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Thread: Travel to & from Nicaragua in the political/Covid season

  1. #1
    Viejo del Foro Daddy-YO's Avatar
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    Default Travel to & from Nicaragua in the political/Covid season

    Flying directly into or out of MGA is simply too expensive for a poor gringo (US standards) with a Nica family today. Few airlines accept Ortega’s PCR-RT test requirement that must be done within 72hrs of arrival for flight crews. Avianca is one, but, with the long history of cooperation between the FSLN and FARQ, it may very well be an arrangement of a different understanding.

    To enter the USA, a relatively quick & cheap antigen test for Covid is required, but Nicaragua only offers the lengthy $150-a-pop PCR test, which is surprising considering how many labs there are here, but a testament to the strength of the dictatorship. (Because of the cost of reagents and the profit incentive, I suspect many ‘PCR tests’ here and in Miami are not actually done but are reported ‘negative’ based on the judgement of the lab tech sampling the patient.) Frequent travelers can buy the Abbott lab test kit ($25-a-pop) in the States and perform it online for a lab tech to watch for US admittance before travel.

    So we leave/enter Nicaragua by land, now that borders are open. TicaBus, Managua-SJO, cost $29, is AC’d & comfortable, tho it took 12hrs, with a 1hr lunch stop + 2hrs at the border, when I arrived 2 weeks ago. Most of the border delay was entering Nicaragua; they were tied in knots over the Brazilians on board. My flight from Philly to SJO cost $305, which included $75 ‘boost’ for checked luggage + assigned seats. (I only paid $122 cause Spirit owed me from a reservation made a year ago when we thought they’d fly out of MGA.) A smooth & quick flight, no frills, no fuck-ups. Customs at SJO was a breeze cause I had my CR health pass, insurance, hotel reservation, and ticket out all printed and ready to show with my passport. My hotel in Alajuela paid for my taxi. Hotel La Guaria is nice, clean and a block from the central park; it cost $43 (for a 2-person room). After leaving my bags I walked to Lab San Jose for my PCR-RT test. They offer a discount to those with TicaBus tickets; it cost 36,000colones = $58. It was done that afternoon at the Plaza Mango lab; got the result early the next morning (emailed pdf, printed, signed & sealed). Took the evening off - got a box of KFC & ice cold Imperials from the hotel. Went sight-seeing the next day. That evening I took an Uber to hotel TicaBus ($28) in San Jose. The Uber was under $10; a taxi would have cost $24 or more, and a bus was unthinkable since they don’t accommodate luggage. I ate at a Pizza Hut a block away and bought junk snacks for the trip. Early in the AM we sped to the land of the Sandinistas.

    We’ll fly out in a few weeks. Checked Spirit for SJO to PHL. It’ll cost $125 ‘boosted’ to $203. They don’t fly out of Liberia, CR, but AA does. LIR to PHL with AA will cost $575 (one seat left) before additional charges for luggage, refund, … The cost of the antigen test in Alajuela is $50. Maybe Lab San Jose offers a discount to those who arrive on TicaBus? The test costs $65 at the LIR &/or SJO airports.


  2. #2
    Dog Whisperer cookshow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Travel to & from Nicaragua in the political/Covid season

    Did you check departing Honduras, were some great fares out of SAP while back, be closer for you.
    ‎"You know what you say when people tell you you can't do something? Fool, shut your mouth up!"
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    House SOB Little Corn Tom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Travel to & from Nicaragua in the political/Covid season

    Quote Originally Posted by Daddy-YO View Post
    Flying directly into or out of MGA is simply too expensive for a poor gringo (US standards) with a Nica family today. Few airlines accept Ortega’s PCR-RT test requirement that must be done within 72hrs of arrival for flight crews. Avianca is one, but, with the long history of cooperation between the FSLN and FARQ, it may very well be an arrangement of a different understanding.

    To enter the USA, a relatively quick & cheap antigen test for Covid is required, but Nicaragua only offers the lengthy $150-a-pop PCR test, which is surprising considering how many labs there are here, but a testament to the strength of the dictatorship. (Because of the cost of reagents and the profit incentive, I suspect many ‘PCR tests’ here and in Miami are not actually done but are reported ‘negative’ based on the judgement of the lab tech sampling the patient.) Frequent travelers can buy the Abbott lab test kit ($25-a-pop) in the States and perform it online for a lab tech to watch for US admittance before travel.

    So we leave/enter Nicaragua by land, now that borders are open. TicaBus, Managua-SJO, cost $29, is AC’d & comfortable, tho it took 12hrs, with a 1hr lunch stop + 2hrs at the border, when I arrived 2 weeks ago. Most of the border delay was entering Nicaragua; they were tied in knots over the Brazilians on board. My flight from Philly to SJO cost $305, which included $75 ‘boost’ for checked luggage + assigned seats. (I only paid $122 cause Spirit owed me from a reservation made a year ago when we thought they’d fly out of MGA.) A smooth & quick flight, no frills, no fuck-ups. Customs at SJO was a breeze cause I had my CR health pass, insurance, hotel reservation, and ticket out all printed and ready to show with my passport. My hotel in Alajuela paid for my taxi. Hotel La Guaria is nice, clean and a block from the central park; it cost $43 (for a 2-person room). After leaving my bags I walked to Lab San Jose for my PCR-RT test. They offer a discount to those with TicaBus tickets; it cost 36,000colones = $58. It was done that afternoon at the Plaza Mango lab; got the result early the next morning (emailed pdf, printed, signed & sealed). Took the evening off - got a box of KFC & ice cold Imperials from the hotel. Went sight-seeing the next day. That evening I took an Uber to hotel TicaBus ($28) in San Jose. The Uber was under $10; a taxi would have cost $24 or more, and a bus was unthinkable since they don’t accommodate luggage. I ate at a Pizza Hut a block away and bought junk snacks for the trip. Early in the AM we sped to the land of the Sandinistas.

    We’ll fly out in a few weeks. Checked Spirit for SJO to PHL. It’ll cost $125 ‘boosted’ to $203. They don’t fly out of Liberia, CR, but AA does. LIR to PHL with AA will cost $575 (one seat left) before additional charges for luggage, refund, … The cost of the antigen test in Alajuela is $50. Maybe Lab San Jose offers a discount to those who arrive on TicaBus? The test costs $65 at the LIR &/or SJO airports.


    Sweet Jesus.....I remember only a couple of years ago, I could catch the am ferry to Big Corn, hop on the flight to Managua, then AA to Miami and home in FLL in time to watch the news.
    Life's different here ... It's a whole 'nother pace.

  4. #4
    Dog Whisperer cookshow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Travel to & from Nicaragua in the political/Covid season

    Figure a day on each end now
    ‎"You know what you say when people tell you you can't do something? Fool, shut your mouth up!"
    Ernie K Doe

  5. #5
    Viejo del Foro Daddy-YO's Avatar
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    Default Re: Travel to & from Nicaragua in the political/Covid season

    Quote Originally Posted by cookshow View Post
    Did you check departing Honduras, were some great fares out of SAP while back, be closer for you.
    Yes, Honduras has always been an option. I spent a lot of time in HN travelling solo, I know San Pedro Sula. There are a lot of crazy fuckers there. I much prefer Alajuela and CR for being much more civilized, safer. Since I am just passing thru and the costs (not the risks, esp. with wife & kid) are very comparable, it's an easy decision.

    Compared to either, Nicaragua is very costly and inconvenient for connecting onward.
    See no evil, Hear no evil, Speak no evil: be a wise simian

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