Why go to Nicaragua ?


You will find here the results of our backpackers' survey as well as comments on some aspects of Nicaragua.

We asked backpackers who had traveled in Nicaragua for at least one week already to answer the followings.

Do you like Nicaragua ?  100% of the backpackers surveyed (17) say yes !

Charming colonial cities, hospitable people, superb panoramas and relaxed atmosphere : difficult not to enjoy Nicaragua ! 


Would you happily come back ? 88% of the backpackers surveyed (17) say yes !

Nicaragua's sights being quite limited, a few people do not see the need to come back. 


Would you recommend Nicaragua ?  100% of the backpackers surveyed (17) say yes !

You should of course visit Nicaragua ! You may however enjoy it more after a while on the road as its relaxed pace is excellent to recharge one's batteries... It is also a relief after expensive Costa Rica...

We also asked them to rate the followings :

The tourists attractions        Backpackers (17) : 14.35 /20
Nicaragua is a big country but most of the attractions concentrate on the small area of the Pacific lowlands. None of them would require a special trip if taken individually but, all in one, they make up for a very rewarding and pleasant trip.

The city scenery       Backpackers (17) : 14.12 /20
They aren't too many of them but the one you need to stop in are usually very charming by Central America's standard. We are not talking about the ugly capital, that most avoid, but about the colonial towns of Leon and Granada, that (nearly) all enjoy. The best rate of the survey !

The natural scenery         Backpackers (17) : 13.88 /20
Nicaragua may not be as spectacular as its neighbors but its volcanoes, mountains, wild beaches and lakes are certainly pretty enough to justify the good rate.

The cultural opportunities        Backpackers (17) : 9.18 /20
This is not really the strongest point of the country, although its colonial cities do offer some museums and historical sights. 

The food         Backpackers (17) : 12.71 /20
Although nothing special, you actually eat pretty well along the small tourist track. Even by the side of the roads or at the market, the basic local "comida corriente" (meat a la plancha plus beans, rice and salad) is tasty and safe to eat. You may even be able to find a few great culinary experiences...

The infrastructures         Backpackers (17) : 12.47 /20
On the "classic"' tourist path, things are pretty good with very frequent bus departures in all possible directions. The roads aren't too good and the non-direct buses really slow but it still works out fine in the end. Things are of course very different on the wild Atlantic coast where buses are replaced by irregular and rather expensive boats. 

The cost of living and traveling        Backpackers (17) : 16.71 /20
Nicaragua is one of the cheapest country to travel to in Central America, with prices equivalent to Guatemala & Honduras for rooms, food and transportation on the tourist path. The Caribbean coast is slightly more expensive. Also, some "extras" like communication costs or film processing are ridiculously expensive. See the Cost Table for more details.  

The safety        Backpackers (17) : 12.47 /20
Safety is a big issue in the capital where extreme caution with your belongings is required at all time. Some recent incidents have also been reported around San Juan del Sur, an area that seems to be heading toward the wrong direction (the North coast of Honduras). Except those, you feel pretty safe, by day and usually also by night ! Guns aren't common tools here... Note however that the rating by women is two points lower than by men.

The cleanliness        Backpackers (17) : 10.59 /20
To say that Nicaragua is clean would be a gross exaggeration (look at the side of any road !) but one must recognize that the streets of its touristy cities are very well taken care off. The countryside and villages unfortunately follows the "classic" rubbish tales. 

The pollution        Backpackers (13) : 9.65 /20
Yes, Nicaragua is polluted ! Probably not more than its neighboring country but it is somehow more obvious here as it touches a big tourist spot : the lago de Nicaragua...

The Shopkeepers' attitude        Backpackers (17) : 12.94 /20
Except for some rip-off and pushy sales at the touristy market of Masaya, things are fairly relaxed around the shops. Smiling is not always a selected option but what country can pretend the contrary ?

The Nicaragua people's attitude        Backpackers (16) : 16.50 /20
Nicaraguan are often described as the friendliest people in Central America. This is also my opinion as this is where I had the best conversations. But the difference with the other countries is not overwhelming and a few girls I met expressed reserve toward the numerous machos they encountered... 

Entertainment        Backpackers (12) : 10.67 /20
Since walking the touristy cities at night is usually no problem, a bit of a night life can finally be experienced. Leon, with its student community, is possibly one of the best place to go out and meet locals in Central America. The rest of the country is much more quiet, fiesta time excepted...

Shopping        Backpackers (14) : 10.00 /20
Souvenirs seekers may find paradise in the colorful Masaya's markets. Looking at the price-tag may however soon bring them back to earth and they may have the hell of an hard time to bargain the prices down... Commodities shops offers the usual western selection at the usual high prices.

Generally, the country        Backpackers (17) : 14.59 /20
In general, male travelers have a great time in Nicaragua (especially after testing a bit of the night life) and quite a few recognize it as their favorite destination in the area. Girls are usually slightly less enthusiastic however, with a rating lower by three points. There aren't too many places to see or travel to but the relaxed atmosphere makes up for the lack of sights. 

Value for money        Backpackers (17) : 15.53 /20
An excellent rate as Nicaragua offers some of the best deals for lodging, food & transportation in the area.

Give your opinion !  If you have traveled in Nicaragua for at least 1 week, please participate to our surveys !

Compare Nicaragua with other countries in the Central America Section


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