Going to Nicaragua

Discussion in 'Latin America' started by Chiriqui Charlie, Nov 10, 2012.

  1. Chiriqui Charlie

    Chiriqui Charlie Been here awhile

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    Going to Nicaragua for the first time next month. So far I think I want to see Granada and Masaya, and spend some time on Ometepa. I'm not too interested in big cities, I could probably be happy without going to Managua. What I would likie is some advice on other places that I should not miss. Riding a Yamaha XT250
    #1
  2. TeeVee

    TeeVee His mudda was a mudda!

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    avoid managua unless you are a glutton for punishment. you can even avoid it if heading north, as there is a bypass road between masaya and managua coming from the south.

    on your way up, stop in san juan del sur for a few drinks and a nice meal on the beach. it's a pretty gringofied town but nice all the same. you can take "la chocolata" to avoid a decent size portion of the panamericana and there are some funky side "roads" you can take from there up to pochomil/masachapa. they are NOT in good shape though.

    near masaya, you should stop at laguna de apoyo for a swim in one of the deepest lakes in central america, and tour the pueblos blancos.

    esteli in the north is nice and you can pick up some great cigars for cheap.

    make your way over to the atlantic coast for a taste of afro-nicaraguan culture. they all speak english and have fabulous food and nice beaches.
    #2
  3. Chiriqui Charlie

    Chiriqui Charlie Been here awhile

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    Thanks, this is the kind of info I am looking for! Do you know of any "tourist" tours worth taking? Too bad I don't smoke cigars!
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  4. TeeVee

    TeeVee His mudda was a mudda!

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    at volcan mombacho, just outside of granada, there is a good tour of the volcano and a coffee plantation there. volcan masaya also has a decent tour. up north, flor de cana, the national and OUTSTANDING rum, has a new tour of its factory in chinandega.

    what days do you think you will be in nica next month?
    #4
  5. Chiriqui Charlie

    Chiriqui Charlie Been here awhile

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    Thanks once again! I will see if I need to pay for the volcano tour, or if I can go alone. As far as time, right now is the tail end of the rainy season here in Panama. I don't want to head north until it is mostly over, usually sometime in the first half of December.
    #5
  6. TeeVee

    TeeVee His mudda was a mudda!

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    the only way to get to the top of mombacho is with the tour bus-an ancient russian made jobbie that i'm amazed still runs (at least the last time i was there...).

    don't miss ometepe either. not sure about guided tours there, but he ferry ride over and riding around there on your own is pretty cool. hiking up as well.

    PM when you are in nica. i'll be there twice in dec. maybe we can meet up for rum/beer/b.s. session.
    #6
  7. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial

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    It's a good practice to have about 300 córdobas in crisp bills handy in case you get pulled over for some "infraction" outside of Managua. Feel free to ask me how I know.:rofl
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  8. TeeVee

    TeeVee His mudda was a mudda!

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    300 is too much! most traffic violations carry a LEGAL fine of 200 cordobas. if you feel like fueling the corruption and paying your way out of having your license taken away whilst you go to a bank, pay the fine, go to the transit office (wherever that may be) and retrieve your license, all of which, by the way, can rarely be done on the same day, then simply ask the kind officer if there is any way he can pay the fine for you.

    considering the average nica cop with a few years on the force makes about $7,000 USD per year ($145 per week), a $10 boost several times per day makes a huge difference.

    as an alternative, be calm, humble, apologetic, do not dispute whether you committed the infraction, and most of them will not write the ticket.
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  9. QCRider

    QCRider Been here awhile

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    Beware of the new CR traffic laws - I almost got a ~$500 speeding fine while going down to Paso Canoas border to meet a buddy. I only got off because the cop was a motorrad and we chatted about bikes for a while. :clap

    Depending on your time line, we might run into each other in Nicaragua. There's a group of us going from Dec 5th to 9th. Send a PM and perhaps we can meet up for a cold Tona or a Flor de Cana. Maybe with TeeVee too. :freaky

    Btw, if you haven't done the Rio Sereno (PTY-CR) crossing yet, highly recommend it.
    #9
  10. Misery Goat

    Misery Goat Positating the negative Super Moderator

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    I don't usually care for the bigger cities but for some reason I enjoy the cities in Latin America as much as I enjoy the rural areas, for different reasons, of course.

    Leon is worth checking out imo, great city and cool colonial architecture.
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  11. Habibi Rocks

    Habibi Rocks Banned

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    +1 Lodging , food , and not too far from the beach and they have tours there.
    not sure of your lodging preference. But , when in Leon i stay at Posada Del Doctor.
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  12. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial

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    300 cordobas is about $12.50 US. Easier and more efficient just to pay it than spend time quibbling with the transit cop and then spend even more time going to a transit office. The cop gets his $12.50 "boost" and I'm on my way.

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  13. TeeVee

    TeeVee His mudda was a mudda!

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    except that there is no quibbling. it's simple: you ask him to "pay the fine for you." the fines are 200 cords. no quibbling.

    to each their own though...
    #13
  14. rtwpaul

    rtwpaul out riding...

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    i'll be in Nica in a few days for a week of so, so when i stop by to see you i'll let you know what i find as i ride around of course with plenty of photos to give you a few ideas
    #14
  15. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial

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    Thanks for the advice. I'll save 100 cordobas on my way back north next year. :D

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  16. mundobravo

    mundobravo Long timer

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    Oh nicaragua nicaraguita
    Nicaragua , Nicaraguita

    The most beautiful flower dearest to my heart
    The hero and martyr diriangen
    Died for you
    Nicaraguita
    Oh nicaragua you are even sweeter
    Than the honey from tamagas
    But now that you are free
    Nicaraguita
    I love you much more
    But now that you are free
    Nicaraguita
    I love you much more

    Words and music: carlos mejia godoy
    [ Lyrics from:
    #16
  17. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    If you want to see a culturally interesting part of Nicaragua, from Matagalpa take the road (there is only one) that goes to Puerto Cabezas on the east coast. A totally different and interesting experience from the gringo trail.
    #17
  18. Chiriqui Charlie

    Chiriqui Charlie Been here awhile

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    This is exactly the sort of info I need! Otherwise, I probably wouldn't have considered this route. Can you give me an idea of how long it takes to ride it? I'm not as seasoned a traveler as most on this forum, and I'm not as young and strong either! Is there anyplace to spend the night before the coast?
    #18
  19. TeeVee

    TeeVee His mudda was a mudda!

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    the road crash mentioned is long and in a permanent state of shittiness. if it rains, which it shouldn't this time of year, parts of it may be impassible on anything but knobbies and good mud riding skills. gas is not easily available, although if you ask, people will sell you some. the quality however, may not be all that great. the road goes through the northern autonomous region (RAAS) where much of the population is indigenous as opposed to being of european decent. it is an area high in crime, even compared to managua. get caught riding at night and you may never be heard from again. even locals stay off the roads after dark, so PLAN WELL and give yourself PLENTY of time. as you get close to the coast, there is a stronger presence of drug related crap, since the caribbean is a direct traffic route from south america.

    as for hotels, there probably are not any between matagalpa and puerto cabezas, although you may find a hostel or two.

    p.m. me for a good pdf map of nicaragua
    #19
  20. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    There might be a hotel or two in Rosita, but I didnt want to hang around there long, felt like a pretty sketchy place populated by quite a few questionable looking characters. I did wind up doing some night riding closer to Puerto Cabezas before the ferry crossing, and I agree that its probably not the best idea. The sketchiness factor definitely escalated as night fell, and I was not feeling real comfortable about it.

    I was with two friends from El Salvador which was nice, but since we rode at different speeds, most of the time I was solo and would meet up with them a few times during the day. In hindsight it might have been a bit safer to stick together the entire day.

    When I went through it was March, and was fairly dry, but there were some sections of mud. However, there were some decent lines to take without burying the bike up to the swing arm. All in all I felt the road conditions were not really that bad, nothing like I experienced in parts of Guyana and in the northern Amazon. Mostly just shitty pot holed dirt road, lots of sharp rocks in sections, some mud, some sandy and muddy whooped out sections, but nothing that I felt was really the least bit challenging on an off road bike. The numerous bridges were in pretty bad shape and if youre not real careful you could wind up falling through them where planks are missing. Now all that said, the road sure did look like it had the potential get get really shitty during the wet season.

    At one point I was on a pretty deserted section of road and my windscreen add on piece fell off and I didnt notice it for a while. I back tracked to try and find it and as I was poking around in the grass, two pretty rough looking characters appeared on horseback, carrying obviously Russian or Chinese made automatic rifles. I immediately felt like it could become a not so nice situation and was getting a bit concerned, hoping that Mario or Juan Carlos would be coming along soon. I dont know why I thought that, maybe just the safety in numbers thing. But they didnt arrive. Then one of the guys reaches into his saddle bag, pulls out my plexiglass piece and hands it down to me. Then I relaxed a bit. :lol3

    I didnt have any issues, but I could definitely see the potential for some bad stuff to go down in that part of the country.

    The trip from Matagalpa is a long, hot, and tiring day, no doubt about it.

    Still, it was a pretty interesting experience riding through there and worth the effort. Would I do it again? Probably not, but I'm glad it did it once. It was a totally different experience from the rest of Nicaragua.

    Most of the landscape looks like this:

    [​IMG]


    The fact that there was actually a sign in this village just blew me away. So I guess this is the right road.:lol3 The only sign I saw all day long.

    [​IMG]


    And lots of sights like this:

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Many little villages:

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Quite a few bridges like this that can literally sneak up on you if youre moving at a pretty good clip, so you have to be really careful, standard Central America stuff.

    [​IMG]


    Middle of Semana Santa, and pretty much no tourists:

    [​IMG]


    But there were some nice girls.

    [​IMG]


    On the ferry near Cabezas at the end of a very long, hot, tiring day.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #20