I am concerned about safety issues in Nicaragua. Any input would be great. Also, has anyone stayed at Casa Buena Vista or is anyone familiar with the property? Thanks,
I'm going to La Mariposa next week, to stay for 2 weeks. Any advice on clothes? Are shorts too revealing? Is it too hot to wear jeans during the day? I've been checking the weather for Managua, but the website for Mariposa said it's a little cooler. Also, any other thing you thought was good to bring>
Jeans would be hot. Cool khakis or skirt or something similar for evenings, shorts in the daytime. It will definitely be hot and humid.
Things to bring? Maybe some mosquito lotion (rainy season is over but only recently so they may be lingering). Some Pepto-Bismol, maybe powdered energy drink (gatorade-type), in case Montezuma's revenge strikes. A pocket dictionary. If you're visiting anyone, or will be meeting with someone several times, maybe an appropriate small gift. And a sense of adventure and a smile. You're going to discover a beautiful country with warm and friendly people. Bueno!
I was in Nicaragua earlier this year...
Safety...Managua is probably you're largest concern. Though there is not much for the tourist in Managua, if you're going to be in Managua, you'll probably want to pay the taxi fare to get around. Taxis are plentiful and inexpensive, though be ready to haggle upfront as there are not meters on the taxis. Keeping in mind all neighborhoods in Managua don't look all that inviting, you'll also have to keep in mind a difference between perceived unsafety due to poorer standard of living and actual danger. I did walk some on the streets without incident, though the employees of my hotel were giving me looks as I walked beyond the hotel property as if I was a little "loco". If you stick to cabs, especially if called by the hotel (though expect to pay more for the service) you'll likely be fine.
Other parts of the country I visited, I had little problems, other than panhandlers. Granada should have few to no problems (though like any city it's not absolutely unheard of). In Granada, I took local buses and express buses without incident, including the "bus station" in Granada, which is nothing more than a large dirt parking lot completely littered with trash. The main square of Granada is nice, however, and the express buses to San Juan and Managua near the square are fine. San Juan del Sur had no safety problems I could see, other than a tropical storm while I was there.
Clothes, assuming you're not wearing super "short" shorts, I think you'll be okay, though locals tended not to wear shorts, so you'll just stick out as a tourist (though if you're Caucasian, you will anyway). I agree jeans for anyone will be hot. If you bring pants, bring a lighter fabric pant. The other suggestions by cbc are all good ones from my experience. The only modification, and this is only because I'm a little bit of a geek, is a translator computer versus a dictionary.
Unfortunately, I can't tell anyone about Casa Buena Vista...sorry...
Just try and put yourself in the place of an average person in Central America and you wanted to make a living off robbing/mugging tourists? Where would you set up "shop"? First, wouldn't you get yourself a tourist guidebook and research the places in the book where it says that these places are safe for tourists? Wouldn't you want to know the addresses of the most expensive restaurants and hotels in the area? Know the routes and time tables of the luxury bus lines? What country do most Americans travel to? And before long you'd be headed straight to Costa Rica (bypassing Nicaragua and El Salvador), or you might head to Antigua, Tikal, Copan Ruinas, Roatan, Lake Atitlan/Panajachel or maybe Granada. Myself, these places I avoid in my travels and you'll find me proud as a peacock in places where I can selfishly proclaim: I'm the only tourist in this town today! I relish those curious looks from the residents who wonder if I'm lost, or what on EARTH am I doing in this town. I used to hate travel guidebooks because they take up too much space with areas frequented by too many tourists, but now, I've grown to enjoy the travel guide books because if you read carefully, you'll forever come across a short blip on some town where it says: this place is avoided by tourists because.......THAT'S where you'll find me! And I've always found some redeeming qualities in any place I've visited in Central America. And I'm one of these reverse snobs, so when I'm at a cocktail party and they're discussing where they traveled in Central America I'm quick to interrupt them and ask: Well, for heaven's sake! You mean you went all the way down there and you didn't get to San Vicente or Auchipan, El Salvador? You went to Guatemala and you didn't get to Cuilapa or Retalhelieu or Huehuetenango? You went to Honduras and you went to Copan Ruinas and NOT Santa Rosa de Copan or Tegucigalpa or Comayuagua or Gracias or Juticalpa? You mean you went to Nicaragua to Granada and you missed that exciting mountain town of Matagalpa? But thank God for the monkey-see-monkey-do, horde mentality of most tourists! Just stay out of my radar when I'm down there or I'll start creating fictitious accounts of my secret discoveries of being mugged a half-dozen times in those particular locales to scare you away!
Good points, caribmama. I consider myself a fairly intrepid traveler and have had some interesting experiences in off the beaten path locations. Don't knock the travelers who go to the main sites in these countries. I give these people a lot of credit for chosing these countries to visit in the first place. If it's Americans we are talking about, the vast majority of them never leave the USA, and if they do venture abroad, it's invariably the Caribbean or western Europe. I'm off the Nicaragua in a month and the response I get from people at work is one of amazed astonishment that I would set foot in such a place. Having said that, I work in New York City, and outsiders have this impression that I am dodging bullets during my daily commute.
It seems like anytime I tell someone up here I'm going to or have been to Central America, the all-but unanimuous response is: You MEAN Costa Rica. As if the rest of the countries don't exist, and that's the one country I have no interest in seeing, not just because of the great number of Americans there, but I choose climate as part of where I go down there as I avoid all places which suggest to me high humidity, along with heat, and the prescence of insects, so I usually find places with higher altitude. And, yes, I shouldn't knock people going to the touristy places, as I forget, in my early travels, that's the places I visited first. And I forget the nervousness and fear I went through on my first trip down there. I remember my first venture into El Salvador, burdened down with having read all the negative press, I tiptoed into the country from Ocatepeque, went down to La Palma, and I figured if it was THAT scarey, I'd hightail it back to the Honduras border in a taxi, if need be. And my first trip to Guatemala, where, scared by the stories of Guatemala City, I took went directly to "safe" Antigua for the first night.
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