Trip Coach: August 5, 2008
Joshua Berman, freelance writer, trip leader, and co-author of "Moon Handbooks Nicaragua," answered your questions on Nicaragua.
Joshua Berman: Hi everyone, I'm the co-author of Moon Nicaragua and Moon Living Abroad In Nicaragua, as well as co-webmaster of GoToNicaragua.com. I'd like to acknowledge my co-author, Randall Wood (therandymon.com), who lives in West Africa with his Nicaraguan wife and will not be joining us today. Randy and I have been exploring Nicaragua since 1998. These days, I visit Nicaragua a couple times a year, and I work as a freelance writer, editor, trip leader, and Spanish teacher, based in Boulder, Colorado, the rest of the year. For more on me, please visit joshuaberman.net
You can also always reach me and Randy at our website (above) where we field readers' questions daily—in case you forget to ask something today.
Also, I'm happy to announce that the new Third Edition or our book, Moon Nicaragua, is now available for pre-order—either through Amazon or direct from me (see my website for more).
Bueno, pues! (Alright then!) Let's begin.
Bostston, Mass.: I am possibly going to Nicaragua for my honeymoon in October. I know that is the end of the rainy season, but how rainy is it in Granada at that time? Also, I want to do things that aren't as touristy. Off the beaten path. All my research turns up the same things: Leon, Masaya, Volcanoes, Cloud Forest, Granada, Isletas, etc....What are some other things to do that you can suggest besides these?
Joshua Berman: How about starting with something slightly traditional like a stone cottage at Selva Negra in Matagalpa, then go farther into the field from there, visiting coffee farms and driving through the gorgeous, green mountains? Or you can consider a week-long expedition down the Rio San Juan, that's really getting off the beaten path.
As for Granada (and the rest of Nicaragua) in October, you should definitely be prepared for rain—umbrella, lightweight rain jacket, flexible attitude—and then you'll be pleasantly surprised if the weather is nice. You may get lucky and get cool overcast days, or October can be very rainy. It is still hurricane season. The biggest storm to hit Nicaragua in its history (Hurricane Mitch, 1998) hit at the very end of October.
Middlebury, Vt.: Hello! My fiance and I are leaving on our honeymoon to Nicaragua on August 16th through the 24th. We're spending 2 nights in Granada, 2 nights on Ometepe, and 4 nights at San Juan del Sur (and 1 night in Costa Rica before departing from Liberia). We already have a few things planned but my question is regarding Ometepe. We are not sure about transportation throughout the island, the ferry lands in the early evening and our hostel is on the other side of the island in Merida. What is the best way to get from one side of the island to the other? We're also thinking of renting mountain bikes to get around and sightsee—is this a good idea considering it's the wet season and may have too much mud for enjoyable biking?
Joshua Berman: Regarding transport on La Isla de Ometepe, the public buses run regularly and are quicker now that the road across the island is paved, but if you are getting in that late, I would definitely recommend arranging private transport from Moyogalpa to Merida. I'm sure you can do this through your hotel; if not, you can hire a driver and car there at the ferry as you get off.
Regarding the mountain bikes, you'll have to assess how muddy the roads are when you arrive. Late August can go either way with rain—sometimes you get a 2-week dry period during this time (called "la canicula" by farmers who use it to time their second planting). Sometimes, it rains right through August though.
Saint Paul, Minn.: My Husband and I have a time share. We can exchange it to go anywhere in the RCI network. For the past 5 years we have gone to different places in Mexico. We are now ready to explore other countries but are not sure which we should choose and which are safe. We enjoy the beaches but also enjoy the different cultures and tend to go to the local markets. My husband loves to shop. Any ideas?
Joshua Berman: Sorry, I'm not familiar with the RCI network but I highly recommend a visit to Nicaragua regardless.
Chicago, Ill.: What is the best way to get to the Caribbean coast (either Bluefields or Puerto Cabezas) from say Managua? I understand that in the past, flying was the only practical option, but can one drive or take a bus?