Nicaragua by the Numbers

Entering Nicaragua, the largest country in Central America, we were excited to see some of its many volcanoes, my new favorite obsession. Nicaragua is home to more than a dozen volcanoes that dot its majestic landscape and the largest freshwater body in Central America, Lake Nicaragua. While we spent just under two weeks in the country, we found that to be enough time to enjoy many things, but left disappointed overall and saddened at how surprisingly expensive it was.

So, how did our numbers fail us in Nicaragua?

Favorites/Least Favorites

Favorite Place: Leon 
Least Favorite Place: Isla Ometepe

Favorite Foods: Bigfoot Hostel (Vegetarian Restaurant – great chili & pizzas)
Least Favorite Food: Gallo Pinto (Rice & Beans – served with every meal, you love it, you hate it…)

Favorite Alcohol: Flor de Caña rum (well, not really my favorite, but we did drink a lot of it since it was fairly cheap – a few bucks for a decent bottle)
Runner-Up and Most Consumed: Toña Beer

Favorite Accomodations: Iguana Hostel, Leon
Least Favorite Accomodations: Mochilas Hostel, Granada

Favorite Sights: Cerro Negro volcano & Laguna de Apoyo
Biggest Disappointment: Isla Ometepe

Offbeat Must-Do: Volcano-boarding at Cerro Negro Volcano, Leon 
Must-See: Laguna de Apoyo

Other Numbers

Days in Nicaragua: 13
Distance Traveled:  233 miles
Cities/Towns Visited: 3 (Leon, Granada, Playa Santo Domingo on Isla Ometepe)
Buses: 2
Shuttles: 2
Colectivos: 1
Taxis: 5
Boat trips: 2 ferry rides, 1 boat tour of Isletas in Granada
Planes: 0
Beds slept in: 6
Rooms with A/C: 1
Nights under mosquito net: 0
Lakes swam in: 2 (Laguna de Apoya and Lago Nicaragua on Isla Ometepe)
Freshwater pools: 1 (Ojo de Agua, Isla Ometepe) 
Oceans: 0
Swimming pools: 0
Ruins: 0
Traveler’s stomach incidents: 0
Days on antibiotics: 13
Near-death experiences: 0
Bugbites: many
Museums: 2
Restaurants: 22
Sunburns: 0
Pictures Taken: 820 (Nicaragua) /  6,680 (Total, trip thus far)

Average Daily expenses:

Food: $25
Lodging: $32
Transportation: $12 
Drinks: $7
Activities: $12 
Misc.:  $3
Total: $91/day


We went into Nicaragua thinking it would wind up being easy on our budget, but were sadly mistaken once all of the tourist or “gringo” taxes were added. Nicaragua wound up being surprisingly rough on our estimated budget.

Most /Least Expensive

Most Expensive Lodging: $45 (Hotel Terrasol, Granada)
Least Expensive Lodging: $20 (Iguana Hostel, Leon)

Most Expensive Meal: $31 (Dinner on Ometepe – ouch!)
Least Expensive Meal: $5 (Breakfast in Leon)

Most Expensive Drinks: $2.86 (Imagine Bar in Granada – avoid this place!)
Least Expensive Drinks: $0.63 (Beer on Ometepe)

About Heather

Heather and Erik set off on a round-the-world trip in April, 2010, travelling overland through Central and South America before getting engaged in Antarctica. In 2011-2012 they tackled Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.

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