Nicaragua is Number 2 on the "Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2011" list - But there is a catch!

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2011 - 10 budget-friendly destinations where you can get the most bang for your buck.

The catch is (IMO) that with average daily tourist spending rates steadily going down ($75 down to $48) and LP suggesting that you can live (or survive) here on $15 a day, is Nicaragua going to simply be known as the McDonald's of travel destinations? I am not necessarily saying that is bad (I like Big Macs) just that every new list we are on seems to be based on price (our 'Retirement Haven' friend for instance).

Perhaps it will attract tourists that can and will upgrade to the next bracket up.

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Budget travellers

I think that places pioneered and preferred by backpackers eventually draw a more well-heeled crowd that augments budget tourism. Several possible reasons:

- A basic tourist infrastructure springs up- like Gato Negro and Mauricio's. Freer-spending travellers enjoy the funkiness, authenticity, and, yes, cost of budget traveller infrastructure, while expanding out to a splurge on, say, El Beestro...(in SJdS context)

- Word of mouth and alt-media reports (like LP) from budget travel pioneers reach hipsters with a bit more money and less time on their hands, but still with an interest in adventure and cool stories to tell.

- A portion of those backpackers grow up, get jobs, have families, and end up with less time and more money, but fond memories of that little beach town. (full disclosure: guilty as charged!)

Frommers Budget Travel Magazine used to run a column titled "Where the Backpackers Are Going Now" (or something like that), apparently to clue their readership in on the newest destinations coming in under the industry radar..


Someone has to be cheapest in the C.A. region. Cheap isn't bad but at $15 a day you do not always get the best of what the budget end has to offer. However, the claim that "as other Central American destinations inflate prices with an influx of travellers..." might not be based on fact, not with destination"s" plural (this seems to be jab at Costa Rica). An increase in travellers is not what has caused prices to rise in Guatemala, El Salvador, and especially not Honduras. If backpackers are the ones lured, it is rare for them to bump up price categories. If they have extra funds they usually just stay much longer as opposed to spending much more on a daily basis.

Budget travelors aren't flashy

but they can leave an equal or higher percentage of their money with local/national concerns. 100% of $15 = 15 % of $100. The 15% of $100 is an example from a book I read that said that only 15% of tourist dollars spent in the Galapagos actually stays in the islands.

Higher end tourists do help build infrastructure. From what I see in the north, it seems that almost all tourist infrastructure is paid for by foreign aid.

''Remember, when seconds count, the police are only minutes away''

I didn't mean to imply

I didn't mean to imply otherwise. I was just trying to point out that most budget travelers with extra money end up staying many, many extra nights in the $5 hotel and not a few in the $25 or $50 hotel, etc. Though they are often belittled, countless budget travels actually leave more total money in country than there high-end counterparts. People often focus on a the daily expenditure ($16 a day or whatever it is, vs $116 a day). Problem is, the $16 a day traveler might be in the region for 200 days or more, and the $116 a day traveler might only be there 8 days, etc.