Just two days ago I returned from my vacation to Nicaragua. We were a party of four (myself, my wife, my brother, and a friend) and it was the first time there for all of us. We booked the airplane tickets prior to the social unrest and I monitored the situation closely in the months and weeks and days leading up to the trip. I decided that being pragmatic about things would result in minimal risk, so we continued the trip exactly as originally planned. We visited the Corn Islands, Ometepe Island, Granada, and the Masaya Volcano. Everything went extremely well and there was never any threat of danger from anyone. Further detail:
We landed in Managua on Saturday August 25th and grabbed a beer at the airport to enjoy before our onward flight to Corn Island. There we followed the usual procession of taking a taxi to the ferry and taking a ferry to Little Corn Island. There we stayed at Los Delfines, adjacent to Dolphin Dive, as we were intent on scuba diving, which we did. We also stayed at Little Corn Beach & Bungalow for a couple nights to mix things up, though they closed their doors the day we left.
Things on the island are extremely calm. I was told a few times that in normal times, the main village is far more packed with tourists, but when I was there there were enough people to keep one occupied. At any given time there were ~5-10 people at the Tranquilo Cafe, double that at night. Many businesses have shuttered, but there is still a variety of restaurants and things to do. We also went fishing out on the ocean and caught four barracuda, an excursion arranged by the proprietor of The Shack (which has a great breakfast).
After that, three of us traveled onward to Ometepe while one of us got left behind on Big Corn because the flight was full. She had a great time horseback riding and staying at El Paraiso in the interim before we met up later in the trip.
Ometepe was beautiful. We took the Santa Martha (ferry) over on an especially windy day, which was terrifying, though a story to tell. We took the Che Guevera (again, ferry) back on a calm day which was a perfectly nice experience. Ometepe is a bit of a ghost town, though there is the odd group of tourists floating around. We stayed at Hospedaje Soma which was a phenomenal place I highly recommend. We summited Volcan Concepcion and saw two other guides/tourists on the trail that day. The morning after the trek, my wife and I received massages in our room, arranged by Soma, which were excellent and a great deal.
Onward to Granada, at which we met back up with our abandoned friend. Granada was tranquil as well, if not a bit sad to see knowing that the main square was probably booming this time last year. We ate lunch in a restaurant which served me a very, very old hamburger patty which I had to politely return. They did comp it on the bill, though, so I gave a couple extra dollars tip in appreciation. That night we hired a taxi to take us to the Masaya Volcano. The volcano is gorgeous and captivating. We were the only ones there. Our driver told us that usually there is a massive crowd of people there to watch the bubbling lava. Seeing it on our own was eerie but a fun experience.
The following morning we returned to Managua for our flight back to the US. All in all this was a phenomenal trip. Nicaragua is gorgeous and its people are incredibly polite. Not once did I feel in any sort of danger, nor did I feel resented for being there "enjoying" the country while people were struggling. Quite the opposite, actually - many people thanked us for coming despite the issues. It was certainly an interesting time to be there.
All of the transport went off without a hitch. We unfortunately did not take any public buses, as I had wanted to (some members of our party brought far too much luggage...), but all of the airplanes, ferries, and private taxis ran on time and well. Anyone who has plans to go, in my opinion, should stay the course, assuming things don't change for the worse. The country has a lot to offer.