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Road block experiences - what happens?

Burnaby, Canada
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Road block experiences - what happens?

Claudio P gave great information (Thank you) on a different thread about some stories of road blocks, but I want to ask more directly:

(Forgive my ignorance) What can I expect if I (American tourist traveling in a hired local driver's private car) encounter a road block? Do the road-blockers simply want a "toll" for their troubles? Or, is it a shake-down sort of situation where I would be interrogated before being allowed to pass?

Essentially, I'm just curious what is the motivation for the road blocks.

For several months, I've had a trip planned to Nicaragua for next week. I planned to use local private drivers (not taxis, not buses) for transportation between cities. I'm ok if I need to pay a few extra dollars at road blocks if that's all it takes to get through. I have seriously been re-considering my plans if I hear that confrontations are expected to be more serious. I know that things are uncertain right now and difficult to say (with new dialogs apparently happening today/tomorrow), but I just thought I'd ask.

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1. Re: Road block experiences - what happens?

Thank you for this post i'm going next week and I have the same questions.

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2. Re: Road block experiences - what happens?

It depends wich road block some you can pass after a hour some don’t. I am right now stuck in between managua and leon

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3. Re: Road block experiences - what happens?

following!

Burnaby, Canada
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4. Re: Road block experiences - what happens?

Thx. Pardon for so many questions, but:

Did you get thru?

Are you in a taxi? rental car? or private driver's car?

With/without paying?

Did you, personally, believe your safety was in danger?

Did you see any violence committed against other cars/tourists/passengers while waiting in traffic?

Thank you

Edited: 18 May 2018, 00:56
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5. Re: Road block experiences - what happens?

I took a couple two nights ago from the airport to Granada and today from Granada to Ometepe and we did not have any problem of course i had to pay few cordobas at any block but they really respectful, allow us to pass, even i made some jokes with them and it was fine and smooth.

The local business people in Granada we are talking to the local government and we have being in a peaceful mood the last days people is walking on the streets doing some tours, people is going to Masaya Volcano, today it was only one block then it was fine, Masaya city is complety close and the road on the beaches were with no problem at all.

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Granada
Granada Department, Nicaragua
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Rivas Department, Nicaragua
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6. Re: Road block experiences - what happens?

if need more update info, feel free to whatsapp me at 505 88039312 or email me at byronortega@hotmail.com will be a pleasure to help you.

kind regard

Burnaby, Canada
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7. Re: Road block experiences - what happens?

Hi, fellow potential travelers to Nicaragua in the coming week! Let's all help each other out. Feel free to send me a private message.

I had an offline WhatsApp conversation with Byron (contact info in previous message), of which he said I could re-iterate here.

We discussed safety/violence, transportation, timing, my personal take on flights, etc. So just scroll down to read whichever topic you want.

Byron has been very candid and helpful - thank you!

To answer some of my earlier questions:

So far, Byron's impression is that no (Canadian or American) tourists have been injured or harassed when traveling in private vehicle transport with local private drivers. We didn't discuss this specifically, but it seems from Byron's post above it will help to have several small denominations of money handy for however many road blocks you may encounter on your trip.

Also (assuming the tourists were not trying to get involved in the protests), no violence against tourists on the streets of cities so far.

As everyone is probably reading, the roadblocks can pop-up sort of sporadically, and may be in different locations and from different times day-to-day.

For example, apparently today the most direct route from Managua to Leon (aka through Nagarote, aka what seems to be highway 28 on GoogleMaps) was completely closed. That would mean needing to take some sort of detour, like the more western highway 12 (which, doesn't seem to have any roadblocks according to the link below). Interestingly, when I simulate on GoogleMaps, both routes take approximately the same amount of time. So, hopefully this gives people options.

(Thanks again to Claudio P who posted this map of roadblocks a few days ago, but I don't know if it's being updated: https://www.vostv.com.ni/nacionales/7152-zonas-afectadas-por-tranques-en-nicaragua/)

Meanwhile, apparently today, the highway connecting managua and granada is open (and from managua to San Juan Del Sur) is open. I will be needing to take a route from MGA airport to San Jorge ferry dock, and apparently that route is currently open.

Also, the routes to the borders (and the border crossings themselves) are apparently open today.

Despite seeing some posts a few days ago saying THEN was the potentially tipping point (in terms of worsening or improving protests) day, apparently today (2nd day of dialog with the protestors) could be an inflection point.

In terms of stories about violence against taxi drivers: I still did not quite understand the answer when I asked. University students appear to be a large proportion of the protesters and road-blockers. But then, there is also a taxi strike going on (due to the price of gas, which is apparently government controlled). Something about certain folks not wanting the taxis to get involved, so citizens are removing the taxi sign from the tops of the taxis. But, when I asked for clarification on this, whether it was a situation where the university protesters don't want any distractions/competition by any other protest movements and that's why there's been violence/vandalism against the taxi drivers, that's not how it was clarified to me. Maybe I didn't ask/understand clearly enough.

I'm scheduled to fly Copa late next week, with a layover in Panama City. When I called Copa a few days ago, just to inquire about what options I would have (flight credit for a future date? cancellation? change-fee?), I was told that we could change our flight to another Copa destination without the penalty and agency fee ($275 value), but would obviously need to pay the difference in fare costs (which, at this point is like 3x the original price I paid for my ticket 4 months ago). And, I would need to conduct my travel by June 10, 2018 (which, in my mind, isn't that much elapsed time from my original itinerary leaving next week anyway. I know the situation is apparently changing day-by-day, but I don't necessarily think delaying 2 weeks makes much of a difference - it's sort of an all-or-nothing decision for me right now). If I got offered flight credit (even if I get penalized like 20%) that can be used, say, in 6 months, I would take that.

I'll post more later if I have more info.

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Nicaragua
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Managua
Managua
Managua Department, Nicaragua
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Leon
Leon Department, Nicaragua
San Juan del Sur
San Juan del Sur
Rivas Department, Nicaragua
Augusto C Sandino Airport
Augusto C Sandino Airport
Managua, Nicaragua
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8. Re: Road block experiences - what happens?

@TheNeed :

This is super helpful info. Which day are you flying in? We are supposed to land on May 25th in the morning in case you want to share a taxi.

We have non-refundable tickets with Avianca but they said due to political situation they were authorized to refund the tickets. But we really still want to go!

How much would it cost to get from Managua to Ometepe ferry in this situation? Also do the drivers take USD or cordoba.

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9. Re: Road block experiences - what happens?

Hola Ignat G, the price from the airport to San Jorge port terminal is around US$60 to US$80 depending who you ask and you can pay either in US or local Currency.

Feel free to bring US$ dollars on smalls bills, 20s, 10s and 5s, of course, clean, no tears, or nicks on it, as they are accepted everywhere, do not change any money at the EXCHANGE booth at the airport they will rip you off, wait till you get a city or keep paying in US$, Dollar exchange is CS$31.00 to US$1.00

Hopefully after today dialogue things calm down and we can continue offering the peace and beauty we had before this problems.

Enjoy Nicaragua

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Burnaby, Canada
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10. Re: Road block experiences - what happens?

In addition to my post (see 3 messages ago), just to be fair, I want to share a different perspective from an ex-pat friend of mine living in Nicaragua currently.

I was informed that not all roadblocks are set-up by university students; some are set up by rural "thugs" (not my words). I heard a story that took place a few days ago where a considerable number of these thugs stopped an ex-pat's car, asking him to get out of his car (with his family in the backseat) so that they could "inspect" (which, he knew not to do). So, looks like some opportunistic lawlessness is occurring, too.

I'm sure the situation is very complex.I'm willing to believe that both types of stories I've been hearing are true, and it all depends on the exact time and location.

Edited: 19 May 2018, 06:54
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