Manhandling Managua

I need to take a moment to brag a little here…

Justin and I crushed it in Managua last week.  I mean, we freaking rocked.   Anyone who has ever ventured into Managua on a day trip understands this accomplishment.  If you plan on 4 hours to complete your errands, you can expect it to take 8.  If you hope to get home before sunset, you should assume that you will return before sunrise the following day.  If you dare to say “this shouldn’t take long,” it will take longer.

Managua days are tough for San Juaneño transplants.  Us Expats are used to having 5 malls within a 20 mile radius.  But not here in Nicaragua.   Two hours there, two hours back, and 14 hours of navigating labyrinth-style roads, stop-light window washers, semis and oxcarts in between.

Normally, we leave San Juan later than planned and get home much later than we hoped.  But last week, we put Managua to bed.  Just like that.  We got out of the house by 7:30.  We rented a [reliable] car with functioning a/c and managed to drive more than 80 kilometers per hour without fear of a breakdown (car or mental).  We rolled into Managua just after 9:30 and were so early that we even had to wait for stores to open.  In 7 hours, we accomplished this:

-Migracion (visa renewal – arrived to find a minimum 2-hour wait, but jumped the line thanks to the awesome migracion ladies who remember and adore Lucy from her passport application
-Lunch (I resisted the BK urge that often accompanies stressful MGA days and leaves me feeling nappy)
-Transito (paid a multa from our last trip to Managua)
-Lab (pesky thyroid)
-Stop and Go (a little slice of heaven for Expats craving Dr. Pepper, red curry paste, Butterfingers, and anything else that you can’t seem to find anywhere else.)
-Bavaria (sausage kings)
-La Colonia (stocking up on Cheerios and chocolate)

And we still made it home in time to put Lucy to bed, too.

12 thoughts on “Manhandling Managua

  1. We just returned from our first trip to Nicaragua so I can totally identify with Managua!!
    We had an awesome trip and spent a couple of days in San Juan, a week in Granada, and almost two weeks down near Playa Gigante.

    • Hi Jackie,
      Sounds like a great trip! I just visited your blog and you have some great photos from your stay! Managua is rough though, isn’t it? 4 years and I still can’t get used to it! Hope you come back!

  2. I came across your blog and skimmed through most of your posts. You do a great job of capturing life in Nicaragua for Americans. Gotta love Managua where a trip in to town takes twice as long as it should lol. Great blog, keep it up!

  3. Pingback: Happy Anniversary « Mom's the Word

  4. oh wow I can identify with your post! we live on the outskirts of Managua up in the hills, technically within the city limits but it is really rural here in an area of small farms. Even for us with a ten to twenty minute drive to anywhere in the city we feel like going to Managua is a big deal hahaha. Very impressed that you got so many things done in just one day, I do two or three things and feel like I need to go back to our farm, have a swim and drink a cold beer or two 🙂

    if you ever need to stay overnight here, please do get in touch. cheers, Mike @ El Porton Verde

  5. Managua question for you . . . My parents are recent transplants to Managua, and I was thinking of getting them a PriceSmart gift card for Christmas if such a thing exists. Do you happen to know if they do gift cards/certificates? The folks are missionaries and will be in the states for Christmas but don’t want “stuff” they will have to transport back. Thanks!

    • Hi Adrienne,

      That’s a very thoughtful gift idea! I’m not sure if PriceSmart gift cards. If they don’t, you might consider La Colonia or La Union (supermarkets), Siman (department store) or SINSA (hardware, home goods store).

      Good luck and happy holidays!

  6. Hi there, just came across your blog when googling pricesmart in Nicaragua. We recently moved to Costa Rica (for a year, maybe longer). Things are expensive here, and from what I could tell on our visit to San Juan del Sur last July Nicaragua is much cheaper. I’m wondering if I should do a bunch of shopping on our next visa run. I’m even contemplating getting a Pricesmart membership and heading up to Managua if its worth it. Can you tell me how product prices at Pricesmart compare to Costco prices in the US?

  7. Love your blog! I’m coming out to Managua in a few weeks to work with the street kids’ charity Casa Alianza. No idea what to expect from the city…preparing myself for mania though:)

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