We just wanted to thank you for making a fabulous vacation possible. The accommodations were perfect and exactly what we wanted. The activities were also perfectly suited to what we were looking for.
Our driver, Ariel, was professional, punctual and always a step ahead of the game. David, our Guide in Granada, was exceptional. He was extremely knowledgeable and passionate. He explained the various aspects of the country in a way that made the rest of our trip more enjoyable.
We look forward to our next vacation in Nicaragua. A friend today asked how our vacation was from a scale of 1 - 10 and I said it was an 11, it completely exceeded our expectations.
Thank you. It was a pleasure doing business with you.
Jen and Pam
Ps... There were no hairdryers on Ometepe or in San Juan del Sur. But luckily my hair still looked fantastic in pictures ;)
Our trip couldn't have been better. So many great activities planned for us, with enough time to relax. It was a learning experience of Nicaraguan culture, politics, art, nature and food. Of course through it all, bonding of family. A time I will never forget. Many thanks to everyone at ORO travel involved especially Carlos, Rodolfo and Julio. It’s hard to pick a favorite activity but one of the highlights was our cooking class. A lot of fun and a great way to learn some of the culture. Thanks again!
Es war eine tolle Reise, es hat alles geklappt und wir haben viele neue Erfahrungen gesammelt. Vor allem Ariel, unser Fahrer in den Regenwald, war uns eine große Hilfe, da er viel für uns geregelt hat und wir haben uns bei ihm zu jeder Zeit gut aufgehoben gefühlt. Was etwas schade war, die Führungen im CEN und in der Kaffeplantage waren alle, bis auf eine im CEN, auf spanisch. Mit viel Nachfragen und einfachstem Spanisch hat es jedoch einigermaßen geklappt.
Unser englischsprachiger Guide im CEN hat uns viel über das Leben mit der Natur erzählt und uns auf unserer Wanderung durch den Regenwald viel erklärt und gezeigt. Toll das es Menschen wie Geroge gibt die mit Ihrer Arbeit anderen die Augen öffnen. Auch unser Guide auf Ometepe hat einen wirklich guten Job gemacht. Sehr fürsorglich und zuvorkommend. Auch das Hotel auf Ometepe war sehr schön!
Wir haben gelernt, dass Nicaragua ein sehr abwechslungsreiches Land ist, was sowohl die Landschaft als auch das Leben in der Stadt betrifft. Granada und Léon, zwei große Städte wie sie unterschiedlicher nicht sein könnten.
Was uns wahrscheinlich besonders in Erinnerung bleiben wird, sind die lebensfrohen Menschen in Léon und die Markthallen. Granada hingegen empfanden wir als weniger herzlich.
Vielen Dank für die tolle Organisation! Wir werden Sie weiterempfehlen.
When we told friends that we were planning a trip to Nicaragua in February to celebrate Bob's 75th birthday most people said something like, "Nicaragua? Why are you going there?" So we explained that we had been looking for a warm place to go, not too far away and we'd heard some good things about Nicaragua, namely that it was a land of rich biodiversity, welcoming people, unspoiled beaches and lots of lakes and volcanoes.
We did a bit of research and decided to plan our trip with the help of ORO Travel, a local tour company. We worked with Lou, one of the ORO staff and after going back and forth about what we were interested in seeing and doing we came up with a two week itinerary which would take us to nature preserves, lakes, the Colonial city of Granada and a beach on the Pacific side of the country. ORO made all the arrangements for accommodations, drivers and guides and we couldn't have been more pleased with the tour they put together for us. The price was reasonable and we were very excited about the activities and accommodations that Lou planned for us.
We landed in Managua, the capital, in the evening, stayed in an upscale hotel near the airport and then were greeted the next morning by Julio, who was to be our guide for the next several days. Julio is the head tour guide for ORO Travel and he was fantastic. He has been a professional tour guide for 14 years and is very fluent in English. He is very knowledgeable about Nicaraguan culture, history, flora and fauna and is light-hearted and very easy to be with.
In the morning he took us to a nature reserve, Chocoyero, where we spotted many birds as we walked around the hiking trails there. Unfortunately we missed the mass morning and evening "migrations" the area is famous for, but we did manage to see lots of exotic birds. Then Julio dropped us off at the Montibelli Wildlife Reserve where we stayed for two nights. The reserve has three trails from which you can spot many birds if you are in the company of a sharp eyed guide. It was very rustic (no hot water and no Wi-Fi), we slept under mosquito nets, but the staff was extremely friendly. One totally unplanned highlight of this stay was the presence of a group of American birders who had come to band migrating ruby throated hummingbirds, and other migratory birds. The leader of the group, Dr. Hinton, is an experienced and passionate birder who is one of the few people certified to band hummingbirds (just think about this for a minute). They set up large 36' by 10' nets in the forest, and caught quite a few birds. When they captured birds they would carefully disentangle them from the net. If they caught a ruby throated hummingbird, or another migratory bird, Dr. Hinton would band it. The hope is that it will someday be spotted in another part of the world, thus adding to the knowledge of migratory routes. These tiny birds migrate from the US to Central America over the Caribbean and back each year. Simply amazing.
When we left Montibelli we went to a large lake (Laguna de Apoyo) that was formed from a filled in extinct volcano. It is about two miles across, almost perfectly round, has almost no development around it and the surrounding trees are filled with howler monkeys and more amazing birds. The water temperature is delicious because it is filled by warm, hydrothermal springs. We were here for two nights and were treated to the sight of a full orange moon rising over the lake. The "villa" we stayed in was nice, but the things we enjoyed most were the hammocks, rocking chairs, and the view from on high of the lake. We did nothing but eat, sit in the sun and jump in the lake. There's an Italian expression, "la dulce fa niente" which means "the sweetness of doing nothing", and that was definitely us!
Next, on to Granada, a beautifully restored colonial town, sultry and tropical on the shore of Lake Nicaragua and within sight of the Mombacho volcano. The city is supposedly the oldest city in the western hemisphere, and it carries its age well. The colorful facades lining the narrow streets almost glow in the evening sun. It has a lovely and lively central plaza and is very pleasant to explore by foot. We stayed in a charming 12 room hotel with two lush indoor courtyards, a small pool and a wonderful staff; not a five-star hotel, but definitely a five-star experience. Here we met up with Julio again who took us on a walking tour of the city during which we had very interesting conversations about historical, political and social aspects of Nicaragua. One afternoon, we had lunch in a restaurant run by deaf and mute people who also make beautiful hammocks...out of discarded plastic bags! People with disabilities have a hard time here and the guy who started this business did so to create jobs and hopefully, a better life for his employees.
Later that day we went on a boat tour of the Isletas, a series of small islands that dot the coast of Lake Nicaragua. We saw more birds and monkeys, and a diverse collection of dwellings on these islands, from fishing shacks to the large house owned by the richest man in Nicaragua. Later, we had dinner outside in one of the many restaurants that line a busy pedestrian street (Calle Calzada) near the central plaza, taking advantage of the Happy Hour 2 for 1 drink specials.
The next day it was time to hike around the top of the Mombacho volcano. We were driven to the top in an open truck, up a torturously steep road, and then did about a four mile hike that was a never ending series of ups and downs in the midst of a cloud forest. Mombacho is a masterpiece of trail building, with thousands of steep steps climbing and descending. The jungle around us was incredibly dense off trail. We stopped a few times for our guide's description of particular trees and flowers. We even saw a sleeping sloth. Although the volcano is dormant there was definitely the smell of sulfur as we hiked. This was followed by a canopy zip line tour through the forest at the base of the volcano. We zipped from platform to platform for a distance of about two miles. Much fun and very exciting.
The next stop was the island of Ometepe, in the middle of Lake Nicaragua. The lake is huge, almost the size of Puerto Rico. Ometepe is shaped sort of like a dumbbell, formed by the lava from two volcanos connected by a narrow isthmus where the flows met. One volcano is intermittently active, the other is dormant. We got there on a ferry that took 75 minutes. It was quite windy, with whitecaps on the lake, but we made it safely. The island is quiet, rural, and agricultural, with a population of about 42,000 residents. The people are quite poor, but much prefer living on their island rather than "over there". Our lodge was in a banana plantation overlooking the lake. It was very quiet and isolated and the porch of our room overlooked the lake and a few very small islands. The water was very warm and inviting, but was actually too shallow to swim in. Two to three hundred feet from the shore, and the water was only knee deep!
Our itinerary called for us to spend one day at a reserve and then go to a natural spring which is a local geothermal swimming hole. We were, however, somewhat preoccupied by thoughts of our hike for the following day which would take us to the top of the inactive volcano on the island. We met several much younger and fitter people who said it was one of the hardest things they had ever done so we decided to wimp out and only hike part way. This turned out to be a great idea. We hiked for about 3-4 hours through the steep rainforest and saw lots of monkeys and birds, also cattle being herded to graze on the slopes of the volcano. This was followed by a brief stroll through a small park which contained a multitude of boulders inscribed with 1,250 year old petroglyphs.
After two nights on Ometepe we went to San Juan del Sur, a beach town on the Pacific. It was very hot and we couldn't stay in the sun for very long. The beach was on a sheltered bay but for some reason the water was quite cold, probably in the high 60s. Very strange since it was shallow and the air temperatures were in the 90s every day. We did swim each day until we got too cold. There were great sunsets on the beach viewed from one of a large assortment of thatched roof restaurants, all with great Happy Hour specials.
Then the next day, we transferred back for 2 1/2 hours to the Managua airport hotel for our flight out the following day.
Nicaragua is very volcanic and because of this the soil is very fertile. Pineapple, mangoes, sugar cane, corn, coffee, plantain, papayas and many other fruits thrive here in abundance. Nicaragua is a primarily agricultural country but now the hope is that the development of tourism will help lift the economy. Nicaragua is beautiful. People were very warm to us and we felt very safe. They are starting to put a tourism infrastructure in place and it is an inexpensive place for North Americans to visit. So yes, by all means visit Nicaragua. We would suggest using ORO Travel to help plan your trip. Be ready to discover a beautiful and friendly country that, hopefully, is on the cusp of fully coming into itself.
I wanted to tell you how much my family and I enjoyed our tour with Julio. It was truly the highlight of our trip (we stayed in Hacienda Iguana, on the Pacific Coast, after Granada). He was knowledgeable, personable, easy-going, and flexible: qualities we very much appreciated. We felt like we got the best knowledge of Nicaragua and its population/lifestyle from Julio, more so than from the rest of our travels (which were also enjoyable). I commend you and your colleagues on responding quickly to our last-minute inquiries and providing a top-notch experience! I will certainly recommend you to our friends. Again, many thanks.
We had a wonderful day with Isabell and Winston yesterday. Winston was very courteous and had great suggestions for our day. Isabell did a great job of rearranging our tour to do things we would enjoy since we could not go to Masaya volcano. She was a joy to spend the day with. It felt as though we were spending the day with a very knowledgeable friend, not just a tour guide. If we had more time in Granada I would have tried to get her for another day.
We are waiting for our flight to Miami and I wanted to let you know how very pleased we were with the services provided by ORO Travel. Our drivers were prompt and courteous. Carlos, who drove us a few times, was especially helpful. Our guide, David, for our full day tour was outstanding. He was friendly, flexible and very knowledgeable. We were impressed by the breadth and depth of his knowledge. We have been fortunate to travel extensively and have not had a better guide. Thank you for making these arrangements for us!
We have just spent a fantastic week in Nicaragua with Julio as our guide. I wanted to let you know that our week was particularly special due to Julio's knowledge of Nicaragua's history, his unfailing politeness and sense of fun with our whole family, two adults, 2 teenagers and a 12 and 10 year old. We could not have wished for a better guide. We feel very lucky that we had Julio to show us your beautiful country.
Congratulations to ORO Travel Tour Guide, Lou, for the wonderful feedback!
Just wanted to drop you a quick note to say hello and to thank you again for being such a huge part of our amazing trip. More so than on any other trips, I think that the kids were able to connect with you and learn a lot about the country.
Thank you for putting us in touch with “el pueblo nicaragüense.” Meeting the school children and their families was a real highlight for everyone! You are an amazing tour director, but more importantly, you are an amazing woman!
My wife and I just returned from our first trip to Nicaragua and we will definitely be returning in the future. ORO Travel planned our entire trip and we could not be more pleased with the hotels, resorts, and tours they selected for us.
To summarize, ORO took great care of our needs. Juan Espinoza handled me directly through email when I wanted to add more days to our tour. There was never a need to get on the phone which was nice since we are in the States. He always got back to me quickly and understood our needs. Upon arrival at the airport in Managua we were provided with a packet of our itinerary along with some maps and other available tours. Both drivers we had were always on time, very helpful with our luggage and courteous. Our tour guide, Rodolfo Ortega, was one of the best guides I have ever had. He is very knowledgeable and willing to go the extra mile to explain things and discuss any topic we were curious about. He was fun to hang out with and made us feel very safe and comfortable at all times. His English and Spanish is perfect and being a local to Granada, he was able to make great suggestions and provide us with what I feel was more of a genuine experience.
From my first email contact until the end of the tour I always felt safe and the people were friendly. I had contact with two other Travel Agencies in Nicaragua, but ORO Travel had the best quotation and program, everything was possible.
First, I want to recognize Michael for an excellent job from beginning to end. He was always quick with his responses and followed up with me on any questions or special requests we had. He is professional and friendly and made planning this trip much easier!
I also want to acknowledge the driver who picked us up at the airport, and the driver we had for our Mombacho/canopy tour and ride back to the airport. Both were very friendly and answered any questions we had about the area (and it was fun to practice speaking Spanish with them too!) The driver we had to the tour was very helpful as we needed to stop and get some items for the rest of the trip, he helped us find a store that had what we needed. He also stopped by your offices so we could meet Michael and say a quick hello before we went to the airport.
We LOVED your beautiful city of Granada and your amazing country, we were sad to leave and can't wait to return! I will definitely use your services again in the future and recommend ORO Travel to others.
Die Reise in Nicaragua haben wir sehr genossen und wir möchten noch einmal sagen, dass wir sehr zufrieden waren mit der ganzen Organisation. Sie waren stets offen für unsere Wünsche und Änderungen und haben uns immer sehr gut beraten. Herzlichen Dank auch, dass Sie für unsere Tochter die vielen Zusatzbuchungen kurzfristig vornehmen konnten. Die ausgewählten Hotels waren alle durchwegs sehr gut und angenehm und mit unserem kleinen Suzuki Jimny waren wir sehr bestens unterwegs. Die Autovermietung Budget hat ihren Job professionell gemacht und wir wurden immer sehr zuvorkommend bedient.
Die Unterlagen von ORO-Travel waren hilfreich und umfangreich, besonders geschätzt haben wir die tolle Karte von Nicaragua! Wir haben nie eine bessere gesehen! Ebenfalls hilfreich war das Voucherheft, es hat das Check-in bei den Hotels sehr erleichtert.
Die Reise nach San Carlos mit einem privaten Auto wäre für uns auch gut mit dem eigenen Miet-Auto machbar gewesen. Man kann das Mietauto übrigens auf dem Hafengelände in San Carlos im geschlossenen Bereich deponieren. Allerdings hätten wir dann die lange aber auch sehr interessante Nachtfahrt auf dem Boot nicht gehabt und daran werden wir noch lange denken!!! Das Hotel Victoria in El Castillo war ebenfalls ein Bijou – wir fühlten uns sehr wohl dort, wie auch in Granada im Hotel Patio Malinche, in San Juan del Sur im Posada Azul usw.
Für uns war es sehr beruhigend zu wissen, dass alles vorbereitet war und wir nicht selber nach einer Unterkunft suchen mussten. Besten Dank für alles!
Wenn wir wieder nach Nicaragua kommen sollten, würden wir uns gerne wieder an Sie wenden. Auch werden wir Ihr Reisebüro gerne weiter empfehlen.
I would like to thank ORO Travel for arranging this tour-everyone was very pleased to ride around Granada on the horses and carriages. Everything was very well organized, the guide Rodolfo was excellent as was the driver and I would not hesitate in recommending your tour company. Thanks again.
Thank you for your email. I’d been meaning to write and say how very pleased we were with all the arrangements that Juan made for us. First impressions were very favourable when we were handed a folder with the itinerary, brochures, maps etc. Our drivers were always extremely prompt and friendly, our guide on Ometepe was excellent, the trip to Las Isletas was wonderful. I would definitely recommend ORO to anyone wishing to travel to Nicaragua.
We LOVED Nicaragua. We particularly loved Leon, Granada and Ometepe, and Morgan’s Rock was a piece of paradise.
We had a fabulous time in Nicaragua and an amazing experience working with ORO especially Marcela. In all my travels around the world and working with tour companies or guides, this was above and beyond anything I've experienced. I will be sure to share this info with anyone who travels to Nicaragua.
Ich bin wieder gut nach Hause gekommen und es war eine ganz tolle Reise. Die Reiseroute und die Unterkünfte waren toll gewählt.
Unser Reiseleiter Francisco Ruiz war sehr freundlich, versiert und stets hilfsbereit. Mit ihm hatten wir großes Glück. Auch die Busfahrer und Busse waren sehr gut. Es gibt nichts zu kritisieren und ich würde die Reise jederzeit weiter empfehlen.
Bis dahin sende ich Ihnen herzliche Grüße aus Gunzenhausen
Uns hat die Tour mit Julio Flores sehr gut gefallen. Das Auito und die Fahrten mit Winston Castillo waren auch sehr gut. Die Hotelauswahl war gelungen, nur das Best Western in Leon war nicht der Hit, aber für eine Nacht OK.
Tolle Hotelauswahl auch in Granada (Hotel Estrada), durchaus empfehlenswert.
Wir haben nur einen großen Fehler gemacht ! Die Zeit für Nicaragua war zu kurz bemessen, ein paar Tage mehr mit z.B. Ometepe wären noch schön gewesen.
We had a wonderful time on our one day trip to Ometepe Island from Managua. Our guide Julio was delightful and very knowledgeable. Even though it was a long ride from our hotel in Managua to the ferry, the time passed very quickly as Julio shared a lot of information, and we enjoyed just looking at the countryside as we passed by. The van was very comfortable and we feel like we got to see a lot, in a short time.
We were 100% satisfied with our experience with ORO Travel. Your drivers were reliable, friendly and knowledgeable. It was a pleasure working with Marcela as she was professional and helpful beyond words. Marcela is an expert at customer service. My husband and I plan to return to Nicaragua and we will contact your company again for services. Thank you for being there for us.
I just want to say that the trips were wonderful. Juan was incredibly helpful and responsive when setting up the trips and helped me customize them to my needs (I was traveling with my grandparents so those needs were many). The driver was very good and safe and the guide was incredible. He really knew a ton of information and was able to answer all of the questions we asked with a wealth of information and insight. Thanks again for a great trip!
I have just finished my explore tour of Nicaragua and want to let you know what a great and interesting time I had. The tour was great from start to finish and Julio was great at answering my many questions about your country.
I gained a lot of knowledge of Nicaragua, of its people, history and the future of the country. I also had the pleasure of meeting Carla whom I think is just a great person. As this was my first tour ever it gave me a lot of insight to the job of tour operator, and it is certainly not a easy one with managing eighteen personalities. Julio did a great job!
Thank you to all of you for making my trip so enjoyable, and I will certainly will be coming back.
I would highly recommend ORO travel to anyone planning on visiting Nicaragua. ORO takes the headache out of traveling from place to place. They are responsible, professional, on time and very pleasant. It was a very special touch to contact me by phone during the trip to check in with me that everything was to my expectations. Great service, great agency.
We were very pleased with the service. Our guide, Julio was very prompt, polite, and safe. The bus was very clean and more than adequate for our needs. Our group has used ORO Travel for more than 10 years, and will continue to do so because of the outstanding services you all have provided.