Although the Granada incident has definitely shaken us up to the realities of the dangers these countries can bring it certainly hasn't changed our opinion of the country. 95% of the people are lovely, warm and kind. Granada is our favourite city in Nicaragua, winning for character and gaining points for close proximity to attractions.
Although technically Spanish is the dominant language spoken, we did meet a lot of people, from all sorts of backgrounds and in the most random places who had fairly decent English. It makes life a little easier.
Whilst we had some definite highlights here, for us there wasn't that 'wow' factor. We enjoyed the country though and if we did have more time, we would've liked to have spent a few more days on Little Corn and checked out some of the surfing and beach locations along the pacific coast, although we do have a lot of that scheduled for the next few countries. We also heard good things about Laguna de Perlas, but it was an expensive detour. We spent 13 days in Nicaragua and although we think that's a decent enough time there, in order to accommodate the additional things we would've liked to have done, a few more days would've done it.
Country Number 5 on our Overland Central America expedition. Check out our entire route here.
Boarding down an active volcano...and getting the top speed. Boom!
Little Corn island.
Granada (minus the incident).
The roads. Pot-hole free, hardly any speed bumps and good road network. Who knew this country would have the best roads to date?!
Close proximity to attractions, meant no long drives. Practically everything is located along the western section of Nicaragua with frequent flights to get the tropical island fix.
Getting attacked along the malecon in Granada.
People begging for money. We've not seen it like this since Mexico.
The tour on Ometepe. Do it yourselves. Don't make the same mistake as us and everyone else complaining on the boat on the way back.
The sleazy men. I was often subjected to vulgar hand gestures and comments, with or without Gwyn present.
If you are attempting this at Los Manjos border crossing, be prepared to get frustrated and take twice the length of time that all of your previous borders have taken.
1) Clear immigration. Lets hope you kept the receipt that you paid the entry tax, otherwise they will try to charge you again now!
2) Go to customs and cancel the temporary car import. Cross to Nicaragua side...
They were not interested in our passage de carnet.
1) Pay for a pesticide spray. This is 76 Limperas and can be paid in either bordering country currency or USD.
2) Go to immigration and get stamped in. Here you will have to buy a tourist permit, which is 300 cordobas or 12USD per person.
3) Go to customs. They will take awhile entering all of your details. You will have to explain to them where all the information is on your vehicle title, drivers licence and passport. They will give you 2 copies of a form.
4) Get your car 'inspected'. The inspector will then sign both forms.
5) Return to customs to get this form stamped. Don't go to the back of the queue, just poke it through the window. Interestingly we did not have to pay for the temporary vehicle import.
6) Proceed to the police check. Give them a copy of your passport, licence and vehicle title (copies are available at the border for 3 Lempira per copy)
7) Buy insurance. It is mandatory to buy vehicle insurance, at a flat rate of $12USD.
8) Pay another $1USD entry fee. You get a ticket for this. Keep it until you exit the county so they don't try and charge you again. All payments on the Nicaraguan side can be made in Lempira, Cordobas or US dollars.
The roads in Nicaragua are some of the best we have encountered on our trip so far. Smooth, flat and straight. This was a total surprise to us
Fuel was roughly 29 cordobas (0.87GBP or $1.47usd) for a litre and fuels stations were frequent along the main routes.
We used Caarte Data GPS sat nav. It performed satisfactory but sometimes had a big lag in our location.
This is one of the countries we have overspent the most so far and not due to Dougal for a change. Due to events such as my birthday and christmas we decided to splurge a little more than we probably should have. This is shown more in the eating out being 10x more than our grocery bill for the time we had here.
All prices are based on £1 ($1.68USD) being $33 Cordobas.
Fuel was around $26-$31 Cordobas (£0.78-£0.89 or $1.32USD-$1.50) per litre which isn't as cheap as we were expecting for this country.
You can pick up a comfortable private room for approx $15USD and up. Most tourist spots accept US dollars. Fuel stations only accept Cordobas though.
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