VIP Service

I will be in Managua on Tuesday and bring stuff...I have never had in the past a problem at the airport but with Xmass and all I have no idea how much they will be checking bags. The most expensive thing that I am bring is a printer I got at Target that was $40.00 and I do have the receipt. I would like to avoid the hassle.

Has anyone done the VIP route and how does it work??? I think it is $35.00 will they take care of the bags and how do you let them know?

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Airport

If it is your first time or second time you may consider staying at Seminole or Barcelo hotel and they take care of the luggage for you and drive to hotel for $5. That is they take your luggage through customs to the van and to the hotel with you.

There is a mere 50 feet from the luggage carousel to the street so I am always on guard to make sure no one else picks up my bag and goes out the door. The airport does a good job of keeping non-passengers out but so many crooks as soon as you exit the door a first timer may be overwhelmed should have a plan upon arrival.

The two hotels I mention will will pick you up and take you to the airport for free or $5 and the rates run about $100 for the night.

VIP Service

I highly recommend VIP if you have heavy and many bags to carry through customs. I am a resident here and have made many trips back and forth to California bringing many surfboards, heavy luggage and beach equipment. It is relaxing to sit and have a beer, or coffe or even a rum and coke and a sandwich while you are waiting for all the heavy stuff to clear that you don't have to pick up and place on the luggage cart and push out the door. When it is all over, your bags and luggage are on the curve watched by a VIP representative. Spend the money, relax.and be treated like a VIP.

Cost?

What does it cost. What is contact info from abroad?ZZT

Our Nigerian Friend

May have changed a few things when it comes to checking bags. I pity all the Diabetics traveling now. This guy used a syringe to mix the stuff on board.

Skip the VIP service

I have made nine trips through MGA customs in the last two years, each time with a minimum of ten bags/boxes (14 is the record, traveling solo). Twice I was not even required to go to the X-ray area (once in the afternoon, once coming in on an evening flight). While most of my checked bags are boxes of books (occasionally opened because they appear as a solid mass in the X-ray machine), I have never had a problem. Usually the only boxes opened are ones that were once used for electronics. I always have a laptop and my giant camera, plus all the electronic stuff I am asked to buy for friends (iPods, digital cameras), printers, scanners, etc. I usually have at least a suitcase wort of food products.

Only once did they say anything because I had two laptops - an old one a new one. The new one was a Mac and kind of an impulse purchase. I was told that I was only allowed one laptop per trip. I told the guy that one was my husband's and in need of repair in the US (sort of true) and the other was mine - a different kind altogether. The customs officer said in the future I should get a slip from aduana before leaving the country if I had to bring more than one back to avoid any problems. They let me through without issue.

i returned a few days ago with eleven bags and a quart of fresh cherries and they didn't say anything about the fresh fruit, either.

I just went through the

I just went through the airport a few weeks ago, and it seems that the area where they had the X-ray machine is being transformed/under construction. At any rate, the machine was not there, and I could see nothing as far as customs goes other than the one individual who decides if you pass without inspection. I came with 3 overweight bags (plus carry-ons), and there was no hesitation to let me pass without question. But then again, anyone who looks at me knows right away that this chele/gringo is completely trust-worthy, and couldn't possibly be trying to get away with anything.

It seems to me that this VIP service (I heard of it before, but have never seen it in action) is a waste of money. You basically get the same service for much less by having someone help you as soon as you arrive at baggage claim. Let them guide you, pay them five dollars (not cordobas) when you pass through customs, and everyone will be happy. I even had to go through X-ray once when my wife and I had 6 heavy bags plus carry-ons, with two bags full of items obviously for sale (pocket knives and other hardware), and there were no hand searches or any questions. I don't think there is any way to seek out this so-called "VIP Service", but I do believe that things go a lot more smoothly if you agree to let someone help you (even if you don't think you need it). I really think this "VIP service" is just something that some enterprising individual invented to milk the gringos. - Just my 2 cordobas worth.

I have never

I have never used VIP but know some who do. From what I understand, the main benefit to them is the freedom to sit at the bar and enjoy an after flight drink while someone else walks their passport through immigration and their luggage through customs. If your not counting dollars it might be worth it to not wait in lines. http://www.dancesar.com/ Dan Polley

Not likely a problem

You are not going to get harassed (even if you get checked) for some relatively low-value gifts. And if you/anyone with you has a Nicaraguan cédula, they can bring in $500 of stuff every six months anyway.

Correct and

even touristes are allowed printers, etc...says so on the back of the customs form. ZZT

Every year

I get flagged going into Houston for secondary agricultural inspection. They don´t like my face or something.

Every year I don´t get stopped coming in to Managua. Same face, go figure.

Everyone knows that anyone lucky enough to have a visa to go abroad is going to bring back a bunch of gifts and stuff, Nica, resident , or tourist.

¨Latin America devours its revolutionaries¨ -Simon Bolivar