Accuracy of prehispanic works of Nicaragua surprises experts • El Nuevo Diario

  • Managua, Nicaragua |
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The accuracy with which 15 statues were carved from the pre-Hispanic era in Nicaragua surprised a group of experts who worked on its replicas, said the sculptor and director of the School of Fine Arts in Granada, Pedro Vargas today.

The sculptures, discovered in 1849 by the US diplomat Ephraim George Squier in Zapatera Island, east of the Great Lake of Nicaragua or Cocibolca, are dated between 800 or 1,200 AD, according to scholars of the Nicaraguan archeology.

They are now in the San Francisco Convent, the colonial city of Granada, and are characterized by columns of black basalt with human figures with animal adhered, from 1.25 to 2.25 meters high and 60 centimeters wide, on average .

“Everyone who was closely linked to the creation of the replicas could appreciate the beauty of the work as sculpture, the exact position of the nose, the corner of his mouth, because the standard of meaurements they used were the same as we use today “Said Efe Vargas, who was in charge of the project of reproduction of the statues.

Before realizing this project, the pre-Columbian sculptures had only been studied by archaeologists, but in the last 12 months, they were analyzed for the first time by sculptors and architects, for purposes of making the replica statues.

“You can see the delicacy and the precision by which they did the work. We wonder who taught them how they got that knowledge and where, because they were not works made by rookies hands, they were done by people who had studied,” noted the expert.

According to historians, the sculptures were made ​​by chorotegas, who conceived the island as a sanctuary, and had artistic Mesoamerican and South American influences.

The replicas were made ​​in concrete (reinforced concrete), with the original measures and tears that have occured over time, as part of the tourism project Ruta Colonial and Volcano, sponsored by the European Union in Nicaragua and the Luxembourg Agency for Development Cooperation (LuxDev).

The new sculptures, weighing between 182 and 364 kilograms, were brought to the island in small boats this week to launch theZapatera Archipelago National Park as a new tourist destination in Nicaragua.

Once on the island, they must be uploaded on hilly slopes with pulleys and ancient methods, with the help of many men, to where the originals were.

“It seemed like watching an Egyptian film, see how the statues were moved,” he told Efe the regional representative of the LuxDev, Marc Riehl.

The replicas, which are waiting for a treatment that will give them the same appearance as the originals, are now part of a attractive new Nicaraguan tourist destination.

Source: Exactitud de obras prehispánicas de Nicaragua sorprende a expertos • El Nuevo Diario

This is a really interesting story for those who would like to learn more about Nicaraguan native history. Zapatera Island, which is located in Lake Nicaragua south of Granada, has been known for hundreds of years as a place rich in petroglyphs and other instances of precolumbian art and culture.

Several years ago, some rather large sculptures were taken off the island to be safely stored in a convent in Granada. Now, as part of putting the island on the tourist route, they have made exacting replicas of the sculptures and are setting them up on the hillside of the island in the exact same place that the originals once stood.

So now, visitors can see these sculptures in their original locations and natural context that their makers intended. The originals were made a long time ago, around 1,000 AD and by all accounts, are quite intricate and beautiful to look at.

For me, this is another example of how rich Nicaraguan culture and history is. Come and enjoy!

Getting to Granada from El Porton Verde

It’s really easy to get to Granada, we’re on the way there from Managua.

Getting to Granada from Farmstay El Portón Verde is super easy! Here’s the general route. Notice it’s a straight shot on the highway leading directly from Managua to Granada, passing through the town of Masaya.

Map showing the simple route between El Portón Verde and the town of Granada

Map showing the simple route between El Portón Verde and the town of Granada

You can take a bus. The cost is less than one U.S. Dollar, They come by very frequently, I’d say every five to ten minutes. Look for the bus that says EXPRESO MANAGUA UCA GRANADA. It’s a nice mid-sized bus, definitely an upgrade over the standard “chicken bus”!

With the ride being a short 45 minutes in duration, the bus comes by the gas station at the intersection of our road with the highway to Masaya, drops you off at the Central Park or the public market. Note: You might have to walk around a bit to find your hotel if you take the bus.

If staying with us at FEPV, I can usually take you to the corner about 2 kms away (it’s the UNO gas station where you will catch your bus) or there are mototaxis, (which are like tuktuks used in Asia) that can take you to the bus stop after picking you up on the farm.

The other way would be for you to hire me or a taxi to take you to Granada. That costs around $30. With me you’d get a mini tour from me as we go through town looking for your hotel :) and you’d be dropped off right there at your hotel. If you have a lot of luggage its usually easier to have me take you…

Or I could take you in our Mitsubishi truck...

Or, I could take you in our Mitsubishi truck…

In addition to just dropping you off and maybe do a quick tour of Granada, depending on my availability, we can tour something along the route. Options are:

Now, just as a reminder for folks reading this while making their plans to visit Nicaragua (especially for you first-time visitors), think about how we offer our “soft landing service” when we pick you up or drop you off at the Managua airport. Also, we help folks looking to relocate and retire to Nicaragua.

A while ago we did a head-to-head comparison of flying in late at night and heading directly to Granada vs. having us pick you up at the airport (for the famous soft landing service) and staying that first night in Granada. A big part of that exercise is that you can get to Granada for just under a buck, so you can save some money while having a very pleasant first night and morning in Nicaragua.

Nicaraguan Surf Spot: Name ’em

Name that Nicaraguan Surf Spot!

There are lots and lots of really good surfing spots in Nicaragua. The Pacific coast receives lots of swell, primarily from the southwest direction. The best surf season is from April through October. Even in the off-months there is usually some swell in the water. For example, this November 2015 it has been really excellent surf.

If you are interested in actually surfing any of these spots, just contact us! We manage three different beach front homes that you can rent for a week or longer, including spots where you and your friends will be the only people out, surfing excellent waves!

So let’s see if we have any takers, shall we, in the comments section name any one of these four surf spots or give a try for all of them!

Surf spot number one: Here are some clues for you…

This spot is accessible only by boat. It is located about one hour from Nicaragua’s fifth largest city. A nearby town is known for its production of the best rums in Nicaragua. Can you guess the town at least?

Surf spot number two: Here are some clues for you…


This surf spot is an excellent beginner’s spot and surfcamps often take advantage of the fun waves, sandy bottom, and lack of serious riptides in the bay. This locale provides a great place to start out your surfing experience and is near a booming beach break where tubes are almost guaranteed! A former professional woman surfer also frequents this surf spot with her amigas.

Surf spot number three: Here are some clues for you…

This surf spot is a sand-bottom left point break accessible only by boat near a port. I think I just said too much… :)

Surf spot number four: Here are some clues for you…


This Pacific surf spot is on the grounds of a residential and vacation community that is “gran” and if you go surfing here, you’d better make sure you go out on the high tide!



This winter think Flor de Caña instead of Mai Tai’s

Go to Nicaragua instead of Hawaii this Winter

Want to save a couple of hundred dollars and have a really unique vacation? Try Nicaragua!

If you feel like a tropical getaway is needed this winter, why not consider doing something different this year? Sure Hawaii is nice. The luau is fun with the poi, roast pork and dancing girls, but seriously, don’t you want to try something a bit off the beaten path?

Let’s do a vacation cost comparison, shall we?

Flight times are roughly the same. A flight to Managua usually entails a change of planes so it ends up a half-hour to an hour more time between your destinations. Flight costs are lower to Nicaragua as you can see above.

Volcanoes are more numerous and varied

Hawaii and Nicaragua both have volcanoes

The only place you can actually surf down a volcano is in Nicaragua. Plus there’s a lot more of them to see in Nicaragua if that’s your thing…

Speaking of surfing…

Surfing is better in Nicaragua! There, I said it.

What about Overall Cost of the Vacation?

I found a website that says that the average one week vacation for two to Hawaii costs $3,760 dollars. Let’s break that down and figure out what the same thing would cost in Nicaragua, shall we?

Much less expensive to go to Nicaragua than to Hawaii

Airfare is roughly the same, even though in the example we started with it is couple of hundred dollars cheaper. This will vary depending on the time of year, etc.

Lodging is a big save. The Hawaii cost website says $175 per night and in Nicaragua you can get very nice lodgings for $75-80 per night.

Likewise, food is much less expensive in Nicaragua than in Hawaii for obvious reasons, namely we’re on the mainland, its unlikely you’ll be eating a lot of imported items, and the general cost of living is much less.

Activities was a bit tough to determine, but for example a full-day tour with El Porton Verde tours is $80, Lots of activities such as tour of Las Isletas is $40 or less. $30 for volcano boarding down Cerro Negro near Leon. You get the idea…

Transportation was a bit easier to determine. Rental cars are less expensive. Now you can get private shuttles that can be costly, but in a week you won’t take more than two long trips and they are each $100 from the Managua airport to San Juan del Sur. If you came to Nicaragua and took public buses (or even one or two buses) you would save a ton of money.

NOTE: You can easily spend much more money in Nicaragua than this example shows. For example, you can book a night or two at the five-star Mukul Resort and spend about $500 per night. Even Aqua Wellness in Playa Gigante is about $200 a night. You can also spend more on food, booze, tours, and transport than listed here. But it’s a heck of a lot easier to stay at a moderately priced place for a night or two and then splurge on the nice beachfront locations, for example. As usual, CAVEAT EMPTOR aka YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY.

This posting only talks about cost of things. We haven’t touched on the value of experiences. I wager the true value of the experiences you’ll have in Nicaragua is much more valuable than any cost considerations.

So, what will you do with the $1470 in savings? Here’s an idea, why not stay another week in Nicaragua!

Comments and questions are welcome as always!

United Airlines Increases Flights to Nicaragua • El Nuevo Diario

Managua, Nicaragua |

  • |

A greater flow of tourists and visitors to Nicaragua has helped United Airlines to increase its number of direct flights from Houston to our country Now we have a frequency of 17 flights per week this year, said Salvador Marrero, United Airlines’ Executive Director for Central America.

“The extra flights that we have implemented on Saturdays illustrates this new reality. What was done last year only in the high season, this year of 2015, has been the permanent level of service. We constantly analyze what happens to our destinations and to the extent that the market requires, we add more crews and add more seats, “said the airline representative.

Meanwhile Gloria Callejas, Manager of United Airlines in Nicaragua, said that “this year we added a fourth flight on Saturdays leaving at 1:30 am, arriving in Houston at 5:00 am,” this is because ” the boom that is taking place in Nicaragua, the boom in the number of tourists forced us to put an additional flight on Saturdays, in high season we had three daily flights available. “

Better services

Callejas said another aspect that has been the expansion in the services of the airport terminal. “The extended hours, more extensive migration and increased capacity has facilitated customs operations and made the process more expeditious”, meeting the demands that airlines have asked for, he said.

About the capacity of passengers, Marrero explained that the types of aircraft that serve direct service from Houston with our country are models 737, 800 and 900, meaning that on average more than 200 passengers are transported by the company They are then able to connect to 162 destinations worldwide.

United Airlines celebrated in Managua 25 years of being present in our country and they planned to increase the number of direct flights to the extent that the level of tourism, business or visits demands. The number of visitors is increasing, company executives announced .

Source: Más vuelos de United Airlines a Nicaragua • El Nuevo Diario

Another good data point for those following tourism in Nicaragua. This is a story about United Airlines and how they have increased the number of flights per week to 17, and that additional flights they added last year in the high season are now permanent. In addition, the airlines’ executives said that as tourism grows in Nicaragua, so will the number of flights.

Here on this blog, we’ve discussed the growing number of flights to Nicaragua, here and here for example. Also, how the services and hours of operation at the Augusto C. Sandino International airport have increased.

All good stuff! Another observation would be that those thinking that the new Costa Esmeralda airport would somehow decrease flights to Managua appear to be incorrect. United and other airlines would not be investing in new flights if they didn’t have the data to back up the proposal that additional flights and seats are required.

This combined with the recent article written by folks working for the IMF: Nicaragua, a success story in the making would add confidence to anyone looking to invest in, or relocate to, the Central American country of Nicaragua.

Nicaragua: A Success Story in the Making | Otaviano Canuto

Nicaragua's mix of renewable energy is growing its self-sufficiency

Nicaragua’s mix of renewable energy is growing its self-sufficiency

Nicaragua: A Success Story in the Making

This post was co-authored by Manuel Coronel


Nicaragua is far more than just the newest and swankiest destination for world travelers. It is -and mark our words – on its way to becoming the latest success story in the western hemisphere.


Let us just tell you why. Nicaragua already is a post-conflict-state success story where peace has become deep-seated and long lasting. The last shots of the “contra” war (1982-1990) against the Sandinista government were heard 25 years ago when close to half of today’s Nicaraguans hadn’t even been born. The other half, the war generation, has – quite pragmatically – reconciled, taking their differences to the political landscape.


Today’s Nicaraguans abhor violence and conflict and stand hopeful and happy about their future prospects. Many, exercising their freedoms, have even flipped sides making alliances with their former foes, or have simply detached themselves from politics to savor the longest time-span of peace they have ever lived in.

Read the rest here: Nicaragua: A Success Story in the Making | Otaviano Canuto


Thanks to the authors for expressing their positive impressions of the current and future improvement in the economy and lives of average Nicaraguans. Sustainable tourism is a part of it, no doubt, so I concur with Sharon Boorstin’s comments here.

As someone who hosts visitors to Nicaragua, I continue to hear how some of their friends and family have the wrong impression of the country and don’t recognize the current situation that is so much improved from past years. The experiences one can have while visiting here are truly unique and satisfying for those who want a real person-to-person emprise.

The continued strong growth in the tourism sector indicates that this old out-of-date thinking is finally being overcome. For example, 500,000 more people visited Nicaragua this year than last year and there are now offerings for every type of traveler from budget to five-stary luxury resorts.

Cheers, Mike @ Farmstay El Porton Verde, Managua

Oveedia Is First Mover In Push to Grow Nicaraguan Tourism – MarketWatch

Oveedia_WelcomeOveedia Is First Mover In Push to Grow Nicaraguan Tourism Published: Nov 2, 2015 9:39 a.m. ET 0 4 Costa Esmeralda Airport Offers Travelers Better Access to Nicaragua and an Opportunity for Lesser Known Hotels to Increase Bookings LAS VEGAS, Nov. 2, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Pure Hospitality Solutions, Inc., PNOW, +26.90% parent company of the Central American-Caribbean online travel Agency, Oveedia (, announced today, that those Nicaraguan hotel properties not listed on major OTAs’, will now see an influx of business opportunities, with this month’s opening of the Costa Esmeralda Airport. This positively benefits the Company through the increase of exclusive Nicaraguan property listings on Oveedia, as Oveedia has a ‘first mover advantage’ in the region. “We already estimated that the number of Nicaraguan hotels we’d sign onto Oveedia during the Expotur 2016, would be considerable in number,” stated Melvin Pereira, President & CEO of Pure Hospitality Solutions. “However, with the aggressive push from Nicaragua to increase global visitors to the country, fortunate for us, our timelines has been accelerated. Being one of the first OTAs to primarily focus on this region, Oveedia has a ‘first mover advantage’ as it is readily positioned to offer Nicaraguan hoteliers a place to list and market their properties to a global audience, searching for a place to stay.” Built by Corporacion del Sur, S.A. [in association with the Nicaragua Tourism Board], and designed by T.H. Chastain Engineering PLLC of New York, the Costa Esmerald Airport which opens this November, is expected to be a game-changer. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE Read: Accommodating ATR-42, ATR-72, Gulfstream V jets and most turboprop planes, Costa Esmerald will reduce transfer time from Managua and Costa Rica. Costa Rica will further benefit, as its International Airport will now act as a hub for those commercial airliners not able to land at Costa Esmerald. The number of travelers to Costa Rica is also anticipated to see an increase.  Management believes there will be a rise in Costa Rican hotel stays along with a surge in Costa Rican/Nicaraguan hotel packages. In either case, Oveedia has a ‘first mover advantage’ to leverage this new traffic. Mr. Pereira concluded, “With the ongoing ease in Cuba, this new Nicaraguan ‘air-bridge’, and other unexpected events positively affecting this region of the Americas, there is a sudden growing interest in travel to Central America – on and off-line. Oveedia is at the right place, right time!”

Source: Oveedia Is First Mover In Push to Grow Nicaraguan Tourism – MarketWatch

Video interpreting firm hiring in Costa Rica The Tico Times

Stratus Video expects to hire 250 video interpreters in Costa Rica in the next two years to help doctors in the U.S. communicate with non-English speaking patients. (Via Stratus Video)
Stratus Video expects to hire 250 video interpreters in Costa Rica in the next two years to help doctors in the U.S. communicate with non-English speaking patients. (Via Stratus Video)

Wanted: video interpreters in Costa Rica


U.S. company Stratus Video is hiring Spanish-English interpreters in Costa Rica for its real-time video interpreting service for doctors and patients in the U.S.

On Wednesday, the Foreign Trade Ministry confirmed that the company will begin operations in January with an initial staff of 120 interpreters who will work from home. Stratus plans to expand its staff to 250 workers by 2017.

The Costa Rica operation will help English-speaking doctors communicate with non-English speaking patients through a video chat system that can be loaded on to any computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Interpreters will all telecommute, therefore jobs are open to people all over the country.

Stratus recruiters are seeking Spanish–English bilingual staff, preferably with interpretation experience and with a broad command of medical vocabulary in both languages. Applicants must have a private and quiet workspace at home as well as a computer with Internet access and a webcam.

Source: Video interpreting firm hiring in Costa RicaThe Tico Times

There is a need for real-time translation and interpreting services between doctors who speak English and “low-English” patients; there is a technology app/platform for this, and while the conversations may take place primarily in the United States, there is no reason why this type of work might as well be done in Costa Rica. It presumably could take place in a country like Nicaragua too.

Most if not all of the above, I did not know. Now I do. You do too!

The only medical jobs in Nicaragua that have to do with translation services that I know of would be Arlen Perez and her crack Medical Tourism team at the Hospital Metropolitano Vivian Pellas. This regionally-accredited hospital is located just five minutes away from the Farmstay and on ocassion we receive visitors who are recuperating from a surgery or have something going on with the hospital that require regular visits.Hospital Metropolitano

If a

Nicaragua, the Undiscovered Luxury Beach Destination for Billionaires and Celebrities – Forbes

Nicaragua, the Undiscovered Luxury Beach Destination for Billionaires and Celebrities


As my helicopter descended upon the vibrant Emerald coastline of Nicaragua, I was filled with anticipation to discover this magical paradise, after hearing from high end travelers about its hidden, undiscovered location. Nicaragua is quickly becoming a first rate alternative to luxury resorts in Mexico and Costa Rica. It has quietly become a superstar getaway for Beyonce, Michael Douglas, Halle Berry, Morgan Freeman, Michael Fassbender and many others thanks to the allure of the recently opened Mukul Resort, the country’s first five-star hotel.


Delta now offers direct flights from Los Angeles. Once in Managua, it’s a two hour drive (30-minute helicopter ride) to the majestic and tranquil Mukul Beach & Spa Resort located in a very exclusive and private stretch along the Pacific Ocean. The area is also blessed with the opening of the new Costa Esmeralda Airport—only five miles north of Mukul. The 492,000-square-foot airport features one terminal and a 5,000-foot runway that will be able to accommodate Gulfstream GV jets.


The spectacular Mukul Resort in Nicaragua (photo by Ryan Forbes)

The spectacular Mukul Resort in Nicaragua (photo by Ryan Forbes)

After years of political turbulence and war, Nicaragua is now safe and growing daily. It’s quiet unpopulated beaches, bohemian surf villages, and boutique hotels is trying to remain intimate and traditional, while still embracing the future. A huge $50 billion dollar Panama Canal style development which will attract international commerce and further growth connecting the Pacific to the Atlantic. A Chinese billionaire is funding the canal development and is stirring a lot of controversy in the area.

Read the rest: Nicaragua, the Undiscovered Luxury Beach Destination for Billionaires and Celebrities – Forbes

Excellent article Jim Dobson, I was tempted to hop on a helicopter and get over to the Mukul Resort just reading it! You did a great job and I’m sure that the Pellas’ are pleased with the results. I live and work here in Nicaragua and just want to say I appreciate Forbes giving the minuscule luxury spa segment of the Nicaraguan tourism offerings a boost. 500,000 more visitors came this year than last, an increase of 8.5%, but very few came for this segment of the market. I expect more will come now.

The new Costa Esmeralda airport will be a game-changer as not only private jets (with their celebrity passengers) can fly in, but direct flights from San Jose and Liberia in Costa Rica in addition to short flights from Managua make access easier and quicker. Good on ‘ya too for getting out in the community a bit. I was afraid you weren’t going to see any of the real Nicaragua but looks like you at least got a glimpse.

Cheers, Mike @ Farmstay El Porton Verde, Managua

Center for Extreme Tourism Opens on Nicaragua’s Tallest Volcano

Center for Extreme Tourism Opens on Nicaragua’s Tallest Volcano

CHICHIGALPA, Nicaragua – A new attraction for fans of extreme tourism has been inaugurated at the foot of San Cristobal Volcano, Nicaragua’s tallest, in the northwestern region of the Central American country.
Volcano San Cristobal in Nicaragua, taken from an upper level of the sugar mill at the Ingenio San Antonio in Chichigalpa, Nicaragua. Ryan Ballantyne --ryos 01:28, 18 June 2006 (UTC) - Own work

Volcano San Cristobal in Nicaragua, taken from an upper level of the sugar mill at the Ingenio San Antonio in Chichigalpa, Nicaragua.
Ryan Ballantyne –ryos 01:28, 18 June 2006 (UTC) – Own work

The site, with its inn, dining hall, visitors center, tourist service facility and trails for climbing the 1,745-meter (5,721-foot) high volcano, was constructed with a budget of 250,000 euros ($276,125), funded 80 percent by the European Union and 20 percent by the Chichigalpa city government.

Its construction is aimed at promoting the comprehensive development of the tourism value chain based on the Route of the Colonial Cities and the Volcanoes, the EU said.

“We used to think that all this volcano could do was erupt, but now it’s on the national route of tourist attractions,” Chichigalpa Mayor Victor Manuel Sevilla told EFE.

Cool story from the LatAm Herald Tribune about the opening of a new tourist center located on Volcano San Cristobal, located near Chichigalpa, which is in-between Leon and Chinandega, Nicaragua. The volcano is consistently active, and is the tallest in Nicaragua at 5,725 ft. It’s part of a chain of five volcanoes in the area.
The funding came mostly from the EU with a portion paid for by the city of Chichigalpa. This new center is expected to boost sustainable tourism.