Looking at the flight prices down to Costa Rica from Guatemala appeared to be way too expensive, so the bus option became quite obvious.
The best option from Guatemala to Nicaragua was King Quality, two big names for a service which was “OK”.
As there are 3 borders to cross: Guatemala - El Salvador, then El Salvador – Honduras, and finally Honduras – Nicaragua, the plus of the international bus is that they take care of the paper work at the border while you just sit in the bus and wait.
It was a very loooong trip, initially promised as “17 hours” but altogether from door to door 23 hours. The trip started with a shuttle from Antigua to Guatemala Cuidad at 4 am. But as the shuttle arrived way too early for the start of the international bus, I had to stay in the lobby of a big hotel just to be safe while waiting in Guatemala city, the Kind Quality bus office opening only at 6 am. At 7 am the bus left with only 3 people on board for a double deck bus.
That’s where I realized that each of us has a story, a woman in a very emotional state opened herself a bit when i brought her some tissues as she was crying. She is Nicaraguan and explained me that she was a refugee in Guatemala for the past 23 years and that now she is going to meet her father and family for the first time after so long. (she was travelling with her son). In terms of history, Nicaragua has been suffering war for years. It became almost dramatic when we crossed the border with el Salvador as the border was not “informed” of her travel. So I got really scared that she could not pursue this adventure and realize this great family meeting. But after an hour sorting out the paper she could go on
At San Salvador we changed from the two deck bus to a rather smaller one. With less comfort but the bus was almost full this time. The TV was not working but the sound of the movies did. We got some food on board, which wasn’t that bad and very welcoming.
The aim for the bus was to reach the border with the Honduras before nighttime, as it gets dangerous to drive at night in El Salvador. We just make it in time. At the last border with Nicaragua, we had to show and open our bags, but this was just for the border officer to show who has power as he even didn’t dare looking at the bag. I tried to sleep a bit but between too much air con or too warm it was fairly difficult. We finally arrived at Managua – Capital of NIcaragua at 2.30 am. The time to hop on a taxi and pay 3 times the normal price because “it’s for your security” said the taximan. And arrive at the small hotel I booked beforehand to ensure a good night.
The climate even at night is very hot and quite humid in Managua, so it was not easy to find sleep.