Crossing the border, Nicaragua says, "Beinvenidos" Welcome! We'll just ignore the guy in military gear, armed with an assault rifle, directing traffic.

Last week I took a trip up to Nicaragua.  It was time to take a visa run, and I wanted to see a new country, so north I went.  I stayed the week at a gorgeous hostel in the historic city of Granada, on the shores of Lake Nicaragua.  It was an amazing week.  There were a million things to do, new friends to make,  and I was busy ’til I could hardly keep my days straight.  I loved every minute of it.  I will definitely be back in Nicaragua!  Travel always makes me wake up and feel alive, every single time I go somewhere new.  It inspires me.  And so you may now prepare for a series of blogs about my latest trip.  To get our collective feet wet and introduce you to the country, I’ve put together a little comparison chart, so you can see how Nicaragua matches up with Costa Rica.  Enjoy!

Nicaragua vs. Costa Rica at a Glance

(0=not enough to count/didn’t see it, 1=got it, 2=got lots)

Nicaragua Costa Rica
Gorgeous tropical forests and coastlines +2 +2
Native wildlife +1 +1
  • Birds & Monkeys everywhere
+2 +2
  • Mosquitoes
-1 0
National parks and preserves +2 +2
Volcanoes +2 +1
Invasion of first-world tourists/expats 0 -2
System of roads +2 +2
  • Wide, sturdy, smooth, well maintained roads
+2 0
  • Rutted, pothole filled, crumbly roads
0 -2
  • Plenty of road signs, well marked streets, etc.
+2 0
Culture +1 +1
  • Historical sites, cities, buildings, etc.
+2 0
  • Old world feel and sense of tradition
+2 0
  • Mayan ancestors/traditions
+2 0
  • Great food in a variety of options
+1 +1
  • Plenty of salads and vegetarian options on the menu
0 +2
  • Inexpensive tours for cheap-traveling tourists
+2 0
  • Chocolate & Coffee plantations
+2 +2
People +1 +1
  • Friendly, welcoming, helpful locals
+1 +2
  • English speaking locals
0 +2
  • Nice tourists and expatriates
+1 +2
  • Creepy, gross, middle-aged men who make kissy faces and suggestive comments to you on the street.
-4 0
  • Legal prostitution
-2 0
Evidence of extreme poverty (dirt-floored shacks, begging children, etc.) -2 0
Public transportation +2 +2
  • Chicken buses (crowded, smelly, sweaty school bus turned public transit)
-1 0
  • Cushy, comfortable, spacious commuter buses
0 +1
  • Cheap, quick, readily available taxis
+2 +1
  • Expensive taxis
0 -1
TOTAL 24 22

Tired, but excited to be traveling and in a new city.