Suggestions for weeklong vacation with three teenagers

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Hello! I’m exploring options for me to take my three nieces/nephew on vacation for about a week. Nicaragua is at the top of my list, having previously been to Costa Rica and Guatemala. Central America is so much fun. For the teenagers it will be their first trip out of the country (outside of the midwest USA, really). I’m looking for a fun, standard itinerary that perhaps will stoke a love of travel in them. All three kids are 14/15 years old, and I’m looking to travel in the dry season – maybe as early as this April. What are your thoughts on an itinerary? Some notes:

  • No party destinations
  • I’d like for them to see and learn about cultural differences and humanitarian issues
  • We’re from a flat area, so we definitely need to hike mountains. I’d categorize the three of them as all having a “medium” fitness level. Cerro Negro, Telica? Quetzeltrekkers?
  • Can we see lava anywhere in Nicaragua?
  • Waterfalls would be great
  • We’ll need some beach time. Preferably somewhere quiet where I’d rent a house and we can explore nearby on foot.
  • We should visit one of the colonial cities. Leon or Granada?
  • Ometepe looks really cool. The volcanoes there sound too difficult to hike for their skill level.

Thanks for your help. The Thorn Tree is a great community.

 

Response from elportonverde

mike_elportonverde ONLINE 23 days ago Greetings Doug: Yes you can see hot lava in Nicaragua at the Masaya Volcano during the night tour. What I would suggest is similar to likeeveryoneelse’s recommendations. I’d suggest the loop from Managua-Leon-Esteli (Somoto Canyon)-Matagalpa-Granada as a rough itinerary. In Leon you can get your beach day in at Las Peñitas, do the volcano boarding, see the town itself (go up to the top of the cathedral for photos), then get to Esteli (there’s a nice waterfall just before you get to the town), overnight in Esteli or Somoto, then the next morning do Somoto Canyon (your teens will love it!), there are other hikes in the area too. Next day go to Matagalpa (more nice hikes, coffee country), then get back to Granada for the last couple of days. Cheers, Mike @ El Portón Verde, Managua

Source: Suggestions for weeklong vacation with three teenagers

The Somoto Canyon in Northern Nicaragua Hobbitschuster

Safety Traveling from Managua to Playa Maderas – Nicaragua Forum – TripAdvisor

 

Safety Traveling from Managua to Playa Maderas

I’m taking a taxi from the Managua airport to Playa Maderas and am feeling apprehensive about safety all of a sudden.

I am a solo female traveler and it is my first time visiting Nicaragua.

Does anyone have any tips?

elportonverde Managua, Nicaragua Level Contributor 894 posts 25 reviews

7. Re: Safety Traveling from Managua to Playa Maderas Feb 09, 2017, 10:06 PM

Greetings Larissa: We receive a lot of single female travelers and they really appreciate having a trusted person come and pick you up at the airport. Your driver will be just fine, knows the route, etc. To get to your question/concern, you don’t say if you are traveling during the daytime or at night time. During the daytime or even the early evening I wouldn’t worry too much about the trip. But if it’s full nighttime, as lots of flight come in at 8, 9 and even like tonight, I’m going for a pick up from the Copa flight from Panama that gets in at about 10:20 pm. I wouldn’t want to drive another 2 1/2 hours to SJdS (and about 20 more for Maderas…)! The driver you would be using certainly does it all the time, but of course it’s really your decision. Another point is that during the night time you won’t see any of the scenery, which includes viewing at least four volcanoes! Traveling that late could feel a little bit daunting, especially for first-time visitors, so some visitors will book something a bit closer and someone who offers good services in addition to quality lodgings. Cheers, Mike @ El Portón Verde, Managua

Source: Safety Traveling from Managua to Playa Maderas – Nicaragua Forum – TripAdvisor

Hey Larissa (and any other readers or robots!) Yes it can feel a bit odd coming to Nicaragua the first time. I certainly remember the semi-terror feeling of not so much landing in Managua but more when first stepping through those automatic sliding glass doors that lead you either to the curb and the street or staying inside the terminal heading towards the rental car companies.

Lots of taxi drivers ask you if you want or need a ride. Sometimes it might take a little while before you find the person that’s supposed to be picking you up. Not so often anymore, but occasionally in the daytime you might get a couple of kids that want to give you something made out of a sort of straw and using that to extract a dollar out of you.

It can be a lot to take in for some people not accustomed to international airports, especially in Latin America.

Also, when you get here, in addition to a warm welcome from an old Nicaragua hand, you may want to:

  • exchange money
  • buy groceries
  • buy a SIM card and setup a pre-paid starter data and/or phone call plan

Contact us for further information or book your room!

by over_kind_man Karen Leavitt surfing at Playa Maderas, Nicaragua, December 23 2009. | by over_kind_man

Ring road will relieve heavy traffic in the capital • El Nuevo Diario

Saving time, avoiding the need for vehicles to enter the city that are only passing through, and reducing the congestion of the capital’s roads are part of the objectives of the Ticuantepe-Nejapa ring road, whose execution funds have already been approved for their use by international financial institutions.

This is a step forward and is consistent with the study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for the Master Plan for Development of the City of Managua, which notes that 23 percent of trucks use the main roads Of Managua just to cross it.

The study mentions the need to divert these cargo vehicles through a by-pass, as do hundreds of private vehicles whose destination is not the capital.

This is seconded by the urbanist and engineer Gerald Pentzke, considering the need for a fast road in the limits of the capital, but also that it has connection with roads like the Suburbana and Avenida Bolivar in its southern end, to enhance its usefulness.

Through the presidential agreement 04-2017, the request for funds was approved to the financial institutions Export and Import Bank of Korea and the government agency for the management of the Economic Development Cooperation Fund, which will allow the Ministry of Finance And Public Credit to make a loan of no more than US $ 70.5 million for the By Pass Managua project (Ticuantepe-Santo Domingo-San Judas-Nejapa), to be executed by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure.

MTI’s owner, Pablo Fernando Martínez, announced the project from 2015. Work is scheduled to start in Nejapa, on the South Road, ending at Ticuantepe, on the road to Masaya, with a length of 16 kilometers.

The Master Plan of the National Road Network of Nicaragua was presented by the Korean cooperation, and its pre-feasibility study indicates that the volume of traffic envisaged is 8,500 vehicles per day.

The original project includes the construction of four lanes in the medium term, with a track width of 30.6 meters. However, in the long-term, this road is intended to be six lanes with an extension of 11.2 meters.

Source: Pista de circunvalación desahogará tráfico pesado capitalino • El Nuevo Diario

This is big news for the area. Folks traveling from Granada or Masaya to Leon will be able to avoid having to go through Managua, saving time and easing congestion on the Pista Suburbana and Carretera Masaya. This road is supposed to delimit the extension of the urban zone of Managua, but of course will bring development that will further cause deforestation and increase local temperatures. But it will be a big help traffic-wise, especially to truckers and buses from Granada/Masaya to Leon will take this road as it will be a lot quicker than going through the city.

This is also big news for us at El Portón Verde, both good and bad I suppose… This new road will pass by the south end of our property, maybe not right at the border, but no more than 40 meters further south, so pretty darn close by…

I come from Orange County, California and as a young boy ran around in orange groves quite a bit. The area changed over the years and know has grown so much that nary an orange tree still exists. Certainly the fragrance of the orange blossoms is not in the air during springtime in “the O.C.” anymore. But that’s “progress” right?

In other words, we’ve seen this story before and that’s one reason why I’m in Nicaragua. I enjoy the peace and quiet, views, and mellow vibe we have here on the farm and that might change a bit in the coming years. So here are a couple of ideas that I have at the moment.

Maybe a reader can give me some other perspectives? I’d certainly appreciate it!

Good news about the Ticuantepe-Nejapa Ring road:

  • We’ll have quick access to this new ring road as it will pass by at the south end of the farm.
  • More services will be nearby and hopefully our current access alley will be paved.
  • Traveling to places such as Pochomil, El Transito, Puerto Sandino, Salinas Grandes and especially Leon will be much faster. I estimate that taking this road will probably knock off a good 15 minutes of travel time. So the beach will be only 45 minutes away and Leon just one hour away!
  • This development will allow us to make some better use of the land and the property value will go up.

Bad news about the Ticuantepe-Nejapa Ring road:

  • Our completely quiet and tranquil ambiance might be a little less so as there will be lots of vehicles traveling about a half-kilometer away on this new highway scheduled to be completed in 2019.
  • The general area will be much more “city” or at least suburban whereas now it is more “country” which our visitors and I enjoy quite a bit.

All that said, if anyone reading this has ideas as to the highest and best use of our property along this new highway, we’re certainly open to entertaining ideas!