Nicaragua Travel Information
I have lived in Central America since 1991. Often when I would mention that I was going to travel to Nicaragua, my Costa Rican neighbors would lament my plans to travel to Nicaragua warning me that the country was full of guns and criminals and that it had no hotels or infrastructure for tourists. I was warned that Nicaraguan real estate was very risky as there were at least three different title documents proving three different land owners for each property. Meanwhile other friends, mainly my German friend Lutz, had already purchased huge farms with ocean access and ancient forests that he hoped to turn into an eco-destination resort. Lutz had much to praise about Nicaragua in the 1990's and he did in fact make a lot of money from his Nicaraguan real estate investment. (If you know Lutz would you have him call me please.)
On my first trip to Nicaragua, the first thing I noticed was the horrible filth and confusion of the frontier, or border crossing at Peñas Blancas. Both sides of the boarder, Costa Rica and Nicaragua, were setup like a ride at disneyland except the attendants had all gone on permanent lunch break while I was on the ride! I was able to make my through this madness by following others who seemed to know the way. And once across the border and into Nicaragua the first thing I noticed was that there were no houses or shacks anywhere along the first 30 kilometers of road into the country, just what appeared to be one very large farm, or finca as it's called in Spanish. Back in Costa Rica shacks where everywhere along the road, many setup by squatters to utilize land that was otherwise not used. But here in Nicaragua, the land all belonged to one person, or corporation, at least between the border area and the town of Ribas.
I was riding on a local bus, reminding me of a trip through Mexico in 1979, with broken windows and smoky motors and relaxed happy people eager to talk to me, the American tourist on vacation. The people were so friendly and lovely I found myself falling in love with them all that day on the bus. But soon I was on a new bus that was crowded with people going home from work and too tired to talk to a stranger. I sat happily squeezed into my seat bodies warmly touching and good vibes all around. I wondered how Americans with 'personal space' issues would handle such an experience.
Soon I was in the the beach side town of San Juan del Sur to pass a few days of rest while my VISA was renewed. I walked around town looking for a Pension or Hotel to stay in and finally choose a nice place with an ocean view and only $30/night including a light breakfast. I took a shower and headed out to see what the town offered in refreshments and food. I found the beer quite different from Costa Rican beers and refreshing. And the best deal of all was the Mercado where I ate the best meals of all my travels in Nicaragua for only $3.
I bought a prepaid celular telephone for $25 which included 100 minutes of talk time and it's own phone number. Three days later on my way back to the border, i gave the phone to a pretty girl because it would not work for me in Costa Rica.
As night approached I discovered David's Bar and spent every evening there chatting with the expats, drinking beer and enjoying excellent food. I even consider moving to this wonderful country.
I really enjoy traveling in Nicaragua and find the people pleasant and helpful. I look forward to my next vacation travel in Nicaragua. Won't you join me?