We've heard a few questions- a few times. To make your planning easier we've collected our most frequently asked questions in this space for you to read over
Do I need a vehicle? The answer is- yes! This is a must for all guest who stay in these homes. Balcones de Majagual is located 12km north of town off country roads. There are no grocery stores or restaurants in the immediate area, but with transport, both are easily accessible. Unfortunately taxis will say it is accessible in order to have your business. While they may get their tiny little car out there at times, accessing the house on the ridge in one along our private roads is near impossible.
Do I need a 4 x 4 or can I rent a Yaris? Is a Yaris really even a car? Puddle jumpers may be swallowed by San Juans favourite road, The Chocolata without rain, let alone even a bit rain. Not only do you need 4 x 4 to access Balcones de Majagual, you need it to really enjoy San Juan del Sur and the surrounding area. All beaches north and south of town require a 4 x 4 vehicle with adequate clearance to access properly. We can help you arrange a discounted vehicle in town with a wide variety of options. This is not optional and yes- even in dry season. We promise we do this for your own good!
Do I need anti-malarials? What shots do I need? While there are malarial zones in Nicaragua, the risk is low to none at Balcones de Majagual. You are best to seek the opinion of your doctor prior to travelling as well as checking on your government website for suggested vaccinations for Nicaragua.
Do I need a passport? Yes, people ask this. And yes, you do. Your passport must be valid a minimum of six months past the date of your arrival, and you are required to pay $10US on arrival at the airport for your tourist visa.
Can I use American money? Is there an ATM nearby? Absolutely! Don’t bother changing your money to Nicaraguan Cordobas prior to arrival. Change is general given in Cordobas, and always at a fair and current rate. Don’t bother trying to pay in Euro’s or Canadian Dollars though, American is king in Nicaragua. Also, make sure any American bills you do bring are dated after 2000 and in good condition.There are several ATMS in town that dispense both American Dollars and Nicaraguan Cordobas.
How do I reserve a Casa in Balcones de Majagual for my vacation? How can I pay? To reserve your stay at a villa in Balcones de Majagual, we require an initial 50% deposit which can be paid through Paypal. The balance is due on arrival and can be paid in cash. Please contact us by clicking through the book now button or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
How far is town?- Well. If we are 12km or 20mins from San Juan del Sur.......We'll leave it at that!
How far are you from the beach? The houses in Balcones de Majagual range from between 600m to 1km from Playa Majagual which is the most easily accessed beach from the houses. The walk is down- taking approximately 15-20 minutes. Coming back? Well that is an uphill trek so this will take as long as it take you! Most guests love the hike but you do require some semblance of physical fitness to do the climb back up
Is there a grocery store nearby? There is a large, North American style grocery store in town called the Pali. It is fully stocked with almost everything you could need. There are also several specialty stores in town stocked with hard to et items, coffee and imported liquor. There is a town market selling fruits and vegetables, and fresh fish can be picked up daily at the local docks.
Can I walk to the beach? All three local beaches, Playones/Playa Matildas, Playa Majagual and Playa Maderas (low tide only) can be accessed walking by anyone in relatively good shape. Downhill there, up hill back. There is also a private drive leading directly to Playa Matildas for those lazy days, or for bringing the cooler with lunch in with you.
Can we just use a taxi service vs renting a car? Please refer to the Do I need a car question followed by the Does it have to be a 4 x 4 question. The answer to this lies in the answer to those.
Do you have towels and linens? Clean, fresh bath towels, bed linens and beach towels are provided for your use at all the Casas at Balcones de Majagual. We also have cleaning service at all homes. Laundry may be available depending on the home and the season
How many houses share the pool? Casa Arbol and Forest and Surf Villa share a plunge pool. The five houses located on Paypaya Lane (Casa Culebra, Casa Selva, Casa Colina, Casa Suerte and Casa Tres Peces) share the 15m infinity pool, We find most people spend their time at the beach and only use the pool for either a quick morning or evening dip. All other homes have their own private pools
What kind of electrical plug is there? All houses have three pin north american standard electrical outlets
What if I fly in late? No worries- we will arrange direct transport to the house with a shuttle company and assist you the next day with getting your 4 x 4 etc.
How many Casas are in your community? There are currently fourteen Casas within the community, spaced out over approximately 100 acres of land.
What do you mean by “Ecologically Friendly”? What do we mean by eco-logically friendly? At Balcones de Majagual, we try to reduce our imprint on the environment as much as possible while still providing you with the necessities (like toilet paper) to enjoy your stay. Our hot water is solar heated, our septic system is bio-microbial, some homes offer a reverse osmosis purifying system for your water, the houses are positioned to catch the constant off shore breezes thereby making AC unnecessary, and finally, we don’t spray pesticides. Most large scale hotels spray toxic pesticides to kill all the bugs in a 100km radius, poisoning the food chain from the bottom up. Not only do we want to reduce our personal exposure to these chemicals, we enjoy the presence of monkeys, parrots, sloths and parakeets at the Casas in Balcones de Majagual and in no way want to harm or sicken these creatures. The trade off is yes, you see bugs and lizards, and maybe a snake, but you also routinely see monkeys!
Will I see bugs? We we noted above that you would see them, but just to reinforce that- yes, you will likely see bugs, and may even see a tarantula or scorpion. This is central america, and as luxurious as the homes are, this is a tropical climate and this means there are tropical bugs. And while we do our best to keep them out of the home, they do on occasion get back inside.
Is there someone to meet me and show me the house? How do I get there? All guests of the Casas in Balcones de Majagual benefit from a local English and Spanish speaking concierge for no additional charge. Our concierge will meet you in town, show you around, and then escort you to your Casa and orient you with the house and the community. Our concierge is also available prior to your arrival to help arrange shuttles and activities during you stay.
How do I get from the airport to the Casa of my choice? Which airport do I fly too? We encourage you to fly to the Augusto C. Sandino International Airport for ease of arrival in Managua, Nicaragua. For those of you who speak Spanish and have experience crossing international borders Liberia, Costa Rica is also close, but what you save in the cost of the flight, you will spend getting to San Juan del Sur with departure taxes and taxis. We are unable to help people arriving from Costa Rica with transport to San Juan del Sur. For those arriving in Managua we have several options to get you to town from the airport ranging from private drivers to shuttles and will help meet your personal needs.
Is Nicaragua safe? Nicaragua has had a bad rap, and people can’t seem to shake that image of the 1980‘s of Sandinistas, rebels, and Oliver North. Those days are 30 years gone, and Nicaragua is a country attempting to break this stigma and move forward. Nicaragua has a lot going for it with stunning uncrowded beaches, beautiful natural attractions such as Ometepe, and the Rio San Juan and an overall low crime rate. Nicaragua has been rated the safest country in Central America. INTERPOL, the United Nations, INCAE, the Inter-American Human Rights Institute and the Police Forces in the Americas are cited claiming that statistically, Nicaragua has the lowest crime rate in Central America and the second lowest (as rated by several sources) in Latin America only to Uruguay. The country has also ranked as the fourth safest in Latin America by the Global Peace Index. Is this enough stats, because we can get more.
Nicaragua is a poor country, but the people are honest, and it is exceptionally rare we hear of people feeling they were being taken advantage of. This said, we encourage you to exercise caution and discretion. Don’t walk between beaches at night. Don’t carry large amounts of money around with you unless necessary. Avoid driving on the Pan American at night due to the heavy truck traffic. Drugs are illegal in Nicaragua and penalties are harsh along with jail conditions. There are NO EXCEPTIONS or leniency given to foreigners caught selling or possessing illegal substances. We simply suggest you exercise the same common sense and caution you would anywhere in the world, including your home country.