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would you take your rental car onto ometepe island?

Conception Bay...
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would you take your rental car onto ometepe island?

I am considering renting a car for our Nicaragua trip ( as have 3 small children), and taking it onto the ferry for our visit to ometepe island. I would like feedback on whether this a good idea or not, and also help onto how to make the advance ferry reservation.

Or do you think would be easier to travel by bus/ cabs / hire a driver for the trip rather than rent a car? my kids are 3, 7 and 9. we are staying in Nicaragua for 3.5 weeks and plan on seeing lots of the country if possible

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1. Re: would you take your rental car onto ometepe island?

personal preference but if you rent a car i would bring it to ometepe

we were just there for 2.5 weeks and did not rent a car and we definitely did not need one

Managua, Nicaragua
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2. Re: would you take your rental car onto ometepe island?

If i already rented one for the entire 3.5 weeks, i would probably bring it tok Ometepe with, since im already spending all that money on a car, no need to park it somewhere and leave it for a few days.

But unless you are planning on going well off the beaten path to some rural/jungle destinations (which im guessing you wont with 3 young children in tow), i wouldnt rent a car at all.

Buses will get you everywhere, and the occasional cab if its nighttime and dont want to walk with the kids will end up being much cheaper.

Denver, Colorado
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3. Re: would you take your rental car onto ometepe island?

I traveled through Panama, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua for the first time this summer. I probably wouldn't bring a car to Isla de Ometepe. When we were there, most locals didn't drive cars around, just motorbikes mostly (even if they had a car), just because it's easier. Most places in town are easy to walk to right from the ferry, which we bought tickets for upon arrival easily, just check the times. We did rent scooters to drive around the island though to reach the hot springs, etc. which I know is probably not an option with 3 young children. We also took the public bus to further spots to go hiking which was incredibly safe and easy. But with kids it might just be easier all-around with a car. Hmmm.... I met someone who owns a little hostel on Ometepe and if you want his opinion about your questions just shoot me a message and I can try to connect you - he's a local, but went to college in the U.S. and speaks fluent English. He'd be able to give you the best answers really.

Cincinnati, OH
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4. Re: would you take your rental car onto ometepe island?

I am a big fan of using public transport in Nicaragua but if you are trying to cover a lot of ground with a family I would consider renting a car.

One thing to remember is that you don't have to rent a car for the entire trip, you can rent it for just parts. For example, we have taken a taxi to Leon from Managua, but then a few days into our trip, taken a bus to the car rental place in Leon and rented a car for a few days when we wanted more flexibility. You can also look into renting a car in one place and leaving it in another.

If seat belts are super important to you, I would definitely rent a car. Even some of the nicer vans (and you will likely need a van or similar to transport you and your kids, the cars are small) don't necessarily have working seat belts. We operate more under a "when in Rome" policy but just FYI.

Plan on a $10-30 bribe to a police officer at least once if you are driving around for 3 weeks. Offering to "pay now" for your ticket is just simpler than a special trip to Managua to get back your drivers license, ethics aside.

Under none of these scenarios would I personally bother to rent a car for the Ometepe portion of my journey. Unless you are staying somewhere really remote--and even then that lodge will have transport options for you. You could easily return a car in Managua/Granada/Leon and then get a driver to take you to San Jorge/Rivas for that leg of your journey.

Feel free to PM about traveling in Nicaragua with young kids. Mine are 4 and 7 now but we've been doing this for several years.

5. Re: would you take your rental car onto ometepe island?

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