Mexico & Central America Forums

Post New Topic

Recent Activity

View all Mexico & Central America activity »
  1. 1 Next edition of "Fodor's Cancun & the Riviera Maya [...]
  2. 2 HAPPY THANKSGIVING
  3. 3 Tipping a driver in Tulum
  4. 4 Belize planning help-choosing your guides
  5. 5 playa del carmen what to do
  6. 6 Guadalajara quick break in March
  7. 7 Belize planning help
  8. 8 help with my itinerary
  9. 9 Quiet ocean view in Baja- rental
  10. 10 Costa Rica by car or by shuttle busses
  11. 11 San Jose to Manuel Antonio NP
  12. 12 Spanish language course in Mexico City
  13. 13 What to do for 7 days in Guanacaste, Costa Rica
  14. 14 Please help with seven day Belize itinerary with three children!
  15. 15 Cancun Terminal 4?
  16. 16 Costa Rica in Spring - Guanacaste Region
  17. 17 Book Today
  18. 18 Oaxaca City
  19. 19 Puerto Vallarta & Vicinity
  20. 20 Trip Report live from PV !
  21. 21 San Luis Potosí, Mexico and area suggestions
  22. 22 Cabos to Todos Santos
  23. 23 3 weeks in Costa Rica 1st time in Jan 2018
  24. 24 Car rental in Costa Rica
  25. 25 Trip Report Rosarito Beach and Valle de Guadalupe
View next 25 » Back to the top

Trip Report Nicaragua Trip Report Sept 2009

Jump to last reply

It's been a month since I got back, but here goes.

This was my second trip to Nicaragua. The first was a short trip to Granada and around. This was an even shorter trip to Leon and Las Penitas. The last time, there were power failures for up to five hours each night. This time it only happened once and it was during the day, so that was a definite improvement. For the first day and a half, part of Leon was blacked out and there was no cable TV or internet anywhere. The story was that it was all caused by a drunk driver hitting a utility pole.

There have been reports of an increase in crime and more hassles for foreigners, but once again I never felt uncomfortable or saw any cause for concern. Tour companies and guides do, however, make it a big scandal if you want to take a tour as a solo traveler. What's the big deal if it's "just one", especially if it's low season and there's no one else around?

The last time, I found the people to be incredibly friendly. That was the highlight of the trip. Everyone wanted to know where I was from and what I thought of their country. This time, everyone was polite and generally friendly, but often seemed a bit abrupt. Maybe it's a difference between Granada and Leon, maybe things have gotten tougher there, or maybe it was me. Just an observation.

The rice and beans is still the best in all of Latin America. I've been trying to figure out what the trick is and I'm guessing it's just a lot of oil and a lot of salt.

Flight:
TACA from New York. About $350. TACA is still better than American and a lot better than COPA, but it's getting a bit rusty these days.

Weather - September is the rainy season, but it was sunny and mighty hot most of the time.

Guidebooks:
I used both the LP Nicaragua & El Salvador from 2006 and Moon from 2007. Prices have of course gone up and some of LP's opening times are off.

Leon - It's a bit more rough than Granada, but has more to see. The Museo de Arte Fundacion Ortiz-Guardian is highly recommended. The Galeria de Heroes y Martieres is worth a quick visit. And the Casa de Cultural is no big deal. There are a bunch of nice churches and lots of political murals. There is plenty of pro-Sandanista graffiti, but how many people still support them is up for debate.

Posada del Doctor for $40 a night. This was probably the best place I've stayed in all of Central America. Great A/C, TV, reasonably clean. Nice quiet friendly place a few blocks from the Parque. And I was the only one there, which was strange but very nice. Skip the breakfast though.

Las Penitas - About one hour by chicken bus from Leon, this is a very quiet fishing village with dirt roads and plenty of chickens. During the week, at least in the off season, there is absolutely nothing going on, perfect if that's what you're looking for. It's also a perfect place to lie in a hammock and watch the sunset over the pacific. The sea is rough so be careful and only swim where there are other people around.

Barco de Oro in Las Penitas - $30 for the only A/C room. They provide mosquito nets but somehow the mosquitos found there way to the inside of the net. This is a nice place to go and just lie in a hammock for a few days. And I had a great massage for $15. Food is ok.

Tour Guide:
Julio Tours - http://www.juliotoursnicaragua.com.ni/html/index.html
Julio was recommended by someone online and he was great. Highly recommended. Julio picked me up at (and drove me back to) the MGA airport for $45 (cheaper than the $65 with Paxeos). I also took a great tour with him to San Jacinto to see the boiling mud pits, then back to Leon to the Museum of Myths and Legends, a former national guard prison, and then a long drive to the Laguna de Assososca. The countryside is beautifully green with the volcanoes always in the background. And not another tourist for miles around. The car suffered a slight mishap along the way so we had to stop at a local farm in the middle of nowhere to fix it surrounded by chickens, cows and pigs. Its a bit of a hike in the blazing sun to the lagoon but its well worth it. On the way back we stopped at a festival in La Paz Centro to see a lot of drunk Nicas attempting to ride a bull. Not a place for animal lovers.

All in all, Nicaragua remains my favorite country in Central America. Hope to head back in a couple of years, this time to the north.

Advertisement