| Register  | FAQ  | Search | Login 
It is currently Sat Apr 19, 2014 1:31 pm

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 14 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Travel to Nicaragua
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 12:19 pm 
Has it on Blue Vinyl
User avatar
Offline

Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:44 pm
Posts: 2100
Hi! I'm going on a surprise trip to Nicaragua in two weeks - another dentist dropped out of a volunteer clinic, so I'm going to go there and extract teeth for a week! Just found out yesterday. What do I need (not for extracting teeth, but for eating!)?!!

I went to Costa Rica last year and survived - I hear they also have gallo pinto in Nicaragua.

Anyone ever been to Nicaragua????


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Travel to Nicaragua
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:12 pm 
I Wanna Dip My Balls In It
User avatar
Offline

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 10:37 pm
Posts: 3230
Location: idontevenknowanymore
my only advice from the one person I know that has been there: don't accept advice from anyone when trying to get from A to B

keep your wits about you, you'll be a-okay! :D have fun!

_________________
reap/sow, risk/reward


Top
 Profile WWW  
 
 Post subject: Re: Travel to Nicaragua
PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 11:18 pm 
Has it on Blue Vinyl
User avatar
Offline

Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:44 pm
Posts: 2100
I'm back from Nicaragua. I have a lot more to say, but I am wiped out!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Travel to Nicaragua
PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 2:50 am 
I Wanna Dip My Balls In It
User avatar
Offline

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 10:37 pm
Posts: 3230
Location: idontevenknowanymore
if you say it somewhere, I'd gladly read it :) put a link up if it gets blogged or anything :)

_________________
reap/sow, risk/reward


Top
 Profile WWW  
 
 Post subject: Re: Travel to Nicaragua
PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 7:40 pm 
Has it on Blue Vinyl
User avatar
Offline

Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:44 pm
Posts: 2100
I am so glad to be back! I can't believe how exhausting that trip was! We stayed in Granada. The basic itinerary was to get up and have breakfast at the hotel, be ready to leave by 7:45 (or 8:00 depending on the day), work from 9-12 (for me - extracting teeth), then back to the hotel to get ready for a fun excursion.

I only ended up going on two of the excursions. Thank goodness!!! It was too exhausting. The reason it was so exhausting was mostly the heat. Nicaragua seemed a lot hotter than Costa Rica. It was so hot hot hot. The clinic we were working at was even hotter. I went through two water bottles every morning during that 3 hour period, generally without having to pee more than once - I was sweating that much! When they told us we would only be seeing patients 3 hours a day, I thought we could do so much more. But when I got there, it was quite clear that I could barely make it that 3 hours! There were a couple times where it felt like I would pass out! I was one of the older ones there - I don't understand how all those youngin's had the energy to then go on excursions after the clinic.

The food was a lot harder for me than I thought it would be. Shortly after I found out about this trip, I also found out I was pregnant. So in addition to finding vegan food, the travel doctor said I needed food that did not contain ice, fresh veggies, or fruit that wasn't peeled.

The hotel (Hotel Granada) had gallo pinto for breakfast, which at first was exciting, but when I actually saw and tasted it, I was very disappointed. It was so dry and awful. I could only eat a couple bites each day. The gallo pinto my husband makes is 10 million times better. It kind of made me want to throw up. It was so disappointing, because all there was for me to eat for breakfast each day was basically pineapple, melon, bread and jelly. I bought some peanut butter and had mini peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for breakfast. Later that week they started serving gallo pinto with cheese on top, which actually kind of made me happy, because then I didn't have to eat it and be disappointed by it again.

I actually brought a bunch of packaged foods with me that you could add boiling water to, as well as an electric water kettle. The only thing was, each time I looked at those foods, I felt nauseous. So that didn't help.

As for the restaurants, there are a bunch within walking distance from Hotel Granada. There were basically two vegan options:
1. pasta - oily pasta with veggies. this got old really fast. Just thinking about it makes me sick.
2. vegetarian platter - this was never on the menu, but when asking about vegetarian food, they generally said they had a vegetarian platter. What it was generally involved veggies cooked in some way. The veggies were not too bad. Sometimes it would come with beans and sometimes not. I generally asked for beans so I could get some protein in me. One place had meat fajitas on the menu and when I asked about vegetarian fajitas, they said they could do this. Generally the vegetarian dishes came with cheese or cream, which you could ask to not have. One place subbed beans for me, which was nice.

There was one place that we had to walk a little further to get to (a couple blocks) - we were told only to walk there during the day because at night you will get robbed. Anyway, it was called El Garaje and it had a nice tomato-y lentil soup. That was my favorite dish from the whole time, and it was definitely not Nicaraguan food.

Mostly, I felt deprived of fresh vegetables and have eaten a lot of salad since I came home. I also was missing tofu. I felt really nauseous most of my time there. I think that had a lot to do with the heat (as well as the plane ride there) and less to do with being pregnant. I am feeling much better today.

As for the excursions, the most exciting one I went to was the Laguna. We went to the Monkey Hut and got to swim in the lagoon! The water was sooooo nice! They made me a pasta there, but I had ask to make it with oil instead of butter. Also, I couldn't get the sides it came with - I can't remember why, but I don't think they were vegan. So it ended up being a small amount of pasta, and not very filling, but it was quite good - it had peanuts and garlic on it! I didn't see pasta with marinara sauce anywhere, which I thought was weird.

We also went swimming at the pool in Hotel Granada. That was very nice. The water was warm.

Anyway, I think I would have enjoyed the trip more if it was just me and my husband because we like more relaxing time and our group was very into doing lots of stuff. There was a mandatory dinner at the end and I felt like I almost passed out waiting for our food that didn't arrive until 9:30! I really wanted to go swimming then.

Now my husband is in Costa Rica visiting his parents. I miss him! He said on the bus ride there, he could feel the temperature drop right after crossing the border into Costa Rica! I do not miss that heat.

I did enjoy what we were doing and the service we were providing, but I wish that I was doing it at a time when I was not pregnant and worrying about all the food and heat.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Travel to Nicaragua
PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2011 1:17 pm 
Can't Dance, Isn't Part of Revolution
Offline

Joined: Mon Oct 25, 2010 10:25 pm
Posts: 157
Location: Edmonton
We're heading to Nicaragua in November and I thought it would be a bit easier to eat than you've depicted. Do you think it would have been easier if you weren't pregnant? Luckily, we're staying at a couple of places that can provide vegan food for us so that should take some of the worries if there isn't much to be had, but we certainly wanted to try some restaurants in Granada and San Juan. What'ya think?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Travel to Nicaragua
PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2011 2:39 pm 
Has it on Blue Vinyl
User avatar
Offline

Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:44 pm
Posts: 2100
I think you will be okay. I do think that part of what made it hard was being pregnant. Also, that I was on a schedule and it wasn't just a vacation. If I had more time, I would have checked out different restaurants and done a lot more relaxing!

I will give you some tips, most of which were from our coordinator for the trip who lives in Nicaragua:

The interesting thing about restaurants - the tip is 10% and it is optional. It is actually calculated into the bill after the tax. If you pay at a place that accepts U.S. dollars (which pretty much everywhere we went you could), you will get change back in Cordovas that include a payment for the tip. The exchange rate in restaurants is not as good as you can get in the bank, but if you aren't eating out much it probably doesn't make that much of a difference. In general, it seemed the food prices were pretty cheap.

Most everywhere we went accepted Cordovas (the Nicaraguan money) and U.S. Dollars. There are guys on the main street in Granada that will change your money for you, but their rate is not as good as the bank. I think it is better than the restaurants though. The worst is at the airport. Touristy places seem to only have the prices listed in U.S. Dollars. There was a subway booth at the airport, those prices were in U.S. Dollars.

The group I went with was mostly female, and the girls got lots of whistles from guys there. I was 10 years older than most everyone on the trip and with my husband, so I didn't have to worry about any whistling. You are just supposed to ignore it. There is a lot of poverty there and there are kids and adults on the street (this was the main street in Granada) that are very aggressive about trying to get you to buy souvenirs. There is a center square in Granada and they sell souvenirs there which are apparently more expensive than you can get at the Masaya shopping center. In Granada there is a grocery store called La Colonia (I think that's what it was called) and you could use Cordovas or U.S. Dollars.

In Granada, you can stay on the main street at night, but anywhere else you want to go at night you need to take a taxi because you can get robbed. I read on the internet that sometimes there are dubious taxis at the airport. We took a big bus-thingy, so I don't know about that.

Uh.... there are mosquitos, so you can use DEET. I got 1 bite while I was there on my last day. It was really itchy!

I know it is a ways off, but tell us about your trip when you get back!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Travel to Nicaragua
PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2011 2:43 pm 
Has it on Blue Vinyl
User avatar
Offline

Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:44 pm
Posts: 2100
Also, I am not sure what you want to do about money. I am sure at the bank you can change to Cordovas from Canadian dollars, but in general, it is easier to change money if you have U.S. Dollars. Just something to think about.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Travel to Nicaragua
PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2011 3:34 pm 
Can't Dance, Isn't Part of Revolution
Offline

Joined: Mon Oct 25, 2010 10:25 pm
Posts: 157
Location: Edmonton
Thanks Kimba for all your advice and thoughts. I really appreciate it. I read that the crime rate is lower than in many Western countries, including the US. But it's always best to be cautious and careful. thanks for tip. I'll be sure to write in after the holiday and let you know all about it.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Travel to Nicaragua
PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 4:35 pm 
Invented Vegan Meringue
User avatar
Offline

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:18 pm
Posts: 3650
Location: Portland, OR
Any other recent experiences in Nicaragua? It's on my maybe list of travel spots for this summer...

_________________
comesconewithme.com
& @jdfunks on that thing


Top
 Profile WWW  
 
 Post subject: Re: Travel to Nicaragua
PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 7:07 pm 
Can't Dance, Isn't Part of Revolution
Offline

Joined: Mon Oct 25, 2010 10:25 pm
Posts: 157
Location: Edmonton
I loved Nicaragua and would highly recommend it. We didn't have any problems with food. Places we stayed were able to accommodate although we had our share of rice and beans for sure. We were recently in Panama city and we had a fantastic apartment with a full kitchen and we were able to cook our meals when we chose to. The grocery store had lots of tofu, vegan cheese, yogurt and whatever else you'd want. The grocery store near San Juan (in Nicaragua) didn't have much at all. I'd recommend visiting Granada. We didn't get to Leon, but it looks like a great city. I'd love to go back and explore the Atlantic side as well.

What else is on your list of maybe travel spots, jd?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Travel to Nicaragua
PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 11:47 pm 
Invented Vegan Meringue
User avatar
Offline

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:18 pm
Posts: 3650
Location: Portland, OR
I'm glad to hear the feedback on this, thanks! And extra thanks to this, all my research and daydreaming tonight has been about Panama, so I'd love to hear anything else you want to throw in.
And don't mind me, I'm going sorta crazy (er, enthusiastic) in this thread: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=26095

_________________
comesconewithme.com
& @jdfunks on that thing


Top
 Profile WWW  
 
 Post subject: Re: Travel to Nicaragua
PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2013 9:36 am 
Can't Dance, Isn't Part of Revolution
Offline

Joined: Mon Oct 25, 2010 10:25 pm
Posts: 157
Location: Edmonton
I'll pop on over there


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Travel to Nicaragua
PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2013 9:43 am 
Can't Dance, Isn't Part of Revolution
Offline

Joined: Mon Oct 25, 2010 10:25 pm
Posts: 157
Location: Edmonton
posted on jdfunk's travel page in the square


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Reply to topic  [ 14 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group
Template made by DEVPPL/ThatBigForum and fancied up by What Cheer