America,  Nicaragua,  TDM,  Travel Journal

Managua, First days in Nicaragua & micro-bus to Granada

A small article to tell you about our first days in Managua, the capital of Nicaragua.

We left Panama City where we spent 2.5 days. At the check-in, we were not asked for an exit ticket, but the yellow fever vaccine booklet(fiebre amarilla). Fortunately we have it (done in 2016 before the departure of the round-the-world tour).

When we arrive in Managua, someone checks us with a machine to see if we have a fever or not. The yellow fever(fiebre amarilla) vaccination booklet is requested when we leave the plane (this is because we come from one of the countries affected by this disease).

We pass in front of immigration, where we pay 10$/person the entry fee.

It is the quietest airport in the world, you don’t even get harassed by cabs. It is necessary to ASK them if they can take care of us 😀 They all announce us a rate around 25$ until our hotel. Too much!

Money is withdrawn at Banpro ATMs, free of charge at the airport while it is 1.5% at $4/withdrawal in the city. I don’t understand.

You buy a SIM card at Claro(info & prices here). Since we speak Spanish and ask for the rate in Cordobas, we get less cheated than another couple – not speaking English or Spanish – who pay 10$ for almost the same thing.

It is then that it begins to rain ropes. There is so much water that it makes a hell of a noise. In the street, even the manholes are opened to let the water in faster – and they can’t do it so much that it turns into a fountain instead.

With the Ray application (the equivalent of Uber), the ride costs us only 250 cordobas ($7.4 instead of the $25 announced by cabs). Payment in cash

Our hotel is a condominium in a rich neighborhood and unfortunately there aren’t many restaurants around (normally there should have been some but because of last year’s crisis many projects like that are unfinished).

There is a shopping center 1km away but we can’t even walk (fast road without sidewalk). Either we have to take a VTC with Ray (shame for such a distance) or we have to order for a home delivery. We notice the delivery scooters with the Hugo logo and finally manage to order with them. Yippee! The payment is always in cash though, and the app asks when ordering whether or not the deliveryman has to provide change.

What is a little embarrassing for this city is that there is no city center where you can walk quietly and visit. The real downtown was destroyed during a volcano eruption. Otherwise, Managua would have been like the other colonial cities of Leon and Granada today.

The connection speed here is very fast, but we are looking forward to leaving this charmless city for Granada.

Managua -> Granada by micro-bus

On Lauriane’s advice, we go by VTC to the UCA bus terminal (100 cordobas).

The “Bus Terminal” is a big word, since it is just a rather disorganized place where several micro-buses (24 seats) leave.

As soon as the cab stops in front of a bus marked “Granada”, someone takes our suitcases and puts them in the trunk of the bus. JB follows the porter to prevent him from disappearing with our luggage, while I pay the cab driver. The trip from Managua to Granada costs only 33 cordobas/person. The suitcases are in the trunk, but we are asked to pay for the suitcases anyway. We didn’t know that this was an acceptable practice and refuse to pay. My Spanish teacher will later tell me that it is acceptable to pay half price for the luggage, even if it is in the trunk and does not occupy a seat.

Continuation of our adventure in Granada here

the micro-bus
inside the micro-bus

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