At La Omaja we want to make your Nicaraguan vacation as pleasant and worry-free as possible. To that end we are happy to arrange safe, reliable taxis for you on the island and also on the mainland if you like. TAXIS are:
Between La Omaja and:
San Jose $30
Port in Altagracia $30
Balgue/Finca Magdelena $25
Ojo de agua/Santo Domingo $25
ON THE MAINLAND
Between the port in San Jorge and:
San Juan de sur $20
Playa Maderas $30
Penas Blancas $15
Playa Gigante $30
If you would like for us to arrange taxis for you just send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org with the travel times and destinations and we will take care of the rest!
Arrival in Managua by Plane
• You will be arriving in Managua at the Augusto C. Sandino Airport, one of the newest and most modern airports in Central America. Upon arrival you will pass through immigration where officials will review your passport and provide you with a 90-day tourist visa for your stay in Nicaragua.
• Once past immigration proceed to the baggage collection area, a one-room area with two baggage claim turnstiles. Also in the baggage collection area you will find kiosks representing the major hotel chains in Managua. If you have pre-arranged transportation through one of these hotels, immediately proceed to your hotel’s kiosk and from there you will be directed to your transportation. After collecting your baggage, you will have the option of stopping in one of several duty free shops before making your final exit through customs. Note that when you are leaving the baggage claim area there will be two exit lines, one line, typically the longest, is for Nicaraguans who are bringing in large amounts of baggage and subject to search for taxes and duties. The other line is typically quite short and only requires a quick check of your passport by an immigration official. As a tourist you want to get in the shorter, express line.
• Upon exiting the airport you will be greeted by a number of bellboys and taxi drivers looking to help you with your luggage and offer you transport. If you haven’t pre-arranged transport through your destination hotel, it is safe to use the airport taxi drivers. Note that airport taxi drivers should be wearing a red shirt and a nametag with the “airport transport” label on it. Do not use taxis if they are not so licensed. Some guidebooks advise that less expensive local taxis can be found by passing through the airport parking lot to the street in front. While this is true, there have been a number of reports of various scams and robberies by these unlicensed taxis. It is best to pay a little extra for the safety and security of airport or hotel-licensed transport and avoid the risk of a bad vacation experience.
Arrival to Nicaragua from Costa Rica
Arrival from Costa Rica on Ticabus
If you are coming to the Island from Costa Rica on Tica Bus, Transnica, or King Quality bus lines, the trip is quite simple. These full service bus lines have large, comfortable, air conditioned buses that show movies during the trip. The bus staff takes care of all documents during border crossing and while passengers are required to get down from the bus for a brief inspection, it is much faster and simpler than the tourist crossing on public bus or taxi. Once across the border, the bus will make a stop in Rivas where local taxis will be waiting to take you to the dock in San Jorge for $1.5 per person.
Arrival from Costa Rica on public bus or Taxi
If you take a public bus or taxi to the border, you will be dropped off at the immigration checkpoint on the Costa Rican side of the border. There you must wait in line and then show your passport and recieve and exit stamp BEFORE crossing over to the Nicaraguan side. Once you have a Costa Rica exit stamp you can cross over to the Nicaraguan side and get your 90 tourist visa for $5-9 depending on the time of year and day of week. Weekends are slightly more expensive. You then leave through a gate and are now in Nicaragua, Sapoa, to be exact. The mayor of Sapoa will have a person waiting at the gate to charge a $1 entrance fee. Once you pass through the gate there will be a plethora of taxis and buses waiting to scoop you up on your way. If you take a local bus, you will be transported to the market in Rivas ($1.5 per person, 30 minutes) and from there need to take a local taxi to the dock in San Jorge ($1 per person, 10 minutes). If you take a taxi, either private ($20, 20 minutes) or shared ($5 per person, 20 minutes) you can request to be taken directly to the dock in San Jorge.
Public Transportation from Managua to Ometepe
If you choose to travel using public bus transportation, please be advised to keep a close watch on your luggage. It is also advisable to keep all important papers, like passports, credit cards and money, on your person and not in your luggage. If you would like to take public transportation from Managua to Ometepe Island, then you will need to proceed to the bus stop located at the Huembes market in Managua. From the Huembes market you can take an express bus to Rivas for approximately $3. Many express buses will make a direct stop to the dock in San Jorge where you can catch the ferry to the island. If your bus does not go directly to San Jorge, you will need to get off in the market in Rivas where there will be taxi’s waiting as soon as you step off the bus. You can catch a shared ‘colectivo’ taxi to the dock in San Jorge for about 50 cents or take a private taxi for about $3. Once at the dock in San Jorge you can catch a ferry to the island.
Private Transportation from Managua to Ometepe
• The easiest and fasted way to reach Ometepe is in a vehicle. If you choose to take a private taxi to Ometepe, you are best advised to arrange a taxi through your hotel in Managua, or through La Omaja. The taxi drive from Managua to Rivas is approximately an hour and forty minutes to two hours.
• Along the way you’ll have the opportunity to stop at a number of interesting destinations, including Masaya. The city of Masaya is famous for its colorful markets, where you can buy pottery, cigars, hammocks and other handicrafts made here in Nicaragua. Masaya is directly en route to Ometepe and a brief stop at the central market, ‘mercado nuevo’ adds about 40 minutes to your trip.
• You’ll also have the opportunity to pass through the colonial city of Granada, one of the oldest colonial cities in Central America. In Granada there is a nice pedestrian mall with an opportunity for a quick lunch and photo opportunities in the town square. Granada is not directly en route to Ometepe and will lengthen your taxi ride by about an hour.
• Also en route is Catarina, known for it´s wonderful look-out point over the lagoon Apoyo. There you will find another market with handicrafts, hammocks, and pottery for sale. Much of the pottery is made in the neighboring town of San Juan of the Orient. A visit to a pottery maker in San Juan of the Orient is possible, where you may witness, or even participate in, the making of pottery. However, prior arrangements are required and La Omaja can make this happen for you. Catarina and San Juan del Oriente are directly en route to Ometepe so the added travel time depends solely on how much time you wish to spend taking in the sites.
• The taxi will drop you off at the dock in San Jorge, an eastern suburb of Rivas. From there you can then take a ferry to the island of Ometepe. Before leaving for the island you may want to make a detour to one of the banks in Rivas. There are several ATMs and banks located in San Jorge, while there is only one ATM on Ometepe and it only accepts VISA.
• Dollars and Credit cards are readily accepted at most locations on the island.
Ferry in San Jorge
• Upon arriving at the dock in San Jorge, you will be approached by a number of bag boys and tour operators. Bag boys can be helpful if you have a lot of luggage. It is sufficient to give them a dollar for 2-3 bags. Tour operators will approach you and try to arrange hotels, taxis for you on the island and tours of the island. Note that despite claims to the contrary, none of the tour operators are independent; rather, they work on commission for specific hotels or taxi drivers on the island. In addition to quoting higher prices (and thus bigger commissions), they will also try to convince you to stay in hotels where they have contracts and will often speak poorly of other hotels in their efforts to win a commission. If you have already made transportation and accommodation arrangements for your stay on Ometepe, then just relay that to the tour operator and they should let you be.
• In general, the taxi drivers, bag boys and tour operators might seem aggressive, but most are actually quite friendly and this is just the way they know how to find customers. Please don’t be nervous or offended by their approach. It is simply a part of Nicaraguan culture; marketing here is very aggressive, and people tend to be very persistent. However, a simple wag of the index finger and a friendly “No” is typically sufficient.
• If you decide to bring you own vehicle over on the ferry to the island you will need to make a reservation ahead of time. This should be done 2-3 days ahead of time. You can make reservations on one of the ferries to Moyogalpa by calling in Nicaragua 2-278-8180 or 2-278-8190 during regular business hours. The ferry to San Jose also takes vehicles and because it it much larger there is almost always space, but to be sure make a reservation by calling 8-833-4773 on a first-come, first-serve basis.
• If you are without a vehicle, you can board the ferries directly without reservation. Once in route a ferry employee will walk around and collect the $3 passage fee in the case of ferries or $1.50 in the case of lanchas. Note that there are several ferry options:
One of the larger and more comfortable ferries. It offers air conditioned seating on the first two floors and and open air seating on the third level. There are bathrooms and a snack bar. The ferry takes you to the the town of Moyogalpa in about an hour and costs $3 per person.
A medium-sized ferry with space for vehicles on the main deck and open air seating on the second level. Also equipped with bathrooms and a snack bar, the Che Guavara takes you to Moyogalpa in about and hour for $2 per person.
The lanchas are smaller, older wooden boats that are rather uncomfortable and more so if the waters are rough. They are safe however, and make for a unique Nicaragua experience. Lanchas charge $1.5 and go to Moyogalpa (1 hour) and also San Jose (1.5 hours)
El Rey del Cocibolca
This is the newest, largest and fastest ferry. It has room for vehicles on the main deck, 3 levels of indoor seating and open air seating on the top level. There are restrooms and a snack bar on the main level. This ferry takes you to San Jose in an hour for $2 per person.
(* indicates ferries that take vehicles)
San Jorge to Moyogalpa
• 7:00 AM El Che*
• 7:45 AM Ferry Ometepe*
• 10:30 AM Ferry Ometepe*
• 11:00 AM Lancha
• 12:30 PM Lancha
• 1:30 PM Lancha
• 2:30 PM Ferry Ometepe*
• 3:30 PM Lancha
• 4:00 PM El Che*
• 4:30 PM Lancha
• 5:45 PM Ferry Ometepe*
San Jorge to San Jose
• 9:30 AM Rey del Cocibolca*
• 10:30 AM Lancha
• 5:00 PM Ray del Cocibolca*
• 5:30 PM Lancha
Moyogalpa to San Jorge
• 5:30 AM Lancha
• 6:00 AM Ferry Ometepe*
• 6:30 AM Lancha
• 7:00 AM Lancha
• 9:00 AM Ferry Ometepe*
• 11:00 AM El Che*
• 11:30 AM Lancha
• 12:30 PM Ferry Ometepe*
• 1:00 PM Lancha
• 3:00 PM Lancha
• 4:00 PM Ferry Ometepe*
• 5:30 PM El Che* (5:00 pm on Sat & Sun)
San Jose to San Jorge
• 5:30 AM Lancha
• 7:30 AM Rey del Cocibolca*
• 1:30 PM Lancha
• 3:20 PM Rey del Cocibolca*
Granada to Altagracia (Mon & Thurs only)
• 3:00 PM arriving in Altagracia at 6:00 PM
Altagracia to Granada (Tues & Fri only)
• 12:00 Midnight arriving in Granada at 3:00 AM
San Carlos to Altagracia (Tues & Fri only)
• 3:00 PM arriving in Altagracia at 11:30 PM
Altagracia to San Carlos (Mon & Thurs only)
• 7:30 PM arriving in San Carlos at 4 AM
Arrival in Ometepe
• Let the adventure begin. If you have arranged transportation through LA OMAJA, then your driver will be waiting for you at the port asking for you by name or with a small sign with your name on it. As you get off the boat, you will again be surrounded by more taxi drivers and tour operators. It is pretty much the same story as in San Jorge: taxi drivers are often paid commissions for bringing you to a particular hotel or restaurant and will attempt to sway you to go to their contract hotel. Assuming that you have done a preliminary investigation, you will know better than any taxi driver which hotel is best suited for you.
• If you are arriving in Moyogalpa there will be plenty of taxis waiting for you and some limited bus options as well. Moyogalpa is also home to Ometepe´s only cash machine located at the Bank Procredit, 5 blocks up the street from the dock. It only takes Visa. There are also a number of restaurants and small hotels in Moyogalpa if you choose to stay the night.
• Buses leave the dock at Moyogalpa for Merida at 8:00 PM and 2:40 PM and take about 3 hours. Note the 2:40 bus stops about 500 meters short of our driveway. If you let us know you are coming on the bus we can have our vehicle wait for you at the bus stop and help with your luggage.
• If you are arriving by way of San Jose it is recommended that you make land transportation arrangements ahead of time. The dock in San Jose is relatively new as is the Ferry and they are not as well connected with buses or taxis.
Directions for those bringing their own car
If you have brought your car with you and come by way of Moyogalpa, you will drive off the ferry and through the dock area onto the road that goes uphill through town about 4 blocks where it ends in a “T”. Turn right and stay on that main road for about 30 minutes. If you need gas get it at the gas station on the way out of Moyogalpa as there are no other stations on the way. You will drive through four towns before coming to a bend in the road marked by a number of billboards for various hotels, including La Omaja. At the bend, you will take a sharp right turn. Follow this road for another 10 minutes (about 8k) until you reach a fork in the road where the pavement ends (at the time of this writing they are currently paving the rest of the road in both directions, so depending on when you come the pavement may or may not end at the fork in the road). Take the right fork to Merida, the first 2k or so are a bit rough, a high clearance vehicle is recommended, but smaller cars can make it if you take it slow. You will continue another 8k or about 20 minutes on this road. Once you have passed through Merida and come to the waterfront there will be another fork in the road where you will see a small restaurant, Pescaditos. Take the left fork, our hotel is 200 meters down the road on the left hand side.
If you come by way of San Jose, drive up the road from the dock and take a right. Follow the road for 15 minutes until you come to the reach the bend in the road (where the billboards are including one for La Omaja) where you will take a right and continue as outlined above. If you need gas it is easiest to continue past La Omaja to Altagracia and then backtrack.