Had a great time staying with Mike at his Farmstay – we were picked up at the airport after a late flight by Mike which made our landing in Nicaragua so easy ! We then awoke the next morning to a beautiful view of banana and mango trees, and birds chirping in the background. We had a delicious breakfast both days, then headed off in a tuk-tuk to explore Granada, the nearby Masaya volcano and chocoyero reserve. Was a wonderful holiday !
Source: Profile – Airbnb
This is the review from the couple who came in on the Spirit Air flight and had a great getaway weekend for a very inexpensive price. We are always grateful for kind reviews and strive to bring a lot of value for your hard-earned travel dollar, so when we have folks come down for only a two night stay, and they report back that they had a lovely but short visit, we feel like we are performing a good service for our visitors.
In their short visit they had some excellent adventure travel (hiking and birdwatching), saw some colonial architecture, and got a good taste of Nicaragua for such a short visit.
Julia took advantage of our “soft landing service” and they did their own self-guided tours to Chocoyero/El Brujo nature preserve, Masaya Volcano, and Granada. They hit the ground running and got the most out of every moment!
Tourism must diversify
INTUR presents a proposal to the government
This morning, the president of the Nicaraguan Chamber of Medium and Small Enterprises Tourism (Cantur), Leonardo Torres, will present a strategic proposal that contributes to the diversification of tourist circuits and helps increase the average daily expenditure of foreign visitors.
The initiative aims to be harvest sustainably productive farms in the country and thus push community tourism and agro-tourism.
“This is to exploit all available resources in the country, which are not only the beach but also the mountains, volcanoes, lagoons, colonial history and styles of some of the cities,” said Torres.
Currently the Nicaraguan Tourism Board (Intur) together with employers promote the routes of Coffee, Water, Colonial and Volcanoes, Haciendas and the South Pacific. But according to Cantur, this new initiative is expected to further exploit the attractions.
At the close of 2014t Intur reported 8,693 companies in the country that provide different tourist services, of which 59.9 percent were for local food and beverages, 17.8 percent to lodging and 22.3 percent to other tourist activities such as: night clubs, discos, travel agencies, businesses, land and water transportation, among others.
They aspire to US $ 75 DAILY
One of the expectations that is not lost on Cantur is that the average foreign tourist spending will rise to between 70 and 75 dollars a day and it considered two aspects: “First diversify the options and (second) provide overall complete tourist packages. Do this without neglecting the Central American visitors. Then, look a little closer at the foreigners who come from North America and Europe, who are the biggest spenders during their stay in the country.”
Intur published data by the Central Bank of Nicaragua and updated until the fourth quarter of 2014 which placed the average daily spending at $ 43.40 for foreigners, and to reach the seventies, a further growth of fifty percent would be required.
Torres is aiming the proposal primarily at the executive president of the Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism (Intur), Mayra Salinas, and presidential adviser for economic affairs, Bayardo Arce. The presentation will be heldduring the implementation of the National Tourism Forum 2015 for MSMEs, which is to be held today at the Holiday Inn.
The department of Managua has the largest number of tourist establishments and contributes 30.7 per cent of total economic activity according to the Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism. Secondly the Autonomous Regions of the North Caribbean and South Caribbean have a stake of 9.1 percent and Leon with 6.8 percent of the total.
This is the latest scheme by CANTUR, which is basically the chamber of commerce for the tourism industry here in Nicaragua, to propose to INTUR, which is the Nicaraguan Tourism Board. As one reads the story, it appears to be aimed at bringing in more eco-tourism and agro-tourism in Nicaragua, which of course from our perspective at the Farmstay, this is all good as that’s what we are!
This happened today 17 July, 2015, so the results are not exactly in yet, but I would be surprised if INTUR really supports something like this because they appear to myself and many other small lodging operations that they don’t particularly do much for the little guy who actually has or had some capital, developed or is developing a small hotel or b and b at present.
Of course that would be great if they could get it together a little bit more to somehow get farms in pretty locations of Nicaragua to start learning about customer service, maintenance and cleaning of facilities, marketing, sales, planning, etc. but I can say that it appears to me to be a huge challenge.
If CANTUR/INTUR can put together or partner with an existing simple reservation system with a website featuring a searchable database of properties, a way to rate the properties, view calendars, make reservations, and pay for your stay electronically, then we’d be talking. Lacking that, this proposal will go into the dustbin along with several other equally needed initiatives that never got off the ground.
Cheaper than going anywhere in the States!
Beat this deal: Spirit Air IAH-MGA, all-inclusive $257 per person!
We’ve had a mini-rush of visitors lately taking advantage of the new Spirit Air flight out of Houston to Managua. They are telling me that they couldn’t have done anything cheaper anywhere in the USA and in looking at the figures, I agree!
Let’s look into the dollars and cents of this deal for a short, first-time visitor to Nicaragua. Let’s assume two people, with two nights lodging and two full days of activities. (The Spirit Air flights arrive at about 1 am and depart about 2 am, so no sleep means you have all day to do stuff in Nicaragua!
It is easy enough to take local buses to get around to the hiking areas, so that helps keep your costs down. Also, eating local is cheap and tasty.
The round-trip flights run as low as $169. You can stay at the farmstay for a measly $38 per night. Breakfast included! Local buses for two days adventures, $4. Fees for national parks and reserves, $8. Local lunches and dinners $18 (for two days). Airport pickup and drop off, $40.
What would be the total per person for this extravaganza? $257 !!!! Folks, this is airfare, transportation, food, entry into national parks with active volcanoes, hiking private reserves where you see waterfalls and birds, eating local, getting to know a foreign, yet safe country, etc. Wow, how can you beat that I ask you!
Is it worth the risks?
5 Depressing Side Effects No One Tells You About Moving AbroadDuring the past 10 years, I’ve lived in five different countries.
It’s been an amazing journey that has taught me more about life, love and fear than any education or self-help book ever could.
To build a new existence far away from everything you know and believe in is the most powerful feeling in the world.
People who have moved abroad will nod their heads in agreement.
They will tell you that traveling has broadened their horizons, made them more open-minded and has shown them what truly matters in life.
What they won’t tell you is it’s also the loneliest, most alienating and most guilt-ridden thing they have ever done.
In expat land, fairytales don’t exist. Here are five things that are bound to happen if you decide to leave your home behind:
Totally worth clicking through to read more. While the author may be stating the case a bit strongly and certainly not all expats experience these feelings or more likely, admit to having them, they are there to a greater or lesser extent depending on your life circumstances. For those not sufficiently motivated or lacking time (come back when you do have time if you are for real about relocating abroad), here are the top five depressing side effects no one tells you about moving abroad:
1. Your loved ones will be devastated.
2. You’ll feel guilty all the time.
3. You’ll feel really, really lonely.
4. You won’t fit in anymore.
5. You’ll lose dear friends.
I can definitely relate to each one of these points. Relocating isn’t for wimps in general and I’d say especially so to move to Nicaragua! You have to really love it here and form your own life that is totally distinct from your old life, and that’s not easy. At all.
Of course, one can take a different approach to this issue. Let’s assume that to a greater or lesser extent current expats have one or more of these feelings. But let’s get something clear here, haters gonna hate as far as folks back home giving you guilt trips for not being there for them.
Guess what friends and family back home, we’re not here to live according to your standards of what is right and proper. Just because you think going to Hawaii every year and attending the same darn luau is the coolest thing ever doesn’t make it so for everybody!
There’s a reason there are 30 or so flavors at your local ice cream store, we all don’t like the same thing! Sure chocolate, vanilla or strawberry are all tasty but just because you like it best doesn’t mean everyone else has to love it! (Note to self: mmmm ice cream…)
Without getting too much in the trenches here dear reader(s), I can say that it is worthwhile to think about some of these issues BEFORE you decide to be an expat and see if you think they might affect you. Especially the stuff about the friends and family back home. Just realize that some of these folks are very JEALOUS that you got out of the system back home and have a chance to make a new life for yourself in another country so take their sometimes passive-aggressive mannerisms with a compassionate understanding that part of them would love to be able to do what you are doing, but their life circumstances and lack of an adventurous spirit might be a couple of reasons why that AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN!
Luxury-wellness pioneer headed for Nicaragua
Another data point for those of you with “five-star” tastes in luxury accommodations! A new partnership has been formed that starts with what we have known as Aqua Wellness Resort, gives it a new name and with new capital, presumably they will work on this announced plan to have a bit of a luxury spa and resort circuit here in Nicaragua.
My comments on the page linked-to above is basically that at least they are having their guests see a few different spots in Nicaragua. They’ll have a bit more of a chance to partake in the cultural aspects of Nicaragua. This aspect of Nicaraguan travel is, for me at least, a big difference-maker in the experience of the visitors from other countries in the region, and that’s a good thing!
Family travel is wonderful in Nicaragua for several reasons.
First of all, it works as a great location for most people traveling from North America. Even from Europe, most families will take only two flights to get to Managua. The timezone change is minimal for North American’s, so you don’t get jetlag and can start right away enjoying your vacation. Flight times from the U.S. is reasonable, with non-stops taking 3:50 minutes from Atlanta, 3:20 minutes from Houston, and 2:40 minutes from Miami or Ft. Lauderdale.
Second factor that makes Nicaragua a great place for a family vacation is cost. Families will spend less here than in other similar locations like Mexico, Costa Rica, or Panama. Also, airfares are low. Recent additional flights from the U.S. have increased competition. Where else can you feed your family of four lunch including a fresh natural juice for a little over ten U.S. dollars?
The third item on the list is the unique destinations that your family can discover together. Smoking volcanoes, boarding down the side of a volcano, learning to surf, and amazing unique islands like Ometepe and the Corn Islands are not found elsewhere, certainly not all int he same country!
Fourth consideration is safety and security. Nicaragua is well-known in the region for a policing and security policy that focuses on prevention of violent crimes and they are doing well, especially compared to its neighbors. Since Nicaragua is so much safer, your family can more readily get out and about making all those memories happen in relative security.
The last thing to consider about choosing Nicaragua for your next family vacation is that it is a very “real” vacation. Since it is safer, you aren’t limited to the all-inclusive resorts, so you’ll have more chance to interact with locals. Your children will see how other people live, and that the kids are perfectly happy playing simple games like football (soccer) or even a game of marbles. Xbox and Nintendo not required!
Read my kickass article directly on the TripAdvisor.com website
There are lots of great things about Nicaragua Family Travel and at least a few of them I listed on this article posted on TripAdvisor. We’ve had so many families come and it is a real treat to see the families enjoying their adventures, bonding together, have new experiences, and in general just having the times of their lives!
Some folks come here for the adventure travel, others for ecotourism and culture, some learn how to surf, or simply take a few hikes and tours. We like to show family what things to do in Managua, but of course the most important is that you begin and end your vacation with a big Welcome to El Portón Verde!
I’m 30 yo woman solo traveler going to Nicaragua for 12 days in July. I need tips on what to do and safety. I have traveled by myself in Europe for seven months, I like hiking and doing things outdoors. I wanted to visit Granada, Leon, Isla de Omepete, & San Juan del Sur. Anything else? The safety aspect is what has me worried, please provide suggestions on taking taxis and buses as I will not be renting a car. As well as, places to stay overnight. Thanks very much beforehand to anyone that contributes.
We host visitors traveling solo quite often and there’s more women than men doing it that way…so just follow the standard advice that you’ve received here and you should be okay.
Once you start on your journey it’s quite possible you’ll meet up with some other travelers and end up going around with them to the next spot on your itinerary anyway, so keep that in mind.
Your proposed itinerary is just fine, folks here bash SJdS but it is a lovely bay and you can avoid the party scene if that’s not your thing. Also, it is easy to get from there to Ometepe or vis-versa so you might as well. Nothing bad about Leon, you should be able to squeeze it in, but understand it is on the other side of Managua, where you’ll presumably be flying into, so getting from say Ometepe to Leon is a pretty long day of travel. Best to plan to go directly to Leon if that’s on your gotta do list, then work your way south from there.
As far as your security, what I would add is to keep a copy of your passport or email yourself a photo of it in case it is lost or stolen. Also, try to not take the last bus from point A to point B because you’re better off not arriving when its dark. Do your travel in the mornings or mid-day. Understand that an iPhone or Galaxy 6 smartphone is worth the equivalent of three or four months of hard work on a job, so you can see why it might be tempting for a thief to steal it from you. If you can live without such things for the 12 days, all the better. You can bring a cheap used unblocked cellphone and buy a local GSM chip from either Movistar or Claro phone companies for less than $2 if being in touch with folks back home or to call around locally is something that would make you feel more secure.
Okay, hope that helps. If you need a soft landing at MGA, let me know.
Cheers, Mike @ Farmstay El Porton Verde, Managua