Blog Archives

Photo Journalism Friday: The Christ of the Mercy

Photo Journalism Friday: Christ of the Mercy

The Christ of the Mercy statue was erected in 2009 and and has quickly become an ionic landmark and geographical reference point for the town of San Juan del Sur. At 24 meters it is the largest statue of Christ in Central America and one of the 10 largest Jesus statues in the world. El Cristo de la Misericordia was the dream of a local businessman, Erwin Gonzalez, who made his fortune from tourism. 

We’ve Got 2 More “Red Hot” Real Estate Deals for You!

We’ve got 2 more red hot real estate deals to share with you. 

 SMALL SCALE TURN KEY RESTAURANT in SAN JUAN DEL SUR
COLONIAL HOME WITH SWIMMING POOL in GRANADA

View these ads (and more value priced properties) on our Hot Deals: Real Estate page!

El Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead)

Vehicles are parked on both sides of the street as far as I can see. I find a clearing and pull off onto the side of the road to park the truck.

Two young girls walk past hand in hand with their grandma. Each carries a bouquet of bright red flowers. 

As I approach the cemetery I hear music in the distance. Suddenly I’m covered head to toe in goosebumps.

It’s November 1st and hundreds of people are gathered in the cemetery to celebrate El Dia de Los Muertos (The Day of the Dead).

Families have spent the last couple of days cleaning up and decorating the grave sites of their loved ones. They have come together today to honor and celebrate the lives of friends and family members that have passed.

Aside from the tombstones the scene before me mirrors that of a busy park on a sunny Sunday – anywhere in North America. 

Refreshments of all kinds including ice cream, cotton candy and snow cones are available for purchase. Typical Nicaraguan dishes such as vigaron and barbecued chicken are also available. Some families have come prepared toting their own picnic.

Children are playing quietly. Long time neighbors and family friends are enjoying the day together. They share stories of their lost loved ones. Some tales invoke a tear, but most bring laughter, or at least a smile.

A lone chicken crosses my path and a couple of children run by.

I look around taking in this celebration with awe and amazement and I think to myself, “Why don’t we do this in Canada?”

Celebrating Halloween in Nicaragua

Two hundred and forty costume clad kids and their parents celebrated Halloween in San Juan del Sur this year.

Ballerinas, belly dancers, ghosts, goblins, witches and pirates made their way around town collecting candy from local businesses. 

Final destination for these trick or treaters was Crazy Crab Disco. Those who dared – navigated through a haunted house – where our friend Katie played the role of a creepy witch while Gordon acted as Dracula.

The festivities came to a close with cold beverages of choice for the parents and a huge piñata for the kids.

Kudos to Comunidad ConnectSan Juan del Sur Day school and local participating businesses for making this Halloween celebration possible.

Author’s Note: Halloween is not a traditional Nicaraguan holiday. That being said; dressing up in costumes, marching the streets, celebrating children and sharing an abundance of candy resembles many traditional Nicaraguan holidays. It’s not surprising the San Juanistas have embraced Halloween with open arms.

What I Ate Today: Ceviche de Camarones

What I Ate Today: Ceviche de Camarones

Ceviche (“seh-BEE-chay”)

The first time I was introduced to ceviche was almost eight years ago in a restaurant in Playa del Coco, Costa Rica.  

“Gord, you can’t eat that! It’s raw fish. You’re going to get sick.”

I was so wrong!

This hugely popular Central American dish is made from fresh raw fish marinated in lime juice, and spiced with chili peppers. Additional seasonings, such as chopped onions and salt are also added. 

Is ceviche cooked?

A dish in which raw fish is marinated in citrus juice, isn’t cooked. But it’s not exactly raw, either.  Both heat and citric acid are agents of a chemical process called denaturation. In this process, the heat or citric acid changes the proteins in the fish, unraveling the molecules and altering their chemical and physical properties. When fish is bathed in citrus juices, this process of denaturation turns the flesh firm and opaque, as if it had been cooked with heat.

Ceviche spooned onto crackers with a dash of chile now happens to be one of my favorite appetizers.  It’s a nice light tasty snack that is great for sharing.

If you enjoy fish (cooked or raw) and have yet to sample ceviche I high recommend you give it a try. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!

Author’s Note:  The dish shown in the photo is a shrimp ceviche that I enjoyed poolside at Rocamar restaurant in San Juan del Sur. Cost was C$110 ($4.40 USD).

Mercado Monday: Passion Fruit (Calala or Maracuya)

Buying Guide:
Select calala that feels heavy for its size.  If the skin on the fruit appears glossy yellow or green it is not ready to be eaten. Wait until the skin gets blotchy and starts to shrivel and wrinkle, like an old man’s skin. Even then the inside of the calala may still be yellow and quite sour.  When calala looks almost spoiled on the outside the fruit on the inside will be vibrant orange in color and little bit sweet.

Flavor:  The juice and pulp of calala is slightly sweet and very tart with a unique burst of citrus flavor. The seeds are surrounded by the pulp of the fruit and are meant to be eaten. They add a nice crunch and provide an incredible amount of fibre.

How to Eat It:
Calala is the one fruit where you eat the seeds and discard the skin.  It is often used in juices and smoothies. When added to something very sweet like a banana and pineapple smoothie the calala’s acidity cuts through the sweetness an adds an incredible punch of citrus flavor. My personal favorite way to eat calala is to scoop the seeds and pulp into a bowl, add some natural yogurt, a banana and a handful of roasted cacao beans. The creamy, sweet, sour, bitter, crunchy combination of flavors and texture is amazing.

Harvesting Season:
Passion fruit can be found year round, but high season for this fruit is October through February.

Nutrition:
Like many fruits calala is high in Vitamin A, C and antioxidants. It is also incredibly high in fibre. Passion fruit offers a good dose of B vitamins, potassium and loads of minerals like iron, copper, magnesium and phosphorus.

Interesting Facts:
The ugly appearance of the skin combined with the weird seedy goopy interior makes the calala one of the ugliest – but most delicious fruits – I eat. Having a calala is part of my daily ritual.

Photo Journalism Friday: Roosters on Her Head

Photo Journalism Friday: Roosters on Her Head

As Gord and I sipped our fresh fruit smoothies watching passerby on the beach this lady and her grandson approached us. Roosters made from seashells don’t fall under our preferred style of home decor so we offered to buy her and the boy a juice. I often wonder how many of these pieces they sell in a day? A week? How long does it take to make one and how much do they cost? Instead of immediately saying, “No gracias”, I should have taken some time to have a conversation with her and ask a few questions. Next time!

Just Another Day in Nicaragua: Playa Hermosa & Pasta

It’s Wednesday. Hump Day. For me, here in Nicaragua – it’s beach day.  

With a cold Tona in hand I make my way across the hard packed sand towards the ocean. The sky is brilliant blue in color and scattered with a few big white fluffy clouds. On the horizon I can see the Costa Rican coast line.

Just Another Day in Nicaragua: Playa Hermosa & Pasta

– North end of Hermosa Beach

My husband, Gordon and our Miniature Schnauzer Maggie are already engaged in a game of fetch. Maggie jumps over the crashing waves in search of her bright orange ball. 

To my right four local guys are enjoying a game of their version of Nicaraguan street baseball. Back in the palapa our friend Paul watches over our stuff while waxing his surf board.

I wade into the warm Pacific waters that are just barely cool enough to be refreshing. I inhale the clean salt air. The heat of the afternoon sun on my skin feels good.

“Ahhh,  it’s been too long since we’ve been to the beach, ” I say to Gordon.  “And way too long since we’ve been to Playa Hermosa.” 

After a quick rinse in the fresh water shower I make my way to a lounger to get comfortable with my book and work on my tan. Our friend Clint’s timing couldn’t have been better as he makes his way back from the beach bar with a round of cold refreshing Tonas.

As the sun starts to go down in a blazing orange ball we decide it’s time to pack up and take our short ride home.  A shower, a change of clothes and dinner on San Juan bay seemed like a great way to end an already perfect day.

Just Another Day in Nicaragua: Playa Hermosa & Pasta

This Wednesday couldn’t have been more different than a Wednesday in my former life in Canada. Gone are the days of sitting at a desk in front of a computer for eight hours. Flips flops instead of heels? Much better!

As we finished our pasta dinners at an authentic Italian restaurant on the beach I felt a sense of calm. I was relaxed and satisfied. Tired, but not stressed.

I didn’t have to rush home to iron clothes for work the next day. I didn’t have to think about not wanting to wake up to the alarm clock in the morning. 

I get to spend the next day and the next day and the next day…doing whatever I want to do…and for that…I’m grateful.

Six Tips to Finding Affordable Long Term Rentals in Nicaragua

With more and more people relocating to Nicaragua finding a desirable and affordable rental isn’t always easy. But if you’re persistent, avoid getting discouraged and follow these tips you might just find your perfect rental today!

#1

POUNDING THE PAVEMENT:
Since most locals rent their homes by placing a small “SE ALQUILA” sign on the front of the house get out there every single day and walk the neighborhoods that you’re interested in living in.  Properties commonly rent on a month to month basis – so beware – a home that was occupied yesterday may be available today and then gone tomorrow.  Remember – you aren’t the only one pounding the pavement – the best deals come and go in the blink of an eye.

#2

WORD OF MOUTH:
Tell everyone you know that you’re looking for rental. Talk to expats and business owners in the area. Post messages in forums and Facebook groups such as Expats in NicaraguaExpats in San Juan del Sur. When we were looking for a long term rental in San Juan del Sur we talked to so many people there were times when random waiters at restaurants would approach us as we were walking by to tell us they had a friend or family member who had a place for rent.

#3

CLASSIFIED ADS:
Typically classified ads for long term rentals are posted by foreigners or computer savvy Nicas who expect a higher price for their properties because they know how to market. There are some good deals to be found through classified ads, but the very best opportunities are almost always found through word of mouth or pounding the pavement. Listed below are  a couple classified sites that are worth checking out.

Craigslist
Encuentra24
Nicaragua Community Classifieds

#4

REAL ESTATE AGENCIES:
Although most real estate agents and property managers deal almost exclusively with highly priced, short term vacation rentals occasionally they do have a gem in their back pocket. On occasion they may have a few sale listings where the seller wants to rent out their home while they wait for a buyer.  Visiting local real estate agencies is definitely worthwhile, but consider this option a long shot to finding your rental.

#5

BULLETIN BOARDS:
Posting boards are commonly found in bars, restaurants, corner stores, laundry mats, hostels, etc. and are also a good place to find rentals.  It’s not uncommon for the business owner to have a home for rent, so don’t forget to enquire with the proprietor and his/her staff.

#6

NEGOTIATE A SHORT TERM RENTAL INTO SOMETHING LONG TERM
If you find yourself searching for a rental during slow season and you’re willing to sign a long term lease you may just be lucky enough to negotiate a fair price on a short term rental turning into an affordable long term option. It never hurts to ask.

Hot Deals: Real Estate

Real Estate in NicaraguaAs our contacts in Nicaragua have grown we’ve been hearing about more and more fantastic real estate deals – properties owned by motivated sellers, listed below market value. 

We are excited to be launching a new section on our blog titled, “Hot Deals: Real Estate” and we’re even more excited to be sharing these exclusive word of mouth deals with you, our readers.

To check out our current listings click on the link below:

Hot Deals: Real Estate

Book mark this page and check back often. As soon the next great deal comes along you’ll be the first to know!

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