Next Up: Nicaragua & Costa Rica

January 11, 2012

I’m on a I-bought-a-ticket high!

I’ve been scheming for a while on my next trip, wavering on destinations, and I finally took the plunge: I’m headed to Nicaragua and Costa Rica for three weeks in February.

I prefer to travel over land as opposed to flying, so I bought a one-way ticket from D.C. to Managua (Nicaragua) in early February and a one-way ticket from San Jose (Costa Rica) back to D.C. later that month. That gives me plenty of time to move slowly from Managua to San Jose, with a week and a half or so in each country.

The corners of my mouth are turning up into a smile from thinking about this trip. It’s been a while since I dropped myself in a random location with no plans (although I AM going to ride a zipline or two), since I made friends with other backpackers who also enjoy the freedom of traveling frugally, since I experienced new scenes interesting enough to send me rummaging through my pack for a pen.

How could you NOT be inspired by scenes like this? (Ghana)

In many ways, solo travel is my form of spirituality. It’s when I become most reflective, most creative, most appreciative. And since this will be the first time I travel solo since moving full-speed ahead with my business, I’m curious to see how that travel mentality affects my ideas about solopreneurship. Maybe I’ll come up with a new product I want to create. Maybe a light bulb will go off in my head about how to better build a client’s online community. Or maybe I’ll return from this trip with new priorities.

While I’ll be on my own for most of the three weeks, I’m planning to meet up with friends in Costa Rica for a handful of days smack in the middle of the month. And no, I don’t speak Spanish, which makes me nervous; I’d rather visit countries where I can communicate because I believe you get more out of the experience that way, which is why I usually stick to French-speaking countries. But hey, if I let that fear stop me, I’d nearly be out of new countries to visit already.

Over the next month, I’ve got a lot on my plate to prepare: I’m planning to work ahead as much as possible on client accounts, this blog and other responsibilities, so I can work less while traveling. But though I’ll be working fewer hours during this trip, I’ll still be working; this will be the first real test of whether I can continue to grow my business while traveling, which is one of my goals this year. I’ll let you know what does and doesn’t work along the way.

If you’ve been to Nicaragua and/or Costa Rica, I’d love to hear your recommendations!

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    9 Replies to “Next Up: Nicaragua & Costa Rica”

    • Congrats on booking the ticket!! So excited for you.

      I’ve been to Costa Rica twice: with my family when I was about 13 and as a leader for a high school summer program when I was in college.

      I loved it both times. It’s a gorgeous country that has its priorities straight: yes to education and wildlife, no to military and war. A lot of people in Costa Rica speak English, since tourism is the biggest industry and everyone seems to have relatives in New Jersey. I actually wrote a thesis proposal about connections between Costa Rica and New Jersey and why people go back to Costa Rica (and don’t go back to nearby countries like El Salvador.) I honestly don’t remember all the historical details, but it all boiled down to one thing: Costa Rica is nice!!

      As for Nicaragua, I’ve never been there, but I did write this article about two years back: And it’s on my list of places to go!

      I look forward to hearing about your experiment in working while traveling!!

    • So so so exciting! Buen viaje!!!

    • Congrats on your impending Leap!

      We were in Nicaragua at the beginning of December (so about a month ago). I loved it! It’s in my top 3 countries on this trip, along with Colombia and Mexico. I wrote a post about one of the Nicaraguan Christmastime celebrations. It’s not entirely relevant to the time you’ll be there, but it captures my impression of its people and spirit a bit.

      A couple we met who were biking through Central America had good things to say about Granada. It has a decent expat population, which also means more English, and Spanish schools are abundant there. The last handful of posts on their blog are about Nicaragua.

      We kind of breezed through Costa Rica, but it was a beautiful drive!

    • Beth Fenger says:

      When you’re in Costa Rica find Pure Trek Canyoning and go rappeling down waterfalls – outside of Arenal. They were super nice, totally prepared and even gave me an extra CD full of pictures from the day as well as pics of area wildlife. Totally recommend it. Night hikes in the nature preserve there are fantastic as well. Beware the waves in Tamarindo – they are monsterous! Went horseback riding on the beach though and it was great. There’s a seafood restaurant on the beach (it looks like a postcard scene with waves, tiki torches, and seclusion) called El Dorado that I recommend as well. A short taxi ride away from Tamarindo.

      If you end up liking Costa Rica, you’ll LOVE Guatemala. More remote, authentic Mayan culture, and more diverse.

      Have a great trip!

    • Noch Noch says:

      Just stumbled across your blog somehow, and i love your travels and writing. I’ve only made it to Argentina, but never to Nicaragua or Costa Rica. I hope you have fun though
      and I read your tips on writing a book. I’m working on a project right now to write about my experience in depression. Appreciate your insights
      Noch Noch

    • Patrick Ross says:

      What fun! I’ve never been to either country, but I gather it’s criminal to go to Costa Rica and not ride a rope line.

      I hope your new business is going well, I admire your bravery.

    • Susan says:

      Yay, what a great trip. I loved Nicaragua. My favorite part was Isla de Ometepe, a volcanic island in the middle of Lake Nicaragua. Lots of hiking, kayaking, coffee farms, and relaxing. Beautiful, with few tourists. I dislocated my finger when slipping on the way down one of the volcanoes, but it didn’t lessen my opinion at all. Have fun!

    • Three weeks so you must already be back. My favorite things in Costa Rica are Surfing in Tamarindo, zip lining in Monteverde. The hot springs in Arenal, and snorkeling on the Caribbean side. The monkeys and the iguanas aren’t too bad either. Mountain biking is also awesome here and white water rafting!! Happy travels

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