Here’s how I opened this post when it originally went up in 2008: “There aren’t a lot of Nicaragua travel websites out there, partly because there’s not much money to be made yet. The tourism numbers are still relatively small. That can be a good thing if you’re an intrepid traveler, of course, as you won’t run into many tour buses and huge crowds here.”
Well, those tourism numbers are higher, but they’re still relatively low compared to, say, Costa Rica or Belize, so Nicaragua is still a breath of fresh air. It’s also one of the cheapest places to live in the world if you’re looking to move abroad and cut your expenses. When it comes to getting solid information though, things might be even worse than they were back then.
I originally wrote this post a decade ago, back when Google still liked resource pages with lots of links instead of Buzzfeed and Matador clickbait listicles with none. It seems our benevolent big brother is coming back around on this stance though as we start 2018, with all the SEO talk being about depth and authority. So I’m going to start reviving some of these resource posts again. Things have changed in other ways though online. For one, many of the great resource sites themselves disappeared as their type fell out of search favor. Many of the message boards got tired of fighting both spammers and Facebook and also gave up. Few digital nomad bloggers seemed to stick around places like Nicaragua enough to really cover it in depth. (There’s still lots of potential in many countries you blogger wannabe kids if you are looking for a way to stand out from the crowd. See more in my book Travel Writing 2.0.)
None of the Nicaragua blogs or websites out there are anywhere close to being a definitive resource. To actually plan a vacation trip, it would be a whole lot faster and less frustrating to just use a guidebook instead. That was true in 2008, it’s still true in 2018. Buying a real book on Nicaragua for less than $20 could be the wisest money you ever spent because it’s got depth, authority, and actual research behind it.
Speaking of expats who write and guidebooks, a writer named Brooke Rundle hit both notes with her $7.99 Kindle book, The Insider Guide to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. It’s got a long subtitle, so check the rest out here. At hundreds of pages, it’s got more info than you’ll ever find online about the country’s best-known beach town.
There are good regular guidebooks on Nicaragua from Moon, Lonely Planet, and Footprint. I’d recommend the latter the veteran author has written for me at Perceptive Travel. Any book link I put in here is going to get out of date–all three are from 2015 or ’16 as I write this—but follow this Footprint Nicaragua Handbook one and then see what else pops up that might be newer.
– The country still isn’t trying very hard to woo foreign tourists online: both its official websites are in Spanish only. They look pretty, but they won’t give you much more than an overview and show you photos/video even if you’re fluent. The INTUR site is mostly industry news but Visit Nicaragua is aimed at (Spanish-speaking) tourists.
– ViaNica is a long-running, popular resource site that has a lot of solid country information. It is updated regularly with news from around the country and in addition to articles has listings for hotels, restaurants, nightlife, and tours.
– Del Sur News is a good English-language source for real news about what’s going on in the country.
– Ometepe Nicaragua covers the big islands in the lake and has lots of practical info on things like ferry schedules and where to stay.
– For the Corn Islands and Caribbean mainland, check out RightSide Now.
– In Nica Now is run by a couple I interviewed for my book A Better Life for Half the Price. It’s got the best rundowns on prices around San Juan del Sur and advice on moving to the country. It’s not updated very often, but the info that’s there is deeper than you’ll generally find elsewhere. (Their most recent monthly expenses report was around $1,600 not counting their vacation but including expenses related to a truck, motorcycle, and dog. “We ate out 14 times this month…”)
– There’s a bit of useful San Juan del Sur tourism information on what’s otherwise a real estate site at www.sanjuandelsur.org.
– Nicaragua Community contains useful info about moving to the country, making it your home, and understanding what’s going on.
If you want to hand over the reins to someone else for all or part of your trip, there are a few good tour companies in Nicaragua that have been around for a while and have helpful websites with excursion ideas, including Nicaragua Adventures. See their day tours page or the one at WelcometoNicaragua.net for ideas.
Here are detailed reviews of the best hotels in Nicaragua (if you’re on a fat vacation budget or honeymoon.)
Stumbled upon a useful Nicaragua site of your own? Add it to the comments below.