Our tour started in Managua and stayed within the southwest part of the country. Prior to departure I read the Explorer’s Guide: Granada, San Juan del Sur & Southwest Nicaragua: A Great Destination.
I found the guide provided accurate information. Nicaragua’s travel infrastructure is very under developed and unless you are very adventurous (and speak reasonably good Spanish) or are going to a specific location, you may find a tour operator as your best introduction to the country. Careli Tours hosted our trip and I understand they have hosted many Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partner trips over the years. They did an excellent job.
So you have decided to be adventurous and strike out on your own. Well consider this: I did not see a single street sign, but I did see signs pointing in the general direction of the bigger cities. In fact, locations have no true address just a relative location based on a landmark that might not have been present for many years. Here is the address of Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partner’s office in Managua: ”From INVUR 1 block to the lake, 1 block down, 20 yards to the lake, Batahola Norte”. Here is another address: “From the Lourdes Church, two blocks west, past the Pali supermarket, take a right at the next corner where an old woman sells fruit, past the Bar Maguey and go to the end of the dead end street, where there’s a two-story white house with a black gate, where the gringos live.”
Still want to navigate on your own in Nicaragua? Consider this: our tour bus had a snorkel, convenient when the road courses through streams rather than over them on a bridge.