After 5 blissful days diving on the island of Utila, it was time for another long and bus-fueled trip as we made out way to Leon, Nicaragua. If you read this post, you’ll know that while effective and inexpensive, our trip from Lake Atitlan, Guatemala to Utila was not the most fun. Thankfully, this trip was more comfortable and, if I do say so myself, a whole lot easier!
After doing a bit of research online, we saw an option for a shuttle that operates between La Ceiba (where the ferry from Utila docks) to Leon with a stopover at a brewery along the way (link here). The cost for this is $125 US (plus a $25 US ferry ticket), which includes all transport as well as a night at D&D. We were considering this option, but figured if we did the same thing on our own we could save a bit of money – and we did!
Day One: Utila to Lake Yojoa (D&D Brewery)
Total Cost: $83.89 US for two
Total Time: 8.5 hours, including waiting time between transfers
Ferry from Utila to La Ceiba
Cost: $25 US per person; unfortunately this is the only option.
Time: 1 hour
We took the first ferry (7:00am) and arrived to La Ceiba just before 8. You will see lots of shuttle bus operators (like Hedman Alas) that will offer to take you to San Pedro Sula and that is certainly one option. Another is to take a taxi to the Cristina bus terminal.
Taxi from La Ceiba to Cristina Bus Terminal
Cost: 100 HNL for two ($4.25 US)
Time: 15 minutes
There are many taxis waiting, and they will try and charge you an arm and a leg even if you’re going a short distance. We insisted on no more than 50 HNL each, and said we were happy to share so we were put into a taxi with another couple and on our way. The taxi driver knew exactly where we were going.
Bus from La Ceiba (Cristina Bus Terminal) to La Guama
Cost: 550 HNL for two ($23.29 US)
Time: 5 hours, including a rest stop for lunch
When we got out of the taxi at the Cristina terminal, one of the guys working there immediately asked ‘La Guama?’ (I suppose this must be a popular route for tourists). Though we were there around 9, we had missed the 9:00am bus and purchased tickets for the 10:00am. The bus runs all the way to Tegucigalpa, so make sure you tell the bus driver you want to get off at La Guama, and even tell him/her you’re going to D&D Brewery. As a fail-safe, watch on Google Maps so you know when you’re getting close; though we had told the driver where we were going, and had purchased tickets to La Guama, he still drove by the fork in the road and we had to call out to him to stop.
Despite this being a chicken bus – it was very expensive for Honduran standards. You could go to San Pedro Sula and then onwards towards D&D for cheaper – likely adding an extra hour or so to the trip.
Tuk Tuk from La Guama to D&D Brewery
Cost: 150 HNL (we tried for less, with no luck) ($6.35 US)
Time: 30 minutes
After being dropped on the side of the road and left in the dust, we looked around for a taxi. We spotted some tuk tuks across the road and made our way over. After speaking with 3 and trying to negotiate we settled on one guy who offered to take us for 150 HNL. As we drove beside the lake toward Pena Blanca, we noticed that our driver was turning off his engine whenever we were going downhill. I wondered if he had checked his fuel gauge before offering to drive us. About 250m from the entrance to D&D Brewery, his tuk tuk stopped. He apologized, but we said we were ok to walk and hoped that he could get help or fuel from nearby!
Day Two: D&D Brewery
Cost for two nights: $30 ÚS for private room with shared bathroom
We decided to stay at D&D Brewery for 2 nights to break up the trip. It was nice to have some craft beer for a change, and the food was pretty good – though expensive for Honduras. There are lots of activities to do – from getting a massage, nearby hikes, kayaking and other guided hikes. The owner is super friendly and helpful in making plans!
Day Three: Lake Yojoa (D&D Brewery) to Leon, Nicaragua
Total Cost: $93.59 US for two
Total time: 9 hours including waiting time between transfers and border crossing
This part of the journey was relatively straightforward. We opted to take Tica Bus which goes directly from La Guama to Leon, Nicaragua. You can book this directly through D&D and the cost is $40 US (same as booking directly with Ticabus). If you are heading to Managua, the same bus goes there and I don’t believe there is an added cost.
To save a bit of money, you could take a bus from La Guama to Tegucigalpa, then another bus to the border with Nicaragua, and then a final bus to Leon.
Taxi from D&D Brewery to La Guama Crossroad
Cost: 250 HNL ($10.59 US) arranged by D&D Brewery
Time: 20 minutes
We left D&D just before 6:00am, despite knowing that the bus wouldn’t be arriving at the crossroad before 7:00am. It was ok though – better safe than sorry when travelling by bus in Nicaragua. In fact the bus arrived after 7:00am, so there was lots of time for people watching along the side of the highway.
Ticabus from La Guama to Leon, Nicaragua
Cost: $80 US for two
Time: 8 hours
I have to admit, it was nice to not have to get off at the Honduras border, lug our bags across and then try and find transportation on the other side. That being said, you still do have to get off the bus on both sides to get your passport stamped and, in Nicaragua, to have your luggage x-rayed.
Taxi from bus stop into City Center
Cost: 75 NIO ($2.40 US) for two
Time: 10 minutes
One thing we didn’t realize is that we wouldn’t be dropped off at the Tica Bus terminal in Leon; instead we were dropped just outside the city center and had to get a cab. We shared the 150 NIO ride with another couple.
So there you have it – we spent $177.48 US for two people, plus the cost of our accommodation at D&D which was super reasonable at $15 US per night! No doubt, you could do this trip for less (especially if you didn’t use Tica Bus) but we thought this was a good balance of efficient and not too costly.