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

Government to build coastal road • El Nuevo Diario

The government plans to build a coastal road in the Pacific , as announced yesterday by Vice President Rosario Murillo, who also said that it will be President Daniel Ortega who will give details of the project in the coming days.

The project aims to unite the beaches of the Nicaraguan Pacific coast, from the department of Rivas to Managua.

Map of proposed Coastal Road

– END –

In the coming weeks will work on a first stretch of the road that is expected to bring greater investment to the country, added Murillo in her daily speech.

The route of the road, according to Murillo, will start on the southern border in El Naranjo, and will tour the beaches of El Ostional, Playa Coco, La Flor, Marseille, Majagual, Las Maderas, El Gigante, Guacalito, Las Salinas, Tipilapa, Huehuete, Casares, La Boquita and Masachapa.

The coastal road has been raised in different administrations.At first it was designed under the administration of former president Enrique Bolaños. The project was to be built by the company called Inocsa-Edicro.

In 2010, during the first administration of Ortega, it was announced the construction of at least 2 kilometers of road from San Juan del Sur. It was also said at that time that there was funding to cobble another 5 kilometers of road.

At that time the cost of the project was $ 600,000 per kilometer paved, not including bridge construction and drainage system.

A year later, the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure announced the award of a concession to an Italian consortium for a period of more than 20 years and estimated that the investment cost of the project was 200 million dollars.

In its original design , proposed during the administration of ex-President Bolaños, the coastal road covered 131 kilometers paved and covered eight beaches in the country.

Source: Gobierno construirá carretera costanera • El Nuevo Diario

This news from El Nuevo Diario newspaper certainly comes under the heading of interesting and potentially transformative Nicaraguan news! Thing is though, there was a big push in 2010 (and many years before, in the mid-2000’s, during the Bolaños administration) for a coastal road and at one point they had even awarded a contract to an Italian firm and it was going to be a toll road.

Then a few years later it was sort of quietly announced that the project was dead. Well, like many a monster movie, It Lives! If this project is actually completed end-to-end that would be fantastic for vacationers and anyone who is a beach lover because you could actually visit several beaches in one day.

Of course, the people who would be the most “stoked” would definitely be the surfers! As it is now, for example, if you are staying in San Juan del Sur and after surfing a few days at the beaches near there, as a wandering visiting surfer, you’ll naturally want to try some other beaches. Well, on the map, the beaches of the Tola, Rivas area don’t look too far away, but if you actually were staying in SJdS and wanted to surf, say Popoyo beach, it would be a good hour and maybe twenty minutes to get there. When (and if!) this coastal road is completed, you’d be able to zip up there in maybe 20 minutes, 30 minutes top.

Thoughts and/or comments? What do you think? Please let us know below.

Airbnb sees opportunity to promote another type of tourism in Nicaragua • El Nuevo Diario

Approximately 50% of tourists coming to Nicaragua through the Airbnb application are looking to stay in shared spaces, said Carlos Muñoz, Public Policy and Government Relations Manager for Airbnb for Central America and the Caribbean.

That means, according to Muñoz, that this type of tourist shares the lodging with another person who lives in the house, which in his opinion “creates an immense possibility of a very strong and rich cultural exchange, which promotes the possibility of that person wanting to return to Nicaragua.”

According to the official of Airbnb, the tourist agencies could take advantage of that characteristic to attract more tourists to the country.

“Normally in the region where I work, the Caribbean and Central America, 70% of tourists rent a whole house, that is, do not cohabit with a family or another person. They rent the whole house to go and spend with the family, “he said.

“In Nicaragua I see it as a great opportunity to develop this type of tourism that I mentioned, which is a tourism with a very cultural experience, well personalized, that differentiates this country from others in the region. And it should be noted that many of the tourists who come to Nicaragua are looking for this type of experience and it is an experience that is not achieved in the traditional tourism market,” he said.

“Collaborative Economy”

Airbnb, the world’s premier hosting business that has no place physically speaking, emerged in 2008 in San Francisco, United States, as an idea of ​​two young college students.

According to Carlos Muñoz, the application has more than two million properties registered, in more than 34,000 cities in 191 countries. It is a company valued at US $ 30 billion.

In Nicaragua there are over 1,000 properties active on Airbnb.

Currently Nicaraguan lodgings registered in Airbnb are concentrated in the Pacific of the country. “There are a lot of holiday homes, beach houses, but at the same time there are houses in Managua, in the mountains and some other offer on the Caribbean coast,” said Carlos Muñoz.

For Muñoz, it is difficult to predict the growth that the use of the Airbnb system of business in Nicaragua could have during the next years.

“Airbnb is an open platform. It is not that we buy hotels or buy properties and that way we can predict what supply we can have in the country. It is an open platform and everything depends on the free market, and how many people want to enter,” said Muñoz.

Airbnb’s Public Policy and Government Relations Manager for Central America and the Caribbean participated in the Nica Tech Summit 2017, held last Saturday in Managua, and said that they are starting to socialize a little about what is the “Collaborative economy” and publicize the Airbnb platform, so that more people can participate and enjoy the benefits of the tourism sector.

Democratize tourism

“We see this platform as a way to democratize what tourism is, because it allows people who have traditionally not been able to participate to participate and receive benefits from that sector,” said the manager of Public Policy and Government Relations of Airbnb for Central America and Caribbean.

Muñoz pointed out that one of the characteristics of the “collaborative economy” is that it does not require a big investment.

In the case of Airbnb the idea is that a person who has a property, whether a whole house or a single vacated room, can enable and offer it through that application to more than 100 million users worldwide, and so generate income for the family.

Source: Airbnb ve oportunidad para promover otro tipo de turismo en Nicaragua • El Nuevo Diario

As part of the recently held Nica Tech Summit 2017 (21 January in Managua), the person who heads up Airbnb’s efforts in Central America spoke and had some interesting things to say, namely that more people using Airbnb to book their lodging in Nicaragua look for shared spaces, i.e. not a whole house but a room or two in a house with other occupants, be they Nicaraguan or foreigners.

The point Mr. Muñoz is making is that this is a higher percentage than other countries in the region and that it is a good thing because this means that, especially for first-time visitors to Nicaragua, they can get a more locals perspective and experience than they would if they didn’t interact with actual Nicaraguans or expats at their rental properties.

Here at El Porton Verde, we certainly believe that, especially for your first and/or last night in Nicaragua, it’s good to get a very comfortable experience and one that is much more personalized than one that you might get just staying at a regular hotel or hostel.

When you are living with a family you get to eat the food they eat, listen and learn about what their lives are all about, and have a chance to ask questions as a visitor that just doesn’t happen in a more corporate or chain hotel type of situation.

As I’ve posted before, I think it’s completely legit to ask the first-time visitor, “why stay at a chain hotel when you can stay with us?” Not only does the visitor get more value for their dollar, yen, euro, pound, etc. you get the experience that totally supersedes having a room at a chain hotel that is pretty much like any other hotel room in that chain. I mean, a Holiday Inn is a Holiday Inn, amiright? 🙂

Another benefit of staying with a place like El Portón Verde is that you get to ask about things like relocation, medical tourism, local tours, beach house rentals, rental car tips, driving tips, and a bunch of other topics that you won’t get any exposure to in a more traditional lodging option like a big hotel chain.

If this doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will? If you have a question about the value proposition that places like El Portón Verde offers, please comment below!

Aeromexico Announces Second Daily Flight to Honduras and Nicaragua – MarketWatch

Jan 12, 2017 (Marketwired via COMTEX) — Starting on January 10 and February 7, Aeromexico will add new flights to the San Pedro Sula and Managua markets, respectively. The airline serves six cities in Central America

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO–(Marketwired – January 12, 2017) – Aeromexico, Mexico’s global airline, announces a second direct daily flight from Mexico City to San Pedro Sula, Honduras, and Managua, Nicaragua, starting on January 10 and February 7, respectively.

Aeromexico’s Chief Revenue Officer, Anko van der Werff said, “These new flights allow us to deliver a product offering better options for business and leisure travelers alike, and for those traveling to visit relatives. Both flights will undoubtedly provide enhanced connectivity options to our customers traveling from Honduras and Nicaragua, thus reinforcing the airline’s presence in Central America.”

The addition of these new flights increases Aeromexico’s offer on the routes to 4,100 seats per week with the following schedules:

Mexico City - Managua   Managua - Mexico City AM 650 09:01 a.m. 11:51 a.m. Daily   AM 654 12:55 p.m. 4:05 p.m. Daily **AM 620 03:20 p.m. 06:25 p.m. Daily   **AM 654 07:25 p.m. 10:30 p.m. Daily
Times published are local to each country and are subject to changes without notice **New weekly flight starting on February 7, 2017 Flights operated with Embraer 190 and Embraer 170 aircraft
Mexico City - San Pedro Sula   San Pedro Sula - Mexico City AM 674 09:15 a.m. 11:34 a.m. Daily   AM 675 12:34 p.m. 03:20 p.m. Daily **AM 638 03:30 p.m. 05:51 p.m. Daily   **AM 639 07:25 p.m. 09:50 p.m. Daily
Times published are local to each country and are subject to changes without notice **New weekly flight starting on January 10, 2017 Flights operated with Embraer 190 and Embraer 170 aircraft

Aeromexico thus renews its commitment to offer increased connectivity options for Central American, based on the airline’s presence in 45 cities in Mexico, 18 in the United States, 15 in Latin America, four in Canada, four in Europe, and two in Asia, offering quality service on each of its trips.

About Grupo Aeroméxico

Grupo Aeroméxico, S.A.B. de C.V. is a holding company whose subsidiaries provide commercial aviation services, and promote passenger loyalty programs in Mexico. Aeromexico, Mexico’s global airline, operates more than 600 daily flights from its main hub in Terminal 2 at the Mexico City International Airport. Its route network spans more than 80 cities on three continents including 45 in Mexico, 18 in the United States, 15 in Latin America, four in Europe, four in Canada, and two in Asia.

Grupo Aeromexico’s fleet of close to 130 aircraft includes Boeing 787, 777, and 737 jet airliners and next generation Embraer 190, 175, 170, and 145 models. In 2012, the airline announced the most significant investment strategy in aviation history in Mexico, to purchase 100 Boeing aircraft including 90 MAX 737 airliners and ten 787-9 Dreamliners.

As a founding member of the SkyTeam global alliance, Aeromexico offers customers more than 1,000 destinations in 177 countries served by its top 20 airline partners rewarding passengers with benefits including access to 672 premium airport lounges around the world. Aeromexico also offers travel options through its codeshare partners Delta Air Lines, Alaska Airlines, Avianca, Copa Airlines, and WestJet with extensive connectivity in countries like the United States, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, and Peru. www.aeromexico.com and www.skyteam.com.

Alejandro Bosquez Gonzàlez Comunicación Externa & R.P. / Norteamérica External Communications & P.R / North America Tel. +52 (55) 9132 4604 Mail. abosquez@aeromexico.com Sita: MEXPR

© 2017 Nasdaq, Inc. All rights reserved.

Source: Aeromexico Announces Second Daily Flight to Honduras and Nicaragua – MarketWatch

Some more good economic, travel and business news! Aeromexico will now have two daily flights from Mexico City to Managua. It’s a great way to combine the two locales, the very international metropolitan city of Mexico and then you get a very much more relaxed setup here in Nicaragua! We’ve had a few guests do a couple of days in Mexico before coming to Managua and they really rave about the exciting big city feel of the Mexican capital.

Johnnysast at English Wikipedia

NICA Competition Gaining International Support – Still Time to Participate…

An example of the awesome ceramics art being produced in San Juan de Oriente.

The NICA Competition is in full effect!

On December 5, 2016 I announced the Nicaragua International Ceramic Art Competition in San Juan de Oriente, Nicaragua…..
By the end of the registration period on December 24th we had 95 entries to participate!
The rules were simple one masterpiece entry per artisan delivered by January 18th, 2017.
I set up a award schedule (listed on the graphic at the bottom of this email) that includes 10 awards valuing over $8000….
The pueblo went nuts….  There has never been a competition that has offered such robust award values and access to a world wide audience.
When I added it all up there were 95 total artists, 25 women artisans and 16 youth artisan under the age of 21!  Staggering numbers for a small traditional village.
Over a three and a half day period I went to each small house and interviewed each artisan, every registered participant of the 2017 NICA Competition.
Although I have been working in the San Juan de Oriente pueblo for over 21 years I met people and learned things I never knew.
Maybe half of the participants, or more, have never participated in a competition.
I announced the awards to the NICA Ceramic Art community and got great support and results!

$2500 Best in Show – Sponsored!  Thank you
$1500 Oro Award – Sponsored! Thank you
$750 Plata Award – Sponsored! Thank you
$750 Plata Award – Still Available Click Here 
$750 pre-Columbian – Sponsored! Thank you
$500 Honor Award – Available Click Here
$500 Honor Award 2 – Available Click Here
$500 Honor Award 3 – Available Click Here
$500 Women Artisan Award – Sponsored Thank you!
$500 Youth Artisan Award – Sponsored Thank you!

By sponsoring one of the final available awards listed above you will choose the award winning sculpture with a cash prize for the artisan baring your name….in exchange you will receive the award winning sculpture for your private collection.
I am preparing nicaceramicart.com to show the close to 90 participants in the NICA Competition – with their photo, a intro video and images of their entry sculpture to the NICA Competition.
As a sponsor you will have access to all of the pieces and artists profiles starting on January 23rd.  On January 26th we will have the awards ceremony in San Juan de Oriente, Nicaragua and video the awards being presented in your name to enjoy the moment and interaction.
As of right now this has turned into a true international celebration of support with awards coming from all over the United States, Finland, National support and Local Support with the Mayor of San Juan de Oriente sponsoring the Youth Artisan award.
It has been both an honor and a heck of a lot of work putting this together and I am now pointing to the last few awards available for a few more people to step into this opportunity to participate in this unique cultural event.
The graphic below will help express and explain more.  I am always available to answer questions or give further information.
Those who have sponsored awards will receive the first update the end of this week.
Please consider being a part of the first annual NICA Competition by supporting one of the last awards – have an award issued in your name – and enjoy that winning sculpture in your home for ever…..
Thank you,
Paul H Devoti
paul@nicaceramicart.com  – best contact via email!

Veteran, Women and Youth Artisan Coming Together to participate in the first annual Nicaragua International Ceramic Art Competition

Source: NICA Competition Gaining International Support – Still Time to Participate…

Now this is a great thing this gentleman is doing…sponsoring (and you can sponsor it too, see link!) a competition in the local ceramics village, San Juan de Oriente, on the best ceramics art in the area. I sure hope my friend Pedro Guerrero is in this, as I think he’s one of the best!

14 stunning photos of exploration in the Masaya volcano • El Nuevo Diario

The images shared by Sam Cossman after the first week of work in the active volcano

Source: 14 stunning photos of exploration in the Masaya volcano • El Nuevo Diario

Photo: Alejandro Sánchez
The Team of Sam Cossman installs 80 sensors in the interior of the Masaya Volcano.

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!

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

Welcome to El Portón Verde, Managua Posted in Nicaragua

Welcome to El Portón Verde

So what’s the deal with couchsurfing anyway? We’ll see!

INITIAL POST

  1. Mike El Porton Verde

    Managua, Managua, Nicaragua

    Hi couchsurfers; As an introduction, my name is Mike and my family and I live and work on a small farm on the outskirts of Managua. We run a little bed and breakfast here where we like to share our little slice of paradise. During the slower season especially (May-October) we should be able to host a few people here, up to four at a time.
    If you are willing to help with some of the chores around the farm we’d be happy to do a friendly exchange with you! Some of the chores include: feeding the pigs, digging holes to plant trees and plantains, weeding the pineapple patch, cutting and then planting vetiver grass on lines of contour, cleaning the swimming pool, painting, and occassionaly a bit of childcare for our two year old.
    Cheers, Mike @ El Portón Verde, Managua
    http://elportonverde.com

Source: Comment Thread | Nicaragua | Groups | Couchsurfing

So I signed up El Portón Verde on couchsurfing.com the other day. I got a message the next day from a nice French couple, they wanted a place to stay for one week. We couldn’t take them that first day but for six nights we could. If someone wants to stay we need them to do some farm work. They mentioned they were interested in farming, so I thought we had a match. Yesterday we got the message from them that they found something else, presumably where they wouldn’t have to do any actual work.

I’ll give it some time, but so far I’m not impressed…

To My Friends and Family: Please come visit me in Nicaragua

Cordial Invite? Friends and Family, Please Visit El Porton Verde and Experience Nicaragua!

To my friends and family: I am officially inviting you to come and visit Nicaragua this year. Maybe Nicaragua isn’t for…

Posted by Mike Quinn on Saturday, March 26, 2016

What’s this all about anyway?

I want you to visit Nicaragua. It’s time, really, like this year, 2016 let’s make this happen! I can customize your travel itinerary for you based on what you want to do and with whom you would like to do it! Just contact me and even if I’ve never met you, you’ll still get the “friends and family” treatment!
Partial list of what’s on offer:

Give me an idea, what’s a “typical” Nicaraguan vacation include?

You will fly into Managua International Airport where as soon as you get out of customs, heading towards the area of the rental cars, you will see my smiling face! A lot of flight arrive sort of late at night, so you and your travel companions can stay with us at the farm that first night.

When you wake up, you’ll see a wonderful view, enjoy a tasty farm-fresh breakfast, with ingredients from the farm, and we’ll plan out that first day. There are lots of things to do in the local area, colonial towns, big lakes, crater lakes, volcanoes, waterfalls, beaches, etc., so you can easily spend a couple of days partaking in that and getting your feet wet so to speak.

Then we can figure out what your particular interests are and make sure those fantastic travel experiences happen for you. Here are some possibilities:

And ideally you will plan to have the time to do a number of the above listed items or we can discover even more, this is only a partial listing!

visit Nicaragua

Swimming pool, tranquility and volcano views guaranteed!