Since the boat to Ometepe out of San Carlos wasn't running until tuesday, we'd planned on taking the bus from San Carlos to Rivas (around the SE corner of Lake Cocibolca). No one in El Castillo had information on this bus. When we got to the San Carlos bus station we found this bus doesn't run on sundays. Instead we took the 8AM bus to Managua! It travels on the north side of the lake and meant a 9 hour ride on a Blue Bird bus mostly on dirt roads with very large potholes and ruts from the rainy season. They have to build up the bus springs to handle the rough road or they'd have flat tires constantly. Luckily I have strong kidneys!! The bus stops frequently along the road to pick up anyone who flags it down. At Managua we needed to take another bus or collectivo (a shared 11 passenger minivan) to Rivas.
It was a hot day and so all the windows were open on the bus and the dust from the road was blowing in.
Much of the ride the bus was full and the aisle was packed with people who had to stand. We had one rest stop mid-day. The road was paved for about the last 75 minutes of our trip.
When we got to Managua we found the buses and collectivos to Rivas left out of a different bus station. We took a taxi to the other station and hopped on the next bus leaving for Rivas. Another Blue Bird bus and another 2 hour bus ride.
When we arrived in Rivas it was dark and the bus station was away from town. We grabbed another taxi and asked him to take us to a hotel in town. The first one he went by was pretty run down and the second looked very nice and was just down the street from the central park. Luckily they had a room available. We were both covered with dirt, dust and grit from our bus rides.
We'd planned on heading on toward Ometepe Island today and found out the night before that there was a 'fast boat' we could take to San Carlos. The 'regular' boat left the dock area at 5AM and the fast boat left at 5:15AM but we had to reserve space the night before (which we did). The fast boat had only one stop at Boca de Sabalos and we quickly passed up the slower boat.