Our onsite hosts share pro tips on how to get ready for the trip of a lifetime.
Weather & Lifestyle
Nicaragua’s climate is tropical coastal, meaning that it is both hot and breezy. Temperatures range in the 80s and 90s during the day and the 70s at night. There are two distinct seasons: wet and dry. October is the wettest month and March is the driest; the months in between gradually build toward either end point of the scale. While guests from North America and Europe may consider “high season” to be during the winter months as to escape the cold back home, it is pleasant to visit the Orquidea any month of the year. Visitors from June through October will experience the growing lushness of the jungle as atmospheric moisture returns, as well as the best opportunities for offshore fishing and turtle activity. Guests arriving in November through May will enjoy dazzlingly sunny days and cloudless night skies perfect for stargazing.
The lifestyle in San Juan is an interesting mix of laid back and reserved. The surfer and backpacker crowd is easy to spot, sporting board shorts and bare shoulders. Nicaraguans like to dress to the best of their means and, due to the prevailing Catholic faith, most people (especially women) cover up more than might be expected given the warm climate. Guests are encouraged to bring a variety of clothing styles and/or layers, noting that showy or overly dressy items are likely to be out of place. Please leave all valuable jewelry at home. Remember to pack sturdy shoes for adventure days in addition to flip flops for the beach or around the resort grounds. Other suggested packing items include:
- Sun protection: hats, cover ups, non-aerosol sunscreen
- Rash guard/Surf shirt
- Sarong (helpful for massages)
- Refillable, sealing water bottle
- Sleeping eye mask (the sun rises early here!)
- Camera (note that drones are not allowed in Nicaragua and are likely to be confiscated at Customs)
Most guests find that a carry-on suitcase and backpack is sufficient for a week’s vacation with us.
All visitors to Nicaragua receive a 90-day tourist visa upon passage through Immigration at the airport or the land border. Passports must have at least six months remaining before expiration to be accepted. Please note that there is a tourist fee equivalent to $10 US payable upon entrance.
Health & Safety
As with traveling to any foreign country, exercising common sense goes a long way in ensuring health and safety. It is a good idea to review your medical insurance policies prior to traveling in order to understand your options should an emergency arise. Basic health care is available in San Juan del Sur, and a highly reputable first-rate hospital is located in Managua. Checking this information ahead of time can give you greater peace of mind while traveling, and be sure to bring any important documentation with you such as proof of coverage ID cards.
Guest safety is of utmost priority at the Orquidea. Accordingly, every guest suite has an in-room, programmable safe for use during your stay and the entire property is covered by 24-hours-a-day security. You can plan on bringing as much cash as is reasonably needed based upon your trip’s itinerary along with a cushion for incidentals. Note that street vendors and many businesses only accept cash, although some more upscale restaurants and attractions accept credit cards. ATMs are available in San Juan del Sur. Typically, there is little need to convert US dollars to Nicaraguan córdobas as most vendors will accept US dollars. It is a good idea to bring a variety of small bills as vendors will likely provide change in córdobas.
Cellular networks are available to varying degrees depending on location. Most calls and texts will go through in San Juan del Sur. While at the Orquidea, internet-based calling platforms such as WhatsApp and FaceBook messenger tend to be more reliable. For greatest ease in staying in touch while traveling, have your loved ones download these apps prior to departure.
Most importantly, bring an open mind. Nicaragua surprises, delights, expands, and transforms. Most people leave feeling remarkably different than when they first arrived!