8 Things That Shocked Me About Visiting Nicaragua For The First Time 

8 Things That Shocked Me About Visiting Nicaragua For The First Time 

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I’m simply over midway via a Central American journey, after beginning in Panama and dealing my approach as much as Mexico, a visit which I’m finishing in 5 months whereas working full-time on-line as a digital nomad. 

Whereas each nation has been wonderful (I’m scripting this from the completely beautiful Antiqua, Guatemala) one nation has stood out as an sudden spotlight.

I’m speaking about The Land of Lakes and Volcanoes itself, Nicaragua

Sunset in the streets of Ometepe Island with the Concepción volcano in the background, a bus in the front

Being American, most of every part I had heard about Nicaragua earlier than planning this journey was not constructive, to say the least.

Let me wholeheartedly say that I’m so glad I didn’t hearken to the misguided warnings and that I used to be in a position to spend a month traversing my approach throughout this beautiful Central American gem. 

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Nicaragua is definitely not the only country in Central America that is still a bit undiscovered, and there are many in this region that you need to add to your journey plans this 12 months. 

Day-after-day and each new place in Nicaragua was a pleasing shock, however listed below are 8 issues that actually shocked me: 

The Security

Let’s begin with the one factor that involves thoughts if you first hear about touring in Nicaragua. Is it protected?

Whereas some media protection on the nation and its management doesn’t paint the nation in the very best mild, as a traveler there for a month, I by no means skilled something that made me really feel unsafe. 

That being stated, I wouldn’t stroll round many locations after darkish, however I wouldn’t do that in most international locations in the present day. Some research have proven that Nicaragua has a decrease crime fee than its way more standard neighbor of Costa Rica (one other nation I by no means felt unsafe in). 

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Fisherment preparing to go fishing in Lake Managua, Nicaragua

Nicaragua is the second poorest nation within the Western Hemisphere, and touring from one location to the following, you will note this firsthand.

There’s numerous poverty right here, though from what I noticed, it was principally within the countryside, and the cities didn’t appear to have too unhealthy of a homeless drawback. 

At the moment, Nicaragua has a degree 3 journey advisory from the U.S. State Division, principally as a result of restricted healthcare availability and poor regulation enforcement points.

As a traveler, in case you keep in the primary vacationer areas comparable to San Juan Del Sur, Granada, Ometepe Island, Leon, and the Corn Islands, you have to be wonderful, though I might completely carry medical insurance with you. 

Urban skyline of Granada city at sunset with its spanish colonial architecture, colorful cathedral and beautiful rooftops with the Nicaragua Lake in the background, Nicaragua, Central America

The Nature and Wildlife 

For a rustic that is named the land of lakes and volcanoes, it certain has… nicely, numerous them. One exercise many do right here is volcano boarding down the spectacular Cerro Negro, simply reachable from Leon.

I opted for a extra laid-back expertise and headed to Laguna de Apoyo simply exterior Granada, the place you possibly can chill and swim all day within the volcanic lagoon after which take a straightforward hike as much as the highest of Masaya Volcano to see the sundown and the effervescent lava (one of many solely locations on the planet you possibly can see this!)

Masaya Volcano with visible lava pool and glowing exhaust fumes and gases in twilight, Masaya, Nicaragua, Central America.

Nicaragua has about 7% of the world’s biodiversity, and you will note lovely nature in every single place you flip. The birds, fish, mammals, reptiles, and every part in between will shock you.

I skilled most of this on the wonderful Ometepe Island, the place I used to be awoken by howler monkeys, noticed spiders greater than my hand (in my bathe, no much less) and large iguanas simply chillin’ across the garden.

Other than these creatures, the sheer quantity of colourful and interesting birds I noticed in Nicaragua actually gave Costa Rica a run for its cash. 

toucan in nicaragua

The Colours 

On a stroll within the little city of Moyogalpa one night, I commented on all of the paint shops that this small city had. To which my husband replied, “Have you ever seen the homes?!”

I needed to snort as a result of, sure, after all there’s a paint retailer on each nook, as a result of each home on this nation is painted some neon vivid colour, one after the following.

The entire metropolis of Granada, for instance, seems prefer it may need been painted to be an Instagram backdrop, however nope. They’re simply colourful right here.

The colours of locations like this in Central America are one factor I’ll positively miss when this journey is completed. 

colorful house with van

The Seashores 

Let me get this out of the way in which proper now; I’m on no account a surfer. I’m way more of a let’s seize a drink and watch the sundown sort of traveler.

That being stated, I do respect seaside city with a browsing vibe. The southern city of San Juan Del Sur is precisely that and makes a straightforward begin for any journey via Nicaragua, because it’s simply over the border from Costa Rica.

_back view of a young girl sitting on a swing overlooking the volcano concenpcion on ometepe island, Nicaragua

With a Jesus statue that can remind you of a mini Rio De Janeiro and extra locations to eat and drink than you would probably get via, this seaside city is one to remain some time and chill.

On the coast alongside the Pacific you’ll discover different smaller cities, comparable to Playa Mardras and Playa El Coco, each good choices for a really quiet vibe. Within the northern a part of Nicaragua’s Pacific coast, you’ll find one other standard seaside city of Las Penitas.

Throughout the nation, positioned about 50 miles into the Caribbean, you’ll discover the idyllic Corn Islands, and whereas I couldn’t embrace them on this journey as a result of time, they’re positively on my radar for one more go to. 

Beach Swing at Little Corn Island

The Ease Of Journey 

Earlier than this journey, I had numerous reservations about touring round Central America. I used to be uncertain if it could be straightforward to navigate the transportation and find out how to attain all of the (ever-growing) variety of locations I wished to incorporate.

Nevertheless, the very best factor about Central America is that getting from level A to level B could be as straightforward or as low-cost as you make it.

Rooster busses join the complete sub-continent kind of and oftentimes value lower than a cup of espresso.

top of white church in leon nicargua

Subsequent up is shared shuttles, which I used 99% of the time, principally as a result of time restraints and being previous and cranky and never wanting to hold my (additionally ever-growing) backpack round.

The place any customer will seemingly need to go in Nicaragua is nicely linked by transportation, and shuttle busses typically value lower than $30 an individual, with door-to-door drop-off.

It’s value noting that non-public drivers can be fairly low-cost right here as nicely, and I used them a couple of instances after I couldn’t make shuttle instances as a result of work. The very best tip is to get a card from one you want and preserve utilizing them. 

man standing outside bus

Undiscovered Gem 

One factor that actually shocked me in Nicaragua (and in El Salvador as nicely) is the variety of vacationers it appears to obtain. Now, there have been vacationers in every single place we went; sure, this nation shouldn’t be a secret anymore, and other people do come right here.

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Nevertheless, what did shock me was the place these vacationers have been coming from. In my month of assembly individuals, I should have solely come throughout 4 different American vacationers. Many I met got here from Australia, some from Germany and France, and some Canadians. 

It appears to me that Individuals may nonetheless contemplate Nicaragua not fascinating sufficient or too harmful to go to.

Each of which couldn’t be farther from the reality.

Additionally, with increasingly flight options from the States, it couldn’t be simpler to succeed in this fascinating vacation spot.

Moreover, Nicaraguans may desperately use some extra vacationer {dollars} of their financial system, and so they deserve it.

Tourist tour for jesus christ statue in Nicaragua. Above view on San juan del sur

The Historical past  

One declare to fame of Nicaragua is that it gave the world one of many biggest names in Spanish literature, Ruben Dario. After spending his life as a diplomat, poet, and journalist, Daio is now a nationwide hero. 

If you wish to see some lovely preserved historic cities, Leon, Granada, and Ciudad Antigua have been the primary established by Spaniards after they reached the shores of Nicaragua.

Wander their historic facilities and take within the structure and tradition; simply bear in mind to look each methods for the quite a few horse and buggies that zip round these streets all hours of the day. 

Guadalupe Church at Granada, Nicaragua

The Worth-tag 

Going into this journey, I knew some counties in Central America could be cheaper than others. For instance, I used to be ready for Costa Rica and Panama to be extra dear than Nicaragua and El Salvador.

And but, simply how cheaply you would get by in Nicaragua nonetheless shocked me. 

Now, some places positively value greater than others. For instance, San Juan Del Sur didn’t appear all that low-cost to me, particularly when it got here to lodging.

Nevertheless, it’s attainable to search out lodging on the otherworldly island of Ometepe for subsequent to nothing, and Granada additionally has many low-cost choices obtainable.

Other than lodging, day by day bills comparable to transportation, sim playing cards, meals and drinks all additionally value lower than I anticipated. 

cliffs in sunset on coast of nicaragua

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