Gringos Guide To Driving Mexico, Central America & Costa Rica
Managua - San Juan del Sur

Managua – San Juan del Sur

DRIVING TIME: 2.27 hours
HWY: CA 1—CA 2

Managua - San Juan del Sur

When entering Managua, stay on the straight-away and follow the signs to Central. About 10 minutes after entering the city, you will see a sign that reads Jinotepe CA 2. Steer left. This is the road you want. Follow this road until you meet a traffic circle. Follow the traffic circle around and exit UNI-UNAN.

There is a large sign on the right. This road will eventually lead out of town and onto the road for Penas Blancas and San Juan del Sur. Note that the Interamerican Hwy changes from CA 1 to CA 2 until the border with Costa Rica.

The exit for San Juan del Sur is about 10 minutes past Rivas. From the main road, it’s another 18 km to the coastal town. Follow the road all the way to the beach. If you have come this far, please don’t miss San Juan del Sur. It’s one of the most beautiful places on the entire trip. Take a hike along the coast in either direction. There are some fabulous tidal pools. There is also some decent surf at the river mouth, just ask the locals.

Hotel & Eats

Casa Internacional Joxi is a half block from the beach and has great service, food, rooms with air conditioning, and private baths. This town offers excellent seafood. There are several restaurants located on the beach, so enjoy yourself.  

The Costa Rican border is 24 km past Rivas. The road is horrible. It takes about one hour to reach the border from Rivas or San Juan del Sur.

Learned Lessons

In Managua, at the traffic circle, follow the signs to UNI-UNAN. The signs do not indicate Jinotepe CA 2 anywhere. This is a puzzling spot, so make sure you make the correct turn-off.

Special Directions

For some peculiar reason, CA 1 becomes CA 2 between Managua and the Costa Rican border. Better to use cities as references when driving between locations. The road signs and road numbers mean very little to the local people.

Next Section of Drive

Exiting Nicaragua