You can get to Chinandega from Managua on a micro-bus or chicken bus from Mercado Israel Lewites; they run frequently all day. The microbus costs 80C and takes 1.5-2 hours and is often airconditioned. The chicken bus will take an extra hour but cost probably half. [Apr 2016]
If you're near the UCA bus station in Managua you could take a micro bus first to Leon then transfer to Chinandega. All micro/chicken buses from Leon leave from the "Terminal de bus" frequently. This costs 23 cordobas (1$), and takes about an hour.
Note all buses going or arriving from the east go to the bus terminal at mercado "El Bisne" in the south-east corner of town. All buses going or arriving from the smaller towns like Jiquilillo to the west leave from 'El Mercadito' in the north-west corner. The distance walking between them is 2km, or take a taxi for ~25C.
Hitchiking is an option, as is renting a car.
Local buses run between the Parque Central, Bisne (the large peripheral market), the old market, and other points. Taxis are abundant. If driving, take into account the fact that most streets in town are one-way.
In Chinandega city you can either
There are school buses that leave from "El Mercadito" to go to other parts of Chinandega province, such as the town of El Viejo, where the rosquillas (cheese crackers) are famous.
The town itself is not terribly alluring, and it can be a hot, still place full of traffic, but at night it cools down and comes alive. The Parque Central area fills with strolling families taking their kids to the well-lit play areas, and a row of food kiosks sells food and fruit shakes at good prices.
There are many sights that make Chinandega a great place to come:
Going to the central park is a good past time. There are many carts selling hamburguers and milkshakes. You can also take the famous "bus pelon" for a ride around the town - for just 3 cordobas. It is a way to enjoy the cool night air.
The best food is either at the Parque or in the restaurants nearby.
You can satisfy your need for USA-style food from
There is also great food from the many fritangas on the side of the road.
Also, do not forget to try TONCUA! It is the most delilious fruit ever. Ask street vendors if they know anyone who is selling Tonqua.
The best pizza in Nicaragua comes from Pizza HOT... love the name, but love the pizza more. There are 2 Pizza Hots in Chinandega!
If you want gourmet food, check out Jack's, which is on main street.
Just ask everyone for directions to these various places because they will know.
There are many types of beers, both foreign and domestic to try out. A favorite is Tona which you can buy at any local pub for about 18 cordoba
This is a jumping-off point for volcano hikes and the beach at Jiquilillo. To reach there, take chicken bus from 'El Mercadito' for 25C [April 2016]. It leaves daily at 7:00, 10:00, 11:30, 15:00, and 16:30. Trip takes 1.5-2hours. You can also take a taxi for $20 which will take 45 minutes.