One US dollar is currently equal to 24.3 cordobas. One bottle of Joyita costs 16 cordobas.
Joyita is a sugar cane based alcohol. This stuff is not for the board short, flip flop wearing weekend warrior you typically see in San Juan del Sur. Rather, it’s for those who drink like it’s their job, working towards a promotion.
We’ve all seen this famous slogan for beer.
Well…we’re thinking the slogan for Joyita could be:
“Helping people get the rest they need, wherever they may be!”
Happy Friday y’all!
The place we now call home – San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua – just so happens to be one of the most popular places for Nicaraguan youth to party during Semana Santa.
Rooms (with only cushions on the floor for sleeping) rent for up to $75 USD a night. Vendors line the streets. There is no shortage of cheap beer, rum, knock off sunglasses or inflatable toys.
One of the local restaurants has set up a temporary Tip Top chicken franchise. Morning, noon and night we see Nicaraguan men passed out on the sidewalks and streets.
Girls in booty shorts and bikini tops represent Heineken, Victoria Frost, Flor de Cana, Tona, Claro and Movistar.
As we sit in the Heineken tent and sip 30 cord ($1.21 USD) green frosties a group of special forces police – clad in black -march together in a troop of six. Rifles are strapped to their backs and they carry hand guns in holsters on their hips.
Convoys of Nicaraguan families have set up camp on the beach. The bay has become a place to bathe and use the toilet. Avenida del Mar reeks of urine. Beach parties rage on until the wee hours of the morning. The techno beats can be heard all way to our house, which is more than three blocks away.
This is San Juan del Sur during Semana Santa!
When Elisha and I decided to move to Nicaragua we knew that we would need to be on a budget – and believe it or not it was something we had never done before.
Elisha’s budget was always based on spending any extra cash that she had, while I saved whatever extra money I felt I didn’t need. That being said we have always lived below our means and have never been extravagant people.
Although we’ve been told by a few people that a budget of $1,200 USD per month in Nicaragua is quite high this is the amount we agreed upon.
We figured it would take some time to find out which restaurants, markets, shops and grocery stores would have the best deals and accepted the fact that December and January would be “learning months”. We weren’t surprised to find out that were were over budget for the month of January.
Total expenditures for the month came in at $1,201 USD.
We learned a few things things this month and have decided to make a number of changes.
First and foremost, we are going to prepare more of our own meals and have fruit on hand for breakfast. When we reviewed our detailed spreadsheet of the month’s expenses we realized we ate out 3 meals per day, more often than not. Although the nearly 50 meals we had out were cheap ($280 USD), they weren’t necessarily healthy for the waistline or the budget.
Another change will be our drinking. Apparently we’ve been celebrating because not a day went by in January where we didn’t have a cerveza or two. Even though our total expenditure for alcohol was just shy of $160 USD, we will make a couple of changes here as well. We plan to cut back some and be smarter about where we buy our liquor. Instead of paying 100 cordobas for a 375 ml bottle of rum, we will buy the 2 litre combo pack at Pali for 189 cords. And instead of paying 18 cords at the grocery store for a 355 ml can of beer we will buy a case of 12 litres at a cost of only 36 cordobas per bottle.
We spent $205 USD on groceries. With a commitment to eat in more often we expect this amount to go up slightly for the month, but since we’ve figured out the best places to shop we aren’t expecting a huge increase.
$32 USD was the amount we paid to purchase a cell phone and talking minutes for the month. For February we have purchased a package that cost $7 USD that should last through to the end of the month. $60 USD went to Amazon and iTunes for books, music and iPAD apps. $30 USD went to transportation (bus and taxi fares). We spent $52 USD on a nice dinner out to celebrate our 5th year anniversary. We enjoyed a delicious meal with 2 appetizers, a main course of filet mignon, a nice bottle of Italian wine AND pecan pie for dessert. A great night out and worth every penny we spent!
Although our friend Glyn lives on $300 a month (and thinks we are living the life of rock stars and drinking champagne every night) we happen to think we did a fine job with our first attempt at following a budget!
After walking 3.5 km in the mid-day heat to Las Penitas and enjoying a couple of cold Tonas Gord and I had worked up an appetite and decided to grab some lunch. We agreed that tacos would be much better than the burgers and fries everyone was ordering at Playa Roca. We paid for our beer and sauntered across the road to Tsunami Taco Bar.
Tsunami Taco Bar doesn’t have a set menu. There are new offerings posted on the chalkboard every day. Today we had our choice of chicken, chill con carne or vegetarian tacos. Gord opted for the chili while I went with the chicken.
As I bit into my taco my taste buds were awakened with the sweet surprise of donair sauce. A totally unexpected, but welcomed taste! The fresh-squeezed lemonade was cold and refreshing.
For dessert we enjoyed fresh-out-of-the oven pecan banana bread smeared with butter. It was warm, dense and delicious!
Total price for our lunch (including drinks and dessert) rang it at 205 cord or $8.99 USD. Based on food quality, flavour and price we give Tsunami Taco Bar 5 stars out of 5!
Most of us don’t need yet another reason to drink beer, but here’s one for you anyway.
The story goes like this…
Nadia, Elisha and I drank liberal amounts of beer during our first four days in Nicaragua. Nadia’s boyfriend Steve doesn’t drink, which actually scares me a little. In my experience anyone who doesn’t drink at all is usually religious, a recovering alcoholic, in serious training for something or has something to hide. I’m not sure which (if any) of these categories Steve fits, but none the less, he DOES NOT drink.
I thought Steve looked very healthy drinking huge fresh made juices every day so I began to think maybe he was in training. Then when I saw him praying so vehemently to the white porcelain God I figured he must be one of those religious fanatics and then suddenly he turned around and shat on his God with more venom than any evangelical preacher I’ve seen on TV. Confusing?!?
Steve told me he has only had 8 drinks in his entire life – so alcoholic is out. This leaves me to believe he is hiding something. I do know one thing – after spending 2 days on the throne – it certainly isn’t his dignity!
The moral of the story is:
Just drink the beer – it’s obviously good for you!