Nicaragua has never been high on my list of countries to visit. To be honest, it wasn’t even on my list.
But when our son Seth, aka The New York Times’ Frugal Traveler, agreed to let us travel frugally with him in Nicaragua as part of his three-month Brazil to NYC assignment, the country immediately became our most-desired destination and the country where we spent a week I shall never forget.
Since Seth rarely knows where he is staying before he arrives, our only instructions were to meet him at the Managua airport’s Budget Car rental parking lot sometime after 1:00 p.m. on July 28th. He was flying in that morning from Bogota, Colombia. We had flown from home the day before, and had spent the morning in Granada, a colonial town about an hour from the Managua airport, fairly incompetently getting around that attractive colonial city.
Because we had no way of contacting Seth, I imagined all kinds of things that could go wrong. But as we tried to ask the lady at the Budget counter where their cars were parked, I spied the Frugal Traveler squatting on the floor about ten yards away, computer open on his lap, planning the first day of our journey. In the short time since his plane landed, he had bought a Nicaragua phone chip, and was calling places in the northwest corner of the country where we might stay. He then called his credit card company to see what insurance they covered for the rental car, got some Nicaraguan cordobas, and was ready to roll before I could get over the fact that we had actually found him.
For six glorious days we watched Seth negotiate prices, directions, and keeping gluten out of his mother’s meals. We watched him charm tour guides and taxi drivers. We came in way under our budget of $70 per person/per day including the price of the car. Although one place we stayed didn’t have a bathroom ensuite, it made up for that by having great people and stunning sunsets over the Pacific.
Seth’s Spanish is flawless, and that helped, but his commitment to mixing with the locals (and dogs) of all ages had us seeing the country in a way we could never have done on our own.
Most important, it was pure joy to have six days with an adult son who took such good care of us, while at the same time proving to us that we have not outgrown adventure.
Even at 70-something.