Tica Bus vs. Transnica (and others)

As I write my question I am reminded of the joke of the man who runs up to the airline counter, sweaty, red in his face, out of breath and says to the ticket agent "Miss, you must help me! I need to get to Mexico City in the worst way!"

The Agent shakes her head and says, "no sir, that would be our competition."

So that brings me to my primary question. As far as bus travel between Managua and San Jose goes, which company do you recommend more as far as comfort and service?

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TransNica vs. TicaBus qualidad

Transnica: horrible departure lounge in Managaua BUT excellent location just down the road from metrocenter. TicaBus: Excellent departure facility, modern building, efficient staff, location out somewhere in Western Managua on a back street.

Speed and route almost identical. Takes a different street in Granada but big deal.

Equipment: Transnica buses have had issues every time(4) - no TV, speaker system, dirty baños, seats that don't recline. TicaBus (2 times) were cleaner, better baños, 1 time the TV showed DVDs other time not. Seats worked.

San Jose end, terminal has the same story, Transnica unattractive, TicaBus good. Both within 4 blocks of CocaCola and an easy walk to hotel Meson de Angel.

TicaBus sometimes has sandwiches on board. Sometimes the TransNica stops at a decent restaurant on the CR side.

Price: TicaBus was $1 more than TransNica last time I did a compare about 3 months back.

Is there a company that is

Is there a company that is named King Quality that also plies this route?

I travelled on Tica Bus from San Jose to Managua a year ago and froze my ass off at night-- they like to say that they have air conditioning and do their best to prove it.

Kingquality website

King Quality bus line central america

Serves Mexico, Guatemala El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica

Kingquality bus line website is entirely written in Flash. GREAT if you like flash BUT google and yahoo will never read that site which is why you cannot find it with search engines. ALSO impossible for people of limited visual acuity since screen reading software will not touch it. They need to fire their web designer; he is costing them a lot of lost customers.

Looks nice though.

In case you are wondering why the big header lines on this post: Google just loves headers above links so perhaps in a week or so, KingQuality will start getting a few more customers. :-)

King Quality

I don't think they have ever had a functioning website, but they do exist. They offer a pretty good service, comparable to Tica Bus (my last trip on them was 2005 though) or even slightly better. Though prices have surely changed in the 2 years since I used them, they did cost more than Tica Bus or Transnica. I arranged for nearly a dozen people to get from Managua to Guatemala via their service in 2005 - and not all on the same bus. Then, they were a little faster than Tica Bus, but were nearly 40% more. The people I sent were quite pleased by the service. They are or used to be across the street from Tica Bus in Managua, and might still be at: 228-1454. On that day anyway, all I saw were impressive new buses. While not the route you listed, I have used them several times for other routes into Guatemala and Mexico. Price shopping can be confusing at times since the company "King Quality" has two classes of buses, "Quality" and "King". You pay a good bit more for King service, and I am not sure it is worth the extra money, mostly because their Quality service seemed perfectly acceptable (at times, I have been offered the "King" ticket for "Quality" price, becuase the other bus was nowhere near full). It might depend if you want to sleep on the bus. Last time I used it anyway, the King service had chairs that reclined much further/better than any other bus we have used in Central America. I dont sleep onboard, but the people I was with did, and they still tout that bus. I have no idea if all their buses are the same model though. As a general rule, if local busing is not of interest to you, Tica Bus is a good answer, and if full look at King Quality.

King Quality

the difference between King and Quality service is not a difference in buses but in seating. They have King Quality in the lower part of what is a double decker Volvo bus. The lower section is more private and VIP style with a stewardess who looks only after the lower compartment VIP section passengers. Difference in price between the two sections is approximately 30 dollars on trip from Guatemala City to Nicaragua. The bus changes in San Salvador and is replaced by an ordinary Primo class bus for the trip on to Managua.There is an additional change of bus at a stop in Honduras on the way to Managua.King Quality has a new station now in Managua about a block or two from Tica bus.King Quality is arguably the best bus line I have traveled on in Mexico or Central America.However-I don't believe King Quality goes to Costa Rica or south of Managua. I might be wrong but I don't remember any service that far south.

After writing the 1st bit above I decided to do a little more checking and King Quality according to the Lonely Planet blog site does run to San Jose Costa Rica-return trip to Managua is 42 dollars US Take King Quality if you can afford it_ I really like their service


The buses that enter and leave Honduras are not all double decker buses (I am not far from the border of Salvador-Honduras-Nicaragua and rarely see double decker KQ buses). I guess this is only for certain routes, and the corporate website is incorrect in several regards. I think the units going south are or were based on the older buses. It was not hard to find complaints on newsgroups last year and this about the lack of Quality on the King Quality route to Costa Rica. That seems to have changed now. As noted in another post the KQ website isn´t worth much and is hard to find, and read. I saw the address on the back of another KQ bus the other night and came back to post it and see it was already done. KQ has a new routes in Salvador and Honduras that do not show up on the websiteñ they are or appear to be in-country only routes. These are nice buses, but ¨Quality¨ class only.

TicaBus unit 104 is faulty and old

The air conditioning control is an on off switch and it stays ON all the way. If you are getting on the bus and see '104' get your jacket and sweater out. Its an old bus, lots wrong with it.

I haven't

used any bus services to Costa Rica, but, I HAVE heard from others who have, and Transnica seems to be the "nicer" of the two. Maybe someone who has actually used these will answer as well.

slight preference for Tica Bus

Tica bus station in Marta Quezada is in relatively hi crime area. Should be no problem if you take a taxi directly there. Also has a hotel and comedor inside. Next trip i plan to catch the ticabus in Granada to see if I like that route better.

Sometimes it is much better if the DVD doesn´t work!!! Is a free lousy movie a net benefit?

Took Nicabus from Esteli to Sanjose once. Grossly overpriced--I think they must be charging the full Tegus to san jose fee. Bus was great, food mediocre, had to off load at MGA terminal so they could figure out which bus was going to CR.

Plan on using Nicabus next trip north to Tegus. rumor has it that Ticabus now allows entrance in Esteli, have to check with their ticket office.

Either brand is good; there is also a Central Line in Marta Quezada with a 10 am Mondays only trip to San Jose. Time seems more convenient than the 7am and noon runs.

No matter what, bring a sweatshirt or something because at times the ac will freeze you out, especially on the san Jose side.


we´re planning a january minivacation to Panama. We called the P. consulate in MGA and they say Nicas need just their passports PLUS proof of $500 US. They say that a bank book and debit card will serve this purpose. Needless to say we will try to wrap this all up in MGA or SJ before heading for the border. Kids need a note from parents, but it doesn´t sound like its a big notarize and sign in blood thing like in the states.

Also, Ticabus to P. is a night flight/see nothing trip. Another outfit called Panaline has daylight travel.

¨¨patas de perro¨¨