Arriving in Managua ~8pm-Feasibility of making a minibus from UCA at 9, or shuttle from airport to Granada available?

From http://dontstopliving.net/backpacking-in-nicaragua-how-to-get-from-leon-to-granada-for-2-80/p1010339/

From http://dontstopliving.net/backpacking-in-nicaragua-how-to-get-from-leon-to-granada-for-2-80/p1010339/

emgtravel
Hello,
I am arriving in Managua around 8pm and was wondering if I have time to get to UCA for a 9 pm shuttle to Masaya, and also if shuttle buses from the airport to Granada run that late. Any suggestions on the best way to get to UCA at that time? Would it be more advisable to stay in Managua and travel the next day?
Thank you!

Greetings emgtravel:

I’d say no chance to get to La UCA at that time and that there would be no bus leaving that late. Like others have written, it is basically either do the shuttle or private sedan, so max $40 but you can split that up to three ways with 3 pax. The other option would be to look for a nice place to stay that will come pick you up and be located near the route from UCA to Granada and then the next morning you would only pay about a buck to go to Granada instead of up to $40.

Cheers, Mike_elportonverde

via https://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/permalink/post/21292255

Arriving in Managua at Night?

This question comes up fairly frequently in the travel forums about Nicaragua, as a lot if not a majority of flights come in at night, when arriving in Managua how would one get to Granada or is it better to wait until the next day?

I’ve answered this before in an original blog post: Head-to-Head Comparison: After Arriving at the Managua Airport, Going Directly to Granada vs. Staying near Carretera a Masaya

Bottom line is that, after arriving in Managua, you should be able to decide if it’s okay with you to get to Granada the next morning instead of at a late hour at night.

If you decide to go with the El Portón Verde solution, you can:

Now I’ve had expats of Granada give me a really hard time about this modest proposal I make, as if enough tourists don’t go directly to Granada as soon as they land! I don’t argue that what is right for an individual traveler is always the best thing for everybody, but I do contend that for someone who wants a softer landing to Nicaragua, have a chance to see a friendly face, be greeted by someone who speaks your language meets you at the Managua airport, gives you a nice comfortable ride and room at a farm where in the morning you’ll have an incredible view, eat a great filling breakfast, have a chance to do a quick farm tour or a dip in our swimming pool, then we get you on the bus for a short trip to Granada that only costs $1 USD, well, that is a good proposition for some people, am I right?

n

Managua – Nicaragua Forum – TripAdvisor

Re: Managua

There are several private shuttle services serving Nicaragua.

There are several private shuttle services serving Nicaragua.

elportonverde Managua, Nicaragua Level Contributor 754 posts 22 reviews 2.

Feb 08, 2016, 2:13 PM

Greetings winger88: Coming in at night there would be no public bus available. If you are up for another 2 1/2 hours in a vehicle after flying all day and are okay with arriving late at night, then you can use a private shuttle service like iSKRA Travel, NicaRoads, etc.

The last scheduled (shared) shuttle is cheaper but leaves the airport at 5:30pm so you might not be able to make it. The private shutlle is $80 for one or two passengers.

Taking the bus the next morning would be a lot cheaper if that is important to you, If you go that route, I would suggest staying at a place off of Carretera a Masaya so you could catch the bus as it heads out of town. Otherwise, go to the Mercado Huembes and get the bus to SJdS or to Rivas, then switch to a bus to SJdS from there.

Cheers, Mike @ El Portón Verde, Managua

Source: Managua – Nicaragua Forum – TripAdvisor

Retire Nicaragua: Where to Retire Overseas in 2016 – US News

Granada, Nicaragua. A Spanish-colonial city can be a great choice for retirement, and Granada is one of the best options. This city has a great variety of classic and charming Spanish-colonial homes with high ceilings, painted tiles and private courtyards that you can own for as little as $40,000. Granada is among the most carefully restored and preserved colonial cities in the Americas. This city of 120,000 has a sizeable expat community and attracts many international travelers with its upscale hotels, fine restaurants and well-kept buildings. Many parts of the city are walkable, and the nearby airport in Managua provides many connections to the United States. However, Granada maintains an authentically Nicaraguan feel. You will be able to sample local delicacies and pottery is made by hand. You may even see old oxcarts in the streets. The city is a blend of native Nicaraguan life with modern amenities. You can qualify for Nicaragua’s retiree residency visa program with as little as $600 per month of retirement income. But you’ll probably need a budget of at least $1,200 per month to live here comfortably.

Source: Where to Retire Overseas in 2016 – US News

International Living really does a proficient job in selling the dream of retiring overseas and this is a good “get” for them to be published in US News. However, they do omit lots of very important details but once you’ve sold up back home and plopped down in Granada, they don’t really care about what troubles and travails you will experience once you are actually living here! And yes, I am a wee bit jealous of their success! 🙂

Government warns of new eruptive activity on Momotombo Volcano – Metro

 Government warns of new eruptive activity on Momotombo Volcano

by ACAN-EFE December 26, 2015

Source: Gobierno advierte nueva actividad eruptiva en volcán Momotombo – Metro

From El Porton Verde we see two volcanoes on a clear day, neither of which is this one, Momotombo Volcano. We see Masaya Volcano and in the background we can sometimes also see Mombacho Volcano.

We drove up to see Momotombo Volcano a couple of weeks ago after the initial eruption had died down and were amazed by its beauty. There is a lovely little port where artesanal fisherman head out to Lake Managua to fish. We might go again as seeing the actual eruption would be really cool!

Luckily for us this volcano is some eighty kilometers away from us, so we are safe for the moment! Cheers everyone and here’s to living on the edge!

 

Retire to Nicaragua’s Crown Jewel – US News

Granada is built around a bustling town square anchored by a neoclassical cathedral.

Granada is built around a bustling town square anchored by a neoclassical cathedral.

Retire to Nicaragua’s Crown Jewel

Granada has charming Spanish-colonial homes selling for bargain prices. Granada is built around a bustling town square anchored by a neoclassical cathedral. By Kathleen Peddicord Oct. 20, 2015 | 9:45 a.m. EDT

 

Nicaragua offers one of the world’s largest lakes, pristine Caribbean beaches and islands, cool mountains and hundreds of miles of dramatically beautiful Pacific coastline. This country also boasts one of the world’s most affordable costs of living in retirement. A couple could retire comfortably here on as little as $1,200 per month. It’s easy to establish retiree residency in Nicaragua, which has a low minimum income threshold. Regardless of what you may have heard or read, Nicaragua is a safe and welcoming place. Every time I visit, I look forward to getting there and I’m sorry to leave.

Source: Retire to Nicaragua’s Crown Jewel – US News

You have to hand it to Kathleen Peddicord, she does have the ability to publish the same basic article seemingly about one hundred times and the US media keeps eating it up! Kathleen has been around Nicaragua for quite some time off and on, so it’s not like she doesn’t know of which she speaks, heaven forbid!

It is interesting that there is such a consistent push towards Granada from the likes of International Living Magazine and Live and Invest Overseas. While I personally like Granada quite a bit,I wouldn’t call it the “Crown Jewel of Nicaragua.” Being a tourist there is quite fun on occasion, and the town itself is lovely, but as the saying goes, “Its a nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there.”

The restaurants have a good variety, albeit are overpriced compared to local spots. The isletas are fun to visit too. It’s near Mombacho Volcano and Laguna de Apoyo, both beautiful spots.

For the casual reader interesting in relocating to Nicaragua, I recommend staying away from organizations that make most of their money selling the dream in the form of expensive conferences where experts will share their knowledge about how to make it abroad, especially from a financial perspective. The majority of so-called “experts” really are interested in selling you their overpriced real estate. Making money in real estate is not the typical scenario here.

In fact, I’m a proponent of taking a very cautious approach to living and investing overseas as there are downsides to living in Nicaragua or other overseas countries that publications and individuals which are mostly interested in selling you real estate naturally are unlikely to put in the forefront.

Not only do they want to sell you property at the “gringo price” but the “dumb money gringo price.” The lifestyle seminars won’t tell you about lots of important aspects of moving and living overseas. Pricing of real estate, for example, is not transparent, although there was recently published a price snapshot for Central American real estate.

People from the United States, Canada and Europe move to Nicaragua for a lot of different reasons. If you want to live in the largest expat community, join the clubs and legion halls like you did back home and be able to easily get along hardly speaking a word of Spanish, then Granada is the place for you. Just don’t think it’s the place to buy cheap real estate and live inexpensively. A similar house in a village about fifteen minutes away from Granada would cost about 1/3 less, for example.

Sure it might cost less to live in Granada than in a big city up north, but don’t go thinking you’ll be part of the greater Nicaraguan community or that you’ll really be challenged to learn the language. For example, if your goal is to integrate to a certain extent with the locals, I think there are better places to do that in Nicaragua. If your goal is to live cheaply, there are lots of places that fit the bill better. For example, a little house in the nearby “Pueblos Blancos” such as Niquonomo, Masatepe, Catarina, San Juan de Oriente, etc. might be the call. The weather is better there anyway as the elevation is higher.

I hope this gives you dear reader(s), a bit of perspective so when you read these articles you keep your mind on the realities, not just the dream, of living in Nicaragua. As always, feedback and comments are welcome!

Nicaragua: The country travellers haven’t yet discovered | Stuff.co.nz

Nicaragua: The country travellers haven’t yet discovered

 

UTE JUNKER Last updated 05:00, September 29 2015 3 Roberto Zuniga

Lake Nicaragua with Ometepe in the background.

Lake Nicaragua with Ometepe in the background.

There is no sleeping in in the city of Leon. Even for those nestled, as I am, behind the sheltering walls of a converted convent – walls thicker than anything built in the intervening three centuries – 7am is wake-up time. That is when a loud siren sounds across the town, rousing any sleepyheads and reminding them that it is time to get up and go to work. A second siren sounds at midday, announcing f lunchtime.  It is an odd ritual, redolent of life on a plantation. A local tells me the practice used to be common across Nicaragua. Back when workers were too poor to afford clocks or watches, it ensured everyone got to work on time. Today, the only place it is still practised is in Leon, which seems slightly odd, given that this is Nicaragua’s foremost student city. Perhaps it is the only way they can get students to show up for their morning lectures. I have never come across a city-wide wake-up call anywhere else in the world, but then, Nicaragua is different. Central America’s poorest country has a lost-in-time feeling, with a laidback pace that has disappeared from most corners of the globe. The country does not feature on many must-visit lists, but it is hoping to change that, aiming to reinvent itself as tourist destination. Given its magnificent natural attractions, from soaring volcanoes and massive lakes to dense jungles and wonderfully preserved colonial cities, it should be an easy sell.

Traditional dancers in Diriamba, Nicaragua. Photo: Margie Politzer

Traditional dancers in Diriamba, Nicaragua. Photo: Margie Politzer

Source: Nicaragua: The country travellers haven’t yet discovered | Stuff.co.nz

Thanks for this story Ute Junker…I think you just barely made it here before the hordes arrive haha. Actually, if you stay away from Granada, San Juan del Sur, and parts of Ometepe Island, you will not see too many tourists. You mentioned how in your visit to Leon you just saw a few international travelers here and there. That’s why personally I enjoy Leon much more than Granada. Going to Granada you are confronted with several Irish Pubs, Tex-Mex restaurants, falafel bars, etc. that is much like home. On the Calzada (the main tourist drag in Granada) where is to my knowledge only one restaurant that actually features Nicaraguan cuisine that is not an overpriced fake experience.

Cheers, Mike @ Farmstay El Porton Verde, Managua

Nicaragua: It Just Feels Like Home

Living in Nicaragua is different than the USA

Street in Granada, Nicaragua Author Adalberto.H.Vega

Street in Granada, Nicaragua Author Adalberto.H.Vega

By Suzanne Maxey — My son advised me that Granada, Nicaragua was nothing like the United States. And I thought that I completely understood – that is, until I had lived here for a few months.

It’s a lot like living in the good old days

If you are old enough, think back to the USA in the 50’s and early 60’s.  Then slow the pace down.  Horse drawn carts compete for space on the streets with all the taxis. A small herd of cows and the bull pass by my casa every morning and evening on their way to graze. Ladies older than I am walk the barrio with huge baskets of fruit, vegetables, bread, you name it, balanced on their heads, selling their wares, the bread still hot from the oven. Men walk by all day selling anything you can think of from their carts. Ceiling fans, sewing machines, pots and pans, window glass, you name it.

Living with minor inconveniences

At least once a week either the water or the power or both go out. Usually it is back on by 5 p.m., but now and then it is a 24 hour marathon of no water or no electricity. Not so much fun when it is 95 degrees outside and there is no breeze. Hardly anyone in Nicaragua has air conditioning but a fan usually keeps us cool enough…until the power goes out. Then we spend a fair amount of time standing under the shower.
Hardly anyone here has hot water, either.  But honestly, we don’t need it. The showers are lukewarm to slightly cool, and they sure do feel good.  If you insist on hot water for the dishes, just fill up a bowl with tap water and put it in the microwave. Works fine.

No deprivation required

Most anything you can get in the U.S., you can get here. Can’t say regarding Canadian foods or goods. The grocery stores here carry the more expensive U.S. brands of food as well as Latin American brands. The LA brands of food are just as good, and a lot cheaper. Once in a while I splurge and buy a can of Spam or jar of Jif, but stick with local brands for the most part. In the mercado, any and everything can be found. Be careful in the mercado though; pickpockets love the gringos.

A comfortable life

It’s a slower pace but it is a comfortable pace. I don’t miss the congested interstates or the crowded, overpriced convenience store on every corner. Here, there are pulperias on every block, small convenience stores being operated out of someone’s living room. You can get eggs, chips, milk, soft drinks and homemade frescos, even detergent just a few doors down from your casa. In the evening, ladies set up tables outside their homes with home cooked meals, ready to buy for your supper. Delicious!
Granada, Nicaragua feels like a soft, well worn old shirt and pair of jeans. If I want to go to the mall or a movie then Managua is close by, but the slow, easygoing pace of Granada fits me like a glove. It can be frustrating when the power goes out and then the water cuts off for a few hours, but in the evening when everyone comes outside to walk and visit and gossip, Nicaragua feels like home.
Suzanne Maxey lives not too far from her son (and grandkids) in Granada. Her son, Casey, wrote the NCX Guide to Residency in Nicaragua, a must-have for anyone considering moving down to this beautiful country. 

Farmstay Reviews – Airbnb

Julia

Julia

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!

Granada Colonial Homes Tour | See behind all of those mysterious doors!

Tours meet every Tuesday at 10 am in the art center behind the Ole Boutique (side entrance):
1 block east of the Central Park down Calzada Blvd.   

Or, call in Nicaragua: 8457-8423, to arrange special tours

Behind Closed Doors……

COLONIAL HOUSE TOURS COME TO GRANADA

Take a great tour of the insides of some of the finest homes in Granada, while benefitting a wonderful education project!

Take a great tour of the insides of some of the finest homes in Granada, while benefitting a wonderful education project!

If you’ve been lucky enough to have participated in one of the colonial house tours in cities such as San Miguel De Allende, Mexico, you know how amazing old colonial houses can be. Finally, Granada has begun tours of its magnificent beauties and all the proceeds benefit educational projects.

via Granada Colonial Homes Tour | See behind all of those mysterious doors!.

Friend of the Farmstay and social media guru, Eden Rudin posted this on Facebook, so in a spirit of helping out for this project, I repost here for our readers who may not be aware of this tour. Other colonial architecture cities and towns around the world like Antigua, Guatemala, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and others offer similar tours, so why not Granada too?

If you’ve ever been to Granada and wondered what is behind those lovely, massive colonial doors, and yearned for a peek into the interior spaces, this is your chance! A great added benefit is that this isn’t for anyone’s profit. The proceeds go to two different educational projects:

  • Library “Puedo Leer”, the first lending library in Granada, putting books in the hands of children and promoting reading through its many urban and rural projects.
    www.puedoleerlibrary.com
  • Scholarships for poor children at the new Sacuanjoche Elementary School, probably the best private school in the city.
    www.granadainternationalschool.org 

So if you book a tour, tell them that you found out about this via Mike at Farmstay El Portón Verde, Managua.

 

The monstrosity of the Canal| La Prensa

The monstrosity of the Canal

By: Ernesto Cardenal

Author and poet Ernesto Cardenal

Author and poet Ernesto Cardenal

We need to expose to the world what is happening in Nicaragua.

President Daniel Ortega, with the all-embracing power that he and his wife have in this country, had the National Congress create and approve (in one day) a law for the construction of the Interoceanic Canal. The people were not consulted at all about this law. The day after the law was passed, a concession was granted  with dizzying speed, although it will affect Nicaragua for over one hundred years. The award was made to a previously unknown Chinese named Wang Jing. The award only grants rights to Wang Jing but does not impose any obligations.

The grant was made without any previous study, as President Ortega himself has said.

The grant requires that all information about the construction of the Canal will remain confidential.

The grant, which was made without any bidding, includes an airport, two ports, a railway and two free trade zones.

National territory has been given so that these works can be carried out where Wang Jing wants and he will have all the permissions to make whatever decisions that may be required. He will have complete license, permit or authorization that he will ever need.

The State of Nicaragua will not receive a single penny in taxes or charges for any of the works.

Under the agreement the Chinese company signed, they are beyond national law, free of responsibility for any administrative, civil or criminal liability or penalty, even if they default on their obligations.

The law is contradictory to many aspects of our Constitution.

It also contradicts other projects that might be more profitable in the long term than cutting apart in two the tourist corridor of the Pacific.

The famed Humboldt Center has stated that the construction of this canal and its Project Partners are the biggest threat to environmental conditions in the country’s history. They also claimed that this concession exempts all Project Partners from compliance with environmental legislation which may be exposing the country to irreversible ecological destruction.

The State of Nicaragua would receive one percent of the shares each year, and in one hundred years would have one hundred percent of the shares.

With every passing ship, a huge amount of fresh water would go to the sea.

The Great Lake of Nicaragua will only have one utility: navigation. We cannot produce food through irrigation, we can only see boats passing by.

Nor can we drink water from the lake. We must also take into account that many people live by fishing in the lake and now they will not have that as an option.

All our water, surface and underground will be given to a Chinese man.

To the owners of the land that will be expropriated by this Chinese man will pay a price for the land at the land registry (i.e. tax declaration) value and not market value.

36 cities would be affected by the loss of the lake, as well as many smaller towns.

The Isletas of Granada will disappear because he locks will raise the lake level by two meters.

This nightmare scenario is what President Daniel Ortega calls the “Promised Land.”

Many experts say that Nicaragua would earn more by selling potable drinking water than from the income of a canal that won’t be ours for a hundred years.

With this Canal, the country will be divided into two, the Nicaragua North and South, as there were two Germanys and as there are two Koreas. There will be two distinct populations of animals (except those that can fly) that will be different over time. which will hurt our biodiversity.

Solentiname has been declared a national monument, but without the lake there will be no more Solentiname. Someone from over there said: “I’ll be eating a lot of fish, afterwards there will be no more because all the fish will be canned by the Chinese.”

With this Canal, Lake Nicaragua, which for us is a great blessing of God, will become a curse.

Doing away with Lake Nicaragua would be the greatest crime in the history of our country, and Ortega would become a more abominable figure than William Walker$.

via The monstrosity Channel | The Press News.

Very clear and direct words from a great Nicaraguan poet and writer, Ernesto Cardenal. I hadn’t thought about the idea that the isletas will basically disappear with a rise in the lake levels of 6 feet, but it makes sense.

Nicaraguan Insiders tell me that this is just a land grab. As I’ve posted elsewhere on this site, lets hope the worst case scenario does not come to pass. Please share far and wide!