Travel Tips from Expats who live in Nicaragua

Travel Tips from Expats in NicaraguaWhile we like to keep a glass-half-full perspective at San Juan Live, we also know that life isn’t a never-ending happy hour.  Nicaragua can be a little rough around the edges and San Juan del Sur has experienced some “growing pains” over the years.

But we think it’s all about your expectations.  If you expect the sun to shine 365 days a year, October in San Juan del Sur will disappoint you. If you expect the ocean to always be warm, you’ll be surprised in February when the windy season makes the temperature drop… a little.  The power does go out occasionally, but the beach is always open.   So if you’re considering a vacation, a wedding, or even a long term relocation to Nicaragua, we suggest you do your homework first.

To help, we’ve curated a shortlist of travel tips from local expats who are knowledgeable about the country and provide trustworthy information.

In no particular order, here they are…

1. Gordon and Elisha on “5 things that took some getting used to”

A great account of the challenges they faced as part of becoming Nicaraguan expats.  We found #3 particularly helpful for those choosing where to stay or live – “Whether it’s barking dogs, announcements blaring from loud speakers on a truck, roosters crowing, firecrackers going off or bad karaoke coming from your neighbors house noise is everywhere in Nicaragua — and it’s hard to escape — especially if you live in town. Having a set of earplugs nearby at night helps, but if you’re someone who can’t live with a lot of noise I definitely recommend living out of town. You still won’t be able to escape the odd rooster, random barking dog or troupe of early rising howler monkeys, but life will definitely be more tranquil.”

Pair the article with our neighborhood guide to San Juan del Sur that covers the most sought after locations in the region.

2. Amy and Darrell Bushnell on bureaucracy

In the excellent Nicaragua Guide – The Nica Sagas, they write, “It is not easy to get things done here regardless of how you do it. Please be patient and try not to get frustrated.”…”our recommendation is to use a business or lawyer that specializes in getting Nicaragua paperwork performed for foreigners. They know the business and they have the contacts. As always, talk to other expatriates and learn from them or at least learn what not to do.”

3. Sarah Fahey’s account of health costs and insurance

In the article Sarah Fahey’s walks you through a personal account of her hospital experiences in Managua and offers advice on health insurance. “For under $1,000 per year for the entire family, our policy provides us with regional coverage, up to $25,000 per person per year.  The plan provided up to $2,000 in maternity care (prenatal and labor and delivery).”

If you’re a new mom, or a traveling one, check out her company called “Mums and Bums Nicaragua“, the one and only source for baby gear rental in San Juan del Sur. It’s a great travel solution for heavy equipment like strollers and car seats.

4. Clif Haley on How to Receive Mail and Packages

Writing over at Gringo In Granada, Clif offers a detailed description of the post service options available in Nicaragua and how to receive mail and packages.  It’s a question that comes up a lot so it’s good to get some tips from someone with personal experience.

5. San Juan del Sur’s local newspaper

If you want local news, read the local newspaper.  Obvious really.  Del Sur is published by Maria Auxiliadora Silva and Kelvin Marshal and provides weekly national and regional news briefs, coverage on tourist advisories, events and classifieds online.  You’ll find free copies in many of the shops and businesses around town.

6. Cowboy Wisdom from Rancho Chilamate’s blog

A fun collection of inspirational quotes.  Perfect if you’re in need of a little extra motivation to follow through on your dream of living overseas – and especially the ranch lifestyle.

Want even more Nicaragua travel tips?  Here are 16 more.