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Archive for Travel

Tourist Maps of Leon and Matagalpa

We've encountered many clients frustrated by the absence of good, comprehensive tourist maps of Leon and Matagalpa. So we created our own of Leon and Matagalpa (click the links). We've received so many requests for copies, we're making these images available to the public for free for a limited time.

Frequently, the only businesses that appear in widely circulated tourist maps are the ones that paid for it. Not in ours.

Our maps feature excellent tourist destinations and off-the-beaten-path attractions that, as far as we've known, have never received this kind of publicity — for free. They also include information vital for those who choose to relocate here, including the location of hospitals, clinics, grocery stores and more.

It's our small effort to encourage tourism and relocation here and to get some great destinations in Leon and Matagalpa the attention they deserve.

All tourist destinations in our map appear for free. There is only one condition:
That they provide a good tourism-related product or service that is a
good representation of what each city has to offer tourists and expats.

If you have corrections or would like to make additions, let us know. If you're
interested in obtaining a portable or wall-sized print, also please let us
know. Discover Serenity.

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Thank you, Debi and Gerry

We’re flattered and deeply humbled by glowing compliments given to us by Serenity clients Debi and Gerry from the state of Arkansas, USA. We are committed as a company to doing whatever we can to help our clients find their own island of Serenity in a deeply troubled world.

Debi and Gerry´s Excellent Adventure: Day 3

Debi and Gerry, a retiring couple from the Southeastern U.S., arrived in Nicaragua for the first time last Friday to join a one-week Serenity Tour. The tour investigates tourist hotspots, lifestyle, housing and retirement options in and around Matagalpa. They want a cooler climate, lower living costs (especially medical bills and drug costs) and a simpler, calmer life. They´re tired of long commutes and traffic congestion…and a nice view wouldn´t hurt. We wanted to run a daily diary of their experiences during the tour, but we´ve been so busy, we haven´t had a chance to report in until now.

Starting today, we´ll provide irregular updates on their escapades. Already, they´ve stayed at the area´s top hotel (Hotel St. Thomas)…


seen more than a dozen impressive properties with great mountain views, cool climates and natural scenery  (three of which were just what they were looking for), have meet with a top doctor from a local clinic, the vice-chief of police for Matagalpa, the head of the region´s top eco-tourism resort (Selva Negra), and the local Dutch business chief of the incredibly scenic Castillo de Cacao (The Chocolate Castle factory) to discuss the area´s medical care, security, business opportunities and the experiences of other foreigners in the area.

We might provide future updates of their trip, time permitting. Until then, check out the photos and click here for more shots of their experiences.

Discover Serenity with Debi and Gerry.

Yet Another Positive Tourism Article on Nicaragua, but…

Check out this New York Times article. It’s the latest in a series of positive tourism stories on Nicaragua over the past few months.

We like what it had to say about Nicaragua:

"After a war-exhausted citizenry voted out the Sandinistas in 1990,
the conservative governments that followed promoted a consumer economy
and courted foreign investment aggressively enough that in the last
three years or so, a tipping point has been reached. Tourism, once the
dessert option in Nicaragua, is now the main course, and one of the
country’s chief sources of hard cash. Understandably so. Packed into an
area the size of Louisiana
are some of the best aspects of the entire Central American isthmus:
huge tracts of forests teeming with endangered species, like in Costa Rica; the kind of sultry colonial cities you’d find in Guatemala; and unsullied surfing beaches as good as those in El Salvador.

But we take issue with what it says and what it doesn’t say about Granada and Leon:

"Nowhere are these pleasures more centralized than in Nicaragua’s
Pacific southwest, in and around Granada. There’s a local expression:
“Granada is Nicaragua; the rest is just mountains. Founded by the conquistador Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba
in 1524, Granada is the oldest city in Nicaragua — although Leon, to
the northwest, vies for the title (it was founded the same year). "

Leon is the older city, and Leon is "better preserved" as the author later writes. Though, as he also writes, Leon’s "touristic comforts are still in an early stage of development," that’s the opportunity. Leon offers more for the buck — in lifestyle options, venues and real estate value — and investment potential than Granada. For instance, a spanish colonial that might cost $300,000 in Granada could easily be $150,000 up here. And Leon is a genuine city — a university town with a middle and working class. Granada is…well, it’s Disneyland. A beautiful affulent center of just a few blocks surrounded by abject poverty and absent (not just dilapidated…absent) infrastructure just blocks from the center in almost every direction.

That’s some of what we see, and why we’re up here rather than down there. The North (referred to as Occidental and North-Central by Nicaraguans) has a lot more to offer for a lot less than Granada, or San Juan Del Sur for that matter, including beaches and mountain views at very affordable prices. We see more people becoming aware of this, including a recent surge in foreign visitors who had previously bought property in Granada. Discover Serenity.

A perfect day in Matagalpa

‘ve beefed up our Matagalpa office…and couldn’t have chosen a better date. We were here just in time for patriotic festivities celebrating Nicaragua’s Independence Day. From our second floor, we had a perfect bird’s eye view of a perfect parade on a perfect Friday with perfect weather. We saw multiple school bands play flawlessly with spirit and flair.

The bands and different groups (including an elementary school honor roll of the city’s academic best) followed one after another around Parque Morazan as we observed from our office, feasted on delicious pork-salad tacos, drank “Jamaica” tea and wine and took in the soft breeze.

We were not surprised when told that these kids had practiced for months. We did not hear one false note during the entire procession. It was quite an event and a wonderful representation of the beauty, heart and potential this city has to offer. Check out our growing inventory of stunning property here.

Discover Matagalpa. Discover Serenity.

Err…more schadenfruede…just a little

We don’t mean to beat a dead horse, but…we just can’t help ourselves:

NYT: Most Flights Are Late, And It May Only Get Worse

As the article explains very well, this situation isn’t going to get any better any time soon, and the solutions will be costly.

And, as before there’s a serious message behind our Schadenfruede. This is part of a bigger problem facing the U.S. It’s major infrastructure — from airports to roads to power grids — are overtaxed, undermaintained, undermanaged and arguably underfunded. Or, more precisely, funds are not being consistently committed to their best use.

Discover Serenity.

Big Drop in Air Fares to Nicaragua: About $200 from Miami to Managua!

TACA and American Airlines have dramatically cut fares to Nicaragua recently. Our eyes popped when we recently saw the latest Miami-Managua round-trip fares on Mobissimo. Fares as low as $238 appeared today.

Mobissimo is our favorite air fare search engine, btw. Unlike other more popular and heavily advertised air-fare search engines, they’re not affiliated with particular airlines or air-fare pricing systems. It’s a completely independent searchbot that searches all the search engines and airline website independently. It’s the mother searcher of all travel search-engines, and we’ve found some of our best travel fares here.

The new low fares from Taca follows a surprise offer from American Airlines recently of $199 for travel from Miami to Managua. But that offer was severely restricted in terms of available flight times, and the notice was short. Not the case with the TACA and American air fares listed above. Who knows? There could be more of this to come.

It’s a good time to visit Nicaragua. Discover Nicaragua. Discover Serenity.