Getting to Las Penitas

How do I get from Leon to Poneloya and Las Penitas?

By bus

Price: 10 cordoba per person

Time: 40 minutes or more

Schedule: Every 45 minutes (4:30 AM – 6:00 PM)

Terminal: El Mercandito (de Suitaba)

  • The “chicken bus” for Poneloya / Las Penitas leaves from El Mercandito (de Suitaba).
  • From 4:30 am to 18:00 pm, buses will leave every 45 minute.
  • The bus costs 10 cordoba (approximately 50 cents USD) and the money will be collected by the conductor once you have left the city.
  • The bus will stay as soon as anyone wants to get on or off the bus (no fixed stations), so how long the journey will take varies. Expect it to take at least 40 minutes.
  • The bus will head for Poneloya first, and travel to the bay located at the furthest end of the village. At the bay, it will turn around and head back the same way it entered. If you are going to Las Penitas, don’t jump off the bus now thinking you’ll end up back in Leon otherwise. As soon as the bus exits Poneloya it will make a right turn and you’ll be in Las Penitas.
  • Since there are no fixed stops, you’ll need to tell the conductor where you want to get off once you’re in Poneloya or Las Penitas, e.g. by telling him the name of your hostel. The main streets of Poneloya and Las Penitas both runs parallel to the beach (just one row of houses in between) so if you’re just heading for the beach you can get off anywhere.

By taxi

Price: 150-250 cordobas per car

Time: 15 minutes

When taking a taxi from Leon to Poneloya or Las Penitas, always negotiate the price in advance. The road has been in horrible condition and this has jacked up the cab fair, but now when the rood is finished the price is starting to drop again. Expect to pay 150-200 cordobas (approximately 7.5-10 USD) for the 20 km (12 mile) ride, maybe a little less if you’re willing to turn down a lot of drivers and wait for one that’s more desperate. Also, some drivers will accept a lower price offer when you’re alone, just like some will expect to get more if you are several people and a lot of luggage.

By car

Time: 15 minutes

If you’re in Leon, take the Ruben Diario road west, past the Texaco station and El Mercandito (de Suitaba). Then just follow the highway, after 10-15 minutes you will be able to see the ocean.

How do I get from Managua to Poneloya and Las Penitas?

You start out by getting to Leon first, and then follow the instructions above.

Express bus Managua – Leon

Price: 40 cordoba / 2 USD per person

Time: 90 minutes

Schedule: 4 AM – 9 PM from UCA, 4 AM – 8 PM from Mercado Israel

Terminals: UCA and Mercado Israel

  • In Managua, there are express busses leaving for Leon at the UCA bus station and at Mercado Israel. (UCA = Universidad Centroamericana, the terminal is located across the stress from the university.)
  • As soon as you approach the terminal, you will hear the drivers calling “Leon”, “Granada” etc depending on where they’re heading so it is very easy to find the right bus.
  • The express bus leaves as soon as all seats are taken and you seldom have to wait long before this happens. You don’t have to purchase a ticket in advance, just get on the bus.
  • The luggage compartment isn’t very big so if you travel with a lot of stuff and your lap is already full you may have to pay for an extra seat for your luggage to sit on.

Chicken bus Managua – Leon

Price: 20 cordoba / 1 USD

Time: 2 hours and 10 minutes

Schedule: Every 40 minutes (5:10 AM – 7:30 PM)

Terminal: Mercado Israel

How to get from the bus stop in Leon to El Mercandito (de Suitaba)

The buses from Managua stops at “el terminal” while the bus to Poneloya / Las Penitas leaves from “el mercandito de suitaba” on the other side of town. The easiest and fastest way to get from el terminal to el mercandito is to take a taxi. It costs 15 cordoba per person and there are always plenty of cabs to choose among at el terminal.

Sometimes the taxi driver will offer to drive you all the way to Poneloya / Las Penitas; don’t accept this offer without negotiating a fixed price first.