Calala island, Nicaragua

Old May 26, 2021, 1:13 pm
  #31  
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Originally Posted by parrotheadmjb
It was great, I was there 6 nights and only on the first night was there another couple there so the next 5 nights I literally had a private island. Upgraded to Master Suite. The only changes were to the activities listed, they axed the nearby in town experience which I didn't really care about. Also the picnic on a deserted island, while you could still do it each island had a person or two on it now that stays there to watch over the island (only started about 3 months ago), we didn't care much about that either so didn't do it. We did go island hopping, snorkeling, and fishing.
How was the weather? We are thinking about going next May
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Old May 26, 2021, 1:21 pm
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Originally Posted by SeeTheLights
How was the weather? We are thinking about going next May
We ended up with great weather, it sprinkled for a 20 seconds when we checked in on April 29th and didn't see another rain drop until we were leaving the island around 5am on May 5th. They said the weather there is best April/May also around September but September is less predictable because of tropical storms. They're closed basically the entire month of July because of all of the rain. I already booked it again for next year for about the same time I already went but we'll see if I end up going back, depends on what happens in my life between now and then lol. Also, as I think other people mentioned, you may end up on a single engine Cessna for one or both of your flights from Managua to Bluefields.
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Old May 26, 2021, 1:29 pm
  #33  
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Originally Posted by parrotheadmjb
We ended up with great weather, it sprinkled for a 20 seconds when we checked in on April 29th and didn't see another rain drop until we were leaving the island around 5am on May 5th. They said the weather there is best April/May also around September but September is less predictable because of tropical storms. They're closed basically the entire month of July because of all of the rain. I already booked it again for next year for about the same time I already went but we'll see if I end up going back, depends on what happens in my life between now and then lol. Also, as I think other people mentioned, you may end up on a single engine Cessna for one or both of your flights from Managua to Bluefields.
sounds good. Thanks for the info!
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Old May 26, 2021, 4:05 pm
  #34  
 
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Originally Posted by parrotheadmjb
We ended up with great weather, it sprinkled for a 20 seconds when we checked in on April 29th and didn't see another rain drop until we were leaving the island around 5am on May 5th. They said the weather there is best April/May also around September but September is less predictable because of tropical storms. They're closed basically the entire month of July because of all of the rain. I already booked it again for next year for about the same time I already went but we'll see if I end up going back, depends on what happens in my life between now and then lol. Also, as I think other people mentioned, you may end up on a single engine Cessna for one or both of your flights from Managua to Bluefields.
Are you from the US? Can you outline the COVID testing procedures/requirments?
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Old May 27, 2021, 2:32 pm
  #35  
 
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Originally Posted by Kyle Baxter
Are you from the US? Can you outline the COVID testing procedures/requirments?
To get to Nicaragua you are suppose to have a negative nasal rt-pcr taken within 72 hours of landing in Nicaragua but sent to the airline 36 hours before departure. So you end up with a less than 33 hour window where you can get the test if you're coming from Miami. The test is suppose to be signed by a Doctor and stamped by a laboratory, the enforcement of this I've heard just depends on who is working that day in the Nicaraguan health department and tends to be stricter for those who are not citizens of Nicaragua. We flew to Miami on a Monday morning and went to FG Rapid and paid $199 a person for a 3 hours PCR which they will stamp but you have to return to the location to pick up the stamped copy. They also had a Doctor sign it for us. I also ready many people say Biocollections in Miami works too because they put embed a copy of your drivers license and provide a unique QR code on the results (apparently this is enough for the government), this was not an option for us as Biocollections is closed on Sundays and they have a 17 hour turn around time on average and if I got tested on Monday morning at Biocollections I wouldn't get the results until after the 3am Tuesday cutoff for sending the results to the airline for a Wednesday flight. There are a couple of online forms that also have to filled out for Avianca (if that is the airline you fly, there are only two airlines flying to MGA). To leave Nicaragua the island had us leave at 5am to do the whole boat and flight process, we were met by a representative of the island at the MGA airport who drove us to the health department for the Covid test, he then took us to our hotel. When the results were ready he went to pick up our results made extra photocopies for us and met us in the lobby of our hotel with them. There is an additional Nicaraguan government online form that has to be completed at least 36 hours before leaving the country. Don't forget to carry $10 in cash per person for immigration when you land in Nicaragua.
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Old Jun 3, 2021, 11:48 am
  #36  
 
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Originally Posted by parrotheadmjb
To get to Nicaragua you are suppose to have a negative nasal rt-pcr taken within 72 hours of landing in Nicaragua but sent to the airline 36 hours before departure. So you end up with a less than 33 hour window where you can get the test if you're coming from Miami. The test is suppose to be signed by a Doctor and stamped by a laboratory, the enforcement of this I've heard just depends on who is working that day in the Nicaraguan health department and tends to be stricter for those who are not citizens of Nicaragua. We flew to Miami on a Monday morning and went to FG Rapid and paid $199 a person for a 3 hours PCR which they will stamp but you have to return to the location to pick up the stamped copy. They also had a Doctor sign it for us. I also ready many people say Biocollections in Miami works too because they put embed a copy of your drivers license and provide a unique QR code on the results (apparently this is enough for the government), this was not an option for us as Biocollections is closed on Sundays and they have a 17 hour turn around time on average and if I got tested on Monday morning at Biocollections I wouldn't get the results until after the 3am Tuesday cutoff for sending the results to the airline for a Wednesday flight. There are a couple of online forms that also have to filled out for Avianca (if that is the airline you fly, there are only two airlines flying to MGA). To leave Nicaragua the island had us leave at 5am to do the whole boat and flight process, we were met by a representative of the island at the MGA airport who drove us to the health department for the Covid test, he then took us to our hotel. When the results were ready he went to pick up our results made extra photocopies for us and met us in the lobby of our hotel with them. There is an additional Nicaraguan government online form that has to be completed at least 36 hours before leaving the country. Don't forget to carry $10 in cash per person for immigration when you land in Nicaragua.
Thank you for the outline. We are supposed to be going in October but are worried about the availability of flights and meeting the testing requirements. Is the 36 hr prior to departure from MIA or the start of your travel? IE we are departing LAX to MIA to MGA
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Old Jun 3, 2021, 11:58 am
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Originally Posted by Kyle Baxter
Thank you for the outline. We are supposed to be going in October but are worried about the availability of flights and meeting the testing requirements. Is the 36 hr prior to departure from MIA or the start of your travel? IE we are departing LAX to MIA to MGA
I think theres a significant chance that Copa and Avianca will still be the only airlines servicing MGA in October and I would prepare for that. For Avianca it was 36 hours before the MIA flight, I could be wrong but I think the 36 hour rule was airline specific to give themselves and the government a buffer because every passenger has to be approved by the government.

There is a facebook group on Nicaragua travel that you could find helpful, there is even a travel agent on there that I saw some people paid him like $60 or something and in turn the restrictions etc were looser because he had connections to the airline and maybe the government. It might be worth looking into.
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Old Jun 4, 2021, 11:13 am
  #38  
 
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Award Availability

Are they playing games with award availability? I'm seeing numerous nights with Junior Suites available but no award availability. Is this allowed because it's SLH and more separate from Hyatt corporate?
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Old Jun 4, 2021, 11:15 am
  #39  
 
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Originally Posted by redstormrising
Are they playing games with award availability? I'm seeing numerous nights with Junior Suites available but no award availability. Is this allowed because it's SLH and more separate from Hyatt corporate?
I think only 1 room is available to book on points
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Old Jun 4, 2021, 2:17 pm
  #40  
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Originally Posted by redstormrising
Are they playing games with award availability? I'm seeing numerous nights with Junior Suites available but no award availability. Is this allowed because it's SLH and more separate from Hyatt corporate?
SLH properties are completely separate from Hyatt. There is simply a marketing arrangement between Hyatt, SLH, and some of the SLH properties.
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Old Jun 30, 2021, 8:55 pm
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Originally Posted by lhrhappy
Same. We're looking at Sailrock instead.
Hi, did you ever make it to sailrock? And if so, how was it? Potentially going there next month!
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Old Jul 1, 2021, 9:23 am
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Originally Posted by AJDem
Hi, did you ever make it to sailrock? And if so, how was it? Potentially going there next month!
We haven't made it anywhere yet, unfortunately. I hope your trip goes well!
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Old Jan 11, 2022, 2:23 pm
  #43  
 
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Anyone else have experience at Calala Island? I am looking for a "big" trip this year to celebrate a milestone birthday and the "ultra inclusive" large staff, small guest numbers sounded really enticing. We're currently booked for 3 nights in November, with award flights booked on American out of Miami. I'm surprised to read above that not long ago, Copa and Avianca were the only airlines flying from the US to MGA. I guess if AA cancels our flights within the 90 day Calala cancellation period, we're potentially screwed.
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Old Jan 11, 2022, 2:44 pm
  #44  
 
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Originally Posted by lsprice
Anyone else have experience at Calala Island? I am looking for a "big" trip this year to celebrate a milestone birthday and the "ultra inclusive" large staff, small guest numbers sounded really enticing. We're currently booked for 3 nights in November, with award flights booked on American out of Miami. I'm surprised to read above that not long ago, Copa and Avianca were the only airlines flying from the US to MGA. I guess if AA cancels our flights within the 90 day Calala cancellation period, we're potentially screwed.
AA never stopped selling flights to MGA but they haven't flown since March 2020, they just cancel their flights on a rolling basis. I almost booked AA this time last year for MGA but hedged on the safe side, looking forward today I made the right choice. The best source of information on the MGA airport I've found is https://havanatimes.org/ and they haven't posted any news lately on the airport. AA has not made any announcement they will fly there anytime soon, to my knowledge. I would not plan to fly AA based on the current state of issues. 3 nights is a bit short but doable, but based on recent flight times, if you end up flying Copa or Avianca you'll probably need to spend 1 night in MGA before and 1 night in MGA after because of flight times; you'll have to spend 1 night in MGA when leaving the island no matter what time your flight is most likely unless you take an eMed covid test online (assuming the US still requires that in November). There is only one Covid testing lab in the entire country, run by the government.

About the cancellation policy, I asked about it when I was going they decreased mine to 60 days and said that even within 60 days I wouldn't be responsible for 50% but something closer to 1 night for non-refundable expenses they are out of pocket for. I would email them.

I had reservations for this April but had to cancel since my wife is expecting in May.

UPDATE: https://havanatimes.org/news/nicarag...vid-test-kits/
You can't even bring eMed tests to Nicaragua. You have to read this to understand why Airlines don't want to fly there its crap like that.
Its not easy forcing your Pilots and FAs etc to get a PCR performed 72 hours before your flight lands in Managua with a stamp from the lab and a signature from a Doctor, along with every passenger on flight's tests and forms. Forward all that information to the Nicaraguan government 36 hours before it leaves.... Until the requirements change, I don't think a US airline will fly there

Last edited by parrotheadmjb; Jan 11, 2022 at 2:59 pm
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Old Jan 11, 2022, 2:54 pm
  #45  
 
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Originally Posted by lsprice
Anyone else have experience at Calala Island? I am looking for a "big" trip this year to celebrate a milestone birthday and the "ultra inclusive" large staff, small guest numbers sounded really enticing. We're currently booked for 3 nights in November, with award flights booked on American out of Miami. I'm surprised to read above that not long ago, Copa and Avianca were the only airlines flying from the US to MGA. I guess if AA cancels our flights within the 90 day Calala cancellation period, we're potentially screwed.
I just came back from Calala Island 2 weeks ago, after spending 5 nights there. My reservation was originally booked for Dec 2020, but the reservation team was generous to allow us to postpone our stay by one year due to frequent airline cancellations (went from United, to AA, to Copa...). This time, I booked with Avianca to be sure I would be able to get to Nicaragua, and my bet was right, because they have been continuously flying to Nicaragua without fail. Personally, 3 nights sounds a bit short. I felt my 5 nights there was perfect, 4 may be also ok. I absolutely loved my experience at Calala Island. The GMs were amazing. My stay there surpassed my experience at StR and Conrad Bora Bora, and WA Maldives (mainly because of the all-inclusive nature, because it felt like no expense was spared to create a beautiful experience for the guests).

Although the official stance is that you cannot bring emed tests into the country, I had no idea and managed to bring 4 through customs. I know there is an expat black market selling these tests on facebook too.
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