Bus Transport: Guatemla to Nicaragua

As I just did the homework on this, I figure it is worth a post. As for why a bus, let me just say that COPA inspired me to return to Nicaragua by bus.

Excursiones "María José"
This is the one you are not going to find anywhere on-line. They leave from Hotel España, 9a Avenida 15-59, Zona 1 on Tuesday and Saturday (some time in the afternoon) and go to Managua. 16 hours. I forget the price but cheap. Phone is 5400-4510. Trips from Managua leave Sundays and Thursdays at 8AM. Managua number is 2260-0517.
Leaves at 1PM from Zona 12 arriving in San Salvador at 5PM. Overnight there then leaves at 5AM arriving in Managua at 5PM.
del SOL
Leaves at 1:45AM (yes, AM) from some yuppy hotel in Zona 10. Direct, 16 hours.
King Quality
They have this fancy web site that doesn't tell you anything and based on the way I have seen them drive I decided it wasn't worth further investigation.

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King Quality

I remember looking at some uninformative KQ website 6-7 years ago, so apparently they have not done anything since then (some Flash only setup with non-functioning links and font 2 details). It has been 3 years since I was on King Quality so quality and service (and safety?) may have changed. But, the 3-4 times we used it, it was a very good service. Nice buses, maybe then the nicest in C.A., and more space per passenger than competitors, if in King class. It was then clearly the most expensive bus line, though you do not always have the option of King Class on all routes (especially in Honduras). I was helping someone and my ticket was paid for by them, so it didn’t matter to me but I would not have paid the extra money had it been me alone. I do recall they have more than one bus on routes, and on the key route more than one class ticket on the bus (the key route then used double-decker buses). King Quality is a Tidenca outfit. They sometimes shares buses with other lines within the Corporation so in some countries on less than highest bus class, at times the moniker might be Quality Express or Cruceros Gulfo. They stagger exit times per class/bus, and trips target arrival not departure time. So, you often leave at 2 or 3 a.m. It is common for the 3rd? and 1st/2nd class buses to leave 1 hour apart for the same destination, so be sure to ask if you call or they might only give you the time of the most expensive bus: phone in Guate is 2369-0404 & 2369-0458 (out in the 15th Zone, Vista Hermosa 96); in Managua is 228-1454 & 222-3065 (Circa Plaza Inter).

1 trip

on King /Cruzeros Esteli to Guate about 3 or 4 years ago. Great luxury bus except for the restroom. Expensive, but they must have paid the border fees because I paid only $1 to cross 3 borders on a US passport. Problem is, in Esteli they leave the Starmart parking lot at 4 am.

Note on coming back from Honduras--not all Honduras to Managua buses go thru Esteli--you have to check. Some go the Leon route.

"You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality." Ayn Rand

Border Fees

My understanding is there shouldn't be any if you are just traveling in the CA-4. Once in one country you have your tourist visa (for, generally, 90 days). And even flying into Guatemala on a US passport there is no fee.