Usually writing my thoughts, for this blog, at a café. I will give you “the scoop” in so many words…READY?
Scoop 1: Getting around – TRANSPORTATION
In my opinion, you don’t really need a car. If you’re young and healthy, and on a budget, walk, rent a car (when needed), travel via bus, taxi or moto-taxi. It’s cheap, safe and easy.
In general, Driving in Managua and Nicaragua
A Car – it’s much easier to get around in a car. The roads are typically very good, but can be unforgiving on a motorcycle; especially, after it’s rained and gravel and water has pooled onto the side streets.
A Motorcycle – I ONLY suggest driving a motorcycle here, if you’re an experienced motorcyclist. I have 20+ years of driving experience and honestly, it’s sometimes challenging. I had to change my back tire to an enduro tire, due to the weather needs and constant piles of dirt that you can typically find on the road. And, even as an experienced usually cautious rider, I had my first motorcycle wipeout here, because I didn’t see this pile of gravel and spun out on top of it– I wasn’t hurt, luckily.
I bought a motorcycle, because I am slightly disabled and had a lot of body pain when I first moved here, so the bus was terrible for my back, especially, during rush hour (they pack people in– and drive crazy, I’ll elaborate on this later).
Driving here on a moto requires being… VERY ALERT. They don’t take lessons on proper motorcycle driving safety and road etiquette, nor do they respect each other on the road; and in all honesty, they have little respect for life, in general, when behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. If I see a minibus, I get out of their way. Many people young and old die uselessly, because they just don’t care and drive like they could careless if they kill you!
Cars are safer, but are a lot more expensive new, obviously I would recommend buying used; and note, registration can be tricky.
Scoop 2: Purchasing a Vehicle, and motorcycle suggestions
You can buy a vehicle, but you can’t register it yourself, so it’s a little complicated without establishing residency. I purchased a new Yamaha 2.0 150cc = $1900 (your purchase includes IVA & a helmet), but I wouldn’t recommend Yamaha. Honda’s are also expensive, same as the USA $5k for 200cc (not worth it). The new speedometer on my Yamaha broke after 3-1/2 months, (the warrantee was only for 2 months) and for less money you can get a much better bike fully loaded, with USB phone charger and a bigger engine.
Note: the helmets are NOT up to Western DOT (department of transportation) code, and cost about $50— so they’re very cheaply constructed for protecting your very precious head. I bought a new helmet from the US (Cost $300, on sale, an average priced helmet).
Other motorcycle brands: Pulsar, Genesis, UM, AKT, Serpentine | average motorcycle cost: $1400-$1500 (200-250cc engine)
Scoop 3: Renting a car…rental info TK
So, I finally found place to rent a car that didn’t require $800 debit card deposit, or a CC– and the price is right!
Scoop 4: Buses to the bordering countries – like Costa Rica cost $60 R/T (Tica Bus) and the ticket is open until you use it. Very convenient for flying one way into Nicaragua, to use as proof of exit– always necessary, when coming into the country.