You can get to Chinandega from Managua on a mini bus or bus in Huembes Market. This costs $3 and takes 2.5 hours and is very safe.
You can also get a mini bus (collectivo) from Leon (terminal) to Chinandega (terminal) every 15 minutes. This costs 23 cordobas (1$), and takes about an hour.
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