Nicaragua – Friend or Foe?

I just got back from my third trip to Nicaragua this year, and was caught in the middle of a debate by locals and expats about the border ‘war’ with Costa Rica. Having grown up during the era of Ollie North, communism and Time magazine, I always figured that the president of Nicaragua, Ortega was nothing more than a despot ruling under the guise of socialism. Well, I still feel that way.

However, I have learned that the average Nicaraguan (Nico) is friendly, hard working and will treat you with same respect that you show them. On the surf breaks, there was ZERO territorialism, and in fact, I found myself hanging right in the middle of the pack at Playa Ramanso and Play Yankee with some really great locals who I watched encourage some of the beginners who had ventured out into deeper waters. I cannot even imagine this happening at Dana Point or even one of my local breaks like Playa Grande.

Nicaragua, the poorest country in Central America, has widespread underemployment and poverty. GDP fell by almost 3% in 2009, due to decreased export demand in the US and Central American markets, lower commodity prices for key agricultural exports, and low remittance growth – remittances are equivalent to almost 15% of GDP.

Per capita annual income is $2600 or $217 a month. They suffered a major disruptive civil war and these people are literally starving, yet they seem to be happy with what they have. Maybe that’s a lesson we can all learn.

We stayed in San Juan del Sur again at the Hotel Villa Isabella which is run by Mike and Jane. They also run the volunteer library there, and seem very involved in the community. The usual suspects were visited including Iguana Bar and the Crazy Crab, and a couple of restaurants that served $10 lobster dinners. And instead of Playa Maderas, we surfed the southern beaches this time, Ramanso and Yankee, which were way chill and less crowded.

Next time you come down to Tamarindo, set aside a few days to go to Nicaragua too. The country needs your dollars, and I bet you will have a great time!

I just got back from my third trip to Nicaragua this year, and was caught in the middle of a debate by locals and expats about the border ‘war’ with Costa Rica. Having grown up during the era of Ollie North, communism and Time magazine, I always figured that the president of Nicaragua, Ortega was nothing more than a despot ruling under the guise of socialism. Well, I still feel that way.

However, I have learned that the average Nicaraguan (Nico) is friendly, hard working and will treat you with same respect that you show them. On the surf breaks, there was ZERO territorialism, and in fact, I found myself hanging right in the middle of the pack at Playa Ramanso and Play Yankee with some really great locals who I watched encourage some of the beginners who had ventured out into deeper waters. I cannot even imagine this happening at Dana Point or even one of my local breaks like Playa Grande.

Nicaragua, the poorest country in Central America, has widespread underemployment and poverty. GDP fell by almost 3% in 2009, due to decreased export demand in the US and Central American markets, lower commodity prices for key agricultural exports, and low remittance growth – remittances are equivalent to almost 15% of GDP.

Per capita annual income is $2600 or $217 a month. They suffered a major disruptive civil war and these people are literally starving, yet they seem to be happy with what they have. Maybe that’s a lesson we can all learn.

We stayed in San Juan del Sur again at the Hotel Villa Isabella which is run by Mike and Jane. They also run the volunteer library there, and seem very involved in the community. The usual suspects were visited including Iguana Bar and the Crazy Crab, and a couple of restaurants that served $10 lobster dinners. And instead of Playa Maderas, we surfed the southern beaches this time, Ramanso and Yankee, which were way chill and less crowded.

Next time you come down to Tamarindo, set aside a few days to go to Nicaragua too. The country needs your dollars, and I bet you will have a great time!

November 29th, 2010  in Uncategorized No Comments »

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