Making the move

So having decided to make the move, our first step was to find a place to rent in Jinotepe. This was easier than expected, thanks to some very helpful friends that we met at a circuit assembly who are now our neighbors.

But first, we had to get there. We sold many of the things we had in the apartment so as to be saved the trouble of moving them across the country. Thankfully a couple was moving to Corn Island shortly after we planned to leave, and wanted an apartment in our building. This made things very easy, we just arranged with the landlord that we would give them the key and they would buy our appliances and many of our household items. That got us down to a few suitcases full of items, mostly clothes and some dishes. We didn't have quite enough suitcases, so we bought some cheap 20 cordoba plastic bags known as "Quintaleras" and put them inside sacks commonly used for rice or sugar to make durable water-tight bags to carry our clothes in.

On the day of the move we loaded everything into one taxi, and rode with it down to the main wharf. We had planned to take the Captain D which is the largest of the cargo ships that head to the mainland, but for whatever reason it was a no-show. So we went the next morning on the Island Express, our second favorite... but after getting all our bags on board we found out that it was only going as far as Bluefields, and we wanted to get as far as possible so as to save trouble. So we unloaded all the suitcases from the boat and carried them over to the next boat, the Isleño, our least favorite and also the smelliest of the cargo ships. In any case we left around 11:00 AM on Sunday, and bypassing Bluefields we made it to Rama by midnight. This was now the most difficult stage of the move, we decided to stay in a hotel (we found a rather nice one in Rama for 350 cordobas). We had to carry all of our bags from the wharf, two blocks down to the hotel, and because it was late there were no taxis around. Jean waited with the bags by the ship while I carried them one or two at a time, taking about 4 trips in all. Thankfully Rama is a fairly safe place to be wandering around at night.

The next day we were on the 9:00 AM express bus to Managua, which was a pretty typical chicken-bus ride. 5 hours later we're in Managua. We were debating how to get to Jinotepe from Managua. It is 1 hour bus ride from La UCA bus terminal, however said terminal only has microbus type buses, which are basically big white vans. These can hardly take suitcases as big as ours, let alone so many. If they even agreed to take us they would likely charge for each bag as if it were a passenger, so we were dreading the cost. Also the taxi would charge a fair amount to take us there as well. We ended up finding a fairly reasonable taxi rate to get us to La UCA. He would charge us 230 cordobas, which basically equates to 50 cordobas per person/suitcase. We felt this was reasonable so we agreed. Along the way we were calculating that the bus at La UCA would likely charge the same amount or more to get us up to Jinotepe, when the cab driver asked us where we were going. He offered to take us directly to Jinotepe himself so we could skip the bus stage altogether. We asked how much and I braced myself for some heavy gringo-tax... but to our surprise, he offered to do it for 700 cordobas. Thats a one hour trip up into the mountains, in a comfortable air conditioned car with all our bags safely in the back. We gladly accepted his offer, and we were saved some huge headaches and got to avoid spending any extra time in Managua.

The drive up into the mountains was spectacular. We're both really going to miss the beautiful blue ocean and beaches of Corn Island, but this part of the country also has its own natural beauty. Everything up here is a deeper green color than we generally see on the coast for some reason, and as we went higher we could see further and further. As we started to feel the change in altitude we could see clouds at eye level on either side of the road. Finally, we went straight into them. As we passed El Crucero we were surrounded with grey mist and we could feel the air getting cooler. As we came out of the clouds we were entering Diriamba just as the sun was setting. After Diriamba came Jinotepe where the taxi driver took us to the house of the brothers meeting us.

Jinotepe is a city of about 50,000 people according to some Internet sources. It has an architectural style similar to that of some other Nicaraguan cities like Granada or Leon, however very little influence of tourism. The climate is also very different, being at about 560 meters, or 1,800 feet in elevation. The temperature ranges from about 18-30 degrees Celsius throughout the year and is very pleasant. That being said, coming from the coast it feels very cold. This side of the country is far more "developed" also. Jinotepe has nice grocery stores and fruit and vegetables are easy to find. One can even find computer and electronic stores. Cost of living here is also cheaper. I'm not completely sure why things are so much more expensive on the coast even though its less developed. Even things the coast exports are cheaper here, for example lobster is cheaper in Jinotepe than on Corn Island for reasons beyond my understanding.

We do pay more here for rent than we did on Corn Island, but that is mostly because we had a particularly good deal before. We're paying a lot more now, but a long with that we have unlimited Internet (wi-fi) included in the rent along with cable TV, appliances, and furniture. And having a stable Internet connection of course means being able to make a lot more money.


  1. So glad you guys got settled. Maybe we'll manage to get together and get to know you better after we get back. We love to get together with other needgreaters now and then.


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