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 by means of 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 superb (I’m penning this from the completely beautiful Antiqua, Guatemala) one nation has stood out as an surprising 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 optimistic, 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 it is best to add to your journey plans this 12 months. 

Every single day and each new place in Nicaragua was a nice shock, however listed here are 8 issues that basically shocked me: 

The Security

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

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

That being mentioned, 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 charge than its way more widespread 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 notice this firsthand.

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

Presently, Nicaragua has a degree 3 journey advisory from the U.S. State Division, largely as a result of restricted healthcare availability and poor legislation enforcement points.

As a traveler, when you keep in the primary vacationer areas reminiscent of San Juan Del Sur, Granada, Ometepe Island, Leon, and the Corn Islands, you need to be wonderful, though I might completely carry medical health 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… properly, 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 outdoors Granada, the place you may 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 earth you may 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 notice stunning nature all over the place you flip. The birds, fish, mammals, reptiles, and every part in between will shock you.

I skilled most of this on the superb 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 big iguanas simply chillin’ across the garden.

Other than these creatures, the sheer quantity of colourful and engaging 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 snicker 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 brilliant shade, 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 undoubtedly miss when this journey is finished. 

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 type of traveler.

That being mentioned, I do respect a great seashore city with a browsing vibe. The southern city of San Juan Del Sur is precisely that and makes a straightforward begin for any journey by means of 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 may remind you of a mini Rio De Janeiro and extra locations to eat and drink than you could possibly probably get by means of, this seashore city is one to remain some time and chill.

On the coast alongside the Pacific you can see different smaller cities, reminiscent of 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 widespread seashore city of Las Penitas.

Throughout the nation, situated about 50 miles into the Caribbean, you can see the idyllic Corn Islands, and whereas I couldn’t embrace them on this journey as a result of time, they’re undoubtedly on my radar for an additional 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 not sure if it might be simple to navigate the transportation and methods to attain all of the (ever-growing) variety of locations I needed to incorporate.

Nevertheless, one of the best factor about Central America is that getting from level A to level B may be as simple or as low-cost as you make it.

Hen busses join the whole sub-continent roughly 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, largely 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 probably need to go in Nicaragua is properly related by transportation, and shuttle busses typically value lower than $30 an individual, with door-to-door drop-off.

It’s value noting that personal drivers will also be fairly low-cost right here as properly, and I used them a couple of instances once I couldn’t make shuttle instances as a result of work. The most effective tip is to get a card from one you want and preserve utilizing them. 

man standing outside bus

Undiscovered Gem 

One factor that basically shocked me in Nicaragua (and in El Salvador as properly) is the variety of vacationers it appears to obtain. Now, there have been vacationers all over the place we went; sure, this nation isn’t 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 folks, 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 People would possibly nonetheless take into account Nicaragua not attention-grabbing 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 might desperately use some extra vacationer {dollars} of their economic system, they usually 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 stunning 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 keep 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 can be cheaper than others. For instance, I used to be ready for Costa Rica and Panama to be extra expensive than Nicaragua and El Salvador.

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

Now, some areas undoubtedly 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 potential to seek 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 reminiscent of 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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