Don’t trust the b*#!ch receptionist at Hotel Europeo

I put my trust in the wrong person and I got fooled yesterday.  I feel more angry at myself for falling for her scam but I am going to explain what happened so others don’t get conned too.

First, don’t worry about me. I am fine and only out $80 so you don’t need to start crowd funding.  I am merely upset with myself for not being smarter plus angry at the hotel and their unethical receptionist.

In advance of my arrival in Nicaragua, I did some research on transport from Managua to San Juan del Sur, where my Spanish school is. I emailed both the school and my hotel in Managua enquiries about options. I ultimately went with the school’s taxi as it was a better price and I figured he knows the destination. And I emailed the hotel that I didn’t need their transport.

The hotel receptionist helped me get taxis in Managua on Saturday and was generally very nice so this is probably why I thought I could trust her. She asked if I was good for transport to San Juan del Sur and I assured her I was. When she asked when the taxi was picking me up, I told her 1230p tomorrow and that’s when she put her evil plan into operation. Continue reading “Don’t trust the b*#!ch receptionist at Hotel Europeo”

A Night Out in Managua: Puerto Salvador Allende

Another reason the layover in El Salvador was a positive surprise is one of my new friends gave me a tip on a safe place to go near my hotel in Managua. He recommended Puerto Salvador Allende so I went there for a few hours last night.

The Puerto is a new resort along Lake Managua. Lake Managua is a very polluted lake so for a long time nobody even used the lakeshore. Hence the newness of this spot. It is an extension of the malecón, the malecón, which is a walking path along the lake. Nearby are some of the landmarks of Managua, like the cathedral, the national palace, and the Teatro Ruben Dario. I had a good cab driver from the hotel, who came and picked me up at the end of my visit, and pointed out all these Managua highlights.

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I walked around the malecón for a little bit first, taking photos of the sculptures – they have a lot of these big colored metal trees; my cab driver told me they are called “arboles de la vida” – trees of life. They are relatively new and very colorful.  I am glad I got to see them up close at night because it was very pretty.

Arboles de la vida
Trees of Life in the Malecón, Managua

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One Saturday in Managua: Tiscapa and Zip lining

Today is my only day in Managua. I did a lot of research and everything told me that checking out the city on my own was not safe. I didn’t want to come to Managua without seeing any of it though, so tried a number of tour operators but no luck as a singleton. I had to come up with another plan.

This morning, after check-in, breakfast and a short nap, I hired a taxi to take me to Tiscapa Lagoon. A volcanic lake on a mountain, this preserve offers views of the sprawling capitol city, and a canopy tour of the lake itself. So views and adventure. The taxi driver waited for me while I enjoyed the activities at Tiscapa.

Managua view
View of Managua and Lake Managua from Tiscapa

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Surprise Layover in San Salvador

I’m supposed to be in Managua right now. I am not in Managua though, I am at a Quality Hotel near the El Salvador airport, outside of San Salvador. I was only supposed to be in that airport for 50 minutes but plans change. My flight was cancelled. The airline did right by us, however, and bussed us to this very decent hotel, gave us dinner and are bussing us back, albeit at 3 am (!),  for our early morning flight to Managua. Fingers crossed!

Some good things came of this unexpected stop: I got a new stamp in my passport, tried the local beer (not that good), watched some Americans do karaoke in the bar, and met two Nicaraguans who were sooo nice and made me more excited to live there! In fact, one of the people I met over dinner runs a small hostel in San Juan del Sur with his wife, who is American and is in DC right now to do the Women’s March. Small world!  So the surprise layover worked out fine. Just wish I could have used the pool – it looks nice.

school bus
Our transport to the hotel

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Preparing and Packing for Nicaragua

I leave tomorrow for Nicaragua and am almost done packing. I figure if I need something I’ll figure out a way to buy it, because I expect to be there for almost two months and I don’t want to bring a lot.

On the plus side, the weather is warm in San Juan del Sur so packing light is easier. I mainly need shorts, tanks and bathing suits for the Pacific coast, and maybe some athletic wear and a jacket and long pants for when I travel to the north of the country next month.

To make it harder on myself, I found a way to support the local community in San Juan del Sur. One of the resorts in San Juan del Sur is a drop-off point for Pack for a Purpose so I bought some supplies for the kids down there! It’s a really easy process – I went on the site, selected the country I am visiting, and looked through the list to find one near my destination. Then, I looked at the list of items they need, and bought some of those items.  Here’s my bag before I stuffed it shut:

Packing luggage
My bag is packed for Nicaragua – with some things for the kids there!

Here’s an overview of the first phase of the Nicaragua trip:

  • Fly to Managua with a very short layover in El Salvador
  • Two nights in Managua and then a ride to San Juan del Sur
  • Once there, I’ll get dropped off at my Spanish school. Since the head of the school has arranged my home stay, I assume they will look after me from there
    • For the first 3 weeks, I’ll be studying Spanish in the mornings.
    • I plan to enhance my SCUBA skills in the afternoons, but that is still to be arranged.

I’ll let you know how the travel goes and continue blogging from there!