Itinerary help Mon-Fri Nicaragua – Nicaragua Forum – TripAdvisor

If your first tour stop is a morning hike of Masaya Volcano, I would stay nearer to Masaya if possible, not Granada, as it is backtracking to get to the volcano from there. So you could stay at Apoyo (further away from the airport) or nearer to Masaya (closer to the airport).

via Itinerary help Mon-Fri Nicaragua – Nicaragua Forum – TripAdvisor.

Since this was on a TripAdvisor forum, I couldn’t come out and say that it is too bad that most visitors are Granada focused even if it makes their first day of vacation a little more complicated then is necessary!

If this nice person writing on the forum is a representative sample, then there are lots of folks going all the way to Granada from the Managua airport (MGA) and then they are backtracking twenty-five or thirty kilometers to get to the Masaya Volcano.

Masaya Volcano is the most visited tourist site in Nicaragua and the Farmstay is only about 12 kilometers from there. We are ideally situated for those coming in to the Managua Airport (MGA) at anytime, but especially so on a late night flight who want to do a volcano Masaya hike the next morning. The Farmstay “soft landing” service is a great option for these folks!

Nicaragua Safe and Sound

Nicaragua eNewsletter June 2014

Nicaragua Safe and Sound

Nicaragua is the safest country in Central America according to the United Nations’ recent “Human Development Regional Report.” Nicaragua is among the top six countries in Latin America that reflect the best indicators for citizen security and the most secure country in the Central American region. The report, which evaluates 18 countries in the region, places Costa Rica and Panama as the second and third safest countries in Central America after Nicaragua

via Nicaragua Tourism Travel Trade Newsletter June 2014

Some potential visitors to Nicaragua are sadly ill-informed as to the level of safety and security to be found in Nicaragua. This recent report from the United Nations shows yet again that Nicaragua has the best indicators of personal safety and security in Central America! We’re number one!

From a visitor’s standpoint, everyone who has stayed as a guest at the Farmstay who has gone to other Central American countries have commented that it just feels more mellow here in Nicaragua then in other countries. The vibe here is much more relaxed, they say. Won’t you come and experience it for yourself?

So please, if you are investigating and doing your research in preparation for a potential visit to Nicaragua, please read the U.N.’s Human Development Regional Report to actually verify what this post is saying for yourself.

When your friends, family and co-workers say to you, “isn’t Nicaragua dangerous?” you will be well-informed as to the actual facts on the ground and will be able to tell them definitively that this is not the case.

What is a Farmstay? | The Active Times

What is a Farmstay?

A quick guide to cheap and unique overnight accommodations


Phong Nha Farmstay, Vietnam

A farmstay is a form of agritourism in which a traveler visits a working farm and either helps with chores, pays or does both in exchange for an overnight stay.

The farmstay experience varies greatly and many travel guides warn that they aren’t for everyone, but a common theme is the genuine rural experience that travelers can’t find in a chain hotel. There are Farmstays all over the world; the arrangement has been prevalent in Europe and Australia for a while and is now beginning to see popularity in the U.S.

via What is a Farmstay? | The Active Times.

Great article Ms. Gertstacker! Thanks for the effort on educating travelers about farmstays. I agree that they aren’t for everyone, but they do offer some very much more in-depth and personalized experiences then more traditional chain hotels or even boutique lodging options.
Not sure if anyone is willing to comment, but I have always wondered why farmstays seem to be more popular in the old Commonwealth countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the UK?
Farmstays sure are not very well known in Nicaragua, where El Porton Verde is located, but it made so much sense to put the word in our name since it is a stay on a farm. It succinctly gives a pretty good idea to the traveler what they can expect.


The US Healthcare System: Most Expensive Yet Worst In The Developed World | Zero Hedge

United States health care system is the most expensive in the world, U.S. fails to achieve better health outcomes than the other countries, and as shown in the earlier editions, the U.S. is last or near last on dimensions of access, efficiency, and equity.

healthcare ranking 2

via The US Healthcare System: Most Expensive Yet Worst In The Developed World | Zero Hedge.

If this post from Zero Hedge and the accompanying link to the actual report does not for once and for all convince you of the true nature of the health care industry in the USA, then nothing will!

Since coming here and seeing the great options people have in health care, I’ve become more and more convinced that for what you pay for in the USA and the level of care you receive does not add up to a good deal for the majority of the population. In Nicaragua, it’s not just foreigners who have Medical Tourism options, but all Nicaraguans can get health care in this country. Even though the country is so poor, there is a functioning “Universal Health Care” system that at least for most people, works albeit slowly and not always in the best of conditions.

Here at the Farmstay we work with the nearby Hospital Metropolitano Las Pellas to provide mostly transportation, lodging and after care services for their patients who are here in Nicaragua to receive Medical Tourism solutions for their health care problems.

Contact me if you would like to explore your options, which include full concierge services, English-speaking doctors, regionally accredited hospitals, and excellent pre- and post-surgery care.

The most any procedure that can be done in Nicaragua will cost you is less then one-third the comparable cost of the same procedure done in the United States.

So personally, I am all for the growth of Medical Tourism and I hope it strikes fear into the hearts of the AMA and other members of the medical mafias that rule over the system in the USA where you pay the absolute most and get the absolute worst service.

Tasty fish dinner served at the Farmstay!

What Nightlife is Near the Managua (MGA) Airport?

What Nightlife is near the Managua (MGA) Airport?

The nightlife options near the Managua airport are limited. The airport is located to the far northeastern part of the city of Managua, and is a good distance from the more centrally located dining and entertainment districts such as the Zona Piratas, Carretera a Masaya, the shopping malls, and other neighborhoods with such activities available.

The most likely option is to head over to the Camino Real on Carretera Norte about one kilometer to the west of the airport to visit the Pharoah’s Casino. It’s one of the better casinos in Managua, with the typical slot machines, video poker, and table games such as poker and blackjack. There is also a restaurant and on the weekends they usually have a live band


The only other nightlife near to the airport are some bars and one or two dance clubs. One worth mentioning is called Mama Naya 2. This is near the stoplights known as “La Subasta” located about 1.5 km to the west of the airport. This is a hip hop dance club known for its Caribbean music. If you like lots of “wining”, grinding, twerking, perreo and freak-type dancing, then this is the place for you! This club is especially popping on a weekend night.mamanaya

A little further to the west (about ten minutes drive from the airport) is the neighborhood of Bello Horizonte. The dining and entertainment area is located around a roundabout where bars and restaurants are located. Roving bands of mariachi groups roam the area and there are street carts serving greasy hamburgers, tacos, burritos, hot dogs and french fries. There is a disco, karoake, casino, and various restaurants, including chinese, pizza, traditional Nicaraguan, and a variety of other dining options.bellohorizonte

That’s a quick overview for the nightlife options near to the Managua airport. I hope you enjoyed it!

Retirees eye lower cost of living in Latin America

Retirees are attracted to the warm weather, good medical care and proximity to the USA.


Tanya Hartill, owner of NicaTour Group (, estimates that retirees can live well in Nicaragua for about $900 a month. Many people on her tours have visited other countries and are being very deliberate in their decision-making, says Hartill, who offers an eight-day tour for about $1,375 a person, excluding airfare.

via Retirees eye lower cost of living in Latin America.

Friend of the Farmstay, Ms. Tanya Hartill, got a nice mention in USA Today in a personal finance/retirement article. Congratulations Tanya for getting some recognition for the excellent, well-priced tours that you run specifically for people looking to retire and invest in Nicaragua. Keep up the good work! If anyone wants to know more and get a personal recommendation from me, please contact me.

The NicaTour Group’s tours include site visits to some new housing communities, meet and greets with actual locals (like me!) who have been there and done that as regards making the transition, experts in areas such as Residency, Real Estate, Healthcare, Medical Tourism, etc.

Her prices are very fair considering you will probably save yourself from making some potentially costly mistakes if you go in on your own without the knowledge and contacts that you get from the organized tours.

What is the Farmstay El Portón Verde’s soft landing service?

What is our “soft landing” service for your arrival in Managua?

When I first came to Nicaragua, back in 2003, I remember how it was all so different and sort of scary to get out of the controlled customs area of the airport and walk into this sea of people, all of whom seemed to either be waiting for someone else, or looking to whisk you off to parts unknown. In addition, there were some street urchins, some semi-sketchy looking yet “official” appearing people.

Unicorns not included in our soft landing service, sorry!

Unicorns not included in our soft landing service, sorry!

Bottom line is that there is a moment there when you walk through the sliding glass doors heading towards the rental cars where you would really like to see a friendly face, someone who speaks your language, and can answer any questions about your vacation or visit to Nicaragua while you get on your way to what is hopefully a good nights sleep.

Since I didn’t have that option as a first-time visitor, I had to learn the ropes the hard way, by trial and some not-inconsiderable error. As I began to come down to Nicaragua on a more regular basis, the airport slowly became not so difficult, I remembered to have
the money ready when passing through the immigration and passport check, where to find the baggage carts, to have my baggage claim tickets ready along with my customs form, and how to get my ground transportation done in a safe but inexpensive manner.

Once I moved here to live, and eventually to open Farmstay El Porton Verde as a bed and breakfast located on the southern outskirts of the capital city of Managua, I wanted to be able to provide the sort of service that I would have liked to have experienced that
first time I arrived in the capital of Nicaragua.

So, when the farmstay opened, I decided to offer that level of service; the goal is to satisfy your needs, to insure a “soft landing for both first-time visitors and travelers that have been here before. The service includes tips on how to negotiate the arrival, immigrations and customs. I personally will be at the airport to pick you up with an easily seen sign in a location that is simple to find. I will greet you, help you with your luggage, and get you to my vehicle for the 25 minute drive to the farmstay. If your plane is early or late, I will track its arrival to get there at the appropriate time. If you need help planning the rest of your vacation, or are looking for hotel or hostel recommendations in Granada, San Juan del Sur, Ometepe, Big or Little Corn Island, etc. I can help you there too, up to and including calling to make reservations for you. Also, I can arrange your transport to your next destination if you like. Whether it is via private shuttle, a rental car, or public buses, the soft landing service has you covered.

Once you are with me, we will start driving to the farmstay. If you need to change money, buy a cell phone or GSM chip, stop for a bite to eat, get some snacks and adult refreshments, do some grocery shopping, etc. we can do that for you on the way to the
farmstay. Best of all, you can start to relax right away. Believe me, it is very nice to know that you have a good idea on what is expected from you as you pass through the airport processes, and that on the other side of the sliding glass doors, you have someone
waiting for you who speaks English and can help you figure out how to get around, where some of the best places to stay are located, and give you some cultural pointers as well.

Let’s contrast the soft landing service with a typical overnight in Managua. Most visitors will stay either just across from the airport at the Mercedes Best Western or just down the highway at the Camino Real. Getting through the airport? Well, you are on your
own there. Pickup at the airport? Yes, a guy with limited English skills will be there to take you to the hotel. Will he be able or willing to help you to exchange money, buy a cell phone or chip? Nope. Will he stop to let you load up on food or drinks? Nope. Will he be helpful in planning the rest of your trip? Probably not. What he will do is take you to the $100 a night hotel, where you will check in with the uninterested hotel staff, you can eat at the overpriced restaurant and pay more for any drinks too. Some actually charge you for the use of the Internet! In short, your hotel experience will be pretty much the same as checking into any major hotel in the USA, Canada or Europe. You hand over your passport and credit card, you sign a chit, and you get your key. If you have luck, a
bellboy will help with your bags. Beyond that, you are completely and utterly on your own.

If you are a surfer, I have some very special tips for you. Not exactly “secret spots” but certainly locations that are not so crowded so you can definitely get a good wave to yourself in Nicaragua. Sure, if you go to Playa Maderas near San Juan del Sur, it
will be fairly crowded on a good day, but that is only one beach and there are hundreds of nice beaches with good waves in Nicaragua. I can direct you to beginner’s spots, intermediate, and some “experts only” spots that challenge the pros.

I hope this post helps you to understand with a bit more detail what the Farmstay El Porton Verde “soft landing” service consists of, and that it helps you decide that is something you would like to experience when you come to visit Nicaragua.

Maersk stands up for Nicaraguan canal – BNamericas

Maersk stands up for Nicaraguan canal

Maersk stands up for Nicaraguan canal


“Building a Nicaragua canal seems to make good sense. The canal is projected to have room for the biggest ships, while also saving 800km on a journey from New York to Los Angeles,” said Keith Svendsen, head of daily operations for Maersk, according to a report by maritime industry outlet

via Maersk stands up for Nicaraguan canal – BNamericas.

As someone who follows the local news, especially anything about the proposed interoceanic canal, this is a big deal.

I have been delving into the history of when the canal was first proposed by the National Geographic Society! This endorsement by the huge shipping company Maersk, is of some not inconsiderable import. This is definitely a game changer when the main customer of the proposed canal starts to publically support the endeavor.

If you click to read the article, there is an interesting point the Maersk head of daily operations, Keith Svendsen mentions, that not only would the canal handle the biggest ships, but it knocks 800 kilometers off of a typical New York to Los Angeles journey.

While I still find it difficult to understand how the environmental impacts can be mitigated, it does appear that this is just not a smokescreen for a skimming off the top series of environmental studies. Looks like they are serious about this!

Heading to Nicaragua? Recent Statistics Show Tourists Spend $42.40 Per Day | The Costa Rica News

Heading to Nicaragua? Recent Statistics Show Tourists Spend $42.40 Per Day

via Heading to Nicaragua? Recent Statistics Show Tourists Spend $42.40 Per Day | The Costa Rica News.