What other services are available at the Casa?
There are some additional options that you might be interested in at some point such as cooking, cleaning and laundry. I find these services most helpful while I’m there.
If you are interested, you can talk directly with Magdalena (Caretaker’s wife) about your requests and what she would charge. If you come to an agreement, you can pay her directly.
Can I rent a section of the Casa?
Fortunately, our house is nicely broken into three distinct areas: the lower level, the mid-level, and the upper level. Each option would also include all common areas (my favorite being the furnished terraces where I spend most of my time while I’m there.) Wi-fi is also included.
What’s the beach like?
We absolutely love the beach right in front of our house – for our purposes, it’s the best of all worlds as we can watch the powerful waves come in, swim safely in the pool, look at interesting coral, lobster and fish in low tide, enjoy sandy beaches and also the beauty of volcanic rock beaches. So, it’s our favorite beach. However, there are other lovely nearby beaches such as Boquita Beach, Casares (just walk down the beach), and the beautiful Huehuete beach. There are also some great waterfalls about 15 minutes or so away.
Is the casa directly on the beach?
The property is considered beach front as no homes can be build in between it an the beach. However, the house sits at a high elevation so it is not directly on the beach… rather it is above it. There is beach access via a path down to the beach. It’s not a difficult stroll there and back, but it is not wheelchair compatible. My husband says it takes him about 3 minutes to walk down to the beach. It probably takes me closer to 4 or 5 because I usually have kids with me and we stop to pick flowers or whatever.
Where to get groceries?
There are groceries available in Casares which is really close… just down the beach or road. The Caretakers can tell you where the grocery shop is. Keep in mind this isn’t a large grocery store, but it seems to have a lot of the basics that we end up needing. Boquita is just down the road a few miles the other direction. They are more of a tourist town, and have several seafood restaurants. I would recommend having dinner at Suzi’s and watching the surfers. I haven’t purchased many groceries at Boquita Beach, but have seen them. Casares is not really a touristy town… it’s more of a local town. I think things are cheaper there.
There is a good-sized grocery store in the main nearby city, Diriamba. And, of course, the biggest grocery stores with most variety are in Managua. We usually stop at a large grocery store in Managua as we drive towards the house to stock up on more specific items that are not as easy to find elsewhere (for example, this is the place to go if you want specific cuts of meat and more brands that you may be familiar with from home.)
Does the casa have air-conditioning and hot water?
Like most homes in the area, this home is open-air (no air-conditioning) and does not have hot water (the water is not cold like the tap water in the U.S.) Our beach casa sits high catching ocean breezes.
What kind of hand-made gifts are in the area?
If you like to bring back gifts for your family and friends, I would suggest considering some shell boxes and picture frames that a local lady makes to support her family. They are gorgeous. If you are interested in seeing some, I can send word for her to come to the house while you are there. (She is the same lady that created the shell art on our mirrors in the casa and is quite artistic.)
Can we get around without a car?
Well, renting a car can be nice because you have access to transportation to go where you want to go when you want to go with no additional coordination. Keep in mind that you are about 15-20 miles from the city, but there is a good-sized town within walking distance. I guess there are various factors that go into the answer… personality, physical fitness, how comfortable/familiar someone is with the country, where you want to go, and what you need to carry around. I can share that we sometimes do and sometimes do not rent a car for our family visits.
The town of Casares is REALLY close. Our caretakers walk or bike to Casares at least once a day. It doesn’t take them very long to conduct their business and come back. My dad sometimes walks to the restaurant in Casares (via the beach). For us, walking is not a big deal and we welcome some exercise. One of our American neighbors who lives much farther from Casares than us walks past Casares every day. Now, would I want to walk to Casares and carry a 5 gallon water jug? No, but those are a bit heavy for me to walk around with in general. I personally would just pay someone to bring it to me 🙂 Would I walk with a backpack? No problem, but I need the exercise.
While Casares doesn’t look that big, somehow it magically has what we need most of the time. There is less selection (example: groceries), but it has actually exceeded my expectations. Plus, it has satisfied my emergency cookie cravings on more than one occasion.
We have various contacts who would be more than happy to provide transportation if needed. There are also tour guides that happily take people and groups to various destinations throughout the country.
Finally, the option I know the least about: the bus. I’m embarrassed to say that I have yet to try it even though there are several bus trips a day between Casares and Diriamba/Jinotepe. I even see the bus go right past my house. It’s super cheap. Pretty much everyone we are surrounded by down there use it regularly. So far, I just haven’t needed it.
What’s the deal with water conservation?
On the cost of Nicaragua, we receive water from the city of Diriamba. I’ve been told it’s safe to drink by other Americans, but I can’t confirm or deny as I’ve been too chicken to try it. At any rate, the system is a bit odd. They are supposed to “send” water to everyone on the coast every two or three days. Everyone – including us – has tanks to then store the water, and that it what is used. This works okay. It is worth noting that sometimes they do not send the water on schedule… I have yet to discover why. The net result of all of this is that water is finite. We have several holding tanks to accommodate this odd system, but in the end, water is still finite. So, this is not ideal for folks who like long showers or who like to keep the water running as they are walking around brushing their teeth… I don’t judge either activity 🙂 But, it can lead to disappointing results. On a positive side, we just had 10 people stay for three days and they had enough water with no problems.
Is the property secure?
The casa is located in a quite and peaceful area and we haven’t had any security issues so far. We have found the area to be very community oriented – everyone knows everyone – and the people have been very kind. In addition, we have a lovely caretaker family on-site to help keep an eye on the property. Finally, Tigre and Bobby are always on duty to guard the house and people in the house. They like to accompany us to the beach and tend to keep a very close eye on us.