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Looking for travel tips Granada, Ometepe, San Juan Del Sur

Dobbs ferry
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Looking for travel tips Granada, Ometepe, San Juan Del Sur

Hi,

I'm planing travel to Nicaragua in a few weeks (aug13-aug27) with my 15 year old son. We are planing to stay a few days in Granada, a few days in San Juan Del Sur, and most of the time on Isla Ometepe. We are both very active and fit, and we would like to do some fun activities and tours as well as just relax. Neither one of us speak any spanish. Does anyone know how much english is spoken in those areas? Will it be difficult to get around? Also if anyone has suggestions for activities, guides, tours, and/or accommodations I would certainly appreciate it. I'm feeling the pressure of getting our room booked! Clean is important. I'd like to spend somewhere between $70-$125 night.

Thanks!

Joseph

Granada Nicaragua
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1. Re: Looking for travel tips Granada, Ometepe, San Juan Del Sur

You can make it with just English...buy a simple language guide book and learn a few basic phrases before you get here.

Transport...PM me if you want info and prices on good reliable transport from the airport to Granada and then to the ferry to Ometepe and then to SJS and back to the airport.. Sounds like you are not renting a car and that seems like a good idea for you. I'd wait till I got to each destination to book any guides or tours you might want. and unless you really have a herd mentality and want to spend a lot of time waiting do a lot on your own or with a guid that your hotel can get you.

What do you want in SJDS...in town or some where a bit more remote on a "surf' type beach? You will be done with the town in a day or so. That is your first decision there. Trip advisor has good list for all that.....I am sure others on the site will chime in and add some suggestions. i will defer to them.

Omatepe..look on TA too...how many days you plan on , one place or two, what do you really want to do...again lots of folks on here have suggestions...but you should start with some guidance. You will kill the best part of a day getting to there and back from either Granada or SJDS so factor that in.

Granada...you should stay on Mombacho Volcano in the nature reserve...look at Mombacho Lodge. It's only 25 minutes from Granada and in your price range.You can stay there a couple or three days or so and do the top into the cloud forest, see the coffee finch, do some zip lining and hike around a bit on your own and see a lot of nature....and since you are there you can do it on your own time as you also relax. Can also take a day trip into Granada from there. I recommend staying on the mountain rather than in town for the convience to the activities and because it is cooler there.... and also because you and your son likely will have enough of the city sights in a day trip and don't need the 50 bars on the main street in the night.

Edited: 25 July 2014, 20:47
Managua, Nicaragua
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2. Re: Looking for travel tips Granada, Ometepe, San Juan Del Sur

The places you are going are the most touristy in the country, and for the most part you can find someone who speaks English.

For 70-125 a night you can have your pick of places pretty much with maybe only a couple of high end all incluve resorts out of that range. Otherwise, there isnt much above those rates.

Getting around will depend on your budget and your level of comfort. Its very easy to get on a local bus, and take that from town to town. They are frequent and cheap (a couple dollars will get you halfway across the country). But they are the least comfortable.

Taxis are also everywhere as well if you need a one time trip here or there, and are still quite affordable.

Or you can take private transportation, which many companies offer. Its the most expensive, but the fastest and most comfortable. Youll probably need to book that ahead of time, so youll need to get an itinerary down first.

Granada Nicaragua
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3. Re: Looking for travel tips Granada, Ometepe, San Juan Del Sur

A short bus ride on a "chicken bus" would be an experience you should try......but since you know no Spanish, it is a bit of a problem for doing more or many. Where you are going taxis are not much use...more $$ than a car and not as safe/reliable. MGA to Granada for instance. Great around the town once you are there...but again, given your schedule and route looks like boat all that much need for you. I usually recommend cars to all but the lowest budget people as time is of the essence on vacation and worth a lot. If you spend 4 hours getting from A to B on a bus and less than an hour in a car....well with it. You do that three times on you vacation and you have a day down the drain. That day is worth more than the 120 extra bucks you'll spend on a car.

The places are "touristy" because that is what people who come here want to see. Those things have value to them. "Touristy" It is often said like that is a bad thing....well you can also do a home stay in the mountains north of Matagalpa (zero "touristy")...not see what you want and have a lousy time. Judging others wants by your own often misses the mark.

San Francisco...
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4. Re: Looking for travel tips Granada, Ometepe, San Juan Del Sur

Your hotels can also arrange transportation for you. We didn't want to waste a lot of time taking local buses and found that the fastest way from A to Z was to use private transport. Since distances aren't that far, we found the prices to be reasonable. However, if you are on a shoestring budget, then this might not be the best for you.

Granada, Nicaragua
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5. Re: Looking for travel tips Granada, Ometepe, San Juan Del Sur

Besides hotels, restaurants or tour Operators few people speaks English but are really nice people and very helpful.

Check this web site for info on tours around the country they might help you organize something in the area.

http://golocalnicaragua.wix.com/nicaragua

Have a great trip in Nicaragua.

Nicaragua
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6. Re: Looking for travel tips Granada, Ometepe, San Juan Del Sur

You definitely want to start in Granada, August is a very busy in places like in Managua and Granada because we do our local celebrations, in the case of Granada we celebrate in honor of Virgen de la Asuncion on the 15th of August, on the 16th night we have Carnival and on the 17th we have La Hipica which is a horse parade. Places that i recommend will be Patio del Malinche, Hotel Colonial, Hotel Alahambra just to name a few.

Whatever hotel you pick they can easily arrange a ride from the Managua airport to Granada, normally this will be between US$35.00 TO US$40.00 - Once in Granada get yourself a map and look fro ORO Travel, Tierra Tours or Vapues Tours, they will easily arrange any tour that you want.

In Ometepe i recommend for you to stay in the Santo Domingo area, Hotel Villa Paraiso is a very good option, from here you can get to the main places in the island, specially if you are looking to do a bit of hiking in either the Maderas or Concepcion Volcano.

San Juan del Sur is a nice little town, if you stay in the town it will be good to have different restaurant options and from there you can go to the nearby beaches for the day. Hotel that i recommend in San Juan del Sur, La Posada Azul, Hotel Victoriano, Gran Oceano.

If you any additional information, please Private message me and i will be more than glAd to assist you, as a local i will like to say BIENVENIDO A NICARAGUA

Granada Nicaragua
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7. Re: Looking for travel tips Granada, Ometepe, San Juan Del Sur

I disagree on SJDS. It s a swinging town, not a "nice little town". Not a great place for your 15 year old. Beach is so-so or less and to get to the really nice ones you will have to go south or north (south is my pick). So why not look at Coco Beach and go there...great beach, nice atmosphere, reasonable prices for places to stay. You could ride the bus into SJDS for an afternoon/early evening and get your fill.

You surely do not need to get bogged down with organized tours to see the sights of Granada and surrounding area. That costs money for little value, move slowly and toy waste a lot of time in the herd. you can go to the Marina in a cab and get a boat to the isletas on your own, go to the Mombacho Volcano on your own....zip lines and cloud forest, and coffee tour. I can get you a driver who can get you to all these places cheap and will not make himself annoying.....let you and your son do your thing outside the herd. you will see and do a lot more...do not miss the Hipica...starts late and it is a sight to behold.

Chichiriviche...
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8. Re: Looking for travel tips Granada, Ometepe, San Juan Del Sur

San Juan del Sur is good for party animals and surfers. Personally i believe its the worst place which you can visit in Nicaragua as its has absolutly nothing to do with Nicaragua... Beaches are not so so they are dirthy go south or north there are niicer.

If you in Granada i also believe you could do something by your own it woud be much cheaper...But if you do not speak any word of spanish i can understand that you book a tour...Isletas is o.k. Mombacho with ZIP line maybe more fun for your son...You also should not miss to visit the Laguna de Apoyo nice place to stay for a few days...for looking for monkees, kayak, swimm, sail etc...

Enjoy Nicaragua

Salta

Virginia Beach...
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9. Re: Looking for travel tips Granada, Ometepe, San Juan Del Sur

Agree that Playa El Coco is a better option than SJDS. La Veranera is a great place to stay there. The beach is fantastic. I'm a fan of Laguna de Apoyo and there I'd recommend San Simian. Very relaxing and the wildlife and swimming/kayaking are great. It's a bit cooler there than Granada and 30 minutes away.

10. Re: Looking for travel tips Granada, Ometepe, San Juan Del Sur

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