Crossing borders – Nicaragua to El Salvador via Honduras

We had two options, and one didn’t leave on the the day we wanted to travel.  Adding to that, we didn’t want to pay the ridiculous amount of money to travel on a tourist bus when we knew we could do it ourselves.  A huge percentage of backpackers just fork out because it’s easier, and i guess there’s always this fear of the unknown and what you hear about Honduras being notorious for murders and kidnappings.  BUT… where’s the adventure if you take the easy option, right?!

We’d met another couple from Germany (hola! Christian and Susanne) through our Leon couchsurfing host and they had more spanish than us, so we decided we’d tackle this journey together. Power in numbers!  As we do, we looked online for information but there wasn’t much, but we did find just one website called Along Dusty Roads with semi-recent notes about how to cross these borders and what bus connections to get. We basically followed their notes.  Everything went quite smoothly and there was never too much waiting around.  It was a long 12 hour journey, but that’s just how they roll in Central America.

Trawling through my phone i stumbled on notes i’d made on route, intending to share them online to hopefully help other backpackers.  So here’s how we crossed from Leon, Nicaragua to El Salvador via Honduras, on local buses, for a quarter of the price of the tourist bus.

26th January 2015

7:00 am Leon – Chinendega

Minibus c25 + luggage c15, buy bus tickets from caged tix booth near the queue, journey took 1 hour.

8:15 am Chrinendega – El Guasaule

Chicken bus c30, easy connection and was waiting ready to leave.

10:00 am Exit Nicaragua

5-10mins walk to border to exit Nicaragua (on left side). Fee of c50 to leave the country.
No stamp out even though i asked for one – there’s a 4 country agreement.
Walk over bridge

10:45 am Enter Honduras

Very friendly customs pulled us into side room (took 10mins), stamped passport and paid US$3.

11:15 am Left Nicaragua/Honduras border

Found ‘mini bus directo’ (small terminal on right side just near Pollolandia) to El Amatillo US$6, they wait until it’s full.

We paid $5 each travelling with a group of 4. Travelled non-stop to El Salvador border.

1:30 pm Exit Honduras

Easy customs – no line, no payment. Stamped passport.
Walked over bridge. Wait in line for 20 mins to enter El Salvador.

2:15 pm Enter El Salvador

2:25 pm Bus to San Miguel

Cost $2, nice big bus.
Once in San Miguel terminal, there were many buses to different destinations in El Salvador.  We left Chris and Suse here and went separate ways.

4:15 pm San Miguel – San Salvador

Nice big comfy bus, great views of sunsets over volcanos on the horizon.

7:00 pm Arrived San Salvador 

Bus terminated in what felt like a dodgy area, at night, in a city known for its crime. Got a cab to our hostel 🙂

N.B. nobody was kidnapped… this time.

And of course, here’s some iPhone pics. DSLR was safely tucked away.

bordercrossing-001 bordercrossing-002 bordercrossing-003 bordercrossing-004



  1. Oh my thank you so much! Exactly what I was look for 🙂 this is such a help. I’m planning to do exactly this on Saturday as part of my epic bus journey up to Mexico. Flights are just crazy prices at the mo and so are the shuttles. I really appreciating you sharing 🙂 ta!

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