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Tips For Budget Travelers

Alongside Guatemala and Honduras, Nicaragua is one of the least expensive destinations in Central America. Budget travelers will be happy to see their money go a long way here, as it’s possible to get by on about $20-30 a day, depending on your travel style and preferences. Your main expenditures will undoubtedly be food, accommodations and travel, all of which can be done on a shoestring in Nicaragua.

For food, try ordering cheap set menus, common lunches called almuerzos, and checking out the local fare at markets. You will usually find some of the freshest fruit and most interesting options at these mercados. Be brave, but smart, and make sure you’re only eating food your stomach can handle! Not as fresh, but just as tasty, you can also try street food sold by venders, either on the street, informal barbecues set up are called fritangas, or on local and long distance buses. This is often a not-so-sanitary option, but some budget travelers (and all the locals) really love the experience--as well as the low price.  

Accommodations in Nicaragua run from the very basic to the very complete, all depending on where you are, and also how much you are willing to spend. For travelers on a budget, try some of the youth hostels or hospedajes. These will likely have just a bed with sheets and not much more, but they get the job done at around $4 - 6 per person. For even less, check out places on the beach, as some charge just a few bucks to hang your hammocks on hooks outside their hostel. Also, consider carrying a light weight tent, as there are tons of camping opportunities throughout the country, either in private reserves or less-developed beaches. A good tip: Some of the less expensive hostels will let you pitch it in the back for a cheaper charge, try it out! 

Transit in Nicaragua is definitely where backpackers can save a buck. Public transportation like buses and minibuses are extremely reasonable, just try and make sure you know where you are going, and that you are paying the same as locals! Taxis should also be fairly inexpensive, though note that you will likely pay per person (usually under $1), and you might get picked up by an already full cab (called collectivos). For budget travelers, buses are the best option for traveling from city to city, but within a short distance, cabs can serve more conveniently. Hitchhiking, while inherently dangerous, is also an possible way to get around Nicaragua. 

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Nicaragua : Managua addresses, Río San Juan Highlights, Responsible Tourism in Nicaragua, When To Go, Minor Health Problems in Nicaragua, Safety in Sábalos, Major Health Problems in Nicaragua, Traveling with Kids in Nicaragua, Senior Travelers in Nicaragua and Safety.

By Margaret Rode
A self-professed city girl, sassy staff writer Margaret Rode hails from Chicago where she received Bachelor degrees in English Literature and Spanish...
18 Jun 2009

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