We astoundingly made it into Nicaragua.

Spending the night in León, we liked what we saw as we explored the next day. The city was colonial and quaint, big, but not TOO large. It had some nice grocery stores (with air conditioning), as well as a traditional style market.

And it was cheap! Cheaper than El Salvador. Cheaper than Guatemala.

It was fun to explore a new place and check out things we hadn't seen, heard or tasted before.

That's what's so intoxicating about travel. Going to a new place and encountering the unknown, unfamiliar and 'strange'. It's so exciting!

Simple things like currency, giant papayas and new drinks provide fresh sensations and brand new experiences. I've often compared it to a little baby. For a very young child, everything is new, different, exciting and worth investigating and exploring.

That's kind of what travel is like. Suddenly your taking notice of the simplest things and wondering, questioning and searching. What is it?? What is it for? What does it taste like? Your brain is active and alive. It's a fantastic feeling.


When you travel, it's fascinating to compare one place to another. Guatemala uses the word 'calidad' to represent something that is 'cool'. In Nicaragua, the word is 'tuani'. (Sometimes the words you use to ask how much something costs or where the bathroom is can change. In Mexico, the locals would ask 'a como esta' to find our a price. In Guatemala it was 'cuanto vale'. Using the right words can get you better prices. 😉 )

Guatemalans wear traditional clothing and listen to 'latin' music. Nicaraguans wear 'regular' clothing and listen to lots of American music (I heard lots of Grease).

Guatemalans use quetzals, expats would call them quets. Nicaraguans use cordobas, expats call them cords, but the Nicaraguans sometimes call them pesos.

Nicaraguans would get offended if you suggested that their prices were too high, and they might not even sell to you after that. Nicaraguans use horse-drawn buggies, and they don't carry their babies in slings on their backs like the Guatemalan women do. There's also fewer of them that carry stuff on their heads. Many Nicaraguans drop their 's' -- so Las Peñitas becomes 'La Peñita'.

A unique Nicaraguan practice -- these horse drawn carriages are very common, in the city with cars, along the highways and in the 'country'.

Of course with travel comes new challenges... how to use a cell phone, get internet, where to shop and how to get the groceries to your truck.

After exploring León and grabbing some groceries, we drove toward the coast and the beach town of Las Peñitas where we hoped to find a house to rent, for at least a few months, and maybe long enough to have a baby here... we like it that much!

For tonight, we find a great little camp site/restaurant right on the beach. We order dinner -- C50 a plate ($2) -- set up camp and enjoy sunset on the beach.

We have a ridiculously awesome life.

Have you visited León or Las Peñitas?



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4 Responses

  1. TN

    If you liked Lake Atitilan, you need to check out Ometepe Island on Lake Nicaragua. (a bit past Granada)

    • Rachel Denning

      We really wanted to do that, but headed to Costa Rica instead… our visas were up and we needed to get ready for a baby to come!

  2. swtucker00

    You have any budget comparisons between Guat & Nic?  And how does safety of Antigua & Panajachel compare to Nic?  Thx.

    • Rachel Denning

      Food was cheaper in Nicaragua (about 20% less). Rent was more… for comparable living in Pana that cost between $230 – $500 you’d be paying $500-$1000 in Nica.

      Nicaragua is very safe… at least as safe if not more than Antigua and Pana.


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