Nicaragua is definitively the land of lakes and volcanoes, but it also hosts fantastic mineral watering holes, impressive rivers you can navigate by boat and infinite miles of coastal beaches along the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Unless we are visiting the higher altitudes of a volcano or mountain range, Nicaragua provides constant tropical weather that enables us to submerge in water year round on any given day.
Personally, we primarily recreate during the week in pools and in the healing waters of Laguna de Apoyo, an ancient crater lake 20 minutes out of Granada. But we also swim in the cleaner areas of Lake Cocibolca or in the Pacific Ocean at any number of beaches as far down as Guanacaste, Costa Rica. For all these activities, I have always had to proactively consider Aiden’s water safety because I can never be sure what safety gear will be available on site when we arrive.
As moms, we prioritize securing all the important articles to pack for the kids to make sure they have everything they need away from home and sometimes we can leave our own necessities to the last minute.
However, because of the limited shopping here in Nicaragua, I encourage you to plan ahead and bring what you will need from home, so that you are also at your best in your new life here in Granada. It is worth it to pay $25-40 for an extra piece of luggage on your flight over to shop for what you need in your own country at leisure, with a greater variety of choices at more competitive prices.
In every season, dry or rainy, Nicaragua faces a plague of mosquitoes that is either merely a nuisance or downright dangerous depending on the mosquito. Most mosquitoes that enter our home might pester us at night or have us searching for the ultimate remedy to relieve the itchiness but these mosquitoes are nothing worse than what we might encounter in Charlotte, North Carolina on a summer night or during a camping expedition.
However in Nicaragua, there are other varieties of mosquitoes that are carriers of serious viruses that can make you very sick. Having had dengue fever twice, I can tell you that it is no war story from your travels with which you will regale your friends lightheartedly. The same could be said of malaria or the Chikungunya virus. On the other hand, both Aiden and I had the Zika virus like most everyone else last year and it was not too terrible: I dread much more having the common flu.
Thankfully, the city of Granada and the Ministry of Health (MINSA) do actively campaign against mosquitoes. Health workers will regularly pass by your house to do an inspection of your yard (you must let them in but you can demand to see identification). They will advise you of areas that may shelter mosquito larva due to standing water and will place sandwich bags of insecticide (these look like small baggies of sand and are called abate) inside those areas in question. Continue reading “How to protect kids and family living with mosquitoes in the tropics”→
Moms and dads are always pondering about what to pack for a long term stay in Granada. It’s hard to know what can be easily picked up when you arrive and what really requires some preplanning to have ready to go in the suitcase.
Most everything can be purchased in Nicaragua in some form or another. However, it is often not at the price you wanted to pay or the quality that you hoped to find. Shopping is also not the enjoyable experience that it is at home and there is no online retail to be had in Nicaragua.
For those reasons, I highly recommend doing any necessary shopping before you leave home and pay the extra luggage costs for additional baggage. Those fees will seem cheap in comparison to the time and money you will fork out if you wait to find it when you arrive to Nicaragua.
Here is my list of helpful items to purchase before you leave home:
No matter how many days you are staying in Nicaragua, please bring some favorite familiar toys for your kids. The same toys they like back home, they will like here, if not more.
When in doubt and it could reasonably go along with you, bring it. Pack your trading cards games, bags of Legos, dolls and action figures, water toys, and anything else that you feel would help them relax and engage playing on their own or with other kids they meet.