Entering Honduras via Ocotal, Nicaragua
Bus Fare: Rivas to Managua: $2.25 US
Taxi to the correct Managua Bus Terminal: $18.00 US
Managua to Ocotal: $3.25 US
Ocotal to Los Manos, Honduras: $0.50 US
Los Manos to El Paraiso (The next main terminal): $0.50
Fees: Nicaragua Departure Tax: $1.75 US
Honduras Entry Fee: $3.00 US
Lodging: $16.00/Night – Hotel Mirador in Ocotal, Nicaragua (Just in case you miss the last bus of the day like we did)
Immigration: 10 Minutes
We started our journey across the border in Rivas. We boarded a local bus that was headed for Managua. After talking to the porter and explaining where we were trying to go he said that we would need to get off at a certain stop and then taxi to a different terminal. We jumped in a taxi, an adventure akin to Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, and headed for the correct station. Once there, we purchased our bus tickets and had just enough time to use the restroom and buy some fried chicken off some dudes head. Next stop Ocototal. This leg of the trip took us about 5 hours, but it was a long 5 hours, bumpy and lots of stops.
Once in Ocotal we knew we had one bus left to cross the border and get into Tegucigalpa. It was already late afternoon; the journey had definitely taken longer than we anticipated. Not really sure where to go we walked over to one bus and they pointed us in another direction, once in that area of the terminal we found the right bus, but the porter explained that we would not make it to Tegucigalpa that night. Not wanting to be stranded at the Honduran border we took the safe bet and stopped in Ocotal for the night.
If you happen to be on the same route and need lodging for the night there is an excellent choice just across the street from the bus terminal. $16.00 for a double bed, private room, with en suite bath. And on the same side as the bus terminal at the top of the hill directly across from the hotel is a little comedor, she makes the best fried tacos.
Early the next morning, 5:00am to be exact, the Ocotal bus departs the terminal headed for the Honduran border. It’s an easy 1 hour or so drive, since you’re on a collective you’ll be picking up and dropping off along the way. The bus driver was very kind in making sure we knew where to go once off the bus. We grabbed our packs and headed for the Nica exit station. We showed our passports, paid our fees and then asked where to go next, the guy behind the counter curtly said, Honduras. What I meant was, where is customs, what direction, things like that, but we just walked away and headed the opposite direction from where we came.
We saw what look like a border entry and began to approach the guard; someone stopped us and asked us for our receipt. We had papers, stamps, but no printed receipt. So we turned around and started to head back, a man was walking toward us and asked us what we were doing, we explained the situation and he quickly brushed it off, turned us around back toward the Honduran border, spoke some Spanish to the guard who originally turned us away and we were allowed through.
We got in line for immigration, which was just a small building with walk-up service. She was very nice, asked us where we were going, had us fill out the standard immigration paperwork, and stamped away after we paid our fees and got fingerprinted, kids too.
We once again asked where to next, she pointed and off we went. It was then it dawned on me that customs was only when you entered a country so we looked around a bit and saw something that appeared to be a customs office. It was not; long story short, no customs to go through at this border stop. But we did manage to waste just enough time so that as we came over the hill to catch our next bus we saw it rolling away. Ha! To our surprise and appreciation a group of Hondurans started whistling and shouting for the bus to stop. Sure enough it did and we ran to catch up yelling our thanks as we jogged past.
Now we were on the bus to El Paraiso, a hub terminal that will get you to wherever you may be headed in the wonderful country of Honduras.