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driving in Nicaragua

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Rockledge, Florida
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68 posts
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driving in Nicaragua

We are finalizing our plans for our trip in Nov. We plan to rent a car and drive ourselves to Leon, then Selva Negra, one night stop in Catarina,then San Jorge and ferry to Ometepe, then SJDS, then Granada.

I have been reading about some bad experiences with bad road conditions and police stopping people and asking for "donations".

Can anyone give us some advice on whether we should drive ourselves or hire a driver from place to place. Money is an object but, from what I've read, this could ruin a trip.

Val

Carrollton, Texas
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1. Re: driving in Nicaragua

I been to Nicaragua twice now and am going again in November. Both times I rented cars and had no issues (got waved over by the police once - Chavez was in town and they were out in force) and couldn't understand him and he didn't speak English, so he just asked for the $20 "donation" and that was that.

The road conditions are terrible in a lot of places, you have to be alert for large potholes, ox carts, bicycles, etc. Managua is a madhouse to drive in and be very alert in the other cities.

Sounds like you are doing a lot of driving - if you really want to avoid hassels, hire a drive if you can afford it. Personally, I find it challenging, but not that big a deal (then again, I don't get stressed easily).

The country is well worth the hassel of driving!

Rockledge, Florida
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2. Re: driving in Nicaragua

Thanks Texas Jeff. We do enjoy the challenge, my husband is like you, doesn't get stressed to much, and he is the pilot. It's his navigator(me) that tends to get alittle stressed, mainly over lack of road signs etc. It doesn't look like it should be too hard, there are not that many major roads. Any suggestions for looking for road signs etc?

Val

New York City
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3. Re: driving in Nicaragua

Hi Valj, of all the places you wanna go on this trip, the roads are in excelent conditions, it take hour and half from Managua to Leon, like two hours to Selva Negra to the north, and all other places are on the same way, i suggest you go all the way to SJDS, on the way back go to Ometepe, then Catarina and then Granada. make sure they give you extinguisher and triangle sign in car rental and take pics of the car you're renting, they hace to many scratches, i f you make a little one they wanna charge you for all others, i'm Nicaraguan resiading in NYC and just returned from a month long trip and was all over the contry. read my post.

Minneapolis...
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4. Re: driving in Nicaragua

The only potential issue we saw with the police was that first roundabout leaving the airport heading East. The most important thing to remember about roundabouts in Nicaragua: stay in your lane. If you enter on the inside lane, exit on the inside lane.

We rented with National Rent-a-Car and had no issues at all. It never hurts to return the car clean as it makes everyone's job easier - there are a few car washes near the airport.

Rockledge, Florida
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68 posts
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5. Re: driving in Nicaragua

Thank you for your tips, Nicara014, I am curious why you suggest driving all the way to SJDS from Selva Negra? We will be going on a coffee planation tour in the morning(not sure how long the tour is)in Selva Negra. Then we are driving to a point before it gets dark to stay the night. The following morning we need to be at the ferry in San Jorge by 10 am to go to Ometepe. We thought Catarina was a good mid point. I was wondering your reasoning for SJDS before Ometepe.

Val

New York City
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6. Re: driving in Nicaragua

Well, now i know you have a squedule for the ferry in Ometepe, so what you can do is simply, once you leave Selva Negra go to Catarina or Granada, recomend Granada, where there's night life, same distance from Selva Negra, good road, avoid Managua, when you get to Tipitapa go to Masaya and then Granada or Catarina, it's like a two and half hour drive, if you have to be at San Jorge at 10am it's a two hour trip from Catarina or Granada at the most, you can do it in hour and half. When you're comming back from Ometepe go to SJDS because you're close by half hour trip,on the way back go to Catarina or Granada, diferents roads in good conditions.

Go to Catarina during the day, nothing to do at night.

Enjoy Nicaragua.

7. Re: driving in Nicaragua

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