Hi everyone! Although Arlene and I have been here on four different visits, it still takes some getting used to when dropping into a different country and setting up to stay for an extended period.
Typically, a vacation has a finite number of days. You come, you relax or take tours, you eat out you have a few pops and you go home again.
Not the case for me this time. It’s more about finding a place to stay long term, where do I go for a grocery run? How do I get there? What about health insurance? What about garbage pick up? Essentially, who do I talk to for what? Those things are coming along. It’s just that my North American brain has to get used to the fact that the immediacy in MY mind isn’t immediacy for the locals. That’s just the culture. Everyone has been very helpful and friendly. There’s no denying that. The pace is just different.
Gran Pacifica, and Nicaragua in general, have seen a huge increase in tourism in the past couple of years. There’s a number of inquiries to the property, but that doesn’t always mean a physical visit for some. So, it’s time spent reaching out to people via email.
For the ones that do come visit, at some point, they’d like to see the grounds and houses that are being built here. It will be easier to do that once I get some wheels! Again, a bit of a process…but patience is a virtue right?
Daylight is typically from 6 am to 6 pm right now. It shifts to 5:30 am to 5:30 pm later in the year. Temps are almost always in the low 30s C although the real feel can be higher. It’s dry season now to any rain is scarce. We’ve had a few cloudy days and a bit of scattered rain and I’ve actually welcomed the relief it brought….shhhh…don’t tell anyone.
Being Canadian and from the prairies, getting used to a 60-70 degree swing is one of the things to get through. I’m a mid to high 20s kind of guy. There are others who like the heat, so this place would be ideal for you. Consistent, day in day out.
One of the common questions I get is how safe it is. As I’ve mentioned in the past, the civil war happened some 35 years ago. Not much of an issue now. As with any place ie Winnipeg, you have to be smart about where you hang out late at night. But that’s mostly the case in larger centres like Managua. Even there, from our experience, it’s pretty laid back.
The property at Gran Pacifica is gated and there are security people around after dark checking the grounds. So no issues going for a walk in the evening when things are a little cooler. Looking up, the sky is full of stars. Not as much light pollution here, so it reminds me of looking into the night sky as a kid growing up in a prairie town. Once I get my proper gear together aka when Arlene gets here, I’ll attempt taking some night sky photos.
Food is another item that comes up. You can either go to the local markets in San Rafael or Masachapa, about a 40 minute drive to either, or make your way to Managua, Leon or Granada.
Managua is the capital and offer a large market with local produce or you can hit a couple of supermarkets like La Union, La Colonial, Walmart or PriceSmart. PriceSmart is essentially a Costco. Floor plan is pretty much the same. One big difference at this Costco/PriceSmart is a LARGE section devoted to decorated cakes. Nicas love to celebrate and given that family is a big deal here, there’s always a reason to celebrate something. So they go through a ton of cakes.
Need building supplies or small appliances or household goods, a neat store here is called SINSA. Staff are very friendly and willing to help.
If malls are your thing, there’s a couple of nice ones in Managua. One is the Galeria and another is called the Metro Central I think. That one has just gone through some renos and looks very much like any modern mall back home. The Galeria is deemed to be a little more high end although I thought they both offered good quality throughout all of their stores.
The Galeria is pretty big, nice looking inside and out, plenty of natural light, a choice of fast food or restaurants and seemed to be ample parking.
Health insurance is another question we get. I’ve done some exploring into this and there is a plan you can get through one of the hospitals here, the one where Arlene had her ankle repaired, for about $60/month. Seniors like myself (did I just say that?) get a break on a list of services I’m still exploring. But MRI’s for example, get done in an hour and cost about $300-$500. The prescriptions we take are relatively inexpensive compared to home even without a plan. It’s a matter of making sure the pharmacy or farmacia has what you need.
Other than those things, I’m still learning the ropes of the property, the team I’m working with and the language. I’m impatient and want to know it all at once. Have to remember it takes time. My manager, a 27 year old dynamo named Rachel Jensen has been instrumental in talking me through the questions that pop up for me. I tell you, she has more energy than that Eveready Bunny. She operates out of Belize, Grand Baymen and is currently flying around to conferences promoting all the properties.
I did take some time one evening to just sit at the edge of the beach and watch a sunset.
These are some guests of the hotel enjoying the evening on the beach, taking selfies and spending some relaxing time together. At the end of the day, isn’t that the goal?