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Scenic reststop safety

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Rockville, Maryland
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63 posts
74 reviews
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Scenic reststop safety

I just posted this information under an existing topic but felt it warranted a post of its own. We are avid travellers and often rent a car to travel around. Nicaragua is a lovely country but as many people have mentioned be aware of where you are. This is our second visit to the country. Our first trip included Managua, Granada and San Juan del Sur. We enjoyed all and only explored Managua during the day with our toddler.

This trip we decided to visit Leon then return to SJDS. We made the mistake today of stopping to take a photo of Volcano Momotombo on the side of the highway between Leon and Managua. While outside our car 3 men tumbled down from the bushes on a hill and tried to attack/ mug us armed with knives- this was at a "scenic overlook" on the highway complete with a roofed area around noon. It was me, my husband and toddler son. Our instinct was to return to our car and protect our son. They followed us to the car- 2 followed me and my son and the other my husband. They pointed the knives at us- we only thought of the safety of our son and yelled, kicked and made it known we were not an easy target. We made enough noise that we attracted a motorcyclist on the road but our assailants had ran off and we drove away before he returned.

I write this to remind others to always be attentive. We let our guard down a bit and now keep wondering what if. This could happen anywhere- remember to be stay in busy areas if you are somewhere you don't know.

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1. Re: Scenic reststop safety

Appearing from the bushes certainly would catch most tourists off guard and it sounds like they waited around and made sure you were the only ones there. Good for you for holding your ground. Hopefully this won't be something they repeat.

Seattle, US
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2. Re: Scenic reststop safety

Thanks for the warning. I just saw it now, but a few days ago I was at that scenic viewpoint. We had no trouble, but there were some vendors with a small stand set up in the parking lot. I also noticed that our taxi driver stayed in the car, which seemed a bit odd to me at the time, but it could have been because he knew it was not safe.

Since we had someone with a machete try to mug us (unsuccessfully) near Laguna Apoyo just a few days before, we probably wouldn't have stopped at the viewpoint if we had known what happened to you. It's sad, but an incident like that does affect your peace of mind.

People say that Nicaragua is safer than other CA countries, but not in my experience. I've travelled for years all over CA and Mexico (and elsewhere in the world) and never had any serious incidents until Nicaragua. I have never even met anyone who had problems until Nic (although I have know some friends from home who had crimes committed on them while traveling in various places). We were there for only three weeks, but I met 5 other people who also had some sort of robbery or mugging incident, all in daylight.

I think a lot of people say a place is safe if they don't personally have any problems. but they really can't speak to the overall probability that you will be a crime victim or not. If they didn't have problems, it may just mean they were lucky or that their time in the country isn't enough data to generalize.

I wouldn't advise others not to travel there, but I would advise anyone to be extremely cautious. We were cautious but still had an incident. Eventually if you travel enough, your number comes up. And if you can't be philosphical about the risks vs. rewards of third world travel, don't go there.

3. Re: Scenic reststop safety

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