Making the Move: 6 Items to Pack in Your Suitcase

Making the Move: 6 Items to Pack in Your Suitcase

Leaving Calgary, Alberta, Canada — December 9, 2011

“What should I pack in my suitcase?” is a question we often get asked by Nicaraguan Expats-to-Be.

With some extra legwork and a willingness to pay premium prices you can almost always get what you need here. 

As opposed to Walmart superstores – that are found in every neighborhood in North America – Mom and Pop shops are the norm here.  Just like in the U.S. of old, each store is a family run business that generally specializes in one type of product or service. 

If you’d like to save some time and money you’ll probably want to add the six items listed below to your packing list.

1.  E-Reader – New and used English books are sometimes hard to come by, especially if you’re looking for newer releases.  And when you do find them, they aren’t cheap. If you enjoy reading and don’t already have an e-reader you’ll probably want to invest in one.

2.  Quality Kitchen Knife – Sharpening stones are easy to find here, but good quality chef knives are not. With more time to enjoy cooking and a bounty of vine ripened fruits and vegetables a good knife will be a welcomed companion.

3.  Electronics –  With technology outdated by at least two years and items priced 30% – 100% higher than in Canada and the United States you’ll definitely want to bring your laptop, iPad and any other electronic devices you can’t live without.  It’s also a good idea to make sure everything is working well.  Repairs can usually be done in Managua, but don’t come cheap.

4.  Spices – The selection of spices available in Nicaragua is limited. If you have some favorites you enjoy cooking with on a regular basis you’ll want to stash some in your suitcase.  Oregano, garlic powder, crushed chilies and cinnamon can be found in almost every grocery store however turmeric, cardamom, sage and thyme cannot.

5.  Bedsheets & Pillows – I’m someone who appreciates nice linens.  I’ve been told you can find them here but, like many other quality items, they are sold at a higher price than in North America.  Keep comfy and save yourself some cash by bringing a couple of sets of sheets with you. For added comfort you may want to bring your favorite pillow and even a mattress cover. Worried about space in your suitcase? Vacuum sealed storage bags work great!

6.  Ear Plugs – Roosters, barking dogs and fire crackers are common sounds we hear all hours of the day and night.  To avoid sleep disruption you may want to pick up a multi-pack of ear plugs. You’ll be happy to know that just like those individuals living near an airport or a railway crossing, you too, will eventually desensitize to these sounds.

Have you recently made the move to Nicaragua? Is there anything you wished you would’ve packed in your suitcase?

About In Nica Now

We're Gordon and Elisha. A Canadian couple living a relaxed life in the colorful beach town of San Juan del Sur. If you're looking for information on life & travel in Nicaragua you've come to the right place!

Posted on June 13, 2013, in Making the Move and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Don’t forget a MagicBullet! They are great for everything, especially smoothies with the local fruit.

  2. Thanks for the info! I’ll be making that final transition next month!!

  3. You did a great job at listing what is essential…for most gringos here. I came for about six-weeks and returned to California for business just last month. I traveled back to California with 3 empty suitcases and packed them for my return (and second trip) here.

    I packed the items you recommended which I did not bring on my first trip:
    Kitchen knives, bed clothing (sheets, pillows, pillow cases and a bedspread with matching pillow shams), spices, a few more electrical items (surge protectors for the frequent power outages and electrical storms during the Nica rainy season) and my Omega Fruit and Vegetable juicer (which will also grind coffee beans and grains, make fresh pasta and nut butters…like cashew, peanut…and several other food processing tasks). I also brought stainless-steel flatware (eating utensils) that i like. IF you use AA or AAA batteries in any of your electronic gadgets, I’d recommend picking up a rechargeable battery kit (commonly with 2-AA batteries and 2-AAA batteries included, along with the charger unit that will plug into most electrical outlets in Nicaragua).

    Your recommendation for earplugs is a great idea. I find myself often using my BOSE earphones or headphones to allow better hearing of music or movies…AND eliminating the “environmental noise”…crowing roosters, barking dogs, fire crackers and M-80s, mobile vendors with PA systems, motorcycles and taxi horns.

  4. For those who like to cook and might be using a Central American stove, I would add — a heat diffuser (which I do not have!) is essential. I just can’t get those gas flames low enough to properly simmer things.

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