It won’t take long to fall in love with Nicaragua. Between the rainforests, Colonial cities, palm-fringed beaches, refreshing mountain towns and genuinely friendly locals, it’s hardly any wonder so many foreigners came to Nicaragua just for a visit—and then decided they never wanted to leave.
But while there’s a lot to love about the Nica lifestyle, there are a few things first-time visitors should know before arriving in Nicaragua. Keep your expectations in check and these tidbits in the back of your mind, and you’re sure to have the trip of a lifetime.
1. The Roads Are An Adventure
Driving in Nicaragua takes patience, caution and confidence. While most of the major highways across the country are paved and in relatively good condition, you’re also sure to stumble upon potholes, dirt roads, traffic blocks and (if you’re lucky) even the occasional cow procession. Cars with 4×4 are essential, not optional. And though there are official speed limits, we’ve found most people seem to drive as fast as their cars allow—until they get stuck behind 18-wheelers.
2. Don’t Flush Your Toilet Paper
Visitors are always shocked when asked to throw their toilet paper in the trash bins rather than flushing it down the toilet. In many places in Nicaragua, the plumbing isn’t strong enough to handle toilet paper without getting blocked up. Less embarrassing to toss your paper than block up the public restroom.
3. Water and Electricity Can Go Out Unexpectedly
This is one of those things that could drive you nuts as it always seems to happen at the most inconvenient times. Like when you’re just about to make dinner and then there’s a blackout. Or when you’re back from a day of sun, sand and sea and the shower won’t turn on. Luckily these outages tend to only last for a short while and then things are back to normal.
4. Don’t Put Your Hands Or Feet Anywhere You Can’t See
Nicaragua is a tropical country, which means there are creepy crawlies. Try not to reach into dark places (such as shoes or dark closets) until you’ve checked for creepy crawlers hiding such as the ocasional scorpion or spider.
5. Diacachimba (dee-ah-ka-cheem-ba) means an awesome Lifestyle
This word can have either a positive or a negative meaning (we’ll stick to the positive meaning here). This is also Nicaraguan slang for “cool”.
7. Don’t Leave Anything Unattended
Nicaragua is typically a very safe and friendly country one of the safest in Central America, HOWEVER, there is petty crime. Don’t leave anything on the beach unattended, even if it’s just your sandals.. Even if your car is locked, don’t leave valuables unattended inside. Basically, stay smart and don’t leave anything around for easy snatching.
8. Things Are much Cheaper
Many travelers expect Nicaragua to be a cheap Central American destination. However, in large part due to its growing popularity as a tourist destination, many things you purchase as a tourist in Tourist destinations really aren’t that inexpensive. Since a large majority of foreigners own tourist related businesses they tend to charge a little more than local owned businesses for certain products or services. If you live or travel like a local you’ll certainly save money!
9. Nicaragua Is Truly One Of The Most Magical Places In The World
10. Nicaragua is A Nature Lover’s Dream Destination
Over the years, travelers seeking a fun, cheap, and adventurous destination came here as an alternative to “touristy” Costa Rica and Panama once they realized Contras weren’t still roaming the jungles.
Since the secret’s out, Nicaragua is a hot destination spot for families, retirees, and backpackers relishing the cheap beer, hiking, and good surf. Nicaragua is filled with amazing natural beauty and extremely warm people. Though the country has been “discovered,” there are still many opportunities to wander off the beaten path, interact with locals, get in touch with nature, and avoid the hordes of travelers asking where they can get a pizza.While the driving can be crazy and the Spanish slangs may be difficult to understand, there’s a reason why Nicaragua is becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.