Calala island, Nicaragua

Old Jan 25, 2023, 12:46 pm
  #121  
 
Join Date: Dec 2022
Posts: 6
Yeah, this is what I would consider the easy/fun version of the boat ride under ideal circumstances. We did the Pearl Lagoon tour and on the way back the waves were huge and the boat was coming almost all of the way out of the water. As well on our last morning we needed full rain gear and had good-sized waves. For us it was a blast, but I can't imagine it would be fun with a small child.
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Old Jan 31, 2023, 7:08 pm
  #122  
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
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Can anyone comment on safe they felt in the capital prior to and post leaving the island? Here's what Google shows on the top of the search results: "Nicaragua has a high crime rate, including armed robbery, assault and express kidnapping. There aren't many police outside major urban areas. Avoid remote locations. Don't go out alone or at night." I'm NYC based and I can say the same for parts of the city, so I'm guessing it's fine but it would be nice to hear some thoughts from those that have been there. I had a rez but ended up canceling it and going to 5 star in the Carribean instead.
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Old Feb 1, 2023, 5:49 am
  #123  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 173
Originally Posted by drod
Can anyone comment on safe they felt in the capital prior to and post leaving the island? Here's what Google shows on the top of the search results: "Nicaragua has a high crime rate, including armed robbery, assault and express kidnapping. There aren't many police outside major urban areas. Avoid remote locations. Don't go out alone or at night." I'm NYC based and I can say the same for parts of the city, so I'm guessing it's fine but it would be nice to hear some thoughts from those that have been there. I had a rez but ended up canceling it and going to 5 star in the Carribean instead.
We spent a few days in Granada (about an hour south of Managua) and did not feel unsafe. It was busy, lots of pedestrian streets, cafes, outdoor dining, etc. We spent a day and a night in Managua and while the area right near the hotel seemed fine with a large indoor mall next door, I would not have wandered too far on foot.
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Old Feb 1, 2023, 3:42 pm
  #124  
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
Programs: WOH Globalist
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Originally Posted by drod
Can anyone comment on safe they felt in the capital prior to and post leaving the island? Here's what Google shows on the top of the search results: "Nicaragua has a high crime rate, including armed robbery, assault and express kidnapping. There aren't many police outside major urban areas. Avoid remote locations. Don't go out alone or at night." I'm NYC based and I can say the same for parts of the city, so I'm guessing it's fine but it would be nice to hear some thoughts from those that have been there. I had a rez but ended up canceling it and going to 5 star in the Carribean instead.
last time I was in a Nicaragua and Managua was maybe 10 years ago on a volunteer trip staying with locals and it was dangerous-I was never alone outside (or ever really outside where I was staying) and always took a taxi (with a female driver as I am a women). The local family I stayed with didnít really walk around either outside. Only place I went as a western mall. A friend was out with a local guy and they got held up at gunpoint.

Iíve heard that itís become more dangerous since all the political changes thatís happened and as someone who also has lived in NY, the danger is on a whole other level.

Grenada and Leon were fine to walk around in (though during the daytime).
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Last edited by Cometstar; Feb 2, 2023 at 3:22 pm
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Old Feb 24, 2023, 9:22 am
  #125  
 
Join Date: Jan 2023
Posts: 3
Originally Posted by drod
Can anyone comment on safe they felt in the capital prior to and post leaving the island? Here's what Google shows on the top of the search results: "Nicaragua has a high crime rate, including armed robbery, assault and express kidnapping. There aren't many police outside major urban areas. Avoid remote locations. Don't go out alone or at night." I'm NYC based and I can say the same for parts of the city, so I'm guessing it's fine but it would be nice to hear some thoughts from those that have been there. I had a rez but ended up canceling it and going to 5 star in the Carribean instead.
I'm also NYC based and have traveled around Central/South America and Asia extensively (mix of backpacking and high end travel), so take my commentary with that lens in mind.

I just returned from Nicaragua earlier this week. In addition to 5 nights at Calala, we spent 1 night in Managua before the island, and then 1 night in Apoyo Lagoon + 2 nights in Granada after the island.

I didn't feel unsafe anywhere, including Managua. We were a bit more cautious in Managua, and had Nestor spend the afternoon showing us around. I think we could have done it on our own with a bit of research and street smarts, but it felt easier and worthwhile to outsource this bit. In the evening, we decided to go to a baseball game in the national stadium which ended up being a blast. He dropped us off and then we sent him a note when we were ready to leave and he picked us up. I found his services to be a good value and it was nice to be able to pick his brain and learn a bit more about the area/culture/what we were seeing than if we had been on our own.

After the stay on the island, we rented a car and drove in + around Managua/Apoyo/Masaya/Granada. The roads felt very safe compared to other destinations we've been to recently where I would not dare consider driving. The speed limit is fairly low and people abide by it, and drivers are not aggressive.

In terms of kidnapping and arrest danger, I read that you should avoid discussing politics and heeded that advice.
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Old Mar 9, 2023, 12:17 am
  #126  
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 39
On the first night there, we stayed at the Hyatt Place then walked around the nearby mall. On the way back, Nestor (the Managua Calala rep) gave us a tour of Downtown and the nearby Volcano. The dinner at the Hyatt Place was way better than I expected. We had a great 3 nights in Calala, but if we did it again would probably stay for at least 4. The staff on the island were incredible
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Old Apr 11, 2023, 1:41 am
  #127  
 
Join Date: Feb 2023
Posts: 6
Anyone else been to Calala recently? Headed there for 4 nights next month. We arrive in Managua at noon the day before so should have a little time to explore (staying at Hyatt Place). Hoping to get a tour of some kind with the Calala rep like a few have mentioned in this thread. I think I've read most every review I could find to be prepared, but curious for any other suggestions on things to bring or to look out for.
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Old May 23, 2023, 1:19 pm
  #128  
 
Join Date: May 2023
Posts: 2
We recently came back from a 5 night stay. Did we enjoy it? For sure but I'm not sure if we would go back.

A couple of rambling thoughts:

The boat ride wasn't bad by any means in either direction. The way out had some chop but it was fun unless you had a bad back. The way back was crazy smooth. We were 100% dry both directions. My least favorite part of the whole trek there was the taxi ride but that was mostly due to the driver.

When they bring coffee they put it on your beachside table. So put some pants on in the morning or shut the curtains!

Mid May was good weather wise. We had one 10 minute shower and that was it over the 5 days. It was warm, though, when the wind died down.

The massage prices people have put here in the past are off. A 30 min massage was $80, a 60 minute was $140. Not bad by resort standards but a lot more than before.

The items you can purchase at the end are stupid expensive as well. A hat was $55 and I'm not sure what the rest cost.

The bad

The food has the potential to be good but it was luke warm 70% of the time. The staff bring everything to you at once and go table by table. So, parts would be cold. And, it was definitely on island time. Plan for 30-60 minutes after ordering. Dinner was usually a 5 course meal but took 2 hours from start to finish. My favorite lunch dish was the local fish as that was prepared perfectly. They do try really hard to make a lot of the food seem like a high end tasting menu and they do a reasonably good job. But the timing of bringing it out was off.

The hard liquors are bottom of the barrel. Think Smirnoff and the like. The cocktails were good but the low quality alcohol was kind of a surprise. And, we both thought the wines were garbage. Took a sip and couldn't drink more. We aren't really wine snobs but they were...rough. I'm sure it has some to do with importing issues but they could likely spend a bit extra here. My favorite drink was a passionfruit margarita. The wines you can purchase were between $150-600.

I'm not sure I really like Claudia and Leon. I'm hoping that the gratuities we left actually go to the staff but obviously there is no way to check it. They seemed nice but part of me feels it is fake.

If you go, bring earplugs and a noise machine! The birds start caw caw cawing at 4 am! We got used to it by the second or third night but they are crazy loud.

The rooms are very hot during the day but extremely manageable at night.

We and another party did get a stomach bug on the last day. I'm not sure if others did as we didn't have any further communication with them. Claudia blamed it on the extra sun, alcohol, and rich food which is a bunch of BS. See my point 3 rows above.

The good

The entire staff was amazing. They work hard to make sure you have a great time. From the groundskeepers to the servers to the housekeepers it was flawless.

On a vacation, we usually do not talk with any other guest. But, on Calala you almost become like a large family. It is hard to avoid contact. You can if you really want to be a recluse but it would be awkward and strange. I really enjoyed the conversations even as somebody who usually keeps to themself. It was fun meeting others and seeing how they got there. We had a good time with this.

The room is amazing. I liked the privacy and being able to see the sea from the room. We've never stayed at a place like that and it was the main reason I'd go back.

The pool and water is very nice.

The fishing and activities are a lot of fun. The snorkeling isn't great but is good for some exploring. We saw one turtle while fishing but that was it. The kayaking was fun (until it is low tide and you get caught on the rocks).

There were 3 rooms booked on points when we were there. We were all from the US. There were two that were on charity auction from the UK. This seems to be pretty standard from what others have said.

Feel free to ask any questions!
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Old Jan 7, 2024, 2:44 pm
  #129  
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: New York City
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Posts: 2,129
Looks like award space (or any space) via Hyatt is gone. Anyone seeing any?
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Old Jan 7, 2024, 2:48 pm
  #130  
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 600
Originally Posted by mizzou miles
Looks like award space (or any space) via Hyatt is gone. Anyone seeing any?

Still there.
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Old Jan 8, 2024, 8:18 pm
  #131  
 
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Well, that is a needle in a haystack, alright! Over a year away....
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Old Jan 23, 2024, 10:45 am
  #132  
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Minneapolis
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Snagged four nights for next January! Hoping the rumors of Hyatt and SLH partnership ending doesn't impact it... Fingers crossed it's honored at a minimum.
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Old Jan 31, 2024, 12:26 am
  #133  
 
Join Date: Jan 2022
Posts: 90
Planning on heading there late June this year and had some questions for users who had been around there around those months as well as users that have been there recently.

How is the weather around June? Do we have to worry about the hurricane experience on the island?

And for users that have been recently, how safe is Nicaragua and Managua for US tourists. Has anyone experienced the "Level 3, State Travel Advisory?"
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Old Feb 23, 2024, 12:38 pm
  #134  
 
Join Date: Oct 2023
Posts: 2
Iím planning on heading here in the summer as well, but still considering saving my points for other opportunities.

Curious what you all think: how do you compare this experience against other luxury resort offerings like Maldives or Bora Bora?

Also how is the temperature there in the summer months? Did you find it to be too hot?
Thanks!
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Old May 15, 2024, 12:16 pm
  #135  
 
Join Date: Apr 2024
Posts: 2
Generally curious what the weather looks like in September. Based on my research, there's risk of tropical storm patterns but less risk of daily rain. I currently have a reservation booked via Hyatt so am a bit less flexible with the SLH changes.
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