TRAVEL TIPS: NICARAGUA - BlueMarble Vagabonds
Travel tips Nicaragua
Nicaragua Travel tips

TRAVEL TIPS: NICARAGUA

on
March 3, 2019

Nicaragua is interesting and diverse travel destination, which will inspire both nature lovers and adrenaline enthusiasts. Wikipedia tells us that Columbus reached the area of today’s Nicaragua already in 1502 and surely he must have been enchanted by the beauty of the country as well 😉 Travel tips Nicaragua are here to help you plan your perfect trip!

TRAVEL TIPS NICARAGUA: BEST TIME TO VISIT

The best time to visit Nicaragua is in during dry season between April and November, when temperatures are somewhat more bearable. Nevertheless, you can travel there also during the rest of the year, but it will be a little bit hotter and you can experience a downpour now and then. Nicaragua is best to be avoided in September and October, when some roads (in more remote areas) may be inaccessible due to heavy rain.

 

Leon is one of the hottest cities in Central America

Leon is one of the hottest cities in Central America

TRAVEL TIPS NICARAGUA: HOW TO GO

Unless you are entering the country either from Honduras or Costa Rica, you’ll want to take a plane. Check Jetradar and Skyscanner to find good offers.

 

TRAVEL TIPS NICARAGUA: TRANSPORTATION

BY BUS – between bigger towns buses are avaliable (similar to second class european buses). You can choose from several companies, two reliable ones are Tica Bus and Nica Bus.

BY CAR – car rental proved to be a great idea because we had freedom to explore the country at our own pace. For 30 €/day, you can get an economical car (our was Kia Picanto) with basic insurance. Take a look at rentalcars.com to find something for yourself.

BY CHICKEN BUS – as I have already mentioned in the article Travel tips: Guatemala, slightly less comfortable (and sometimes questionable), but for sure the cheapest choice of transportation. 🙂

BY PLANEif you intend to visit the Corn Islands, the domestic carrier La Costeña will take you there. The price of the return flight is around 160 € and it is quite pricey for the domestic flight. It seems that they can afford this, as there is no competition, and the ferry sails from Bluefields (city on the eastern coast of the country) to the islands only once per week (please correct me if you have more recent/different information).

BY SHUTTLE -this turned out to be slightly more expensive option. A 6 hour shuttle from San Juan del Sur across the border to San Jose in Costa Rica costs about 60 €/person (we therefore rather went by bus).

 

By car you can reach little beach villages

By car you can reach little beach villages

TRAVEL TIPS NICARAGUA: WHERE TO SLEEP

Due to the political crisis in 2018, there are still not too many tourist in the country (which is great if you don’t like crowds), so you’ll have plenty of accomodation options. There are hotels, guesthouses, hostels, cabines by the lake, and Airbnb has a network in the country as well. Take a look at Booking.com (use this link for 10% discount). If you’ll go to Ometepe Island, stay with the locals, it is unforgettable experience 🙂 We stayed at  –Cabañas Privadas Dilany and we loved it there – super friendly and talkative family and mum’s food is the best!

 

TRAVEL TIPS NICARAGUA: FOOD

There is a lot of fried food in Nicaragua, so perhaps this wasn’t our favorite cuisine. However, their traditional breakfast “gallo pinto” was superb – fried eggs and rice with beans have never been so tasty before!  In addition to Nicaraguan food, Mexican, Italian and American cuisine (tex-mex) can be  found in tourist areas.

 

Tex-mex is popular in Nicaragua

Tex-mex is popular in Nicaragua

TRAVEL TIPS NICARAGUA: INTERNET

There is internet, but it can be painfully slow.  The locals just shrug and say: Nicaragua internet. In hostels (and some restaurants) there is free WiFi, but as mentioned, it is not the most reliable. On the Corn Islands there can be also problem with finding signal.

The 30-day package card (includes conversations, messages and 3GB of internet) costs around 18€ (search for Movistar).

 

TRAVEL TIPS NICARAGUA: MONEY

You can check how much certain things cost, our travel budget, and information about ATMs in our post Nicaragua travel budget: how much does it cost.

 

TRAVEL TIPS NICARAGUA: WHAT CAN I SEE & DO

One of the main attractions is speeding down an active volcano, which is a definite must do! It is possible to climb some other volcanoes (eg. Mombacho, Concepcion, …) and from the top of the Masaya volcano you can take a peak into the crater with boling lava.

Explore the towns of Leon and Granada, and visit the island of Ometepe. For surfing Pacific coast around San Juan del Sur is ideal, and Corn islands are a true paradise for snorkeling and diving (we were unable to visit them this time 🙁 ).

 

Seaside in Granada

Seaside in Granada

 

Smoke from the Masaya volcano at sunset - almost surreal

Smoke from the Masaya volcano at sunset – almost surreal

TRAVEL TIPS NICARAGUA: SAFETY AND HEALTH

Nicaragua is considered to be more safe country than its northern neighbor, Honduras. Despite that, something weird happened to us there. When we entered our hostel room, TV was turned on, with loud music playing. This happened two days in a row but we did not give it too much attention, because we thought it must had turn on automatically somehow. But few days later we realized 40$ were missing from our wallet, which was in little bag on the shelf while we were staying at the hostel.  Since we haven’t been using dollars in Nicaragua (and we knew excatly how much money was in the wallet), we strongly suspect those two events were connected. So, the usual caution is needed 🙂

You’ll need a filtered water bottle (or buy water in the shop). Public health is cheap, but below the standard we are accustomed to at home. For serious injuries, it is better to find the fastest possible transfer to the capital. Do not forget about the travel medical kit and the necessary vaccinations before traveling (hepatitis, typhus). There is a lot of mosquitos in Nicaragua, and man, they are persistent 🙂 So do not forget the repellent, and  consider the antimalarics as well. And get travel insurance, of course!

 

It is very peaceful on Ometepe Island....but mosquitos will keep you company :)

It is very peaceful on Ometepe Island….but mosquitos will keep you company 🙂

 

Wanna know something more about Nicaragua? Drop us a comment below! 😊

 

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