As a group of backpackers and I were sitting on the bench waiting for a chicken bus to pass, we realized that we might be waiting for hours while sitting in the blistering heat of the Nicaraguan sun. We had just descended back to the local village from our New Years hike to the Telica Volcano. We were smelly, sweaty, and exhausted and we could not bear the thought of having to endure any more time waiting to return to our hostels to take a shower and rest our aching muscles.
A suggestion was made by one of the backpackers that we should attempt to hitchhike our way back into the city of Leon, which was located about 45 minutes away. Everyone in the group agreed that it would be a good idea, and the search for a ride began. There were around twenty of us backpackers covered in dirt and grime piled onto the sidewalk and underneath the bus stop, and we had difficulty hailing a ride for quite a while because no one seemed to want to stop for us. Finally after about twenty minutes of failing to flag down a ride, one truck finally pulled over, and we all hopped on the back of it thankful that we would finally be able to continue our journey into the city.
Tips for hitchhiking in Nicaragua
Luckily the first time that I ever had to hitchhike in my life happened to be with a large group. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to hitchhike to get from point a to point b in a small group or as a solo traveler, here are some things your should know:
- Hitchhiking is common in Nicaragua – “Hitchhiking is common in more rural areas and small towns, but not recommended in Managua” (WikiTravel)
- Make sure your driver is heading in the right direction – this may seem obvious, but you really don’t want to get stuck ending up in a different city/country than you intended
- Don’t get inside of the vehicle – hop onto the back of the truck/van and do not get inside of the car
- Tip your driver – gas is expensive in Nicaragua so the polite thing to do is to offer a little bit of cash for the ride. “This money will usually be refused, although the gesture will be appreciated.” (VIVA Travel Guides)
Stories about Hitchhiking in Nicaragua
- POAS Travelers – Hitchhiking in Nicaragua (January 2012)
- Life Out of the Box – Hitch Hiking Like Mom & Pops in Nicaragua (June 2013)
If you have tips or a story to share about your hitchhiking experience in Nicaragua, feel free to share below! Happy traveling!