Civil Unrest in Nicaragua

Discussion in 'Latin America' started by TeeVee, Apr 21, 2018.

  1. tferguson

    tferguson Been here awhile

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    @Ohio_Danimal
    @sean_smith44

    Hey guys. I'm also planning for the Nov 3 crossing of the Stahlratte. Ludwig is putting together a group email to all the people travelling through around the same time can keep in touch.
    I'll shoot you a PM
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  2. TeeVee

    TeeVee His mudda was a mudda!

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    update number? things have quieted down somewhat and most of the murdering has halted. roadblocks are gone. heavy police presence in managua after there having been a shootout or two between the pigs and the paramilitaries, who are sill armed with military grade hardware and may or may not be under govt control.

    i am going down on the 10th to see how my property is and check on the general climate of shit before deciding anything. i suspect that the evil side has won and managed to murder enough innocent folks to shut them the fuck up for the time being.

    having said that, during the war in the 80's, managua remained relatively calm, while a civil war raged on the outskirts.

    not wanting to be a nit-picky nanny type, i'd say that it is somewhat ok to transit through for now, just be SUPER AWARE and STAY THE FUCK off the roads after 5:30 p.m.
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  3. 95Monster

    95Monster Been here awhile

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    Hey, I'm on the Nov 3 Stahlratte voyage too.
  4. TeeVee

    TeeVee His mudda was a mudda!

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    Spent two days in Nica the weekend of 8/11. while the streets are much less occupied and businesses are still not opening at night en masse, i would say it's ok to ride through.

    if nothing changes drastically in the next few weeks, i will be moving my family back in mid-september, as most of my friends have done.

    i will reiterate, that if you do cross or even tour, stay off the roads at night.
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  5. halera

    halera Adventurer

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    It´s difficult not to compare the Nicaraguan situation with what´s been going on for some time already in Venezuela. That situation began with the death of Hugo Chavez in 2013, five years ago, and has only gotten worse since then. It´s arguable that Daniel Ortega will emulate his Venezuelan counterpart and fellow bolivariano, Nicolás Maduro, while he can, and simply dig his heels in. Nor is the Nicaraguan opposition quite so well organized as the Venezuelan. Consensus seems to be that nothing less than Ortega´s outright removal/resignation and/or agreement to hold early elections will alter the situation much. Some experts claim this is inevitable but don´t hold your breath in the near term. Problem is that dictators tend to be stubborn about staying in power but then so are the nicas; it´s unlikely that they will back down either. Hell, they´ve already been some of the most patient people on the planet, and for a long time already, which is mainly why the current crisis erupted so suddenly and so ferociously. Like someone said earlier, things have finally come to a boil.

    I agree with those who strongly discourage entering the country right now or in the near future. I myself have been in a holding pattern, bouncing around Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras, ever since things went bad in April, and will remain so in keeping with the adage: choose your battles.

    I look forward to finding more in-country reports from TeeVee, and others, now that we are already in mid-September, almost a full month since his last post.
  6. TeeVee

    TeeVee His mudda was a mudda!

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    Shit. Time flies.

    So here’s the deal. Two weeks ago, I moved the family home to a much quieter and safer neighborhood. It was a long overdue move despite the shit that’s been going on over the past 5 months. Last week I moved the family back from panama as after having spent five days here moving I deemed it safe enough FOR NOW.

    Things are not normal here. Many businesses have closed, operating hours are much shorter, practically no tourists (a good thing?), much less traffic. There are near daily marches, protests, caravans etc and a ridiculous (by nica standards) heavily armed police presence. There are still roving bands of masked people with automatic weapons but they are on witch hunt missions and are not indiscriminately shooting people.

    I still do not believe this is a good time to be touring the country. However, if you stick to the main highways you should be fine to transit through. Oh, San Juan del sur is fine. So if you’re headed south, blast through from the north and spend a couple of days relaxing on the beach there before heading to Costa Rica.

    On another note, to add to the BS one has to deal with here, they are demanding that you provide proof of yellow fever vaccination if you’ve spent ANY time in panama and 15 other countries. No proof? No entry. No exceptions. Not sure about Costa Rica but you can get the vaccination in panama for $100. You will then need to wait 10 days before entering nica.
  7. halera

    halera Adventurer

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    I checked this recently, not sure where, but I think it was the US State Dept. that had the details. You´re waivered, if your over sixty. FYI
  8. halera

    halera Adventurer

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    Question for TeeVee: Above someone posted a link to a map that La Prensa put out in June, indicating where all the roadblocks or tranques were. I counted something like 7 along my customary route from the north (Ocotal) to Ometepe. Are these still in place?
  9. halera

    halera Adventurer

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    Note to the unwise:

    If you´re undecided about whether you are going to pass through Nicaragua or not, enroute further south, bear in mind that you need to make a decision before exiting Guatemala. Most riders close their Guatemalan permission at that point because usually they don´t expect to be back within 90 days. Realize that that´s also *how long you will have to wait before they will issue another one*. So, if you change your mind afterwards or intend to wait till you actually get to the Nica border before deciding, and then decide not to pass through Nicaragua after all --something changes-- you´ll be stuck in Honduras and/or El Salvador for three months before you can reenter Guatemala and head north again. The only alternative will be to drive on, dodge the bullets and make it to Costa Rica within that same 90-day period.

    Also, if you do drive on and plan to be gone in excess of three months, don´t fail to make sure your Guatemalan permision is closed, not just suspended. If you miss this and have to close it, say, 2 years later, in order to get a new import license, not only will you pay a fine but will have to wait another 90 days from that moment before they will issue you a fresh permit. In another post I detailed what your options will be in this unhappy situation, if it ever applies to you.

    https://advrider.com/f/threads/change-in-the-nicaragua-border.1298854/#post-35634720

    Hombre precavido vale por dos.
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  10. JRWooden

    JRWooden Homeless motorcycle vagabond ... and ... loving it

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    Side note that I'll mention as I nearly screwed it up:
    It turns out some vaccinations are "live" ... i.e. the include a live sample of the actual thing you are being vaccinated against. Any vaccine that contains the “live” virus should be done with at least a 4-week spread between it and any OTHER "live" vaccine. e.g. Typhoid & Yellow Fever are both live. So, talk to your Dr. or pharmacist and make sure you don't screw up ...
    and that you get them all scheduled in before your trip starts.
  11. TeeVee

    TeeVee His mudda was a mudda!

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    no. the roadblocks were taken down by force (in the process killing several tens of unarmed folks)
  12. halera

    halera Adventurer

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    So, all you guys hopping on the Steel Rat on November 3 have either passed are passing through Nicaragua by now, how about some feedback?
  13. tferguson

    tferguson Been here awhile

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    Still here, at San Jorge for lunch. The border entry was a bit more involved than previous countries, but essentially the same as all the other Central American ones.
    Admittedly I’ve only stayed overnight in Leon and Granada so far, but things seem ok to me. Obviously the previous issues are fresh on everyone’s minds.
    Hostels, hotels and bars are mostly empty, the ones I’ve seen.
    Friendly people, and the roads are pristine, compared to the previous few countries
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  14. Reaver

    Reaver How Did I Get Here?

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    My friend came thru last week in a car from Canada with a trailer (quad on back) looking like the Clampetts. Mattresses strapped to the roof and all. No issues. Drove in the dark as well. Very direct drive with one night.
  15. halera

    halera Adventurer

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    Okay, truth is I´ve lost count how many times I´ve crossed the Nica border, at both ends, but it´s been a year-and-a-half since the last time. I heard a rumor that they were doing thorough searches at the border now. Is that true? What about that stupid form/email notificaction you´re supposed to do ahead of time? Supposedly that was designed for ´groups´, not individual tourists. Did you do that? And the yellow fever vaccination. Did they ask for it? According to state.gov anyone who hasn´t traveled recently in countries at risk (nearest would be Panama) or who is over sixty is exempt. Can you confirm that? Hard to tell from your avatar how old you are.

    One last thing, if I end up in Nicaragua after all, I usually spend some time there, which involves monthly exits (to Costa Rica), in order to renew my nica permission for the moto (which they only grant for 30 days at a time, never mind your visa status). Someone somewhere mentioned that getting Costa Rican insurance now involves a bus ride from the border. Which border? Were they talking about Peñas Blancas or the newer border crossing upriver? It´s hard to believe that that office has moved away from the main border, but I would like to verify this nevertheless, if somebody knows.
  16. tferguson

    tferguson Been here awhile

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    @halera
    A couple others ahead of me had all their bags thoroughly checked, first question the customs inspector guy asked if I had a drone. I marked down that I have 5 bags, he only asked me to remove my panniers and take them inside to be put through the scanner machine. Similar to what your bags would be subject to at an airport. The lady at the machine was confused why I only had 2, when I marked 5 bags. I played charades trying to say that's all I was asked to bring in, then she lost interest and just signed my sheet. Annoying doing the extra steps in +35 in Nicaraguan humidity while wearing my riding gear, but no real skin off my back.

    I did send in the email entry request or whatever they're calling it. First thing immigration asked for. I never actually received a formal response back stating everything was set. I just printed off whatever info I did have, and that was fine. I also booked a room for the first night, as they asked about marital status, what my job is, and where am I staying the first night. Had an email confirmation I showed them on my phone. I have my yellow fever shot and proof of it, but I've yet to be asked for it.
    I am 31

    I'm still in Nica, so someone else might be better suited to answer the question about the Costa Rican insurance. As far as I'm aware, when I cross at Penas Blancas, I'll be able to purchase insurance at the border.
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  17. halera

    halera Adventurer

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    I gather there´s a new bridge at another border crossing upriver --Los Chiles, if I recall correctly-- close to San Carlos and which previously was only open to foot traffic and involved a short boat trip. That´s my guess about the insurance rumor anyway because it´s hard to fathom why the office would have moved from Peñas Blancas. It has moved before but only within the border area itself. When you get done with migration (CR side), look for the big parking lot full of semi trailers and make your way to the customs office at the far end (with your bike). The insurance office used to be right there --one-stop shopping-- but now it´s in a separate building at the end of a covered walkway from where you get your vehicle permit. I´ve been through Peñas Blancas 25-plus times --just breathe deeply; it´s better on the CR side and not so bad now on the nica side, since they reconfigured things a few years ago. Jesus H. Christ. I hate that border crossing. The ´helpers´ there hate me too because they know I could compete with them, especially knowing English.

    Thanks for the info, now I know what to expect. I have 3 bags but I´ll just mark down 2 (easier to unload). They only count with their thumbs anyway. I may even arrive in shorts and T-shirt that day, just in case, and with a pint of Ron Plata handy. Drone? Hell, I don´t even carry a phone.

    I like that the hotels and bars are empty; it´ll be sweet to spend some time on Ometepe without the usual throng of braindead backpackers. In fact, at this point, that´s my principal goal --that and solving visa issues. I want to be in New Mexico next summer but don´t wanna arrive before the thaw, which means either I enter Costa Rica briefly to reset my clock and spend more time in CA --CA4 visa runs out end of November-- or spend six whole months moving slowly north through Mexico eating tacos.
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  18. halera

    halera Adventurer

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    Thanks, Reaver. This info is helpful, not to mention tactically brilliant: look like a Beverly hillbilly. No point pouncing when the prey is poorer than the predator. I guess that´s how backpackers survive. I would love to meet your friend though and woulda had a great chuckle passing him on the highway down there. Got lucky driving at night though. Nicaragua is still not too strict about tethering animals, and a dark-colored horse coming at you head-on even at dusk is nearly invisible.
  19. craig haggart

    craig haggart Old guy having fun

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    Does anyone have firsthand information about this revised border crossing? I will be in Central America in a few months, and it would be great to cross into Nicaragua at Los Chiles and then ride up the east side of the lake if that's possible and realistic.