Living in Nicaragua – Vacation from Paradise
We just took our first real vacation since moving to Nicaragua over a year ago. We honestly thought we’d do more of this, but then life happens, and *poof* a year goes by. We are only on a tourist VISA in Nicaragua, which means every 90 days we need to exit the country and re-enter to renew our VISA. This time instead of leaving and entering turn-style, we made a vacation out of it It was well worth the wait, Puerto Viejo – Costa Rica was beautiful! A couple things we learned:
1. Bring your nanny
Nicaragua has strong labor laws, so we’d have to pay our house cleaner/nanny her salary while we were away. So, we decided why not bring her? Since we were going to another country we needed to either pay for an 8 day pass or get her a passport. We decided to go with the passport since this was in the best interest of our future vacations. It ended up costing $50 for the passport and $33 for 3 month VISA to Costa Rica. At the borders we also paid for her taxes ($9) and entrance ($2).
It was great having an extra hand to help with the kids. My husband, Kharron and I were able to have conversations over dinner, go swimming together, rent bikes for a self-directed pub crawl, and go to a movie. Kharron worked some while we were on vacation and having Juanita there meant I could enjoy some individual time with one of the kids while the other napped.
2. Pay for a cuiador
We have 2 dogs and a cat who are used to a certain degree of lifestyle which includes sleeping indoors and meals promptly served. Juanita’s husband is not only a trusted friend, but also cheap labor. It cost us $10 for the 5 days were were gone for him to make sure the cat’s bowl had food, that there was water in the bowl outside, feed the dogs breakfast and let them out for the day, then feed them dinner and lock them in the house for the night. One of our dogs needs to take an incontinence pill twice a day and he even administered that for us so we didn’t come back to a home smelling of urine. Our dogs spend most of the day outside anyway, following our community’s gardener around, so I’m sure they were happy with this routine.
3. Rent a car and make sure you print your credit card’s insurance coverage
This is a mistake we made, but we won’t let it happen again. In Costa Rica if you decline the rental company coverage, they need to validate that your credit card will cover, otherwise they will need to take a very large deposit and you have to pay for their coverage. It would have been very simple for us to print the policy out to give to the rental agency. Instead it cost us a lot more money than intended and a lot of fuss before our long drive.
4. Reserve early
If you’re going anywhere during high season, make sure you reserve your hotel early and compare prices at the various reservation websites. Our hotel in San Jose had a deal running on Expedia the week we were there. We ended up having to move hotels while in Puerto Viejo and our options were very limited.