nicaragua trip report
Replies: 5 - Last Post: Feb 18, 2013 12:21 PM Last Post By: kunmingirl
Feb 12, 2013 8:59 AM
nicaragua trip reportwe have just returned from two weeks in nicaragua, and with many thanks for the help we received from the folks on this branch i offer a short report:
Upon landing in Managua we took a Paxeo shuttle from the airport to Hotel Real in Leon. the shuttle seems expensive, but cost less than we would have spent staying overnight in Managua and heading to Leon in the morning, and we could then start the next day fresh and ready to see Leon. Pure Earth Cafe is closed though the project is still active; its place is taken by a cafe at the Bigfoot Hostel called Volcano which is okay but nothing special. La Casa Viejo is also closed, and Cafe La Rosita has moved up near Iglesia de Recoleccion.
Anyway, our second day in Leon we actually spent at the beach in Las Penitas, hanging at the Barco D'Oro where the two of us were welcome to use all the facilities upon spending only 100 cordobas at the cafe. The trip there and back by local bus was fine and pretty quick, and the beach is beautiful. Also, Hotel Real was a good place to stay if you're looking for a place with hot water and AC, nice staff and good rooms especially upstairs.
From Leon we went by the 5.20 microbus to Esteli, and were at Cafe Luz for breakfast by 8. There's a recent post here about how pleasant Esteli is, and it's all true. The OP seems to regret not staying at Luna, where we did stay, and it was really lovely. We had a private room for $25.The population is pretty overwhelmingly volunteers of various NGOs, so we learned a lot about what people are doing around Nicaragua. We also used the organisation to arrange a homestay in Miraflor, which was fairly gruesome. I expected very basic conditions, but our family was not particularly welcoming nor at all into ecotourism- perhaps burnt out on all the "guests" they were sent. Were i to do this again, I would stay at a finca and use a local guide from UCA Miraflor.
After 4 days in and around Esteli we took busses to Granada. I had been advised here to head straight to Masaya and from there to Granada, but for some reason we decided to take a morning express to Managua, get off at Tipitapa, bus to Masaya and bus to Granada. This is probably the silliest way to go; since we were already on a very nice bus to Managua, we should have simply continued to there and taken the bus to Granada. It's true that we saw a lot of local life on the way, and it all took only 4 hours, but it was a shlep and we changed busses a lot. And it killed our desire to return to Masaya, which is too bad.
In Granada we stayed at Hotel Limon, which is a nice enough place, close enough to tourist action to be convenient but in a quiet location, but is a seriously under-managed and empty hotel and the service fairly non-existent. For that price (about $50) we could have done better, but we were lazy about moving. We used Granada as our base for a week of day trips around, volcanoes, laguna de apoyo, las isletas, los pueblos blancos, etc. Most of those trips we did by local bus, which was very easy. In general people were always happy to help us not get lost! In Granada it was less convenient to use the truly lovely supermarkets that have opened in Nicaragua, and it's hard to find local eateries in and around the center of town, so we ate at a lot of touristy places (as did plenty of locals anyway).
From the lack of response to my mails i must conclude that Paxeo was or is not running its regular shuttles to the airport, and everyone we spoke to in town was offering a private taxi for $35. I admit we paid a little less by using a driver we'd used twice for trips down toward the port of Asese.
If any of you would like more details or more information, please feel free to reply here or PM me.
And thank you all again for your help!
Feb 12, 2013 3:37 PM
Feb 13, 2013 1:15 AM
Feb 13, 2013 6:27 AM
Feb 18, 2013 10:54 AM
Feb 18, 2013 12:21 PM
5just hit paxeos.com and you'll see the services they offer. they're a private transport company, it's like ordering a limo service at most international airports. we paid $70 for 2 of us from the airport to leon.
we also landed at 17.00, and that's how we chose to get to leon. apparently if you have more experience travelling in nicaragua and doing taxis in and around managua you could take a taxi from the airport to the leon minibus in managua and go that way, but this was our first trip and we were advised (wisely, i think) not to do that right upon landing. i don't know how much a taxi to the bus station would cost you (though i'm sure someone on this forum does!), but i'm sure the minibus wouldn't cost more than $2 a person, so it's a big price difference. i also don't know how long a flight you're taking to get to nicaragua, but we felt that long flight+no experience would leave us too vulnerable to being exploited, and decided to go for the paxeos deal, which did indeed meet us easily and take us to our hotel in leon and was very painless!!
(3 star Hotel)
From US$89.00 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$85.33 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$73.33 per night