There are four places to catch a bus out of town. The easiest and most popular way to get to Managua  (or Masaya , which is on the way) is to grab a COGRAN expreso (1.5 blocks south of the central plaza’s southwest corner, tel. 505/2552-2954); these medium-sized buses leave every 15–20 minutes 4:30 a.m.– 7 or 8 p.m. Monday–Friday (they stop service a few hours earlier on Sunday).
Another fleet of minivans leaves from the Parque Sandino on the north side of Granada near the old railroad station, with regular departures 5 a.m.–7:30 p.m. Both services travel to La UCA in Managua. From there, the same vehicles leave for Granada every 15 minutes, 5:50 a.m.–8 p.m.
Regular bus service to Rivas , Nandaime , and Jinotepe  works out of the Shell Palmira, on Granada’s south side, just past the Palí supermarket. The first bus to Rivas leaves at 5:45 a.m. and takes 1.5 hours; service continues sporadically until the last one at 3:10 p.m. Nandaime buses leave every 20 minutes. Jinotepe expresos take a mere 45 minutes compared to the nearly two-hour ordinario trip through the pueblos.
Around the corner, behind the Palí, is the bus terminal with service to Masaya  (although any Managua-bound expreso will let you off in Masaya as well).
Avenida Arrellano, on the west end of Granada , is part of the San José – and Panama City –bound routes for Central American bus lines. The three offices are all located on the east side of the street, and reservations should be made at least two days in advance. The TicaBus terminal (tel. 505/2552-4301) is half a block south of the Old Hospital; be there at 6:15 a.m. for the 7 a.m. bus. TransNica (tel. 505/2552-6619) is three long blocks south of the Old Hospital, on the corner of Calle Xalteva; three daily south-bounders leave at 6:30 a.m., 8 a.m., and 11 a.m.; be there a half-hour before departure.
Granada’s crusty old ferry departs Granada’s municipal dock (tel. 505/552-2966) Monday and Thursday at 2 p.m., arriving in San Carlos  around 6 a.m. When weather permits, the boat stops at Altagracia  before cutting across to the eastern lakeshore and port calls in Morrito and San Miguelito .
The adventure costs $4 for air-conditioning and padded benches upstairs or $10 for no air-conditioning and hard wooden benches downstairs. The VIP suite/sleeper cabin is $110, and returns from San Carlos at 2 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays.
The boat can get crowded and uncomfortable, especially around Semana Santa when the lake turns bravo (rough) and the weather is hot. Get to the port early and be aggressive to stake your territory. During the rest of the year, the ride is usually languid and uneventful, and you may even be able to get some sleep on the deck.
A new option, the Barco Turistico leaves Granada Fridays at 7 p.m., stopping only in Altagracia (on La Isla de Ometepe), then arriving in San Carlos the following morning at 6 a.m. It departs San Carlos Sunday evening at 6 p.m.; cost is $20 for first class (includes coffee and drink service), $13 for economy. For more info, contact Empersario Portuario (tel. 505/2583-0256).