Wrapping up our Highlights of Nicaragua Tour

We just finished our Highlights of Nicaragua tour, successful and lots of fun for all participants.  We all made some new friends and discover the best of Nicaragua. It was sad to say goodbye after our farewell dinner on Saturday night in Managua.

Our tour guests were people who wanted to get to know Nicaragua and were also interested in buying a retirement home in Nicaragua.  The tour showed a couple of properties at Montecristo Estates and in San Juan del Sur.  Luckily, the Central American Advantage Investment Symposium (CAAIS Conference) had just wrapped up in Managua and they were taking guests to the resort and property development at Gran Pacifica so our tour guests who were already in Nicaragua had the opportunity to head out to Gran Pacifica for a fun day at the beach, lunch and had a chance to check out some available real estate.

The  Highlights of Nicaragua tour departed from Managua.  We spent two days in León, and during that time, we had lunch at Al Carbon restaurant where Tuey Murdock, Attorney/title coordinator at Title Coordination Services (TCS) spoke to the group about title insurance and buying property in Nicaragua.  Mike Quinn, American expat and owner of El Porton Verde bed and breakfast inn also joined us for lunch to discuss his experiences living and setting up a successful business in Nicaragua. The food at Al Carbon, formerly a large colonial house in León, was delicious!

Our group also dined at some other great restaurants in  León, including the restaurant at Hotel El Convento and Mediterraneo.


Tour guide Jorge, with one of our guests in Leon

While in León, Jorge, our historical tour guide in León took us on a tour of León.  We also went on a “Shopping Tour” of  León to check out prices of furniture, appliances, electronics and groceries.  The goal here was that our guests could find out what the real cost of living in Nicaragua is for themselves.  It’s one thing to read about it on the web, but to go out into the actual stores and price check is far more useful – especially when one is seriously considering the move.  The renovation work at the UNESCO world heritage site, the old Cathedral of León is finished and we stopped a couple of times for a cool drink at El Sesteo which sits on the corner of the newly renovated square.  El Sesteo is the best location in León to watch life pass by and do some serious people watching in the center of historical León.

A visit to Montecristo and luncheon at El Ranchero

A visit to Montecristo and luncheon at El Ranchero

León was followed up by a trip to Montecristo, a property development near El Transito beach.  On the way, we got some great photos, stopped off at the beach in El Transito and then arrived at Montecristo, greeted by owners Lori and Jorge Estrada.  Lori, Jorge and Patty drove us through this wonderful community that stretches some 1200 acres over mountains and coastline.  We met some of the people living there, saw some lovely casitas and houses owned by those who are lucky enough to call Montecristo Estates their home in Nicaragua.  It was a sunny and windy day, the ocean sparkled while we enjoyed a luncheon hosted by Lori and Jorge at the El Ranchero restaurant.

Our horse carriage driver in Granada

Our horse carriage driver in Granada

After our visit to León, our tour headed to Granada, charming as it always is and thrilling everyone as it always does.  René was our guide on the tour by horse drawn carriage through the city.  Everybody loved René’s tour and the opportunity to see Granada in this very traditional fashion.  If it’s your first time visit to Granada, you’ll want to enjoy the ride and after that, you can explore on your own on foot.  You’ll find the streets fascinating and probably discover a few nice restaurants, bars and shops.

Staring over the edge of the volcano.

Staring over the edge of the volcano.

Another day on the tour in Granada was spent exploring the surrounding areas of Masaya Volcano and the museum to learn about the volcanic chain in Nicaragua.  Later, we stopped at the Masaya Market to do some souvenir shopping and traveled on to Catarina to have a look at Apoyo Lagoon, a spectacular crater lake.  If you are house plant hunting for your new home in Nicaragua, you’ll want to visit the nurseries located in Catarina to pick up some new plants and pottery.

Our last two days were spent in relaxing San Juan del Sur. One of our tour guests had brought teddy bears and children’s books for donation to the local school in San Juan del Sur.  We met up with the Elisha, a Canadian expat now living in Nicaragua who is delivering them to the school.

Apart from a relaxing and wonderful lunch on the beach at El Timon restaurant and a couple of other restaurants on the beach, we also rode the tour bus up the hill to the El Cristo monument.  One of the most pleasant things to do in San Juan del Sur is to experience a spectacular sunset, with a view of the western coast of Nicaragua.  It’s a steep climb up the hill to the monument, but even our oldest guest, a young 76 years old was able to make it up the steps – bravo for her!

Those interested in a property tour of San Juan del Sur had a quick look around with a real estate agent who is our contact in San Juan del Sur.

Our bus transport - air conditioned, comfortable and modern.

Our bus transport – air conditioned, comfortable and modern.

Our tour guide and driver was Rafael who did a great job showing us around and drove us back to Managua the next day.  He was most accommodating at our frequent requests to stop and take photos.  Before returning to Managua, we stopped off for lunch at El Gato Negro café for lunch and enjoyed some bagel sandwiches and cold drinks.

At the end of the tour, our guests were dropped off in Managua at their various hotels.  On the last night, we had a farewell steak dinner at El Charrusco restaurant which served up some great steaks.  It was sad parting because everyone made some great friendships on the tour and to be quite frank, no one wanted to leave Nicaragua.

The only complaint about our Highlights of Nicaragua tour by all the guests was that the tour was too short .  Our tour is six days long, but we are seriously looking into extending the tour another day because it’s a busy tour and there’s so much to see in Nicaragua.  It is an “overview” of Nicaragua tour for first-timers to the country.  We also agree, another day for the tour would be much better for all.  People who come on our tour, return to the country later to explore their favorite places in greater depth and discover on their own new places in Nicaragua.  It is our hope that newcomers on their first-time visit to Nicaragua have learned to navigate the country, find their way around its intricacies and see there is absolutely nothing to fear in this beautiful land.  Can’t wait til our next tours launch in May and we have the opportunity to share Nicaragua once again.

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