You say Cuba. I say Nicaragua. Let’s call the whole thing off | IOL

With the demand for Cuba extremely high at present, there are other alternatives to consider, writes Simon Calder.

 / 28 October 2016, 8:00pm
SIMON CALDER
Jesus del gran poder

Penitents carry a statue of Jesus Christ during the ‘Jesus del gran poder’ procession in the colonial city of Granada, Nicaragua.

Question: We tried to book for Cuba for a week’s holiday post-Christmas, but the travel agent said it was full to bursting and suggested Nicaragua instead, flying in and out via Miami. Would you agree it’s a good alternative?

Name withheld

 

Answer: Demand for Cuba is extremely high at present, with such limited tourism infrastructure relative to demand, it’s not unreasonable to describe it as full – especially in the capital, Havana.

Nicaragua, the largest country in Central America, doesn’t do 1950s American cars and music in quite the same way as Cuba, but it is a superb destination in its own right. The scenery is dramatically volcanic; there are a couple of beautiful Spanish colonial cities in the shapes of Leon and Granada; and an indulgent Pacific beach resort, San Juan del Sur.

You might notice I have not mentioned the capital, Managua; that’s because it was flattened by an earthquake and resembles a scattering of scruffy suburbs rather than a proper city. There are, though, some colourful markets.

My one concern is the length of the journey. In the absence of direct flights from the UK to Nicaragua, the connections are gruelling – and involve the daunting prospect of US immigration.

With only a week, you might consider flying non-stop on to San Jose and driving up the Pan-American Highway from the Costa Rican capital.

Source: You say Cuba. I say Nicaragua. Let’s call the whole thing off | IOL

We get a lot of Canadian visitors to El Porton Verde, and when I mentioned something about how “Americans” from the USA can finally begin to travel to Cuba, I wondered out loud if that will affect the number of visitors from the USA. She said to me “Don’t worry, because more Americans in Cuba means more Canadians in Nicaragua!” 🙂

So yes, folks, if everything is booked in Cuba, take a look at coming to Nicaragua instead. You can always go to Cuba after the rush is over!

Accommodation: Granada, Mombacho, popoyo vs playa maderas

Greetings Kelly:

You’ve already got some very good advice here, so I’ll just add my dos centavos. For your surfing, I would recommend Popoyo more than Maderas. There is a beginner’s break right in front of Magnific Rock and just to the north is Popoyo reef, but it’s not super sharp or anything. If you go out on the higher tides you’ll be fine. Plus if you are coming in January, the surf won’t be real big anyway… Now if you do want the option to go to San Juan del Sur, then Maderas is the call. I’ve dropped folks off at Hulakai and when they came back to stay with us again they said it was really nice. There is a little bit of a dining scene at Maderas whereas while Popoyo/Playa Guasacate has fewer restaurants albeit some much better and more international flavors then in past years.
For your transportation budget, you might save a bit if you stay at Maderas as you can bus to SJdS then take a taxi which won’t cost too much, max $20 as it’s only fifteen minutes away.
That’s it from me, have a great vacay!
Cheers, Mike @ El Portón Verde, Managua

The power of the Popoyo waves is attractive for surfers.

The power of the Popoyo waves is attractive for surfers.

Source: Accommodation: Granada, Mombacho, popoyo vs playa maderas

5 zones of Managua that will change completely in the near future

OUTSTANDING , MANAGUA , NATIONALBY ELIUD GARMENDIA,

The capital of the country is experiencing a series of changes very fast. Large buildings are visible through most of the city, and promise not to stop, at least not in the short term. In this article we show 5 zones of Managua that will change soon, either by building constructions or road infrastructure.1-Zone Colonia Central America. It is true that this sector is undergoing constant transformation, however the announcement a few months ago the construction of an 8story tower on the side of the overpass, lifting a shopping plaza in the south side and the construction of an American fast food restaurant, this place will look completely different very soon.

2-Paseo Tiscapa. This area of the Masaya highway that connects to the roundabout Ruben Dario completely transformed with the inauguration of the new National Stadium Dennis Martínez, promises to be one of the best in Latin America .

3-7 Sector South and Las Piedrecitas. This place will build what will be one of the most modern main roads of the capital. The last thing you know is that Overpass Las Piedrecitas construction company already has . The project consists of two vehicular bridges gap in what is now the lights in the park area Las Piedrecitas and the second at stoplights 7 South.

4-Parque Luis Alfonso Velasquez. Once again the lavf is being expanded by the Mayor of Managua.According to available information, the new area 8 blocks up to 20 thousand people will be built; this includes the new convention center, which can hold up to 8,000 people. These spaces will be used in 2017for the Central American Games that the city is preparing a huge investment in sports infrastructure .

5-Port Salvador Allende. The fourth stage of this mega project will include cinemas, shopping center, casinos, 13 restaurants, a hotel, kiosks, a fitness center, a water park and parking for 3,000 vehicles.According to Virgilio Silva, president of the National Port Company (EPN), with this expansion the port Salvador Allende will become the biggest tourist attraction in the capital.

What other areas creés you that will change soon in the city of Managua?

Source: 5 zonas de Managua que cambiarán por completo | Metro

Nicaragua attracts more tourists with its waves

Yohany Lopez 07/14/2016 663

Pacific beaches of Nicaragua have become attractive enough for most tourists come to surf. The data from the Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism (Intur) show that between 2013 and 2014 the percentage of tourists who entered the country and made surfing increased 28.1 percent. Statistics confirm that in 2013 the 1.22 million tourists who came to Nicaragua, 25.2 percent surfed in the Pacific beaches mostly while in 2014 this share increased to 32.5 percent of the 1.32 overnight visitors National territory. Read: Waves catch more tourists in the country Lucy Valenti, president of the National Chamber of Tourism (Canatur) explains that this is one of the main activities that places the country on the global map, not only have good surfing waves, but because it attracts investment and other tourists interested in domestic supply. “It’s coming people willing to invest. Thirty percent of those who have homes in the first developments in the area of Rivas are surfers and we believe that this activity increases the stay and spending, “Valenti said.

LAPRENSA/CORTESÍA ALAS

LAPRENSA/CORTESÍA ALAS

AMERICANS LEADERS OF THE PREFERENCE

Intur data, updated to 2014, clearly indicated that the 429.481 tourists who made surf on that date, 46.6 percent came from North America, followed by South Americans, with a share of 42.6 percent. For Valenti, Nicaragua “has tremendous potential to focus on surfing and not only that, but it attracts new business investment, tourism development in areas and expansion of residential ranging from Chinandega to San Juan del Sur in Rivas “he added after being consulted yesterday at the Superior Council of Private Enterprise (COSEP).

You can read: Five tourist destinations that can explode Nicaragua

A LATINO CHAMPIONSHIP

In this context will take place this Saturday Claro Nicaragua Latin Pro Surf Classic 2016 on the shores of Playa Hermosa, in Rivas, and is organized by the Latin American Association of Surfing Professionals (ALAS). Pre-registration can be made on the web www.alaslatintour.com until today July 14 at 9:00 pm (local time in Nicaragua). For his part, the president of COSEP, Jose Adan Aguerri, said it is a private effort and only coinciding with the arrival of 18 models for Maxim magazine. “The models come from Europe, Australia, United States, Canada and in their social networks together total more than twenty million followers, with whom we can have a high impact, because they will shoot” Aguerri said.

LAPRENSA/CORTESÍA ALAS

LAPRENSA/CORTESÍA ALAS

Good weekend

For the president of the National Chamber of Tourism, Lucy Valenti, the fact that the next July 19 is a national holiday and for workers in the States is day off on July 20 and those dates are near the weekend, they represent an opportunity for entrepreneurs across the country earning more income. “We believe that all those weekends that are close to holidays are very good for the dynamics of hotels and restaurants that welcome visitors, mostly nationals,” said Valenti. See:

Source: Nicaragua seduce a más turistas con sus olas – La Prensa

El Portón Verde Tours Visits the Masaya Volcano at Night, Sees Lava! (VIDEO)

Night Tour of the Masaya Volcano with Active, Jumping Lava!

Masaya Volcano Night Tour

Same spot, at night.

IMG_2685

Masaya Volcano in day

Masaya Volcano in day

Hello kind reader(s) and robots:

With our group of three brothers and one cousin all visiting Nicaragua together, we went during the daytime and again at nighttime to visit the Masaya Volcano National Park yesterday. Here is my report:

I was there last night (23 June) and yes you can see the lava quite well. It’s pretty well down in the Santiago crater but very visible, especially from the main promontory and also on the left side of there.

Access is quite well controlled and they do limit your time. My group and I went during the daytime too so we could visit the visitor’s center, well worth it IMO. During the day they weren’t all that strict about the time limit. There was only one park ranger and he couldn’t really keep track of all the people. However, it is officially forbidden to walk the trails. The bat cave tours also are suspended.

So back the the night tour, you can start queuing up in your vehicle beginning at 5:30 pm but I would recommend waiting like we did until about 6 or 6:30 so it is totally dark when you get up to the top. You pay $10 per personl it doesn’t matter if you are a national or foreigner. You drive up to the visitors center, which is closed after 4:30, but there is a gate there and they use that to queue up perhaps twenty vehicles at a time to allow a cohort of vehicles to drive up together.
When you get up to the parking area of the crater, try to maximize your viewing time as they are limiting the time up there to fifteen minutes. I could have watched the lava for hours as it is incredibly mesmerizing. You can also hear the sounds of the lava and it appeared that there are two currents coming in from the west and east and when the pulses coincide there is a wave of sorts…as I say, mesmerizing.
There are maybe two or three park rangers up there at the crater at night and they are in communication with the other rangers at the gates, so when time is up they use a whistle to implore everyone to get back in their cars and go back down. As you’re going down, the next cohort of vehicles is making its way up.

I hope that helps and I know for a fact you will enjoy what you see! I believe there are only three places in the world where you can see something similar, Kileaua (sic) in Hawaii, someplace in Africa, and good ‘ole Nicaragua!

Cheers, Mike @ El Portón Verde, Managua

Link to video

Mayor Prepares Plan for Managua 2040 • El Nuevo Diario

  • Managua, Nicaragua |
  • |

The mega project to modernize the entire city of Managua was presented by representatives of the capital municipality, facing the First Meeting of Key Actors, to materialize the plans with the involvement of international economic organizations. In the exhibition held on Friday the secretary general of the mayor of Managua, Fidel Moreno presented the Master Plan for Urban Development of Managua, revealing the scope of the project and will run for 24 years.

For this at the next meeting they will settle and installed various committees and technical working groups, to start work on building the future Managua 2040.

He explained that some of the strategic points that contemplates the Plan is the modernization of the road network, expansion of the drainage network of the capital, and land use planning in general.

More Lanes

In what concerns the road network, Moreno said that the expansion of lanes and main avenues of 6 to 8 lanes, construction of 9 overpasses is planned; 8 roundabouts and 27 vehicular bridges, which are needed for U $ 200 million, which includes building more secondary roads that connect the neighborhoods of Managua.

The plan envisages developing effectively modernizing the network of traffic lights, and modernize the urban transport system presented colectivo.Otro important component was the reduction of vulnerability in the capital, for which what has been analyzed up when and where the current works, all in order to create a network of effective drainage to solve the problem of flooding in the capital are emerging.

Among the international agencies working with the municipal government are the International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Inter-American Development Bank (BID) are among government entities that are involved include the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure (MTI), the Nicaraguan Institute of Territorial Studies National System for Prevention, Mitigation and Attention to Disasters (SINAPRED), the Nicaraguan Company of Aqueducts and Sewers (Enacal), and the Ministry of Natural Resources (Marena), among others.

Source: Alcaldía prepara plan para la Managua del 2040 • El Nuevo Diario

Nicaragua’s Nekupe Sporting Resort and Retreat Offers a Mountain of Amenities | Luxury Travel

The vision of owners Don Alfredo Pellas Jr. and Doña Theresita Pellas, the luxurious layout was designed by architect Iside Sarmiento, who planned each structural element’s location for optimal flow and minimal impact. Guests residing in one of the four 1,100-square-foot standalone villas will be treated to a pampered perspective of the dormant Mombacho Volcano (which last erupted in 1570) through floor-to-ceiling windows and open terraces. Each is also equipped with a separate bedroom and living area (with a flat-screen television) and a bathroom with a soaking tub, a shower, and Annick Goutal bath amenities. Rounding out the room count is La Gran Residencia which houses two 1,300-square-foot grand suites with outdoor showers and indoor bathing tubs, as well as two 870-square-foot suites with high ceilings and endless views. Each villa and suite comes with its own all-terrain vehicle (ATV) for personal transportation.

Serving as a social center, the Casa Club features a cocktail lounge, a swimming pool, and a farm-to-table restaurant serving neo-Nicaraguan cuisine prepared by Doña Theresita Pellas herself. And when it comes to nourishing a healthy balance between mind and body, the spa and wellness facility offers treatments grounded in local ingredients.

But while staying inside may be tempting, the truly exclusive experiences await in exploration of the verdant surroundings, whether by horseback riding, mountain biking, or hiking. Those with their sights set on even more action can avail themselves of the on-site sporting clay and target shooting range, ropes course, and tennis court. Also on hand are immersive cultural offerings such as Marimba and Folkloric dance classes, culinary classes, and spirited rum tastings. And if wanderlust is still not sated, day trips can be organized for oceanfront golf at Guacalito de la Isla (an 18-hole course designed by David McLay Kidd), sport fishing excursions, or surfing—all accessible within about an hour drive.

The all-inclusive pricing (save for spa services, target shooting, and premium liquor) starts at $900. With all on offer, Nekupe, which means “heaven” in the tongue of the indigenous Chorotega tribe, is sure to live up to its name. (nekupe.com)

Source: Nicaragua’s Nekupe Sporting Resort and Retreat Offers a Mountain of Amenities | Luxury Travel

A week(ish) in Nicaragua – Nicaragua Forum – TripAdvisor

Michele M San Mateo

Level Contributor 7 posts 28 reviews

A week(ish) in Nicaragua

Jun 11, 2016, 12:29 AM

Hi, My husband and I are thinking of a short trip to Nicaragua for about a week or so in early December. We’ll fly into the capitol and are interested in Granada, Ometempe Island and Little Corn Island. Need help planning tranfers from place to place. We prefer convenience over price; willing pay more to fly vs long bus or ferries. Anyone have ideas how best to get around these places efficiently? Thanks

 

elportonverde Managua, Nicaragua

Level Contributor 808 posts 22 reviews 1.

Re: A week(ish) in Nicaragua

Jun 11, 2016, 4:21 PM Greetings Michelle: Okay, let’s see if there is anything help-wise I can offer you 🙂 Well, there might be some of the regulars here shortly to tell you to drop Corn Island but really if you want to go and do it, then why not? You can take flights from Managua to both Corn Island and Ometepe Island. So that’s the good news as this will save you time.

The not as good news is that the flights to Ometepe are not daily. You’d have to look on the lacostena.com.ni website to be sure, but I think there is only one or maybe two flights per week to Ometepe. So, ideally you get your international flight into Managua as early as you can, then book your (probably afternoon) flight to Corn Island. Then, on one of the days when the flight to Ometepe is scheduled, you fly back from CI to Managua. Go enjoy Ometepe, then from there take the ferry to San Jorge and then bus/taxi to San Juan del Sur.

There is a new airport north of SJdS near Playa Gigante called Costa Esmeralda which has flights to Managua. You might consider staying in the P.G., or Popoyo areas instead of SJdS if convenience is at a premium since that would be much closer to the little (but brand new) airport.

So that said, your final step is take your flight from C.E. to MGA, then your international flight back home. Now the challenge would be to actually be able to get all those connections to work: it would a near-miracle if there are no delays, that La Costeña airlines doesn’t reschedule or have equipment problems, that your international flights all work out, that the day the Ometepe flights happen coincides with being able to spend two or three nights on CI, and that the Costa Esmeralda flights leave at a time where you can make your international flight home.

It may well be impossible to do all that, so figure out a backup plan (staying in Managua might be necessary, for example) or downsize the number of spots you’d like to visit. I hope that helps! Cheers, Mike @ El Portón Verde, Managua

Source: A week(ish) in Nicaragua – Nicaragua Forum – TripAdvisor

So is this do-able? A week or a bit more and able to see three of the main places to go in Nicaragua? I say yes, especially if you are willing to fly between locations and willing to pay for that privilege. But of course, saying it is possible doesn’t mean that it is likely that all the comings and goings described above could actually come to fruition. For the above-itinerary it’s better to spend 10 or 11 days IMO.

The Concepción volcano, one of the two that are found on the island of Ometepe in the middle of Lake Nicaragua, seen from the port of San Jorge in the western department or province of Rivas. Credit: Karin Paladino/IPS

The Concepción volcano, one of the two that are found on the island of Ometepe in the middle of Lake Nicaragua, seen from the port of San Jorge in the western department or province of Rivas. Credit: Karin Paladino/IPS

El Rosario, the highest waterfall in Nicaragua | el19digital.com

El Rosario, the highest waterfall in Nicaragua

Sunday 29 May 2016 | Carlos Espinoza Flores
One kilometer before reaching the town of El Rosario, the municipality of Murra, one deviates to the left and begins to skirt the mountain through a road where a vehicle can barely reach. After a little less than 1 kilometer there is a small house and a corral. One must continue 2 kilometers more. Upon completion, the road widens, the mountain stands tall as a skyscraper and through its walls a huge waterfall rushes majestic. It is the El Rosario waterfall, the highest in Nicaragua.The waterfall is staggered, but in winter is so strong that it literally has been eating the mountain, removing huge rocks that form small pools feet. Needless to say, the clearness of the current, the exuberance of the trees, the cheerful birdsong is amazing. If you didn’t know it was real, you’d think it is a canvas of Eden.

An elderly gentleman, white-skinned with a thick and quixotic mustache, looks up and fixes his eyes to where you can see as the summit from where the waterfall starts to rush. He is a simple man, like every farmer in northern Nicaragua, however, he has that look of pride. Why? Because the waterfall is entirely within his property.

Cascada El Rosario, in Murra, Nicaragua

His name is Juan Antonio Moreno. He is 63 years old, of which 40 he has lived among these mountains. The property is called Selva Morena, and if you take a good look around, you’ll see there is no more appropriate name, since contrary to the pine forests that characterize Las Segovias, in El Rosario vegetation is dense and varied.

Don Juan hosted a group of climbers that reached the waterfall and measured it. The end result was 120 meters high. To put it in perspective, the Estanzuela waterfall in Esteli, is 35 meters, so it is three three times higher.

Tucked between the mountains this man is no stranger to climate changes experienced by the world and the impact it is having on nature. He states that to prevent the waterfall from drying out, he has not ceased to reforest the area.

Cascada El Rosario, in Murra, Nicaragua

“It is worth taking care of the forest. I was born with that gift of caring for the forest , “he says.

“That’s why it has remained (the cascade)”, he stresses.

The property is more than 100 blocks of virgin forest that also serve as a refuge for hundreds of wild animals.

Cascada El Rosario, in Murra, Nicaragua

virgin Tourism

Contrary to other places in Nicaragua, where tourism development is booming, in this hidden paradise itself there is absolutely nothing. There are no benches, no farms, no restaurant, only friendly welcome Don Juan, who opened a small path to climb up the waterfall and stole a forest space so that visitors could park their vehicles.

Don Juan does not even have an access fee. “He who brings how to reward the leaves and not always comes , he says.

However, he says that soon and start charging.

Even though lacks any tourist infrastructure, visitors have been amazed not only by the impressive waterfall but by the love with which Don Juan protects nature.

“I have been congratulated for the care of the forest because if there is no forest there is no water , he says.

Cascada El Rosario, in Murra, Nicaragua

An adventure trip

Getting to the waterfall is not easy. To give an idea of how far it is, just say it takes 2 hours travel by car from Ocotal, Nueva Segovia, to the valley where the small town of El Rosario rises. From Managua it is 332 kilometers, 52 of which are dirt roads.

These 52 kilometers are an adventure themselves. They run between the crests of the mountains, with deep pits to either side or long descending slopes whose lower part are cut by streams, to once again be crossed when you have to climb the steep peaks.

Cascada El Rosario, in Murra, Nicaragua

It is a postcard-perfect Nicaragua: adobe huts, the farmers mule, ox carts, jungle covered mountains, pine forests, coffee plantations, cattle grazing.

On the way it is not common to find vehicles and public transport with the municipality lending trucks with big tires and strong high bodies.

It is a Nicaragua that is slowly disappearing. Simple, beautiful, clean air and working people. If this place is not paradise, it lacks little to be.

Source: El Rosario, la cascada más alta de Nicaragua