Recommendations for Travelers
What to pack
- Personal items, insect repellent, sunscreen, sunglasses, etc.
- Medicines: Pack your prescription medications in your carry-on. For your comfort, be prepared to treat yourself for bug bites (benedryl, neosporin, cortison cream, bandaids), common cold , and constipation (consider a bag of prunes). Bring your own Epi-Pen if needed. FYI – we have a well stocked first aid cabinet at FEV, just in case.
- Footwear: supportive walking shoes or hiking boots (paths are muddy when it rains), flip flops or sandals. For those rainy days or for walking around the plantation, FEV provides rubber boots for your use and convenience while visiting the farm.
- Clothing: Our climate is cool and humid during the months of Dec – Feb, so fast drying clothing is highly recommended. For evenings consider a sweater, fleece, vest, wrap/shawl, pair of jeans, light weight long pants, long sleeved shirt, jacket, and rain gear. For the warmer months of April and May, shorts and tee-shirts are recommended. Of course, rain gear is a must for the months of May – Dec, our oficial rainy season.
- Accessories: flashlight with extra batteries, water bottle, sun hat, journal, pens, camera with extra camera batteries, binoculars, photocopy of your passport.
- Money: If traveling around the country, $300 approx. for a weeklong ecotour. Expenses: $10 arrival tax, $20-$40 tip for staff at Finca Esperanza Verde, spending money for art work and crafts. BRING CASH ONLY, Travelers checks are not useful . ATM machines at the airport. Closest ATM to the finca is in Matagalpa.
- FEV has WiFi in the main dining room. We also provide an area in the kitchen to charge up your batteries.
Remember to leave at home expensive watches, jewelry, flashy clothes, and heels.
Managua airport arrival, departure and customs
- Before you land, you will be given a customs declaration to fill out. If you have less than $500 worth of stuff to bring into the country, you do not have to itemize your belongings. Even though you won’t need to list the contents of your suitcases you’re bringing into the country (assuming the value is under $500), you’ll need to know what the contents are. For instance, if you are carrying suitcases full of material aid or donations which you didn’t pack yourself, open the suitcase ahead of time and check out the contents.
- Local address to put on your baggage tags: Your name, Finca Esperanza Verde, San Ramón, Matagalpa, tele #8775-5341.
- Your entry visa, which you pay as you enter the airport and show your passport costs $10. Pay with a $10 bill. This covers your entry and exit fee. FYI – When you leave you will present the little piece of paper at the immigrations counter at the departure gate so make sure to keep it safe with your passport.
- At the baggage claim area where you’ve gathered your bags, be sure to have your baggage claim ticket handy to show the attendant upon leaving
- Your bags will then be placed through the X-ray machine. The customs official might ask to look in your bags. Tell him or her that the contents are “used” or for personal use. (“Esta usada”) or (“Para mi uso personal”). Allow your bags to be inspected if asked.
- There will be baggage handlers anxious to help you. THEY EXPECT TO BE PAID. One dollar for two bags will be plenty. US coins are not of any use to them. If you want to carry your own bags, tell them “No, gracias.”
- Exit the airport – look for the shuttle buses for your hotel in Managua, car rental agencies or for the FEV greeter who will be carrying a painted “Finca Esperanza Verde” wooden sign or your name on a piece of paper.
Contact information for travelers
The staff appreciates this, of course, since it’s a sign of you having had a good time. There is a tip box on the wall in the dining room. Tips are shared equally with the Finca hotel staff. Suggested tip is $20-40 for a 4 – 7 night stay at FEV.
There are good ways to help people in need. Giving money to beggars is not one of them. It encourages negative behavior and can have the affect of parents sending their children out the door to beg when they see a tourist pass by.
Travelers should investigate and consider purchasing travel insurance for their trip. MTS Travel recommends Travel Guard. Please visit www.travelguard.com or call 800-826-4919 for more information about insurance for yourself or packages for your group.
- Get in shape. The finca is at an elevation of 4,000 feet which makes hiking more strenuous than you will be used to if you live at a lower elevation.
- Learn some Spanish. Bring a phrase book or other device for easing communication.
- Read guide books and history books about Nicaragua as well as novels written by Nicaraguans.