Sunday, June 26, 2016

Top 7 Smartphone Apps for Tourists in Nicaragua

Your smartphone is probably already filled up with apps that you use on a daily basis such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc... which are great when traveling to Nicaragua as you can come across new ideas and places to visit, however we have listed below the top 7 must have apps that you should download before your trip to Nicaragua, and the reason why.

1.  Waze
This app is important if you are renting or driving your own car.  You will need an internet signal while on the road, which Movistar or Claro offers this service.  Once you get 3G or LTE on your phone, using Waze while driving will not only show you where you are going in real time, but will also show all of the upcoming police stops and other various disturbances ahead.  It is great to know where the traffic police are at all times.  If you pass police that are not marked on Waze, you can add it to receive points and help fellow Waze travelers.  The Waze app is big from Managua to San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua and almost all of the police stops are accurate.  No more getting pulled over and getting traffic tickets for crossing someone on a solid line :)

2. Duolingo
This app is probably the fastest and easiest way to learn Spanish.  It is free to use, and starts off with the basics.  It has a crazy algorithm that remembers the words or phrases you get wrong and introduces them to you with other words or phrases until you understand 100%.  You can learn any language easily, so do not stop at Spanish, try to learn French, German or any of the 23 languages set up on Duolingo.

3. WhatsApp
This app, you already most likely have.  If not, download it, it's great to text or call people over the internet, so you do not have to pay absurd long distance rates.  If you meet someone, you can get their local phone number into your phone, then simply talk to them through Whats App instead of sending them text messages which also cost money.

4. Google Translate
The Google Translate App is great to look up words you hear or see or even during conversations.  You can type in the word and it translates it for you, or even speaks it out load.  Another cool thing is that it has a built in visual translation function, which means that you can point your camera at a sign for example and it will translate the sign for you, try it out!

5. XE Currency
This app is great when you want to convert the dollar from your home currency to the Nicaraguan Cordoba or vice versa.  Simply pick your currency units.  For example, if you are at a restaurant and the bill comes to 950 cordobas, and you need to quickly see how much that is in US dollars, simply type it in and it will show you that it equals $33.36 USD.  However the restaurant you are at will most likely have a different exchange rate, but it will give you a ballpark figure.

6. Google Maps

Google Maps is great if you are in Managua and need to find directions to an address.  Simply type it in, and it will show you the location, as well as your current location if you are connected to the internet and GPS.  It can also give you the directions to get to your destination, however it's easier just to drive towards your destination as you can see your location in real time, as well as your destination.

7. Prey
This is a must have app if you care about your Smartphone.  You can also install it on your computer.  How it works is that if you lose or someone steals your phone,  once they connect it to the internet, you will get alerts, such as their exact location, and photos of them taken from your Smartphone.  You will have to login to your account on another persons phone, but you can track down their location, once you are in the proximity, you can signal an alarm, which your phone that was lost or stolen will start beeping and you can see where it is.

So if you are traveling to Nicaragua, download all of these above apps to make your life easier.

If we are missing any apps, please add them in the comments below:

Friday, June 17, 2016

12 Non Stop Direct Flights to Nicaragua

When planning your trip to Nicaragua, you usually want to take the fastest or cheapest flights.  The easiest way is of course taking a direct flight, so you do not have to do more security checks or layovers.  By taking a direct flight, you will be in Nicaragua in a few hours, which gives you more time to enjoy your vacation.  You will be flying into the Managua International Airport (MGA). Below we have made it easy for you and listed the top 12 direct flights to Nicaragua, including the airlines, flight time and schedule.

1. Los Angeles, California (LAX)
Flight Time - 5 Hours, 30 Minutes

Airlines - Delta

Schedule - 1 Flight per week

2. Dallas, Texas (DFW)

Flight Time - 3 Hours, 50 Minutes

Airlines - American

Schedule - 4 Flights per week

3. Fort Lauderdale, Florida (FLL)

Flight Time - 2 Hours, 30 Minutes

Airlines - Spirit

Schedule - 4 Flights per week

4. Havana, Cuba (HAV)

Flight Time - 3 Hours, 20 Minutes

Airlines - Cubana

Schedule - 2 Flights per week

5. Houston, Texas (IAH)
Flight Time - 3 Hours, 15 Minutes

Airlines - United, Spirit

Schedule - 2+ Flights per day

6. Guatemala City, Guatemala (GUA)
Flight Time - 1 Hour, 35 Minutes

Airlines - Copa, Avianca El Salvador

Schedule - 2 Flights per day

7. Atlanta, Georgia (ATL)

Flight Time - 3 Hours, 50 Minutes

Airlines - Delta

Schedule - 1 Flight per day

8. Mexico City (MEX)

Flight Time - 2 Hours, 45 Minutes

Airlines - Aeromexico

Schedule - 1 Flight per day

9. Miami, Florida (MIA)

Flight Time - 2 Hours, 35 Minutes

Airlines - American, Avianca El Salvador

Schedule - 4+ Flights per day

10. Panama City, Panama (PTY)

Flight Time - 1 Hour, 45 Minutes

Airlines - Copa

Schedule - 3 Flights per day

11. San Jose, Costa Rica - (SJO)

Flight Time - 1 Hour, 5 Minutes

Airlines - Nature Air, Copa, Lacsa

Schedule - 5 Flights per day

12.  San Salvador, El Salvador (SAL)

Flight Time - 1 Hour

Airlines - Avianca El Salvador, VECA

Schedule - 3 Flights per day

All of the 12 flights above fly directly into the Managua International Airport (MGA).  If you are flying from San Jose, Costa Rica, you can also fly into the new Costa Esmeralda Airport in Tola.  You can see the details below:

Fly from San Jose, Costa Rica to Costa Esmeralda, Nicaragua

How to get from the Managua International Airport to San Juan Del Sur 

Which direct flights do you usually take to get to Nicaragua?  Let us know in the comments below.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

9 Types of Expats You Will Find In Nicaragua

In every country around the world, you will find expats.  Expat is short for (Expatriate), which is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than that of their citizenship.  For the most part you will find similar expat types in each country, however below we have highlighted the top 9 types of expats that you will find in Nicaragua, more so in the town of San Juan Del Sur.

The expats range from families and partiers to hippies and retirees.  Check out the 9 types of expats that you will find in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua.  Which one would you be if you lived in Nicaragua?

1. The Family
family nicaragua
More and more families are making the move to Nicaragua, as it's affordable and they can still work from home, make US dollars, and purchase in Cordobas.  Most families send their children to a multicultural school that teaches English and Spanish, and hire a Nanny to take care of their children or help with house duties. 

2. The Surfer
surfer nicaraguaA lot of surfers travel the world looking for the perfect waves, which brings most to Nicaragua as it's a short flight away from North America, inexpensive to live and has a variety of surf beaches which you can surf almost year round.  Nicaragua has a certain aura that attracts and keeps surfers in the country.  There are a lot of expats that now call Nicaragua home because of the surf, and who have opened up surf shops, small hotels, and other various businesses.  

3. The Hippie
hippie nicaragua
Nicaragua, especially San Juan Del Sur attracts a lot of what you would call "Hippies" or people with free spirits. You will see many people walking around bare foot, tons of jewellery, shirtless and most the time selling bracelets, clothes or performing arts such as fire dancing, magic or circus acts.  The reason being is that the prices are still affordable, and Nicaragua offers a freedom of living how you want.

4. The Entrepreneur
entrepreneur nicaragua
Almost all expats living in Nicaragua are entrepreneurs as they have created a business to sustain themselves and to allow them to live in Nicaragua, with something to do, while making money.   It is fairly easy to open a business in Nicaragua, however still with the disorganization of the local city halls, they introduce rules as they go, making it sometimes frustrating, but this only makes it a little more challenging.  However, luckily these types of road blocks do not stop entrepreneurs from fulfilling what they came to Nicaragua to do, as Southern Nicaragua is growing at a rapid pace with expat businesses.

5. The International Local
nicaragua market
These expats are quick to pick up Spanish and immerse themselves in the local culture.  Usually marrying locally and raising a family in Nicaragua.  They have no intentions of moving back to where they came from and now call Nicaragua home.  Most usually have their residency and consider themselves Nicaraguan.

6. The Retiree
retiree nicaragua
Granada and San Juan Del Sur are popular destinations that retirees now call home.  There are many retired people, young and old.  The younger retired crowd are usually still working on some kind of business to keep busy, while the older retirees, you will find at certain bars throughout the day and night, usually gossiping about everyday things that go on in town.  They now call Nicaragua home and plan to spend the rest of their lives taking it easy.

7. The Globetrotter
globetrotter backpacker nicaragua
After traveling the world in search of happiness, they find themselves setting up base in Nicaragua for the same reasons that almost all expats who wound up in Nicaragua and now call it home.  They usually still take vacations from their vacation, traveling every 90 days when they need to do their visa renewal.

8. The Do - Gooder
volunteer nicaragua

You will find this type of expat volunteering constantly and striving to do things to better the community, usually teaching English, environmental cleaning or building houses for the less fortunate.  There are also many church or volunteer groups that have a few expats in each city trying to spread their message of being good, and helping out the local communities.

9.  The Partier
party nicaragua

We all party and celebrate on occasion, but this person takes it to the next level.  This person usually is out partying every night, either looking to be the center of attention or to just have a great time.  Usually spends the days hungover over and the nights partying, all week, month and year.  Every town has its partiers, however they can usually go for a few years max, until they venture off to the next destination, end up in rehab or go back home to work before saving up and doing it all over again.

So which Expat are you? or which Expat do you think you would be if you lived in Nicaragua?  Let us know in the comments below!