Thank you for selecting our Pochomil beach vacation rental for your next holiday trip. Below is a list of some of the most common questions previous travelers ask when planing their vacation to the beach in Nicaragua. Should you have additional questions, feel free to contact us.
A. American, United, Delta and Spirit Airlines have multiple daily flights to Managua, originating from Miami, Houston, Atlanta and Fort Lauderdale respectively; all of these flights are 2 to 3 hours long. In addition, the regional carriers Copa and Avianca-TACA Airlines have multiple daily flights from Managua to hundreds of destinations in North, Central and South America.
A. Entry to Nicaragua for stays less than 90 days requires a valid Passport for more than 6 months, return ticket and a tourist card. No vaccines are required. This card can be purchased at the airport for U$10 for stays up to 90 days. No previous visa is required for most countries (North, Central & South America -except Haiti and Cuba-, Western Europe, and many more). Citizens of the country exclusion list (Cuba, Haiti, many African and middle eastern countries) must obtain a prior visa from the Nicaraguan Consulate. See http://www.cancilleria.gob.ni/servicios/visas.shtml
A. Nicaraguan Cordoba is the local currency. US Dollars is the most common currency accepted at many tourist destinations, Euros are not popular and rarely accepted except at banks and major hotels. Upon arrival you may exchange them at the airport or at any bank in town. You can find an ATM at most hotels, shopping centers and some gas stations. High end stores and restaurants post their prices in dollars. For currency conversion from US Dollars or Euros use: http://www.exchange-rates.org/converter/USD/NIO/1/Y
A. Visa, MasterCard and American Express are the most popular credit cards accepted at many restaurants and formal businesses.
A. North American style 120 Volt, 60 Hertz is standard. All the electrical plugs at the Pochomil beach home are polarized for your protection and there are protected plugs in the bathrooms. If your bring equipment with different plug styles or 220V, we suggest you bring adapters and check if your transformer is variable to accept 110-220V.
A. The sales tax, called IVA, is 15% on all goods and services. No sales tax is charged at the market, informal vendors and basic food items. Most shops and restaurant listed prices do not include the sales tax on the menu or the goods, but will be added in the final bill.
A. If you import in excess of $500 per traveler, excluding personal items, you pay a flat 25% at the airport and you can take the merchandise with you. It is important to bring cash and a copy of the invoice to avoid customs assigning a different value. Personal items including your laptop, cell phone, etc. are exempt from duty.
A. We can arrange for a private vehicle to take your group to and from the airport and Pochomil; however, we recommend you rent a car at Budget Rent a car that you can keep with you to go out shopping, see Nicaragua or just go to the grocery store. We will help you get the best rates with Budget Rent a Car. They have a wide range of vehicles, from sedans, pickup, vans and SUV.
A. Generally you do not need to rent a four wheel drive vehicle (4WD or 4x4) unless you will be going to remote locations, drive on the beach, farms or on dirt roads in the winter months of May through November. However, if you want to be adventurous and drive on the empty beach towards La Boquita, Casares and Tupilapa beaches, then a 4x4 is a must as you must pass several rivers.
A. The weather in the Pacific zone of the country, which includes Managua, Granada, Leon and Pochomil Beach is very similar. It is usually sunny, warm and humid, with day temperature between 26oC and 37oC (78oF - 98oF) and lows between 18oC and 24oC (65oF - 75oF). The warmest months are April through October. The rainy season is May through October, with scattered thundershowers that last a short time. For current weather, see http://www.accuweather.com/en/ni/pochomil/1177782/weather-forecast/1177782
A. Besides Managua, three other large and tourist cities are about one hour away, Granada, Leon and Masaya. Masaya and Granada are south of Pochomil via San Rafael del Sur, and Leon is North via Leon Viejo northern highway, see our map for directions. Granada and Leon offer a great deal of history, colonial homes, churches and museums, great food, drinks and shopping. On the way to Granada is Volcán Mombacho, an extinct volcano where you can go canopying or hiking inside its crater. Masaya has the best artisans craft market and a live volcano 10 kilometers away, where you will see smoke vapors coming out of its craters and visit a volcanic museum. To learn about other Nicaraguan cities, pictures and more, click here.
A. Nicaragua is considered the safest country in Latin America, crime rate is extremely low. Nonetheless since there is widespread poverty, it is important to keep your valuables with you at all times. We provide a safety box in the master bedrooms to store your valuables. We also recommend not leaving valuables or items at the beach unattended.
The civil war ended over 20 years ago after the freely elected President Violeta Chamorro came to power in 1990 and signed peace treaties with all irregular groups and united the families. Now all you see are souvenirs of that era.
Click here to check the US State Department travel report on Nicaragua.
A. There is a complete pharmacy in the intersection of Masachapa and Montelimar roads where the drug prices are extremely inexpensive and no prescription is needed; however, not all brands are represented and you will be offered the generic drug instead. Always ask for the quality of the pharmaceutical company that manufactured the generic drug to ensure its quality. The pharmacist can give you free basic medical advice (burns, injuries, colds, stomach aches, etc).
There is a medical center in Pochomil right next to the bridge that is open 24 hours for any emergencies.
For more serious medical problems, go to Hospital Metropolitano in Managua (T: 2255-6900), it is JCI certified with the best private doctors, many of whom studied abroad and are bilingual.
A. Nicaraguan beaches have been featured in many international magazines and by many sports enthusiasts as one of the best for surfing, fishing, swimming and basic R&R. Below is a list of beaches listed by department in geographical order (1=North, 41=Southernmost beach), from the Honduran border at the Northern Pacific to the Costa Rica border in Southern Pacific.
« Denotes a very popular beach with significant infrastructure and good road conditions.
«« Besides good roads, these are the most popular beaches of Nicaragua
Typical driving distance from Managua to:
« Chinandega beaches is 3:00 hours
« Leon beaches is 2:00 hours
« Managua beaches is 1:00 hour
« Carazo beaches 1:00 to 1:30 hours
« Rivas 2:30 to 3:30 hours
Traveling to some beaches with poor dirt roads or in remote locations may take longer.
A. Nicaragua is home to international surfing tournaments every year, it has among the best surfing in the world. Check out many Youtube videos searching for Surfing Nicaragua.
To obtain the best waves for surfing you need cross winds and ocean current. Nicaraguan beaches have great ocean currents to generate waves and two areas of the country have excellent cross wind coming from the two great lakes across a small strip of land and uninterrupted by the mountains.
These zones are:
Surfers enjoy the other beaches for light surfing, except the enclosed bay beaches like San Juan del Sur with calm ocean, but serious surfers prefer the Miramar, Leon and Tola, Rivas beaches, where international surfing tournaments have been held.
For more details on Nicaraguan beaches, visit our NICARAGUAN BEACHES page.
A. There a fisherman’s market in Masachapa, two blocks East of the Catholic Church, the groundskeeper will guide you there. They fish daily and the morning is the best time to buy it. If you hire a cook or go to any local restaurants, make sure you ask for the Nicaraguan favorite fish recipe, Pescado a la Tipitapa, fried fish with a tomato sauce and fried plantains. Other seafood dishes include Seafood Paella, lobsters, shrimp cocktails and fish ceviche. See full Nicaraguan gastronomic information page. Brief details on Nica food in the next chapter.
A. Whenever possible, stock up in Managua at La Colonia or La Union Supermarkets, which have many international brands and a large variety. You will find several convenience stores in Pochomil/Masachapa: La Barra is the closest located about 500 meters north of the entrance to Pochomil popular resort. It has basic items such as ice, bottled water, gas, soft drinks, alcohol, and miscellaneous.
For fruits, vegetables and more variety there are several mini markets in Masachapa. Try the Pitaya, a rare tropical fruit, strong red color and great for juices, Margaritas or for dessert with whip cream.
For complete shopping you will have to travel to San Rafael del Sur, about 14 kilometers south of Masachapa, to Pali Supermarket (Walmart subsidiary) with many local popular products but limited variety. Pali is located from the Catholic Church of San Rafael del Sur 1/2 block East (2293-3600) and it is open Mon-Sat 8a-9p, Sunday 8am-5pm. We can also offer the service of prepurchasing the food for you, check out our Concierge page.
The gas station in Pochomil is Petronic (T: 8435-0105), it runs out of fuel regularly, so do not run empty. The groundskeeper can provide you with a fuel container to keep in reserve. If you have a motorcycle, it will consume about one tank full daily (2 ½ gallons).
Nicaragua´s water is potable and chlorinated; however, most tourists prefer to drink bottled water. For your convenience, a 5 gallon bottle of water will be available at the Pochomil home upon your arrival, you are responsible for its refill as needed. Bottled water is available at most grocery stores and restaurants.
It is safe to eat at most formal restaurants, at informal restaurants ensure you only consume fully cooked meals and not raw products. Unwrapped food in plazas or markets do not follow western hygiene standards and you should avoid them.
Help us save the environment and bring back any plastic products you take to the beach to avoid sea and beach contamination.
A. Nicaragua has the most extensive cuisine in Central America, "La comida Nica," as Nicaraguans call their cuisine, is a Latin creole mix of indigenous and Spanish dishes and ingredients. Corn, beans, plantains, yuca and beef are popular ingredients. Seafood is common along the Pacific and Caribbean coast. Nicaraguans make extensive use of a wide variety of tropical fruits. Due to its history and geographical location, Nicaraguan food uses many Maya indigenous corn dishes, south american Inca plantain dishes, Caribbean seafood and Spaniard influence. You will also find the traditional international meals at most restaurants, such as burgers, pizza, fried chicken and spaghetti, but you should be adventurous and try the local cuisine, you will love it!!!
See a full description on our Nicaraguan Gastronomic Page.
Typical dishes include:
Vigorón (fried pork, Yuca and cabbage salad), Tajadas con queso (Fried plantains and cheese), Quesillo (String cheese on a tortilla with pickled onions), Tacos, tamales de Elote (Corn tamales), Tortilla con queso, Repocheta (Tortilla with melted cheese or fresh cheese), Tostones y frijoles molidos (Fried thick platain with refried grounded red beans), coctel de camarones (Shrimp coctail), ceviche de pescado (fish ceviche), rosquillas (Cheese filled baked corn rings).
(Picture Ceviche and Tajadas)
Nacatamales (Breakfast tamal with pork), indio viejo (shredded meat, ground tortilla and spices), gallo pinto (Rice and small red beans cooked together), carne en baho (beef, yuca, platain, vegetables slow cooked with plantain leaves), Churrasco con Chimichurri (prime steak with olive oil sauce), Carne Asada (Beef on a stick), pescado a la tipitapa (Red Snapper fish with fresh tomato sauce), Paellla de Mariscos (Seafood paella), caballo bayo (Self serve tacos with lots of options). Most of these accompanied with rice and small red beans and salad or vegetables.
(Picture Caballo Bayo)
Soups: Sopa de Mondongo (Similar to callos a la Madrileña), Sopa de Cola (Beef tail soup), Sopa Siete mares (Seven seas soup, fish, seafood), Sopa de Punche (Crab soup), Sopa de Pescado (Fish soup), Sopa de Rosquillas (Cheese soup with corn rings), Sopa de Tortillas (or Sopa Mexicana, Spicy soup with tortillas sprinkled on top).
Tres Leche (Pudding with three types of mik), Arroz con Leche (Rice cooked with milk and cinnamon), Curvaza (Sugared Fruits), Atolillo, Torta de Elote (Corn cake), Flan de Coco (Coconut Custard), Flan de Leche (Caramel Custard), Pio Quinto, Sopa Borracha (Rum cake with or without custard), Buñuelos de Yuca (Yuca fritters), Pitahaya con crema (Dragon fruit with whipped cream).
Often the dessert is fresh fruits such as mangoes, tangerine, Pitahaya, Maracuya, Jocote, Mamón, Starfruit and more. See some pictures of these fruits in our collage of meals and drinks.
(Picture Tres Leches)
Due to its large variety of fruits, Nicaraguan drinks are typically fruit based and are called "frescos" as in refreshments. You will find many fruit juices such as Maracuya, Starfruit, Pitahaya, and the typical orange and mango juices. Also there are some indigenous local drinks such as Chicha de Maiz, Pinolillo and Chicha Bruja (spiked), fresco de Cacao, made from cacao or corn.
There are three popular alcoholic brands, Ron Flor de Caña (Rum), Cerveza Victoria and Cerveza Toña (Beer). Although Flor de Caña comes in many varieties, clear, dark and different aging up to 21 years old.
Typical alcoholic mixes are used to make Rum based
Margaritas and may replace the lime with other fruits, and the "Official
Drink of Nicaragua" the Macuá, The Macuá is a
cocktail made with white rum and fruit juices, usually lemon and guava juice.
(Picture El Macuá)
A. Below is a collage of pictures of Nicaraguan dishes mentioned above.
A. Among the most popular tourist destinations nearby, within 1 1/2 hours of Pochomil, are:
Nicaragua is full of history and nature. The most popular and internationally renowned cities are Granada and Leon, both are about one hour from Pochomil but in opposite directions. These cities were founded by the Spaniards in the 15th century and still retain their colonial style, you will enjoy the great churches, museums, restaurants and parks.
Granada has the ISLETAS, small islands off its coast on the great lake of Nicaragua called Cocibolca lake. Taking a boat tour to the islands is highly recommended. About 10 kilometers from Granada is the extinct volcano Mombacho, where you can go canopying or hiking inside its crater.
Leon has the most impressive cathedral built by the Spaniards, it is believed that the blueprints of this cathedral were designed for Lima, Peru, the center of the Inca Empire, but they were mistakenly switched on the boat to America and Lima ended with a small cathedral and Leon with a monumental building. The great Nicaraguan poet, Ruben Dario, is buried in the cathedral.
Masaya Volcano is an active volcano that you must see, along with its volcanic museum. Then travel to the Masaya artisan’s market where you will find the widest varieties of local handmade arts and craft.
To view additional tourism information on these Nicaraguan cities, click here
Watch videos of the local culture and more pictures of Nicaraguan animals in the links provided.
A. The bicycle speed world record was broken in Nicaragua at Volcan Cerro Negro by Eric Barone at 107 mph certified by Ripley´s Believe it or not, it has become a popular destination for sand surfers. If you are traveling to Leon and like adventure, Volcan Cerro Negro is close to Leon, Nicaragua, just one and a half hours from Pochomil on León Highway.
This record was later broken by 36 year old Austrian Markus Stockl on the Cerro Negro Volcano when he hit 164.95 km-h on May 17, 2011, breaking the previous record from Eric Barone of France nine years earlier.
Nicaraguan tourism has been featured on CNN en Español in this video, you can search other CNN videos on Nicaragua.
A. Check out our page on other Nicaraguan locations which includes these cities:
A. Pochomil has a great sandy beach where you can play most sports, swim in the ocean, walk the beach, pick sea shells and much more. Additionally you should go to the Curtains ("Las Cortinas"), an ocean waterfall located about 800 meters north of the house (right), where during high tide you will get an amazing bath.
Watching turtles lay eggs is a once in a lifetime adventure, this is most common during Full Moon, but it happens most of the month. Just keep an eye for the turtles coming out, do not disturb them while they are entering the beach until they begin laying eggs. Once they begin, they cannot stop until they lay about 100 eggs. You can touch the shell of the turtle and observe her cry as she lays eggs.
Kids can go crab hunting (catch and release please), roast marshmallows on a bonfire, make large sand castles, play games and more.
Walking, jogging or riding south of Pochomil will give you a view of an empty beach for about 20 kilometers, rarely in the world will you see wonderful undisturbed beaches as in this location.
Renting a four wheeler motorcycle at Pochomil resort will give you a great opportunity to see the beach, just keep a slow speed for safety.
A. The only reason a turtle comes out to the beach is to lay eggs. The local rule is that whoever gets behind the turtle first, owns the eggs. So try to get behind the turtle as it comes out of the water before anyone else does. You will find many turtle watching peasants, specially during full moon, and when they catch a turtle, they get all their eggs to eat or sell. We encourage you to get behind the turtle to own the eggs, but donate them to nature, DO NOT TOUCH the eggs, leave them in the ground and guard the area until everyone else is gone, to ensure they do not come back to steal the eggs. This will preserve the ecosystem and allow these little turtles to come back when they are adults. If you are unable to get to the turtle first, offer to buy the right to the eggs from the local peasant.
It is estimated that each turtle lays about 100 eggs and only 3 to 5 actually reach adulthood, that is why it is so critical to preserve them. Some eggs are not born, others die digging their way out of the sand, those who make it often are eaten by birds on the way to the ocean, and later the ocean predators eat a few more, that is why nature is so smart to allow turtles to lay so many eggs.
A. Keeping kids busy will be the least of your worries; at the beach, kids become very creative because they are experiencing many new emotions. On the contrary, they will go to bed early because they will be too tired from a full day of games and activities. We have stocked up the Pochomil beach vacation home with enough items and activities to keep them busy. Below is a list of some ideas of games for children:
Ping Pong: This game is played until the winning player reaches 11 or 21 points, you decide how long you want the game and if there are many kids waiting to play. If your kids don't know how to play, they will learn how to master the rackets in less than an hour.
Sandbox: There is a sand box next to the house, in front of the master balcony, where they can play sand castles, car races, and other creative games they will make up themselves. This is next to the house under a few palm trees, so the parents can enjoy the view, relax at the porch while watching your kids all the time.
Deck of cards: You will find a few decks of cards in the home and you can play your favorite games.
Monopoly: There is a Monopoly board game to keep your family entertained for hours.
Pool: Play Volley Ball, Marco Polo, or find the treasure at the bottom of the pool. The pool in the deep end is only 5 feet in depth so it is suitable for older kids who do not know how to swim. Very young kids can use the whirlpool with supervision.
Hide and Seek: You can play many traditional games such as Thieves and Robbers, Hide and Seek, and many more.Tag: When you play this timeless game in the pool or ocean it adds a whole new element: You can hide underwater. Hold your breath and hope whoever’s “it” isn’t looking your way when you come up for air.
Diving for rings: You can buy rings or other water toys at a store that sells pool toys, some are provided in the beach home. If you don’t have any real diving rings, get creative. Instead of neon rings or rods, use bright-colored rocks, seashells, or other natural items that sink in water.
Play Ball: Try many ball games such as soccer, football, volley ball, kick ball, etc.
Tug of War: With a rope split the group in two with similar overall weight, each group pulls until the other passes the center line to win.
Save the Castle: Have each kid build a castle close to the ocean while the tides are rising, the castle that survives the longest from the waves wins, so they must build strong walls, ditches and other defenses with sand.
Waterfall: Walk about 2,000 ft north (while facing the ocean, to the right of the house) until the end of the bay where you will find during high tide a large set of rocks where you can sit or stand while the ocean hits them from behind, creating a wonderful waterfall in front of you. It is thrilling, if your kids are small or under 12 years old, ensure an adult holds them while the waves hit the rocks.
Surfing: If you like to surf, Nicaragua and Pochomil beach have great surfing tides. Bring your surf board or rent one.
Body Surfing (Boogieboarding): During medium and high tide, kids can body surf with or without a surfing board. A few body surfing boards are available in the home.
Monkey in the middle. For this classic game, all you need is a ball and 3 or more people. With 3 people, one player (the “monkey”) is in the middle and tries to intercept the ball while the other two play catch with it. If the monkey gets the ball, he becomes one of the throwers, and the last person who touched the ball becomes the new monkey. With 4 people, it works best to have two monkeys. You can play with the same rules as just described, OR you can play “Team” Monkey in the Middle: if either monkey gets the ball, both monkeys become the new throwers. This game can be played on the sand but also works especially well in the pool. You can play in shallow water if you only want to get your ankles wet, or you can play in deeper water so the game becomes a mix of swimming and running.
Paddleball. At minimum, you’ll need a paddle and a ball. Different kinds of paddles, balls, and paddle/ball combinations create different levels of difficulty. With 2 players you can cooperate in seeing how long you can keep the ball in the air. This game works great on the beach. If you get tired and your kid wants to keep playing, tell him to see how many times he can keep hitting the ball without letting it touch the ground
Touch football. All you need is a football and a group of people. In two-hand touch, both hands on the player carrying the ball means he’s down. If you’re the quarterback, make sure you call a huddle before the snap to go over the play with your teammates. To keep it simple, play with four downs (no additional first downs) and no blitzes.
Tic Tac Toe: Play tic-tac-toe in the sand.
Bonfire: Lit up the fire, or ask the groundskeeper to give you a hand getting the wood and lighting it up, then sit around the fire, sing, tell stories, cook marshmallows and count your memories.
Star Gazing: Identify the planets, watch the comets fly by, find the Orion, Ursa Major and minor.
Crab hunting: Go catch some crabs with a flashlight, keep them in the bucket and count how many each of you caught. At the end of the game make sure you release them to maintain nature's balance. If you keep the crabs and they die, you will regret the horrible stench the next day.
Turtle Searching: Go find turtles as they come out to lay eggs, specially in full moon and high tide. Watch them lay eggs and cry. If you catch a turtle, you may dig a hole behind her as she is laying eggs, use the flashlight to see the eggs coming out, but leave them there and do not touch them. Do not shine the flashlight on the turtle's eyes.
This is only a sample of many games that your children can play without much effort from the parents. If you know of other games that you want to share, send us your suggestions to publish them.
A. We realize that many people are traveling to Pochomil, Nicaragua for the first time and want to ensure all the details are taken care of. We have prepared a list of optional services that are the most popular requests from prior guests.
Among these concierge services are:
For more details, check out our page on Concierge Services
A. Most people tip 15% when they are served at a restaurant, people serving you at the vacation rental work behind the scenes making your vacation more enjoyable, so it is recommended that you tip them as a way of rewarding them for outstanding service.
Our suggested gratuity guidelines
take in account the employees that work hard to provide and maintain the
highest level of service while staying at Pochomil Viejo home. Whether working
behind the scenes or serving your meal, our staff makes sure you enjoy every
moment spent at the beach.
The suggested gratuities are:
With small groups, a minimum of $10 USD per day is recommended. Gratuities are voluntary and at the discretion of each guest. These guidelines serve as suggestions to help guest express their gratitude for the outstanding service they experience at their Pochomil Viejo beach vacation.
A. Nicaraguan restaurants suggest a minimum of 10% of the entire bill; however, a 15% tip is recommended when you receive outstanding service.
A. It is typical that when you park your car in a public place, children will approach you to "keep an eye on the car". A C$5 to C$10 cordoba tip ($0.25 - $0.50 USD) is customary.
A. The best tip we can receive is a good review on any of the following web pages: