Let me begin by saying you would have thought I was traveling to Iraq or Afghanistan with the amount of people who told me I should reconsider my travel plans to Nicaragua. Even the US Department of State has an advisory still posted to exercise extreme caution if traveling to Nicaragua. I don’t know how things were in the past, but I can tell you currently it was nothing but a wonderful and pleasant experience with some of the nicest and friendliest people around. Every place we visited the hospitality went above and beyond.
It was easy to tell that gringos such as myself have not descended upon the country in large groups yet because in some areas it was entertaining to watch groups of school children pretend not to stare at you or even trip over and walk into things while acting like they weren’t looking your way and then wave, shyly say “Hola”, and smile at you. I haven’t experienced this since my travels in certain parts of China.
My visit was solely up and down the Western portion of the country. The scenery and landscape is absolutely stunning, lush green, beautiful, luxury eco-resorts to stay at, and places to experience nature mostly unspoiled from mass tourism or development. How could you possibly go wrong in a country where you can see an active volcano with an actual lava lake flow happening right now at Masaya Volcano National Park? It truly was a wonderful adventure everywhere we went. Two pieces of advice though. Brush up on your Spanish as it helps tremendously during your travels there and don’t always trust the GPS if it wants you to go on dirt roads even though for the majority of the time the roads are in really good condition and well-marked, some of dirt roads are enter at your own risk.
I am also happy to report that I didn’t have a single bad meal during my stay either. It’s not often I can say that, especially since I didn’t have high expectations arriving. Photos do not do this trip justice and you really need to go there yourself to appreciate Nicaragua so I haven’t included any except for the food. For once, I was extremely off my game as I did not photograph every meal. It was mostly living in the moment. Below are some of the places and meals I had. As I said, they were all great, so I recommend them all.
A Falta de Amor otra Cerveza Por Favor Bar y Restaurant – Granada, Nicaragua
How can you go wrong with a place named “In the Absence of Love another Beer Please”. Had a wonder pan fried fish fillet with fried plantains and white rice.
The Garden Café – Granada, Nicaragua
Just a truly pleasant meal here in a beautiful tranquil setting. I had the Gringo which is 3 eggs, 3 strips of bacon, 2 pieces of homemade toast, and sautéed potatoes.
Restaurante El Zaguan – Granada, Nicaragua
Love how this restaurant just opens up into a wonderful space as soon as you enter the doorway. Had the Nicaraguita which is grilled filet with sweet fried plantains, fried cheese, and rice and beans.
La Palapa Restaurant at Aqua Wellness Resort – Tola, Nicaragua
With a breathtaking view which is enough of a reason to visit this location alone, I went with the surf and turf option with grilled vegetables and rice. Every bite was stunningly delightful and extremely delicious.
Juntos Beach Bar and Grill – Playa Gigante, Nicaragua
A beachfront location with a hammock, darts, tree swing, and a children’s playground next to it was a joy to find and the food was just as nice. Had the Fish and Chips that was great.
Factory Steak & Lobster – Managua, Nicaragua
High end elegance in a hustling and bustling city. I had pure empanada bliss in a crispy shell with their Filet Mignon Empanada appetizer, the lobster bisque soup topped with puff pastry, and whole Lobster Thermidor with grilled vegetables.
Helados Pops – Metrocentro Mall – Managua, Nicaragua
Good old fashioned Vanilla milkshake in a really cool, hip, and happening mall.
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