Southern Nicaragua’s most important town center, Rivas is a commercial center whose small population (under 50,000) helps it retain an old-world charm. Few travelers travel specifically to Rivas as a destination proper, but it remains an important companion town for San Juan del Sur , providing a better selection of medical, banking, and shopping services.
Rivas is also the site of a Costa Rican consulate, in case you have immigration issues.
Don’t discount it as inconsequential however; it’s one of Nicaragua’s more pleasant cities, charismatic and enjoyable in its own right, and not lacking in historical sites  worth visiting.
Rivas is often hot because of its low altitude, but a cool lake breeze from Lake Cocibolca makes it bearable. Rivas is known as Ciudad de los Mangos due to the abundance of the trees in and around the city; swarms of chatty chocoyos (parakeets) feast on the fruit, their calls filling the skies around sunset.
Rivas was known as Valle de la Ermita de San Sebastián until 1717, when a delegation of pious villagers traveled to Guatemala, the capital of the republic at that time, to request their little town be declared a villa with the name of La Pura y Limpia Concepción de Nuestra Señora la Virgen María.
Capitán General del Reino Francisco Rodríguez de Rivas granted the request, and to thank him, the villagers modified the name to La Villa de la Pura y Limpia Concepción de Rivas de Nicaragua. Thankfully for travelers and mapmakers, over time the name contracted to something shorter.
Buses leave Managua ’s Roberto Huembes terminal for Rivas every 30 minutes. Several express buses depart in the early morning before 8 a.m. Express buses to San Juan del Sur  and the border at Peñas Blancas  will let you off on the highway at Rivas. They leave Huembes at 5 a.m., 8 a.m., 9:30 a.m., and 3:30 p.m.
A good way to reach Managua, Masaya , Carazo , and the Pueblos Blancos  (such as Catarina) is to take one of the express minibuses, which leave from El Mercadito on the south end of town about once every hour ($2.50). Regular buses leave from the market on the northwest side of Rivas. The last bus for Managua leaves from the Texaco station on the highway at 6 p.m. Four daily buses go to Belén and six for Las Salinas  (9 a.m., 11 a.m., 12:40 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 4 p.m., and 4:30 p.m.).