Category Archives: Travel & Transportation

Motorcycle Diaries: San Juan del Sur to Casares, Nicaragua

Traveling by Motorcycle in Nicaragua

Traveling the Nicaraguan countryside by motorcycle allows you to interact with your surroundings in a way you never accomplish in a four wheel people carrier. Staying safe requires a rider to stay sharp. Road hazards pop up when you least expect them.

Motorcycle Nicaragua

– Just one of many obstacles common to a motorcycle journey in Nicaragua. This photo was taken near the famous surf beach Popoyo.

Riding Team

Adam is one of my best friends in San Juan del Sur. We’ve spent hundreds of hours riding all over Nicaragua together. You can tell he is a proud Canadian by the CCM hockey helmet he rides with.

Tina is another great friend that I’ve watched become a real rider over the last couple of years. She is a Brit that came to Nicaragua for three days on a backpacking trip. That was nearly three years ago and she still hasn’t left.

Griff is a new friend and is new to our riding group. He is another Brit that just moved to San Juan from Portugal. Griff was successful in keeping the rubber side down on his first big ride in Nicaragua and was also the designated photographer for this journey.

Our Route

Map of Southern Nicaragua

Our Journey

On this trip we decided to stick to the backroads as much as possible and stay somewhere new and less travelled. Our destination was Casares – a tiny fishing village on the Pacific Coast on Nicaragua.

The dirt roads are perpetually rutted and bumpy. During rainy season the section of road between Jiquelite and Ochomogo typically has a few seasonal rivers to cross. We were not disappointed on this trip. Adam rode too fast into one stream and was awarded with a shower that left him wet to the ears.

Frequently we make stops to take a rest from the road and grab a Toña. We usually meet interesting people and see some unexpected sights along the way. Motorcycle rides are always as much about the journey as the destination.

Casares Nicaragua

~ The only other patron at the road side bar we stopped at for refreshment.

 

Our Destination

Casares is too small to have a gas station, grocery store or even a bar, but one thing this town does not lack is fishing boats. There are well over 100 fishing pangas on the beach going out every day. In fact there are so many boats you barely even see the beach which seems to be the hub of activity in town. 

Where We Stayed

El Casino Casares

~ The view from the deck outside of our hotel room


We would like to give a big shout out to Patrice our host for the night. Located right on the beach Hotel El Casino was a comfortable and a welcome respite from the dusty roads. It is hard to beat a double room overlooking the ocean for $35 USD. Patrice has lived in Nicaragua for well over 20 years and regaled us with stories over a few glasses of wine on the second floor balcony.

Our Casares Experience

We spent the evening hanging out like a band of derelict teenagers outside of the corner store/liquor store. We sat on the benches and ordered litre upon litre of beer to share with a handful of locals. A couple of guys from a neighboring beach town invited us to continue the party at their favorite bar in Huehuete. Alas we were in no shape to take the bikes on that foray.

 

Carares Nicaragua

– The new guy “Winning Friends and Influencing People”.

Once our new found Nica friends decided to go home we retired to our balcony to drink wine and discuss all life’s little intricacies.  We found one avenue of conversation with many miles to ramble down. Did Griff notice his admirers t-shirt and further more was he was singing The White Stripes’, Apple Blossom in his head during his semi-coherent Spanglish conversation?

 

YOU ASKED, WE ANSWERED: Can I fly into Nicaragua on a one-way ticket?

one-way ticket

There are many countries around the world that you may not be allowed to enter as a tourist without proof of onward travel. Nicaragua is one of them.

Simply put, if you have a one-way ticket and no proof of future plans to leave the country within 90 days – either by bus, train or airplane – the agent at the airport you’re departing from can deny you from boarding your flight.

We’ve been traveling in and out of Nicaragua on one way tickets for five years. There have been times when we’ve been asked to show proof of onward travel when checking in for flights and times when we have not.

Personally we would not travel without it.

Although most fall under the category of “grey area methods” there are in fact a few different options available when it comes to providing proof of onward travel.

#1
CREATE A FAKE ITINERARY

Creating a fake itinerary has been known to work for many, especially at land border crossings. If you’re the least bit computer savvy creating a fake itinerary is an easy enough thing to do. We don’t endorse this method, but if it’s the option you’re going with and you need some help check out this post by Andrew and Emily of Along Dusty Roads.

#2
PURCHASE A FULLY REFUNDABLE AIRLINE TICKET

Another option for providing proof of onward travel is to purchase a fully refundable flight and then cancel it. This method can be a bit risky; it’s important to read the fine print regarding the ticket refund process very carefully. If you don’t remember to cancel the flight or can’t get online to do so within the 24 hour period you could end up losing the money you paid for that very expensive ticket.

#3
PURCHASE A BUS TICKET

Purchasing a $29 open ended bus ticket through Tica Bus is a great option…except for one slight problem. Ticabus doesn’t sell tickets online.  But if you happen to have a friend or family member visiting or living in a place where Ticabus tickets are sold you’re in luck. You can have them purchase a ticket on your behalf and then send you a photo or scanned copy of the ticket. You can purchase a ticket online through Safe Passage, but one downside is you’ll have to pay a hefty service fee.

#4
WING IT

Showing up at the airport with a one-way ticket is another way to go. But as mentioned above you can be denied boarding if you aren’t able to provide proof of onward travel. Although there are instances where travellers have been not asked to show proof of onward travel, us included, we do not recommend “winging it”. 

#5
RENT A TICKET

“Renting” a ticket for a small fee with a company like Fly Onward is currently our go to method for showing proof of onward travel. Fly Onward’s ticket service is provided by an air travel agency who is legally allowed to purchase refundable tickets on behalf of their customers and then cancel them after a maximum period of 48 hours. In our opinion renting a ticket is the safest and easiest bet. The cost is approximately $10 USD. 

As can be seen the answer to the question, “Can I fly into Nicaragua on a way one ticket?” is “yes” as long as you have some sort of proof of onward travel.

Bien viaje!

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