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Self-driving from ACS airport to Leon, directions?

Melbourne, Australia
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Self-driving from ACS airport to Leon, directions?

Hello, we (2 adults and 2 kids) are planning on driving our rental car from ACS to Leon next week. First trip to Nicaragua and so not familiar with navigating the country. Google maps recommends heading due west, straight through Managua for the shortest trip.

I'd heard that driving through Managua can be confusing and to take the right turn out of the airport to head east, and then loop underneath Managua and avoid the city roads. Can anyone speak to these options?

Tips are greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!

Granada Nicaragua
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1. Re: Self-driving from ACS airport to Leon, directions?

If you go left and follow the big main road straight you are not really "in the city".....keep going and you will see signs for Leon...not many signs so keep eyes peeled...the first ones are like 5-6 km out from the airport (MGA). Actually pretty easy.

Looping out of the airport to the right does not take you underneath Managua...it leads to the countryside.

Managua, Nicaragua
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2. Re: Self-driving from ACS airport to Leon, directions?

Greetings 123Roger;

I think you must mean MGA, the Managua airport? Don't turn right, that is a good way to head towards Granada or Matagalpa, but definitely not Leon!

There are two highways to Leon, the new and the old. The old Viejo Carretera a Leon is actually brand new and really nice, better than the new Nueva Carretera a Leon.

So go on Google maps and see what the routes are, I recommend the Viejo. To get there you'd turn left out of the airport and look for the Puente Desnivel (overpass bridge) get off the Carretera Norte highway there, then turn left going underneath the overpass. Keep going straight through town, passing through two roundabouts. Finally you'll get to a place where you must turn either left or right, turn left. Then there's another intersection with signage for the Viejo Carretera a Leon. Just keep driving, about 1 1/2 hours and you'll roll right into Leon. This way is better IMO as you are on a suburban road getting through Managua not a more congested highway.

Cheers, Mike @ El Portón Verde, Managua

Managua, Nicaragua
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3. Re: Self-driving from ACS airport to Leon, directions?

As was mentioned, dont go right, and try to go around Managua. All the traffic will be bad no matter where you go, so going around doesnt ease up on traffic, it just makes the distance WAY longer.

elportonverdes suggestion is good (though you pass through 5 rotundas/roundabouts that way, not 2), but takes you through the entirety of the city. including some of the worst backed up traffic spots (that road getting to the rotunda over carretera masaya is my most hated spot in the city for driving). There is also a lot of construction on that road currently, which adds to the traffic.

I would suggest simply turning left out of the airport and heading straight on the road. From there you have 2 options. Unlike what amen9 had mentioned, you cant exactly stay straight on that road, since its not technically a through road to Leon, but its close.

Option 1. You can stay straight on the road until it dead ends in a residential area in the west side of Managua. From there, you just make a little jut over, take a short left, and your first right. Then go straight through the residential area. Eventually you will pop out onto a bigger road and right out of Managua. One you hit the dead end at the highway, you will take a right and follow that to Leon. This is the most straightforward way out of the city, as other than that little jut over, and the turn onto the highway outside of town, its straight through one road. This is the option i take when i drive to Leon.

Option 2. You can follow the google maps "highway" to stay on the largest through roads through the city. Turn left out of the airport. When you get to the center of the city where you will see giant colored metal trees, you will have a large intersection. On your right is a huge building that says "casa de jehova". Technically this is the end of the highway, so turn left. At the first intersection where there is stop light, youll see a giant park on your left. Turn right at the stop light.. Follow that road as it curves to the left around a baseball stadium. The road curves a couple times. Just stay on the main road and dont turn off. At the end of town the road takes a hard left around a large hill. Stay on the road going left. At this point you have two options. The next major intersection right after the US embassy, which is 2 stop lights down, you can go right and take 1 road to Leon, OR just stay on that road cause in a couple kms it curves to the right and is the 2nd road to Leon.

Melbourne, Australia
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4. Re: Self-driving from ACS airport to Leon, directions?

Thank you all so much. I love this trip advisor community and we are so excited to see Nicaragua!

Melbourne, Australia
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5. Re: Self-driving from ACS airport to Leon, directions?

Thanks for clarifying the airport! Yes, I was using the name initials, Augusto C Sandino :)

6. Re: Self-driving from ACS airport to Leon, directions?

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