The world is more accessible than some people think, and traveling through its great lands helps us to see that we are all one big tribe with the same hopes and fears. The idea of world travel is exciting–it can be scary and costly too. BUT it doesn’t have to be. Here’s how we had a wonderful week in Nicaragua for a grand each. We promise there are no chicken buses or hostels involved!!! Although, that can be a great way to travel too!
We’ve been enjoying our travels through Central and South America over the last few years and have found the places we visit to be friendly, beautiful and unique. We’ve also felt very safe everywhere we’ve been, from Bogotá to Managua. We say that while also cautioning that every place in the world has crime and tourist traps and scams to look out for.
We do to feel safer pre-booking transportation from the airport and have the hotel call taxis for us. This can be a bit more expensive, but it makes us feel comfortable as we’re getting to know a place. We’ve used Uber all over Colombia and Panama and wish it was available in even more places. What we also love about Central America is that it’s close to the U.S. and affordable.
Flight from Washington, D.C.: $400
Hotels for 7 nights (per person based on double occupancy): $230.
You can easily find great rooms in San Juan del Sur (SJDS), Granada and Ometepe for $55 plus tax and fees, so let’s say $65 per night–which is exactly what we paid. So that’s $32.5 per person per night or $230 for a week.
Transport: $138. Note that this can be done for a lot less. We took prescheduled shuttles with private companies everywhere and we traveled to three different locations (SJDS, Ometepe Island and Granada).
We used Iskra Travel and Adelante Express for our transportation. Both were excellent.
From Managua airport (we bypassed Managua itself), we took a 2.5 hour private shuttle ride down to SJDS for $40 pp.
We took a shared shuttle from SJDS to the port at San Jorge ($15 pp) to catch the ferry to Ometepe ($3 pp round trip) and then had the finca arrange a four wheel drive taxi to take us the 1.25 hour trek across the (sometimes unpaved) island ($30 pp round trip).
Our shuttle from San Jorge to Granada was $25 pp and from Granada back to the airport was $25 pp. It could’ve been cheaper, but we liked the security of prescheduling and the shuttle companies didn’t offer shared shuttles for the times we needed.
Food and Drink
San Juan del Sur
OK – that’s $768 so far, which only leaves $30 per day for food. That’s a tight budget but it’s totally realistic. A giant and delicious Nica breakfast was included everywhere we stayed: Gallo pinto, huevos rancheros, fresh papaya, watermelon and banana, fresh squeeze juice, and toast.
When you’re hungry again, you can pick up a $5 sandwich or afternoon snack, $1 beers and 2-for-one cocktails at happy hour (which sometimes runs from 2 pm to 7 pm) and your all set. $15 is plenty for a good dinner–or you can get a decent $10 dinner and have a few more cervezas 🙂
You can tour around by renting a bicycle for $1/hour or $6/day.
Adding $125 to your budget would be plenty to do some really fun activities like kayaking ($25), horseback riding ($25) and volcano viewing ($20), with an ample amount left over to tip your guides, drivers and housekeepers.
There you go! Think about everything you waste money on. Stash a $20 bill every week for the next year and you’ll have enough saved for your adventure to Nicaragua!
It was a wonderful trip and one of the absolute best for meeting great people from Nicaragua and from around the world.
February 19, 2017