Pura Vida Travels - A Guide To Travel In Latin America

For many reasons this was the best trip of my life. I experienced more things in 11 days than I could have ever dreamed of. I really love Nicaragua. The people are fantastic. After my last trip my girlfriend and I rented an apartment together so on this trip I got to experience what it's really like to live in Nicaragua and I have to say it's an interesting experience.

First off, the power situation in Nicaragua is terrible. They don't have the capacity to generate enough power so they have resorted to rolling blackouts for up to 8 hours a day. This is causing some major discontent in Managua. My flight arrived around 8 PM and the road from the airport was blocked by a trash fire set in protest of the power outages. These protests are becoming quite a common occurrence.

The power outages also make driving even more "exciting" but more on that later. I was greeted at the airport by my girlfriend and her cousin Saleen and his girlfriend. We made a quick stop for dinner at Tip Top and then we went to a birthday party for my girlfriends aunt. On the way we stopped at Bello Horizonte and picked up a mariachi band to sing happy birthday. Every Friday and Saturday night there are about 20 mariachi bands that hang out at Bello Horizonte and you drive up and pick the one you want. It's a really bizarre experience as they literally surround your car as they all make their sales pitch of why you should pick them.

Here's a video of us getting the sales pitch...

And another video of the boys in action...

Saleen y Girlfriend

Mariachi Band

I Take The Wheel In Nicaragua

On Sunday I rented a car and my girlfriend and I headed for her hometown of Acoyapa. Here are some things to know if you rent a car in Nicaragua. First, they charge a $1000 deposit on the rental and the rental rates are twice what they are in the USA. Second, the insurance costs almost as much as the car. Third, the maximum insurance you can get only covers %80 of the value of the car if it's stolen. Fourth, things we take for granted like guard rails, lines painted on the road, and street signs rarely exist in Nicaragua. Fifth, there are rules for driving that you must be aware of like after 10 PM you don't have to stop at red lights. (In general it's a good idea not to assume someone is going to stop just becuase the light is red at any time of day.) Finally, if you're in an accident and people are injured you're going to jail. Still want to rent a car in Nicaragua?

Leaving Managua

Statues "R" Us

Mucho Traffico

Nice Bridge

Ghost Cows?

Real Cows

Road To Chontales

Road To Chontales

Road To Chontales

The drive to Acoyapa takes about 3 hours and you travel through some spectacular country on the way. The main roads are in excellent shape for the most part and one thing you won't see a lot of is traffic. Most people outside of Managua don't have cars so the main mode of transportation is either by bus, on foot, by bicycle, or on horseback. One thing you will see, however, is a lot of is cows. This is the heart of cattle country in Nicaragua.

Road To Chontales

Road To Chontales

Road To Chontales

Nice Bridge

Waiting For The Bus

The Bus Stop

It's Really Green Here

Giant Lava Rocks


The closer you get to Acoyapa the further back in time you go. There are few cars here and it's easy to imagine that life hasn't changed very much here in the last 100 years. Don't bring your cell phone here because there is no service. Need water? The well is right over there. Need the bathroom? The outhouse is out back. It's hard to imagine living life without running water but that's the norm here.

Nice Road

Traffic Is Crazy Here

Getting Closer

Painted Rocks

Next Stop, Acoyapa

The Chicken Coop

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