Kelvin Marshall – Del Sur News
When planning a trip to any foreign country, it’s a good idea to do some research in order to be prepared. The problem is, finding current and accurate information on line. The decision to visit a particular country is yours and you need to be comfortable with your decision.
Your country’s own government may publish travel notices about Nicaragua as part of their obligation to protect their citizens abroad. However, these will be generic, countrywide and often overly cautious in their approach. As a result, the comments in the travel advisories (and the level of warning) will not apply to all areas of the county.
Social media (facebook etc.) can be equally confusing as some advice can be coming from those with an interest they are not obliged to (and don’t) disclose. My advice on looking for information from social media is to narrow your group down to a few pages and individuals you feel are giving you accurate and timely information. Stick to that group, asking questions, checking consistency etc. Over time, build some relationships through personal messages with people you will be able to meet up with in person when you get here.
Although it’s true that San Juan del Sur (SJdS) has not experienced the same level of recent unrest that some of the bigger cities did, the local population (known as “Sanjuaneños”) have been none the less affected by it.
As such, they have and will, exercise their right to participate in peaceful marches and demonstrations. However; they have traditionally (for years) respected the fact that San Juan del Sur is a “Tourist City”.
In addition, everybody knows each other and tourism is a big part of the local economy.
Recent peaceful patriotic (Blue and White) marches in San Juan del Sur have confirmed all of the above.
Other Useful Information
Infrastructure improvements over the last decade have made access to SJdS much safer and more secure. There are now multiple paved routes to the Managua International Airport and many newer hotels provide facilities aimed at those arriving later at night or leaving early in morning.
Other airport options exist via Costa Esmeralda Airport in Tola, just north of San Juan de Sur or through Costa Rica’s two international airports: San Jose (SJO) and Liberia (LIR).
Private transport services range from well-known and reliable licensed taxi drivers (with newer, air conditioned vehicles) to mini-bus (van) services all providing a door to door service. Numerous options also exist for trips to the beaches and tours of the area. You can even rent a car with a driver from well-known international companies.
The power supply is much more consistent.
Internet connections are much improved with a variety of options being offered.
Cell phone services can be easily obtained on a pay as you go basis or by purchasing various chips and plans.
SJdS now has 4 banks and half a dozen ATM’s (most of which offer a 24 hour service). Various money transfer options are also available through bank and private businesses such as Western Union. DHL has an office here.
Also over the last decade, the level of customer service in the tourism businesses has been vastly improved in order that visitors feel comfortable, safe and secure. Employees have been learning English as well as attending specialist classes relating to bar/restaurants and hotel businesses.
We all look forward to your arrival and as ‘Ambassadors of Tourism’, every local, ex-pat and fellow traveler is here to help you enjoy your stay.
Kelvin Marshall has lived in San Juan del Sur for the last 12 years. He is the founder of Del Sur News, the tourist city’s first bi-lingual (English/Spanish) newspaper (now published by Maria Silva). He devotes his time to the online version at www.delsurnews.com.