Saturday, August 10, 2013

Pearl Lagoon to Managua by Bus

The day will come, that for one reason or another, you will have to leave Pearl Lagoon to return to Managua. The cheapest way is to travel by bus from Pearl Lagoon to El Rama and from there on to Managua. Although cheap, it is not for the faint of heart - the road to El Rama is rough!

The bus from Pearl Lagoon to El Rama

There is only one bus a day that is direct from Pearl Lagoon to El Rama - it leaves early in the morning - 5:30 a.m. and sometimes even earlier during the rainy season. Your best bet is to be at the basketball court (La Concha) for 5:00 a.m. This will ensure that you get a seat and you won't miss it if they decide to leave early. Don't be surprised if you share your ride with men carrying machetes. Don't worry - they are likely heading out to their farms which are located around an area called Rocky Point.

The first part of your journey is through the jungle on either side with farms hidden behind the trees and foliage. Once you near the town of Kukra Hill the landscape changes to fields upon fields of Palm trees that are harvested to make oil. 

During the dry season the road from Pearl Lagoon to El Rama is usually easy to navigate. However, with the rainy season the road deteriorates. There are parts of the road that become mud pits and navigating through these areas pose a real problem for some vehicles. Also, when there are really heavy rains there are some lower areas that get flooded and the buses can't get through. At these times the bus may be canceled. We have even heard that at times it is necessary to ferry passengers across these flooded areas with a dory (small boat) but we haven't experienced this for ourselves.

Truck caught in the mud on the road between El Rama and Pearl Lagoon

Once you arrive in El Rama you will be dropped off at the local market/bus terminal - you should arrive between 10:00 - 10:30 a.m. You now have a choice to make. You can take the "Express" bus to Managua that is at the market or you can go to the Wendelyn Vargas terminal and take the 12:00 noon bus. Sometimes, due to the competition for riders, you will be told that the Wendelyn Vargas bus isn't running. If this is your choice you may want to check at the terminal to make sure. There isn't much difference in the price but the "Express" bus will deliver you to the Mayoreo terminal rather than the Ivan Montenegro terminal where the Wendelyn Vargas bus goes. Also, from my understanding, even though the "Express" bus leaves El Rama sooner both buses arrive in Managua about the same time - 5:00 - 5:30 p.m.

Bus information for Wendelyn Vargas Transport

Traveling from El Rama to Managua allows you to see some of the beautiful countryside of Nicaragua. After leaving the RAAS you will travel through the Department of Chontales (cowboy country) where you might get stuck in a cattle drive and also Boaco where you will see the beautiful, artificial Lago Las Canoas.

Boaco, Nicaragua

Boaco, Nicaragua

Artificial lake (or reservoir)  - Las Canoas in the department of Boaco

Lago Las Canoas, Nicaragua

Lago Las Canoas, Nicaragua

Lago Las Canoas, Nicaragua

Whichever way you go - sit back and enjoy the ride.

Cost for transport:  Pearl Lagoon to El Rama - C$150 ($6.13 CDN). El Rama to Managua via Wendelyn Vargas C$160 ($6.54 CDN)