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

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

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!


Beach Front Eco-Casita, Ideal for Surfers

Front of the cute little house

Front of the cute little house


Beach right out in front of the casita. Good surf!

Eco-Casita Truda is a place to escape civilization and feel one with nature. It is 40 minutes to an hour from Leon depending on how you travel but it feels like a world away. You constantly hear the mesmerizing sound of the surf. In the evening, you add to that, the sounds of the crickets and the spectacular view of the stars and all cares are wiped away.
This lovely large beach front property with trees that are natural to the area is in a secluded section of Salinas Grandes beach which has a handful of private residents, mostly owned by expats. Both lots on either side of the property are currently vacant which gives Eco-Casita Truda an even more secluded feel while still being close to caring neighbors. The closes neighbor is an American couple who live on the beach full time.
The sand is volcanic so is a slightly darker color. The beach and entrance to the ocean is smooth sand. The warm waters in this area stay shallow for a good distance in the ocean and there are no known riptides. Residents swim and surf there without incident. Pelicans and other nautical birds accompany the high tide as they dive in to capture their dinner. Fishermen frequent these waters and it is possible to go out with them or purchase fish from them down the beach. The local surf camp came to visit Eco-Casita Truda and shared that this is an excellent area of the beach for surfing. The neighbors are friendly and helpful and keep an eye on the property when the tenants are not around.
Fully solar and fully screened for mosquitos
Naturally air-conditioned with open air flowing through in the upper areas of the ceiling, large windows and double doors that open to the front porch and view of the ocean
Very large living/dining/kitchen space is open air with barred windows and shades that roll down but no glass windows to separate from the outdoors, Living area has sofa that can convert into a trundle bed supplying two very comfortable twin beds. There is one more comfortable floor mattress that sleeps one.
Large light-filled bedroom with an enormous window with an amazing view of the ocean. The bedroom windows are screened and have wooden shutters. This room can be completely locked and shuttered separate from the house so that tenants can keep their valuables even more secure in this room. The room is furnished with a queen size bed, wardrobe, desk, office chair and a solar fan with radio.
Light-filled bathroom features high open air windows with bars and screens that allow for air flow and a sense of being outside. The shower is enormous. There is a utility sink for washing clothes with scrub board build into it. There is also space for storing surfboards in the bathroom. Additionally, there is an outdoor shower on the property.
A TV is available for tenants use. A signal booster is available for use so that cell phones will receive reception in the house. It also assists in strengthening the internet signal.
Internet hotspot comes with the house for which tenants may purchase time. (Instructions are given on the use of the equipment.)
Kitchen is equipped with a 24 hour solar combination fridge and freezer as well as a gas oven/stove and all needed kitchen supplies. There are no other kitchen appliances available for use that require electricity such as a microwave or blender.
Potable Water is supplied by a water tank that has to be refilled monthly. The cost is minimal and the responsibility of the tenant.
A local city bus runs from the village of Salinas Grandes 4 or 5 times a day and is about a 1.5 mile walk down the beach to catch it. The most recent tenant chose to purchase a motorcycle for his transportation purposes. About a mile from the house is a local drinking/eating spot that sells limited supplies including fresh fish, pork, ice, sodas and a few other items. For a nominal fee, they will do your grocery shopping in town on Mondays. If you choose to hire someone to wash clothes, clean, cook, clean the yards, run errands, there are local folks who charge reasonable fees that would benefit from the work and can be recommended.
Eco-Casita Truda will be available at the latest September 1st, possibly sooner. I am looking to rent it for four months, September to end of December or early or mid January but will consider a period as short as one month. For a one month rental, the cost is $700, two month rental, $675 monthly and $650 for a three month rental. The holiday month of December is priced at $750. There is a deposit of $250 that is required at the signing of the lease. The first month’s rent is due prior to receiving the keys to the property. The deposit will be returned within one month of departure minus any funds needed to cover damages incurred. details. The approximate measurements of the eco-casita are the following: Interior: 765.8 sq ft, 71.1 m2; Exterior: 855.0 sq ft, 79.4 m2; Interior Measurement Detail: Great Room: 24.0 ft x 18.5 = 444.0 sq ft; Bedroom: 16.5 ft x 11.5 = 189.8 sq ft ; Bathroom/Laundry: 16.5 ft x 8.0 = 132.0 sq ft; Total Interior: 765.8 sq ft; Patio: 24.0 x 9.5 = 228.0 sq ft; Total Interior with Patio: 993 sq ft. I am open to renting to a group of surfers and providing additional bedding and tent.

Source: Beach Front Eco-Casita, Ideal for Surfers

This is a really cute little beach front casita located on a good surfing beach not all that far from Leon. The current and soon-to-be former tenant, Paul, was looking for a place to live by the beach while he was staying at the Farmstay and he saw an ad on Craigslist Nicaragua for this place.

Long story short, he got a hold of the owner, whose name is Truda, and as they were discussing what was on offer over the phone, they discovered that Truda was going to be our guest in just a few days time. When she came for her stay, they met, became friends and did the deal to rent the place! So I feel like we sort of midwifed this initial deal and it certainly worked out good for both parties. Another cool Farmstay story ehh?

Well, you can be the next happy tenant! I suppose staying with us at the Farmstay is not mandatory, but it couldn’t hurt. 🙂

INETER scientists make measurements in Telica

INETER scientists make measurements in Telicatelicavolcanoerupting


Monday May 11, 2015 | CD SINAPRED

Faced with the constant explosions in the Telica Volcano, Leon department, scientists from the Nicaraguan Institute of Territorial Studies (INETER) continue in the giant crater performing all the relevant measurements in order to take appropriate decisions in the event that the possibility of being detected a major event.

According to INETER, the latest measurements of the day reported a decrease in volcanic temperature.

Still, monitoring continues through modern equipment purchased by the institution to track precisely the volcanoes that can endanger the life of Nicaraguan families.

The expert from INET, Jose Armando Saballos, explained during a power measurements in this volcano are installed seismic stations, GPS equipment and webcam, which are responsible for registering any event -deformaciones- and evaluate physical changes that may be occurring.

Activity is not so great

The results so far look promising. According Saballos measurements made ​​last Friday showed that the emissions of sulfur dioxide are low.

The volcano indexes recorded “below 100 tons (of sulfur) per day, which is low. For example, the Masaya walks through its 500 tons per day,” he said.

In the case of temperatures, the expert stressed that these “are not higher than is customary.”

Authorities work closely with the population

At the foot of Telica there are several communities. The authorities have urged people to protect the deposits of water both for human consumption and animal because volcanic ash can contaminate and cause health problems. Also beware call acid rain caused by gas.

Besides the INET and institutions like the Civil Defense, the volcano has been present the Red Cross, which is working with the community everything related to the prevention and evacuation routes in the event that a major eruption was given dimensions.

Francisco Osejo, representative of this institution relief, said that is being addressed with national and local authorities the issue of hostel facilities and the actions to take immediately the occurrence of the event.

Orientations pending families

Crater near the Aguas Frias community where 80 families live is located. According to its inhabitants, they are monitoring the situation and all orientations of the authorities.

“Sometimes it gets serious situation and we have to leave,” said resident Herminio Davila.

“It’s a bad situation out there” he stressed.

INETER stresses that so far the activity in the Telica is much lower than that recorded in 2011.

original in Spanish here–> Científicos del INETER realizan mediciones en el Telica.

So while volcanoes are a big draw for visitors to Nicaragua, guess what, on occasion they act like, well VOLCANOES and send out lots of ash and need to be closely monitored so that if one of them decides to really blow then some warning will be provided to the local inhabitants so they can get out of harm’s way. Let’s hope the monitoring shows further signs of the volcano calming down!

The Black Ship | Motmot Magazine | Nicaragua English Language Magazine: News Culture Travel

The Black Ship


They scream “Where are we? Where is Granada? Please help us!” But no one answers and then the wind pulls the boat back into the darkness.

They scream “Where are we? Where is Granada? Please help us!” But no one answers and then the wind pulls the boat back into the darkness.

Many myths and legends are shared among the Central American countries and Mexico since the individual countries were formed after the times of most of the legends. The Black Ship, however, is one that is unique to Nicaragua.

San Carlos was a sleepy little village at the mouth of the mighty San Juan River back when the waters ran deep. Large galleons coming from the Caribbean would drop off goods from Europe and bring word from other countries. Galleons were sailing ships in use from the 15th through 17th centuries, originally as a warship and later for trade. These galleons were mainly square-rigged and usually had three or more decks and masts. Smaller sailing ships would pick up some of these goods from San Carlos along with livestock and grains from the local farmers for delivery to Granada, Ometepe, and other islands along the way. This is a story about one of those smaller sailing ships that left San Carlos heading for Granada.

for the rest of the story, see The Black Ship | Motmot Magazine | Nicaragua English Language Magazine: News Culture Travel.

One of the very interesting aspects of Nicaraguan culture is the active and very much alive tradition of storytelling, myths and legends. They even have a museum in Leon which is really an interesting stop. I took some visitors with children there a couple of weeks ago and they really enjoyed it!

Business León Sale of hostel right | rooms, USD 0.00

Business León Nicaragua | Sale of hostel right

Sale of hostel rightDate added: 07/17/2014 3:50 pm

Category: Business

Property Information

Location: León

Bathrooms 5

m2 50

Lot Size 0

Parking 0


Sale of Hostel right in Leon, Nicaragua.

Located at 3 blocks to Cathedral. Working, with all legal papers in order.

Sixth place in Trip Advisor rating for hostels in Leon. Great reviews for place in main hostel web places.

Contact Information

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Hostal Tangos




via Business León Sale of hostel right | rooms, USD 0.00.

Retirement Choices In Granada, León, or San Juan del Sur. | Read 2014 Articles

I'll take anything that is different and unique please!

I’ll take anything that is different and unique please!

Three Affordable Retirement Choices In Central America’s Most Misunderstood Country

via Retirement Choices In Granada, León, or San Juan del Sur. | Read 2014 Articles.

Thanks Kathleen Peddicord for keeping the gringos in their place hahaha! Seriously people, if you are interested in Nicaragua as a retirement destination, let’s hope it is because you want to live with Nicaraguan neighbors too!

Saying there are only three possibilities for retirement lifestyle choices is like saying you should go to the ice cream store, ignore the 28 other flavors and just select between vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. Ridiculo!

Leon-Managua – NicaShuttle

Leon-Managua – NicaShuttle.

                      MINIMUM 2 PERSONS

This is a new (to me at least) shuttle service with what looks like very fair prices. This would be a very good alternative to either a private taxi or a mini-bus/expresso bus from Managua to Leon.

I notice they leave from Galerias, which is very close to the farmstay. They provide travel to other areas of Nicaragua also, Granada, San Juan del Sur, etc.