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Nicaragua versus Costa Rica

Fort Myers, Florida
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Nicaragua versus Costa Rica

My wife and I are debating between the above listed countries for the last week of November. We enjoy nice places to stay and good food, but also would like a little adventure(mild white water rafting, and some hiking). We also would like to see wildlife. From what I have read, Nicaragua is cheaper, but what are some of the other differences. Personally I am leaning toward Nicaragua because it seems more untouched, but I need to persuade the wife. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Edited: 5:08 pm, August 18, 2013
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11. Re: Nicaragua versus Costa Rica

I have been to both. CR is much more developed as others say. I loved Nicaragua, but the wildlife we saw was on the Rio San Juan (highly recommended). Granada is great for birds and culture. Don't even waste a night in Managua. If you want guaranteed wildlife, go to Osa peninsula or southwestern CR for sure bets.

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12. Re: Nicaragua versus Costa Rica

Hi.. I'm planning a trip to Nicaragua and wanted to know if you could tell me your itinerary when you visited.


Amsterdam, The...
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13. Re: Nicaragua versus Costa Rica

Chad, you will find various different itinerary suggestions in a Lonely Planet guidebook.

Mine was 2.5 weeks and roughly like this (from sketchy memory): Granada about 2-3 nights, Isla de Ometepe 2 nights, Estelí 3 nights, homestay in Miraflor national park 2 nights, León 3-4 nights, Las Peñitas 2 nights. Should have added Masaya volcano and perhaps Somoto. Would have liked to visit Jinotega and/or Matagalpa too, but didn't want to rush around.

Edited: 9:41 am, May 06, 2014
San Francisco...
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14. Re: Nicaragua versus Costa Rica

I've been to both. Did not see hardly any wildlife in Nicaragua despite many hikes and even visiting the jungle on the East coast. So Costa Rica is definitely better for that (unless maybe the Rio San Juan- haven't been there yet.) Impossible not to see animals in CR.

Saying Costa Rica has no culture is just nuts. Locals there are lovely, relaxed and happy and friendly, the only places there would be no culture would be in a resort and that's true anywhere.

One week-hmm-very short- a couple of recommendations-

Rio Tropicales in Costa Rica awesome rafting trip with a lodge you can stay in for a night or two half way down the river. Absolutely beautiful, couldn't be better.

Drake Bay CR for animals and a fun town (stay in a local place in town not in a resort out of town) Lots to do- contact Carlos Pacheco and do his tours to the national park and his night swim with bioluminescence. We love Carlos!!

Ometepe- Finca Mystica- beautiful place for a few days. Good food, good location. Really cheap, no comparison to CR. Far from the ferry, take their taxi and you'll have a beautiful drive there.

Ottawa, Ontario...
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15. Re: Nicaragua versus Costa Rica

Nicaragua a lot more safe than they say and half price almost for transportation and 20 $ cheaper for a room, but you need to arrive to Liberia Costa Rica and around that airport you take the bus to go too Granada Nicaragua, i found the Nicaraguan more friendly than Costa Rican.

have a nice tryp.

Amsterdam, The...
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16. Re: Nicaragua versus Costa Rica

"but you need to arrive to Liberia Costa Rica and around that airport you take the bus to go too Granada Nicaragua"

No you don't. You can also just fly into Managua and travel to Granada.

London, United...
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17. Re: Nicaragua versus Costa Rica

Nicaragua was better in every aspect IMO. Costa Rica is rammed with Americans and ruined.

www.duncanandzara.blogspot.com could inspire a bit about Nica.

Portsmouth, NH
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18. Re: Nicaragua versus Costa Rica

It depends on how much time you want to spend travelling and how much adventure you want. The Rio San Juan is accessed by taking a domestic flight to San Pedro on the head of the river as it exits the lake. Then you can take a boat launch from the public pier to El Castillo for a night or two.Lots of birds and you can try Tarpon fishing. But you don't have much time so I'd say your best move would be to stay at the Apoyo Resort and Conference Center for a few nights on the Laguna Apoyo. It is set in the jungle surrounded by forest and the trees are full on monkeys and birds. There are hiking trails to take you to the town of Catarina on the rim of the crater. It is only 45 minutes from the airport and 8 or 9 miles from Granada and about the same distance from the Masaya volcano. No night life to speak of other than the sounds of the night critters. Great swimming in the 84 degree lake and the restaurants are pretty good. An old copy of the Moon guide and Lonely Planet gave dim reviews but apparently, the place has been overhauled and looked great when I stayed there in July. Rather exotic.

Brooklyn, New York
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19. Re: Nicaragua versus Costa Rica

For hiking, wildlife, and whitewater rafting I would give the edge to Costa Rica--particularly on the last two points--the Pacuare is a world class river, and in terms of wildlife the only country in Central America that comes close to CR is Panama.

In terms of 'untouched' Nicaragua is culturally more untouched, but Costa Rica has better opportunities to immerse yourself in nature.

Nica is cheaper, has better volcano opportunities, and much better colonial architecture, plus Lake Nicaragua, and Ometepe.

You can have a great trip of virtually any kind you want in either place.

Kilauea, Hawaii
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20. Re: Nicaragua versus Costa Rica

Have you live in both of these countries ?