Why is that?
That's entirely rhetorical, and no answer is necessary.
Mar 15, 2012 1:23 AM
11Self defense classes will not make you safer --as per Markus' comment about machetes...and guns.
If you do find yourself being robbed at gunpoint or machete-point, just hand over the goods.
That would be the safe(st) thing to do.
As already stated, you'll be hard-pressed to cover a huge amount of ground in just 30 days.
An example of a well-trodden route might be:
Copan - Comayagua - Leon - Granada - Rivas - San Juan del Sur - Liberia - San Jose
You may find route maps on the Tica bus website.
You may also find useful maps/itineraries on tour company websites to help with your planning. eg Intrepid Travel
Mar 15, 2012 2:18 AM
Mar 15, 2012 6:41 AM
13Why in the hell are you picking towns that are smaller to visit because statistically they are safer?
Plan the trip around what you want to see, period. There is a well beaten path for tourist to visit these places, and they are all safe for a tourist, 99% of the time.
You are planning your trip for all the wrong reasons.
Spanish classes would be more important than self defense. You will more likely be mugged, than raped, rape is extremely rare, and you dont need self defense for being held up, you just hand it over, period.
30 days is time for 2 countries at the most, maybe 3 depending.
Mar 15, 2012 4:14 PM
14Thanks for the tips. Map in hand, and I have sadly, scratched off Panama, as there just isn't that much time. Decided to increase my home stays and volunteer placements instead!
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