Thought I'd get your attention. Actually, except for Managua, you are unlikely to be duped into some con in Nicaragua. Despite the poverty, the nation is remarkably friendly and honest. There are though a couple of minor situations in which to be alert. Then, there are the cons posed by other travelers.
First, skip the official money changing scam at the airport. The exchange rate at the Best Western Hotel just across the street is much better than the airport window.
When swapping money with street changers, count bills openly and carefully. Don't get greedy and change too much! After that, the institutional-international bank automatic teller fees rip is the only thing to think about. In this case, it's usually better to change a larger sum at once than to go frequently to the automatic teller. Each transaction comes with a significant price tag. Finally, if you get money from the human teller at the bank, do not accept a cashier's check that needs to be cashed elsewhere, a huge pile of small denomination bills, or any other peculiar transaction that could spell con-trouble once you step out on the street.
Europeans and Americans sometimes forget that they have a history of scamming Nicaragua. Recognizing that I'm perhaps making an unfair generalization, I find Europeans most likely to be irresponsible and stingy at times. English pirates still live in the form of clever tourists. We've been duped a couple of times by pleasant and clever self-serving European travelers who seem to go missing when the dinner tab or other bill comes due. In our Nicaragua situation, we helped another couple translate and get tickets for a boat ride. When my wife overlooked the need to immediately collect payment, the couple mysteriously disappeared with their tickets into the crowd of fellow passengers.
The next day, I happened across the couple again at breakfast, an easy thing to do in tiny El Castillo. When I asked for the meager $8- owed, the young English couple became indignant, claiming at first to have already overpaid my wife, then when the facts were spelled out, abruptly threw down the money on the table, angry that I would bother to collect such a small sum. This was a couple that had a flat in London and expressed plans to buy a beach house resort on Nicaragua's Pacific Coast.
Surprise, Surprise! Nicaragua is remarkably safe even relative to other Central American nations, which themselves are terribly over-rated as being "dangerous". We wandered by local bus everywhere except Managua, but in Managua, taxi's are cheap and honest. In Granada, avoid going down to the crowded disco's along the waterfront at night, as you might get robbed of your jewelry and iPhone. Normally though, the bigger concern on a holiday night might be a firecracker tossed to close by.
Since the nation is so poor, it's very wise to not wear gold jewelry, and to avoid flashing the iPhone too much. But, Nicaraguan's have cell phones, and will soon have smart phones, so it's not that big a deal really. Conductors on the buses will not steal your bags, but count the bags to make sure they don't get left behind. See my tips on baggage and other such advice.
I highly recommend going to see the Masaya Volcano just a short drive from Managua, but you may want to bring a scarf or bandana to protect your airways. The gases the volcano emits can start to bother your lungs after only a short while. I would take serious precautions if anyone in your group has breathing problems such as asthma.
Do not sit on the top part of the tender craft if you have little hair! A hat won't stay on and the sun is far too strong to do without!
18 months later my scalp is still suffering ----another appt with a dematologist soon!
As is normal, one should always take necessary precautions to protect personal security. Follow all recommended travel guidelines to avoid troubles. I have a 31 year history with Nicaragua but only recently decided to move to Nicaragua from Eugene, Oregon (June 2008). The year prior, I investigated Nicaragua extensively and one of the key issues for me, naturally, is mine and my children's personal security. I am aware of all the US Consulate warnings and the statistics of violence commited against US citizens and others. At first I wondered if moving to Nicaragua to start a business would be an unnecessary risk. But as I began to compare the same statistics to the crime in my little home town of Eugene, Oregon, I realized I lived in a much more "dangerous" place then Managua, not to mention the small towns outside of Managua and the capital cities (based on per capita figures). I moved here in July 2008 with the objective to create an industry for white water rafting. The hope is to create similar, if not greater, opportunity and prosperity than has been enjoyed in neighboring Costa Rica. I have traveled all over Nicaragua (especially the north and along the Pacific Coastline), remote areas at all hours, mingled with nearly everyone I met along the way. of getting to know the rivers of Nicaragua. I have tliterally raversed Managua 100's of times in my own "come and rob me I am a "rich Gringo", lifted 4x4, Ford Excursion, loaded with kayaks on top, " and have never once felt threatened or at risk of being targeted. I have taken taxis as well, again at all hours of the day and at times at night. I am not saying that there is no danger or risk here. I decided I must keep things in perspective. Let me share a website with you to make an honest comparison. The following website makes a comparison of common crimes committed in Eugene, Oregon and Los Angeles, CA:
Crime Stats I am well aware of the reports noted on the US Department of State of violent and petty crime in Nicaragua. In no way do I want to dismiss these activities as trivial. However, in context, my home town of Eugene is far more violent based on the statistics that Eugene makes available to the public. And Los Angeles looks like a battle zone compared to Eugene. Look for trouble anywhere and we will find it and sometimes it finds us when we do our best to avoid it. I believe when making comparisons to other highly traveled countries, Nicaragua is a far safer country then has been incorrectly perceived.
One more thing, I know very well what it is like to travel in highly unstable countries as a real comparison. If you like I am happy to provide more information on this or other topics. Write firstname.lastname@example.org Hopefully you will put Nicaragua on your desired, destination list and maybe even take a trip on one of the rivers with us.
Costa Rica is so crowded and people so unfriendly, it is said Nicaragua, regarding crime both places are safe, in Nicaragua you will be safe 99% of the time in Leon or Granada or any other city just avoid Managua, all thieves are concentraded there, still safe at daylight,.
Almost everywhere you go in Nicaragua you will see children begging for food or money. In many cases they will go away if you ignore them long enough or emphatically tell them no. But some children, expecially in Granada and the central market in Managua, become aggressive and abusive when you turn them down, kicking or hitting people and vehicles, and making extremely rude comments and gestures. If you give them money, they only become more persistent so, as far as I can tell, there's no way to get rid of them except to leave.
This happened at Christmas in the Dominican Republic, but can happen anywhere, that is why I am posting it in all my travel places.
This is something that makes me sick. This is not a place specific concern.
While at the pool I notice a little girl about 2 ? 3 yrs old. She had water wings on and was in water over 5 feet deep. There was absolutely nobody watching her. I stayed within a couple feet of her while with my son. After 30 minutes (I thought her parents would come back) I asked her if her mother was around. The girl said yes and quickly left to run to her mother. (I was a stranger so she ran away). I noticed who her parents were.
My dilemma was this; do I make an attempt to tune her parents into reality??? Or do I turn a blind eye and pray nothing happens ??? I know that if something happened to her, I would feel guilty.
I decided that I would keep an eye out for her. The next day, she was left alone in deep water for over 1 hour while her dad was at the other end of the pool reading a magazine. He looked for her every 20 ? 30 minutes. Her mother was sleeping on a pool chair the whole time.
The following day an announcements was made that parents must watch their kids and not leave them alone in the pool. Guess what??.
A friend of her family walked to the edge of the pool to check up on her?.it took 3 minutes for him to find her. When he did, he said to the father, ?oh she is with my son? (who was about 4 ? 5 years old). He went back to his chair and they ignored the kids for another hour.
PEOPLE WATCH YOUR KIDS?..AN ALL INCLUSIVE DOES NOT MEAN THEY WILL WATCH OUT FOR YOUR KID.
I took the opportunity to speak very loud to my wife (loud enough for the parents to hear).
I mentioned how parents that do not look after their kids in situations like that should have family services take their children away from them. That is neglect as far as I am concerned.
We were driving back to the hotal when Rick passed a bus on an open stretch of highway. We were pulled over. The police officer said that we passed a school bus in a no passing zone. There were absolutely no paint marks on the highway.
I did not understand most of the conversation because Manuel and the officer spoke very quickly in Spanish. Here is the outcome:
They were going to take Rick's driver's liscence to the police station where he can pick it up in a couple days when he pays the fine. They would not say which station it would be at, or we could pay the fine now...........
Rick offered the police officer about $60 CDN. and he accepted it only after he told his partner to walk behide the vehicle (no witnesses). This took about 1 hour to solve...
The beach at Poneloya, a short bus ride from León, is a great place to take photographs, collect seashells, or just admire the surf. It’s not a particularly good place to go for a swim, however. Don’t believe me? Read the sign.
when going to the lake by walking, you must take extra care...somedays it is very solitaire, empty streets and looks like time just stopped.
if i wasnt read some advices i must be robbed by 2 young guys.
and a friend of mine happen similar thing.
taxis are very cheap...less than a dollar for the lake shore!
I heard many horrible things about managua before the travel.
Once there i took my chance to walk for a while...first day i started at 6pm, just after arriving but i quickdue to the niight and many people on the streets..
second day i did it on daylight and it was a fairly nice experience, in despite of the hot climate (wear light clothes). i walk on the next 2 days and never be caught on a bad moment.
but a night walk wasnt for me, never.
Think before you flush! Many Nicaraguan sewage systems are not designed to have toilet paper flushed. Before flushing, check to see if there is a waste basket next to the commode. Oftentimes you will see that the wastebasket is filled with used toilet paper. Please place your paper in the waste basket instead of the commode (otherwise it may overflow!). There are some parts of Nicaragua where there are water shortages - in these places, you shouldn't flush unless you do "serious" business...
Everyone we knew warned us about the "dangers" of Nicaragua before we left for our trip. The only "dangers" we encountered were the caution signs referred to in the "Warnings or Danger" posts. The people of Nicaragua were very welcoming and friendly!
Avoid the area known as "El Triangulo Minero" This area comprises the towns of La Rosita, Bonanza, and Siuna in the northeastern part of Jintotega. This area is poorly police and suffered from many armed criminal gangs such as the FUAC (Frente Unido Andres Castro) In 2001 this area saw much fighting with the armed forces and many of the gangs.
Granada Isletas, Granada, n/a, Nicaragua
Good for: Couples
Esquina de los Bancos 1C al Este, Leon, 00000, Nicaragua
Good for: Business
It felt like staying at Home in Nicaragua. The rooms are nice, very comfortable beds, a great...more
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