Augusto C. Sandino International Airport (MGA), located just nine kilometres outside the city of Managua, is Nicaragua’s primary transport hub. Connecting flights from neighbouring capitals land here, alongside strategic international connections with direct services from major US cities including Houston, Atlanta and Miami.
For getting around the country itself, you may choose to do so either by plane, boat, car rental or bus. MGA is the hub for most domestic flights, which are the best way to reach further flung destinations such as the Corn Islands and Puerto Cabezas.
Managua itself is famously difficult to navigate, and taxi hire here is generally considered the most effective option. This is also car hire central for those seeking independence in exploring the country at their leisure. Nicaragua generally boasts a good road network, particularly thanks to the Pan-American Highway, although inevitably, more rural destinations may require journeying along rustic dirt tracks. Alternatively, bus travel is a fantastically feasible and budget-friendly option, with a well-connected network running throughout the country. This can range from comfortable air-conditioned inter-city coaches to minivans or the local buses that make use of iconic yellow North American school buses. Although the latter may not be the most comfortable or quickest means of travel, it is sure to provide an unforgettable and authentic Nicaraguan experience.
It is likely that at some stage, your Nicaragua itinerary will include boat travel, since this provides an essential link for navigating the country’s lakes and waterways, especially along the Atlantic Coast. Typically used by tourists, a cargo boat connects Granada and San Carlos, bypassing Ometepe Island, while smaller vessels – known locally as pangas – serve routes between Bluefields and Pearl Lagoon or El Rama.