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shineonyou 09-11-2008 12:19 AM

Transportation/ Buses in Cen Am
I was thinking about going somewhere in Central America this January, but I'm wondering how the buses are. I don't really mind mild discomfort, and I imagine the time/ distance can't be too ridiculous within a country, but I got to ask about the roads. Is it very mountainous? And are the buses reliable i.e. won't break down? Are there strikes that interfere with bus traffic?

Because I think I developed a minor busphobia while in Peru. My last bus ride, I basically had a nervous breakdown. I have been to Costa Rica. That was in 2005, and I didn't have too hard a time with the buses there, but I would rather see another Central American country. And I think some of those bus rides would affect me a lot more than they did then...

I know this probably seems ridiculous, but it takes me days to get over a truly terrifying bus ride! And so this will definitely factor into my decision of where in the world I will go with my month off in January.

Any info on buses in any Central American country would be greatly appreciated!

AKguacamole 09-11-2008 11:55 AM

I only have info on Costa Rica's buses, which you probably know all about. I've heard from friends that buses in nearby countries are about the same as CR. I've also heard some bad stories from the buses in Honduras/Belize, which I will spare you the details of..... but of course such episodes are likely to be rare since so many people use buses as main transportation.

maracle 09-11-2008 01:01 PM

What is it specifically that freaks you out? Is it driving right next to cliffs all the time? I know that's what I noticed in Peru, I always seemed to be 3 feet from a thousand foot dropoff :huh:

Joker 09-11-2008 09:40 PM

Yeah, with nothing but a barbed wire fence that looks like it's being held together with grass to keep your bus from going off the edge...

Thing is, bus is the most reliable method of transportation through C. America because the terrain doesn't allow for widespread rail. That, and do you really want to be sailing on updrafts in a small twin engine plane? That's the stuff "Movie of the Week" is made of! :D

I found the buses in CR were pretty damned good on time. This may not be the case in other countries, specifically I've heard Guatemala isn't that great on timing. The other thing is to seek alternative transportation, similar to the Interbus lines in CR. May cost you a bit more but its going to undoubtedly be quicker. Also, combinations of boat/taxi/bus too, if its there. That $19 trip (versus $5 for public bus) saved me about 6 hours on a bus, and got me some great views of Volcan Arenal. Well worth it.


shineonyou 09-15-2008 03:50 PM


Originally Posted by maracle (Post 189845)
What is it specifically that freaks you out? Is it driving right next to cliffs all the time? I know that's what I noticed in Peru, I always seemed to be 3 feet from a thousand foot dropoff :huh:

That would be it! Plus I'm already inclined to think that buses are going to tip over everytime they make a turn. I don't know why I feel this way, but I always have even on city buses. I just managed to get used to city buses. But oh, those 1000 foot dropoffs!

Thank you everybody for the info! It looks like my grad school may be sending people to El Salvador, so I may try to go with that group and get credit towards my degree and be told what transportation to take! But I hope to go somewhere either way.

ride_natty_ride 01-02-2010 01:04 PM

For those of y'all out there who have done the bus thing in central america, i was wondering which (specifically, please) bus lines have been taken, where you went, what the prices were, etc. I'm sure I could (and will) begin looking up specifics online, but first-hand advice is always appreciated.

I have a (very tentative) plan to fly into cancun, hit up the mayan ruins at chichen itza, etc., and then go on to belize, costa rica, guatemala and honduras. this will be my first major out of country (U.$.) trip, so this itinerary is subject to change, i am sure... but i have a love affair with buses (am not opposed to hitching, however), and would love to see these places firsthand.

mahalo! (thanks)

~ melissA

marc873 01-03-2010 10:31 AM

Hmmm, I have been living in Nicaragua for almost 5 months now, and the Chicken buses are a fucking blast... Mild discomfort, smells, animals, if that shit bothers you, you dont need to me in Guat, Honduras,or Nica... If its just cliff side roads, then you are prob. fine... Just remember, it IS Central America, and its supposed to be very fucking different and not the norm of what you may be used too.. That is what traveling in C.A. is like... Dont mean to sound harsh, but damn, that kind of adventure is what backpacking C.A. is all about... Being stinky and dirty, crammed into a bus for maybe 50, but theres a 100... Its all the adventure of traveling here... Open up, relax, and enjoy the adventure!!!!

freespiritz 01-04-2010 03:36 AM

Chicken buses are definitely part of the fun of CA! I got around fine on public buses which are the main mode of transportation, and cheap, but it does pay off to take the tourist shuttle between some major routes ie Copan Ruinas in Honduras to Antigua Guatemala. I was trying to be all local and budgety and shit, and chose to take local transport which involved about 3 bus changes and actually ended up costing more than the direct tourist shuttle...learn from my mistake, haha! :p

For the long distance buses I rode TicaBus a couple of times and they were fine. I took them from wherever the ferry leaves for Roatan to Copan Ruinas, and then from Leon in Nica (I think that's where I was) all the way through to San Pedro Sula in Honduras.

Sorry I don't remember prices but my journal from that trip got stolen (not in CA though, hehe)

augentier 01-25-2010 09:34 PM

the bus system in central america is is the main way of transportation for a LOT of people there..i never experienced a breakdown and it is an exciting and amusing experience..

the busses in panama are awesome...they have installed subs and massive speakers and play reggaeton and american rap really loud..they have spinning colorful's pretty awesome

ride_natty_ride 05-15-2010 10:33 PM

buses in yucatan, belize, and guate
hey y'all!

so, i bought my ticket today (well, one of two or three), and i'm SUPER GEEKED!! going to be headed into cancun (as much as i don't really wanna fly into cancun, it's cheaper than merida), and then to chichen itza, tulum, then merida, then back east and into belize and guate. i know i wanna go to one of the cayes, lake atitlan, antigua, the market at chichacastenago (or something like that!), semuc champey, some other ruins, and anything else that crosses my path :) shoot, i'll be there six weeks, and i know that time will FLY by!

anyways. anyone with ANY info. about buses between any of these places, or just a general 'feel' of how accessible they are - i mean, i've done the greyhound thing, but i don't know ANYTHING about how easy it is to get from somewhere to say, lago atitlan, ya know? :) so... basically anything helps, i know they're called CHICKEN BUSES and are rumoured to be a blast. i'm thrilled; i love buses.

thanx for anything! :)

namaste, blessed b,
~ melissA

russellthomas 03-17-2011 01:38 PM

According to me travel with the car is more beneficial for you rather then bus. You should hire a car on rent. There are many companies that provide a car on cheap rent. You are free to travel and you also don't have to wait.

marc873 03-26-2013 10:09 AM


Originally Posted by russellthomas (Post 205915)
According to me travel with the car is more beneficial for you rather then bus. You should hire a car on rent. There are many companies that provide a car on cheap rent. You are free to travel and you also don't have to wait.

Your spanish better be wicked good for the border crossings with a car, and be prepared for a very lengthy process and have ALL your paperwork for the car ready!!

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