“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 Electronics – With technology outdated by at least two years and items priced 30% – 100% higher than in Canada and the United States you’ll definitely want to bring your laptop, iPad and any other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?
Initially Gord and I thought we would have a significant list of items that we should have left behind in Canada, but after some contemplation we have come the conclusion that we are actually deserving of the title,“Near Perfect Packers”.
If you missed our post on “What We Packed in Our Suitcases” and would like to read it now click here.
As we packed up for our move from Poneloya to Leon we decided to leave a few things in storage with Carlos at Hostal El Pulpo. Although our warm weather clothing will come in handy once we head up to the mountains, we definitely don’t need jeans and hoodies here in Leon. Our linens will be used again when we get a place of our own, but for now, they too are in storage. We aren’t sure when we’ll be using our snorkel equipment but are still happy we packed our masks and snorkels.
The one and only thing we figure we should have left behind was the misting system we purchased online before we left. It’ll be great to have once we get settled into a place of our own, but seeing how that won’t be for awhile to save on weight and space in our luggage we should have left it behind.
As surprising as it may seem there isn’t any one particular thing or things that we didn’t pack in our suitcases that we feel we should have. A couple of things that would be nice to have include a sharp kitchen knife, my Spanish workbook, our bathroom scales (so we know when to lay off the gallo pinto and cerveza) and bug spray with deat.
All in all we are patting ourselves on the back for a packing job well done!