Pre-planning for trip to Nicaragua - Advice needed

Old Jun 1st, 2005, 02:19 PM
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Pre-planning for trip to Nicaragua - Advice needed

My family and I are hoping to go to Nicaragua in Feb '06 and are trying to narrow down where to go on the Pacific side. We have 7 nights and are looking to fly into Liberia. We'd like to rent a car and spend two nights in Monteverde. I understand that Alamo is one of the few companies that allow you to drive into Nicaragua. This seems like the best way to get around, rather than trying to fly on NatureAir. And, since our trip is so short, we'd rather not use public transportation.

For our 5 nights in Nicaragua, we'd like to see volcanoes, colonial towns and wildlife. Where should we base our stay? I looked into Morgans Rock but it is rather expensive at $195 a nt (per person). Is there another upscale ecolodge in the general area? We could also split our stay in Nicaragua between, say, Omepete Island and Granada if that made sense.

Anyways, I'd appreciate any hotel and town suggestions... We are not dead set on tagging on Monteverde but have never been to a cloud forest before and thought it sounded great. If there is a comparable area in Nicaragua, let me know. Even if we skip Costa Rica, we'd still probably fly into Liberia (we may take a charter flight from Toronto). Thank you!
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Old Jun 1st, 2005, 06:23 PM
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Check with Alamo to be certain. In any case, you cannot take the vehicle you rent in Costa Rica out of the country. A representative of the same rental agency in Nicaeagua would have to meet you on the other side of the border with a Nicaraguan car. I know this option comes at a hefty surcharge, whichever company does it.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2005, 08:54 AM
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Well, that certainly changes things - I don't want to have to change cars. Do you happen to know any travel agents in Nicaragua that you can recommend? I will see if we can coordinate things with an agent and find a driver.

I've done some more research and found the Pelican Eyes Hotel in San Juan del Sur and the Hotel Gran Francia in Granada. Are these two areas diverse enough for our vacation? We'd like to also see Omepete and Mombacho.

Thanks again!
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Old Jun 2nd, 2005, 07:40 PM
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I like Oro Travel in Granada:

www.orotravel.com
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Old Jun 3rd, 2005, 09:53 AM
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If you're really set on Nicaragua, skip Monteverde this trip -- you only have 7 nights, and you need to allow travel time back to the airport. From Liberia, taking the bus to Nicaragua is not awful, and from there it's easy to get to San Juan del Sur, Ometepe, Mombacho / Granada.

I highly recommend Ometepe if volcanos are your main interest. Granada is also beautiful. There are boats between Granada and Ometepe, too. Let me know if you'd like more details, I've been to NI twice in the last 5 years!
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Old Jun 3rd, 2005, 01:45 PM
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There is boat service between Granada and Ometepe only a couple of times a week. The much easier and quicker option is to grab a boat in San Jorge, the lake port near Rivas. There are two car ferries and several passenger-only boats each day.
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Old Jun 4th, 2005, 07:46 AM
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In case you didn't see it below is an answer I made before to a similar post:

"We stayed at La Casona the night we arrived from US and then went to Morgan's Rock the next afternoon. I would highly recommend it for comfort and service. Another hotel you might look at is the Alhambra. It is right on the central square, the lobby was very elegant and it has a small swimming pool which might be good for kids. Others like La Casona are more like inns or B&B's while Alhambra seemed like a full service hotel. Granada itself is worth a day for the city, cathedral, market, lakefront, etc. We wandered around, saw part of a women's baseball game, watched families enjoy the beach, enjoyed a cold drink at a cafe on the central square, perused the market, etc. I would plan the day trips that you do, which could include the islands in the lake (hundreds of them), volcano, crafts town of Masaya, maybe coffee plantation, be arranged from Granada. MR has wonderful activities, all of them on their own property, from kayak, hike, horseback ride, massage, farm tour, fishing, and of course the pool and the beach. But, as it is about a 30 minute drive on the unpaved road in and out of the resort, it is less convenient for daytripping in and out, and you won't miss it with all there is to do right there. You might like to be in touch with the travel agent we used. (I don't usually book through an agent but "stumbled" on this one when I was trying to book the night in La Casona.) She is based in Costa Rica but does business also in Nicaragua. She is fluent in English. She booked our Granada hotel and our airport car service to get there. We corresponded by e-mail and also by phone. Patricia Alvarado,
[email protected] or
[email protected], Expediciones Tropicales & Amigo Tours, Tel: (506) 257-4171, (505) 552-4080, Fax: (506) 233-5284 // (505) 552-7677, www.costaricainfo.com.
www.granadanicaragua.net. You could also just wait and arrange day trips when you are there. There were several "eco tour" agencies with offices on the main street that runs from the central square to the lake which offer day trips. There was also a little agency on that street that gives hourly Spanish lessons which could be fun as an introduction to the culture. Also check out this article from Outside magazine which has other good ideas. http://outside.away.com/outside/outs...caragua_2.html. Have fun planning your trip!"
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Old Jun 4th, 2005, 07:48 AM
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I also meant to tell you that others we met at MR had come from CR by private car service. The travel agent could help you I am sure.
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Old Jun 4th, 2005, 04:56 PM
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Thank you all so much - this is such great information! We'll have to think long and hard about whether to visit Monteverde during this trip. We have all been to Costa Rica (Osa peninsula and Tamarindo) before so maybe we should concentrate on Nicaragua...
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Old Jun 21st, 2005, 02:30 AM
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I am also planning a trip to Nicaragua in January. How did you coordinate transfers from Managua airport to Granada? Did you make Morgan's Rock reservations yourself or through a company? Did you stay at any hotel in Managua? We are considering flying into Managua and then going directly to Granada. We would like to stay there two nights then transfer to Morgans ROck for 4 nights. We would need to stay in Managua for the last night because we would have an early flight out. Would the companies previously recommmended be able to coordinate the Managua/Granada portion? Thanks!
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Old Jun 21st, 2005, 04:05 AM
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The transfers from the airport directly to Granada the first night were arranged through the travel agent
I mentioned. Then a guy met our arriving flight as we exited immigration with our name on a card. Easy as anywhere. For Morgan's Rock, yes we made reservations directly through their website. MR arranged our car service from Granada and again back to the airport. In my research it was mentioned that Managua was not really worth seeing as the city was leveled in an earthquake in the 1970s. Before I figured out that Granada would be a good place to spend the first night before going to MR, I first had made a reservation at the Best Western Mercedes, through the Best Western website. It is right across the street from the airport. I didn't have a chance to actually go to the hotel but the pictures looked nice. That might be your best bet the last night if you have an early flight. MR is so great that you will want to stay there until the last possible minute. Enjoy planning your trip!
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Old Jun 22nd, 2005, 02:04 AM
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Thank you very much! Your help was greatly appreciated. I will contact the travel agent to coordinate our Granada portion. I really am looking forward to Nicaragua.
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Old Jul 25th, 2005, 02:52 PM
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I spent a few days on Ometepe Island in late 2001 and climbed the Madera volcano. I believe it is a 4,000 foot vertical rise - rather challenging so I hope you're in shape. Necessary to get up at 5 AM or so to do this trek depending on where your hotel is.

When I was there the viewpoint at the top was completely overgrown with brush so there was no view to be had from the summit. Also it was raining hard so that may have contributed... maybe there were other viewpoints we could not see. Also possible they have cleared the brush since then.

Still it was a fun climb if you like that sort of thing. Just pray for clear weather.

I remember Ometepe as a nice, peaceful, relaxing, rural island. Not a lot going on there.

Granada is also beautiful and I think you'll like it there.

If you do go to Monteverde you are going at a good time to see the resplendent quetzal. Make sure you hire a guide with a spotting scope. Yes it costs a few bucks but you will be glad you did. Just pay it. Also don't miss the ranger-led night hike.

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Old Aug 8th, 2005, 10:46 AM
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If you want nature at its best and not at resort prices, check following web site
www.haciendacosiguina.com.ni
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Old Sep 6th, 2005, 12:22 PM
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I just saw an e-mail from Costa Rica Expeditions that they are starting up a "Nicaragua Expeditions" as well. They can probably help with all this if you are interested. http://www.nicaraguaexpeditions.com/index.html
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Old Oct 15th, 2005, 07:26 PM
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I have stayed at the Best Western. It is OK, clean and with good services, but the rooms seem like they are converted old army barracks- however, I would stay there again. It is DIRECTLY across the street from the airport- you can walk over.
Also, Granada isn't too far- so depending on the time, I would go there (as a first choice).. Consider Piedras y Olas (also called Pelican Eyes) in San Juan del Sur as an alternative to Morgans Rock. Very upsale, with beautiful hotel rooms or Casitas and a fantastic restaurant.
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