‘Magic of Nicaragua’

By Janice Daunheimer
This item appears on page 24 of the April 2013 issue.
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My husband, Jim, and I visited Nicaragua to experience the beauty of the land, lakes, volcanoes, art and history. Our 12-day custom trip, Jan. 19-31, 2012, from Latin American Escapes (Chico, CA; 800/510-5999), was a modified version of their “Magic of Nicaragua” itinerary. We saw everything we wanted to see and more.

Our private tour for the two of us cost $3,275 per person and included all land costs (except for tips and a few meals) and a round-trip flight from Managua to San Carlos. Our round trip from Tucson to Managua via Houston cost $986 each.

Latin American Escapes’ owner, Peggy Newfield, is extremely knowledgeable about the places she sells tours to. We were extremely happy with our service from her local provider in Nicaragua, Careli Tours. Our guide, Guillermo, spoke great English and was knowledgeable and enthusiastic about his country. Jaime was an excellent driver and always on time. We toured in a very comfortable van.

We spent two nights in Managua at Hotel Papalota Marilla, a converted hacienda with a patio and pool, and toured the city and its museums.

We had one night in León Viejo at Hotel Austria; its restaurant and location were good. We toured local ruins, decimated years ago by a volcano, and also San Jacinto and its volcanic boiling mud pots.

We took a launch from San Carlos (near Costa Rica) to San Fernando Island, staying at Hotel Cabañas Paraiso. A fish soup we ordered there, a whole fish in a bowl of broth, was rather unusual but tasty.

Our itinerary included a visit to Mancarron Island, an artist community, and wildlife viewing on Zapote Island at Los Guatuzos Wildlife Refuge.

Hotel Patio del Malinche in Granada, where we stayed for three nights, had great breakfasts, a pool, a good bar and a good location.

We took a boat tour of Las Isletas (365 islands with one or two houses each) and tours of several pueblos blancos (white towns), famous for their handmade furniture, pottery and art.

On Ometepe Island we stayed in a great cabin with a patio at the Villa Paraiso Hotel on Santo Domingo beach.

At Montibelli Wildlife Reserve, where hundreds of parakeets fly home to roost each evening, we were in our own cabin with a porch, bath and mosquito netting. Children brought us fruit, and the food was very good. Our local guide, Alejandro, hiked with us for bird-watching, and we saw lots of colorful new varieties.

We tried Toña beer (light) and Victoria beer (more robust). Souvenirs were inexpensive. I bought a hand-carved and painted balsa-wood-turtle napkin holder in the Solentiname Islands for $9, sterling-silver earrings and bracelet with semiprecious stones for $20 in Granada and a hand-formed, painted and incised ceramic oval wall hanging for $5 in San Juan de Oriente.

We found the people to be friendly. We are active, retired seniors and highly recommend this trip.

JANICE DAUNHEIMER
Tucson, AZ

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

My husband, Jim, and I visited Nicaragua to experience the beauty of the land, lakes, volcanoes, art and history. Our 12-day custom trip, Jan. 19-31, 2012, from Latin American Escapes (Chico, CA; 800/510-5999), was a modified version of their “Magic of Nicaragua” itinerary. We saw everything we wanted to see and more.

Our private tour for the two of us cost $3,275 per person and included all land costs (except for tips and a few meals) and a round-trip flight from Managua to San Carlos. Our round trip from Tucson to Managua via Houston cost $986 each.

Latin American Escapes’ owner, Peggy Newfield, is extremely knowledgeable about the places she sells tours to. We were extremely happy with our service from her local provider in Nicaragua, Careli Tours. Our guide, Guillermo, spoke great English and was knowledgeable and enthusiastic about his country. Jaime was an excellent driver and always on time. We toured in a very comfortable van.

We spent two nights in Managua at Hotel Papalota Marilla, a converted hacienda with a patio and pool, and toured the city and its museums.

We had one night in León Viejo at Hotel Austria; its restaurant and location were good. We toured local ruins, decimated years ago by a volcano, and also San Jacinto and its volcanic boiling mud pots.

We took a launch from San Carlos (near Costa Rica) to San Fernando Island, staying at Hotel Cabañas Paraiso. A fish soup we ordered there, a whole fish in a bowl of broth, was rather unusual but tasty.

Our itinerary included a visit to Mancarron Island, an artist community, and wildlife viewing on Zapote Island at Los Guatuzos Wildlife Refuge.

Hotel Patio del Malinche in Granada, where we stayed for three nights, had great breakfasts, a pool, a good bar and a good location.

We took a boat tour of Las Isletas (365 islands with one or two houses each) and tours of several pueblos blancos (white towns), famous for their handmade furniture, pottery and art.

On Ometepe Island we stayed in a great cabin with a patio at the Villa Paraiso Hotel on Santo Domingo beach.

At Montibelli Wildlife Reserve, where hundreds of parakeets fly home to roost each evening, we were in our own cabin with a porch, bath and mosquito netting. Children brought us fruit, and the food was very good. Our local guide, Alejandro, hiked with us for bird-watching, and we saw lots of colorful new varieties.

We tried Toña beer (light) and Victoria beer (more robust). Souvenirs were inexpensive. I bought a hand-carved and painted balsa-wood-turtle napkin holder in the Solentiname Islands for $9, sterling-silver earrings and bracelet with semiprecious stones for $20 in Granada and a hand-formed, painted and incised ceramic oval wall hanging for $5 in San Juan de Oriente.

We found the people to be friendly. We are active, retired seniors and highly recommend this trip.

JANICE DAUNHEIMER
Tucson, AZ