Nicaragua Travel Tips and Visiting Granada

I just had one of the best trips of my entire life to a place you may have never heard about- San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua. My sister and her husband are avid surfers and knew they wanted a destination wedding. When a friend suggested the small surf town on the west coast of this stunning Central American developing country they agreed that it was just what they were looking for. They ended up getting nearly 60 friends and family members to come out and celebrate with them! I stayed for about a week and I want to break this up into a few posts starting with this one with tips and tricks. Here’s a photo of the dreamy couple:

Before You Go to Nicaragua

It’s a great idea to visit a travel clinic and make sure you’re up to date on vaccines. You can find the CDC recommendations for Nicaragua here. I already had my tDAP which lasts 10 years. I got a Hep A vaccine (shot) and took a Typhoid vaccine (daily tablets for 4 days). I did not get sick at all on my trip 🙂

Money in Nicaragua


The money used in Nicaraguan dollar is called a Cordoba and the exchange rate is roughly 30 cordobas = $1 USD. Before my trip to Spain and France I found that ordering foreign currency from Bank of America (my bank) in advance gave me the best rate with the lowest fee so I got $100 USD (+a $7 fee) exchanged for $2800 cordobas.

I would say that exchanging money is unnecessary as you can pay for most things in Nicaragua with American dollars and you’ll typically get Cordobas back for your change. The only place that refused my American dollars was when I went to the Jesus statue in San Juan Del Sur and luckily I had enough Cordobas to get in. Many places also took credit cards with no problems, but because Nicaragua frequently loses power you want to bring at least some cash. Depending on how you travel I’d bring about $300-400 USD per week which will be more than enough.

What to Pack for Nicaragua

Bathing suits!!! I wore my bathing suit every single day in Nicaragua. It is incredibly hot and humid there plus all of the walking and yoga meant wearing my swimsuit underneath workout type clothes or a cute cover-up was a perfect combo. It’s a surf town which means the waves are good and it also means the water is a little more rough so bring a suit that will stay on if you know what I mean. Luckily the water is at least warm!

Bug spray with DEET. There is a higher risk for Zika in Nicaragua so you want to protect yourself from mosquitos. This is also why I preferred to wear leggings at night to keep my legs protected from any bugs. There are a lot of bugs in Nicaragua. Like an insane amount.

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My sunglasses are BP 55mm Metal Rim Cat Eye Sunglasses in Black ($12!) these are super sturdy and have been my go to pair still!

Sunscreen. I’m crazy about sun protection and loved having my swim shirt which I wore every time I was in the pool or ocean despite it making me look like a ginger kid on vacation from England. The swim shirt is also a rash guard which is a necessity if you’re going to try surfing. You’re also going to need some good hats and sunscreen. I use Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Ultra-Sheer Daily Defense in SPF 30 with Antioxidants for my face and Banana Boat Sunscreen Sport Performance Cool Zone SPF 30 on my body.
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Hats. Again, protecting your precious face from the sun is not optional ladies and gentleman! I wore this cute Nordstrom C’est La Vie Floppy Straw Hat by BP ($28). I got my black on black LA Dodgers hat on Ebay, but Nordstrom sells white writing on a black LA hat ($25).

Aleader Women's Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes, Blue 9 D(M) US

Sturdy sandals/tennis shoes/water shoes. Most roads are not paved in Nicaragua and there are huge rocky hills to climb up and down so a thin little flip flop isn’t really going to cut it. I was super happy to have my water shoes that I had bought for canoeing last summer as I could go from the beach to the streets and walk long distances in them without getting uncomfortable.

Dramamine/motion sickness medication. The roads are bumpy and rides in cars and vans can be long so if you’ve ever been car sick or seasick even once in your life I highly recommend bringing some just in case. Most of the girls in our group grew up in Florida on boats and half of us got incredibly seasick when we went on a catamaran ride one of the days.

Garmin vívofit 2 Activity Tracker, Black

A waterproof watch. This one is optional, but I found my FitBit-esque Garmin Vivofit 2 Activity Tracker very handy in Nicaragua. It’s water (and sweat) resistant and helped me figure out how far away places were since we did a lot of walking.

A small waterproof speaker or a cable converter if you have an iPhone 7. I love my MagicBox II Bluetooth Portable Wireless Speaker. Again this is optional, but who doesn’t like listening to music when you’re in the pool? Speaking of, my brother made some amazing playlists on Spotify for the wedding- Clean Party Playlist and Dirty Party Playlist.

Casual clothes. This is a beach town so casual dresses with sandals are going to work even at the fanciest restaurants.

Visiting Granada, Nicaragua

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Insanely cute map by Nate Padavick of idrawmaps.blogspot.com

Check out the blog I Draw Maps by Nate Padavick to see more incredible maps like this one of Granada, Nicaragua.

We went to Granada on a whim with a suggestion from our driver that had picked us up from the airport and it was awesome! Granada is super colorful colonial town with beautiful old churches, lovely parks, and access to Lake Nicaragua. We spent about an hour total there because we were all jet lagged, but in that hour we got to see two amazing churches.

granada-cathedral-nicaragua-yellow-churchMe and my sister in front of the Granada Cathedral in Granada aka Catedral de Granada , Nicaragua

Churches in Granada, Nicaragua

We got to quickly snap some photos at the Granada Cathedral aka Catedral de Granada (the huge yellow one in the center of town by Parque Central) and Guadalupe Church aka Iglesia de Guadalupe. I would have liked to have seen Iglesia de La Merced too since it’s one of the oldest churches in all of Central America.

PS This is the best pose ever when you’re in the same clothes from the day before and look haggard from the plane 😂. Here’s my sister and her husband in Granada, Nicaragua:

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Iglesia de Guadalupe (Church) in Granada, Nicaragua

Parque Central aka Central Parque in Granada Nicaragua

parque-central-granada-nicaraguaParque Central in Granada, Nicaragua

In Parque Central in Granada there is a lively atmosphere with lots of street vendors selling souvenirs. It sounded like some guy was screaming “PICKLES” maybe to sell? I didn’t look too closely at the different carts because I wasn’t in the market for a souvenir at that point.

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Some of the shopping stalls in Granada, Nicaragua

We got some great (and much needed after a red eye) iced lattes at a little cafe called Cafe Las Flores.

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Coffee shop on the perimeter of Parque Central in Granada, Nicaragua

josh-hannah-granada-nicaraguaThe groom and bride enjoying Granada, Nicaragua at Cafe Las Flores.

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Loved the tiles at Cafe Las Flores in Granada, Nicaragua

From the patio we could see the rainbow of horse drawn carriages ready to give visitors tours of Granada.

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Hannah having a coffee and checking out the colorful Central Parque in Granada, Nicaragua

That was the end of our short little stop in Granada, Nicaragua! Keep an eye out for my San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua posts coming soon!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Read more about what that means and how it works on my Disclosure page.

Unique LA

Back in May I won tickets to a really amazing event called Unique LA and had the best time ever! I highly HIGHLY recommend checking this out and definitely bring your wallet because you are going to want to buy ALL THE THINGS! Like I was shook at how much amazing local stuff there was. I also went by myself and stayed all day and had an absolute blast!

“Your dollars make a direct impact in your neighborhood! The entrepreneurs you shop from at Unique LA are registered business owners in their cities, and therefore local taxpayers, so buying from them directly helps your neighborhood public schools, libraries, fire departments, parks, and more. How great is that?!”

— Sonja Rasula, Founder of Unique LA Continue reading “Unique LA”

ColourPop is Coming to Sephora Red and Pink Lippie Swatches and Reviews

ColourPop is coming to Sephora stores in the US in November 2017 (yay!) The brand has such an incredible range of products with fun colors and great formulas at a super affordable price point (products start at $5!). I figured now was a great time to share some of my ColourPop purchases and swatches to help when you need to add one more thing to your Sephora cart to get free shipping 😉 Continue reading “ColourPop is Coming to Sephora Red and Pink Lippie Swatches and Reviews”

Tinsley Mortimer Beauty Secrets

Tinsley Mortimer is the newest blonde on the Real Housewives of New York City. The socialite and NYC staple must have some kind of Benjamin Button disease because despite being born 8/11/75 (she’s about to be 42!) she somehow still looks like she’s in her 20s. Tinsley has a classic, clean, chic, preppy style and is definitely not into change. One reason the Tinsley Mortimer always looks on point- she used to be a beauty editor at Vogue (source)!

“My Southern mother taught me to never be ashamed to wear a full face of makeup at all times. She started putting lip gloss on me in fourth grade. So it’s just sort of built in.” (source)

Tinsley Mortimer Makeup

Continue reading “Tinsley Mortimer Beauty Secrets”

Free Dating Apps

A friend came to me recently asking to recommend some good free dating apps. She is currently going through a separation and didn’t want it to show up on a credit card bill (could you blame her!?)  I posted back in January the Dating Apps to Try in 2017 which included Hinge, Bumble, The League, Happn, and Coffee Meets Bagel. All of these apps you can use for free, but have in-app purchases available. The good news is that these apps don’t have to directly charge your credit card- you can always buy an iTunes or Google Play gift card and load it to your account and then make the purchase!

My friend also doesn’t live in a big city which means that not all of these apps are currently available to her. I’m also going to skip Coffee Meets Bagel because for some reason this app does not appeal to me and I barely use it.

Free Dating Apps With Paid Upgrades Available

Continue reading “Free Dating Apps”

Blushing in Hollywood Blog Turns Three

I can’t believe it’s been over three years since I started this blog! I made my first ever infographic to mark the milestone, celebrate, and to have something to look back on!

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The Name “Blushing in Hollywood”

Continue reading “Blushing in Hollywood Blog Turns Three”

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2017 Recommendations and Wish List

I’ve already dropped about $300 at the Nordstrom Anniversary sale, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m done shopping… There’s been years where I’ve put off purchases thinking “oh they’ll be back on sale before I know it” but let me tell you it will take FOR-EV-ER for these pieces to be on sale again and even if they do they won’t be your size or the color you want so if you see something I say take the plunge and buy now! Here’s what I’m still contemplating:

Shoes

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iconTory Burch Adeline Boot in Almond (Sale $299.90, After Sale $498) When fall rolls around I know these would look so so beautiful and classic, but I already have nice riding boots in this color that are in good shape. There’s just something about that gold TB logo though, right!? Continue reading “Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2017 Recommendations and Wish List”

What I Bought at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Early Access is Thursday July 13, 2017 through Thursday July 20, 2017 and then the sale becomes open to the public on Friday July 21, 2017 until August 6, 2017. On August 7, 2017 prices actually go UP because the sale is on items for next season. Also be sure to check out my Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2017 Recommendations and Wish List too!

I recently read Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris and I think it inspired me to invest in some higher quality basics that will last a while and actually look nice and more put together. Continue reading “What I Bought at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale”

My Eyelash Extensions FAQs Tips and Tricks

My friend Jessica Jay (@msjessicajay on Instagram) has been doing my eyelash extensions for a few months and I love them so much! Here’s some

Eyelash Extension Basics

❣️Your typical basic “Falsies”/Fake Lashes/Fake Eyelashes come in either a strip, individual, or in clusters and are glued along the lash line to make eyelashes appear more thicker, fuller, and/or longer. They only last 1 day and must be removed before bedtime. You can sometimes re-use them up to 30 times. Check out my post False Lashes for Beginners for more info.

❣️Eyelash extensions on the other hand involve gluing special false individual eyelashes to the natural lashes. A strong adhesive is used to make the lashes last 2-4 weeks.

❣️I was initially afraid they’d look strange since I have blonde eyelashes, but the extensions completely cover my natural lash so this is not an issue.
❣️They did not make all of my eyelashes fall out, that being said @msjessicajay trained me well and I try to be VERY careful about them (see below). It’s also important to go to someone who is very good at what they do and who doesn’t use too heavy of a lash.

❣️Some people do DIY eyelash extensions at home, but you have to have a steady hand, lots of time, and tons of patience. Check out my post on DIY Lash Extensions.

❣️They are perfect for a bride/wedding and I made my sister (@hannahcburn) get hers done before her big day. I think they look better and more natural in pics than strip lashes. Don’t they look fabulous? Continue reading “My Eyelash Extensions FAQs Tips and Tricks”