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.

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”

Best Concealer to Cover Undereye Circles

If you have dark circles and discoloration around your eyes, you’re going to want to read this.  Here’s my secret to using concealer to cover up dark under eyes:

  1. Depuff: I used my Tarte Pack Your Bags 911 Undereye Rescue Patches ($22 for 4 pairs) that had been in the refrigerator to help reduce any puffiness. You can also go old school and use cold spoons! One of my new faves Mallory Ervin recommended these Tarte patches. You may also remember that Lady Sonja Morgan from Real Housewives of New York dips her whole face in an ice bath to help with puffiness!

Continue reading “Best Concealer to Cover Undereye Circles”

Date Night Hair and Outfit With Beauty Plus Salon

Recently, Beauty Plus Salon offered me my choice of a few new products to try out and I was super excited when I saw some products on the website that I’d been wanting to try.
Save 20% Hair Beauty Products Beauty Plus Salon

Continue reading “Date Night Hair and Outfit With Beauty Plus Salon”

Selfie Secrets Part Two – Shayla Taught Me

Since my Kim Kardashian‘s Selfie Secrets post has been getting a lot of love lately, I thought everyone might be interested in some tips from another selfie queen- @MakeupShayla from Instagram and YouTube. Here’s the video that inspired this post: Continue reading “Selfie Secrets Part Two – Shayla Taught Me”

DIY Ikea ALEX Vanity

Creating my DIY Ikea ALEX Vanity has seriously added joy into my everyday life. It may sound silly but having this really nice, well lit, comfortable, organized setting where I can spend some Me Time getting ready has felt super luxurious and has been a wonderful improvement in the quality of my daily life. I’m an avid watcher of YouTube beauty gurus and if you are too then you know that the Ikea Alex 5 Drawers are part of the “Basic Beauty Guru Starter Pack”, but that’s for good reason, they are amazing for storing makeup! And affordable. I will say this post is not a true DIY so you’re not going to have to make a bunch of trips to Home Depot (insert prayer hands emoji here), but more of a how do you put together the Ikea ALEX vanity like all those other beauty gurus step-by-step guide as well as information on other alternative options. I spent a ton of time researching my set up before finally pulling the trigger and making the purchase so now I get to share my findings with you all! Continue reading “DIY Ikea ALEX Vanity”

Make Your Manicure Last Longer

Today I have a quick tip for you that actually works. It’s simple and I wish I would have known it sooner. This will help with both regular and gel manicures whether you do them at home or get them done at the salon. The tip is…

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DIY Lash Extensions

I’ve been wanting to try lash extensions for a while now, but they’re so expensive! Luckily, one of my new favorite YouTubers made a video on how to DIY lash extensions at home and it’s super cheap and easy!

Continue reading “DIY Lash Extensions”

Lip Injections, Botox, and Plastic Surgery with Tasha Reign and Spencer Scott

When I first asked my friends if they would talk about their fillers (Juvederm lip injections and Botox) I was worried they might not be comfortable talking about it, but boy was I wrong. Not only did my friends Tasha Reign and Spencer Scott talk in detail about their experiences with fillers, they also spilled all the deets on their plastic surgery as well! I feel like Kylie Jenner has made lip injections so incredibly popular so I thought it would be helpful to let everyone know where my friends get it, how much it costs them, how much it hurts, and what the recovery period is like. Be sure to subscribe to the Blushing in Hollywood Youtube channel so you don’t miss any future videos 🙂 and definitely make sure you watch to the end so you can see our Extra Shady Extras.

Here’s some notes on what the talked about: Continue reading “Lip Injections, Botox, and Plastic Surgery with Tasha Reign and Spencer Scott”

Soft Waves Hair Tutorial

I have been so bored with my hair lately! When I straighten it it’s flat and lifeless, curling it looks the same every time, and don’t even get me started about how terrible it looks when I try to embrace my natural once-curly-now-not-curly-enough-to-wear-curly texture. That’s why I was so glad to find this super easy hair tutorial that just gives your hair a “bend” or a very soft waves which is similar to how the Kardashians have been wearing their hair. It’s simple, fast, and will make your hair way less boring immediately. I’ve also gotten a lot of compliments every time I’ve worn my hair with soft waves like this so I definitely recommend it.

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@kimkardashian on IG

Here’s the tutorial I used: Continue reading “Soft Waves Hair Tutorial”