Let me start off by saying, all I can do is share our experience of living and traveling in Nicaragua with my wife for the last 3 years.
Although we’ve had nothing but incredibly positive experiences, I’m sure there are other queer travelers who have experienced some not so positive things here. Remember, that’s not a reflection of the country as a whole, but rather something that can happen ANYWHERE in the world.
Let’s start from the beginning, shall we? Fun fact: my wife and I actually MET in Nicaragua in December 2019 at a surf camp (listen to our full love story here). Needless to say, we were both comfortable coming to Nicaragua completely alone, as solo queer female travelers. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like we encountered a ton of other LGBTQ folks (although we did meet a good handful!), but the fact that we felt safe enough to just come alone, and meet one another is a testament to the overall feeling of acceptance in the area.
Since then, we returned in 2021 as a newly engaged couple. This is when we started construction of Still Salty Escape. And, let’s just say that everyone in our tiny, coastal town in Northern Nicaragua knew that two women (who were a COUPLE *gasp*) bought a piece of land at Rocky Point, and were building a retreat center.
Although the locals were indeed curious about us (curiosity which may or may not had anything to do with our relationship, mind you), their interest never felt intrusive, disrespectful, or endangering in any way. Our community simply knows us as “las chicas,” and treats us with nothing other than love and care.
During our 2021 stay, we also roadtripped up and down the Pacific coast and Ometepe. The free spirited vibe of Ometepe felt incredibly safe, and we felt comfortable being openly together there.
Along the coast (San Juan Del Sur, Rivas, Popoyo, Leon, El Transito), we would simply feel it out, and act accordingly. Overall, no one seemed to care at all about our relationship. Or, if they did, they didn’t show it.
Whether it was getting a couple’s massage at the spa in our resort, or just booking a room for two people with one bed- everything felt completely safe.
I will say that we tend to not be a super PDA couple when traveling in general, just out of a precaution. Meaning, we’re not kissing in public, and usually only hold hands if we know 100% it’s safe to do so.
Fast forward to later on in 2021 and all of 2022, once we came back as a married couple ready to open our business here.
I’ll admit I was a little worried that perhaps local staff might feel embarrassed to work for us given our same-sex relationship. Religion is prominent here, and I know that some of these beliefs are pretty heavily anti-queer. Despite some of our staff being devout followers of their respective religions, no one has ever expressed any conflict with their beliefs and our gayness.
The longer we stayed, our local team who started as employees turned into friends. And soon after, into family.
They ask us about our love story, and tend to get really excited when we share the detail about meeting HERE in Nicargua. They are all coming to our wedding, which we’re hosting here on the property. Again, we live in a tiny town. EVERYONE knows Las Chicas are getting married in December. And everyone we meet is nothing other than genuinely happy for us.
The last thing I’ll add is about my hospital stint in April of 2022, when my appendicitis turned into an emergency surgery. From a more logistic perspective, these are the moments that your rights and relationship status matter, right? We needed them to know that Alix is my FAMILY, which is why she was sleeping in the tiny cot next to my hospital bed for two nights until I was well enough to go home.
Although they knew we were family, some of them were still under the impression we might be sisters, or cousins, or some other sort of relation other than WIVES. Until one of the nurses outright asked Alix during the discharge and paperwork process, to which Alix answered honestly.
All she did was sort of cock her head to the side, and say, “oh, didn’t know, because that’s just not very common here.”
Overall, we’ve only experienced acceptance with a dash of curiosity from both locals and expats, alike.
I’m not saying that Nicaragua is a hub for LGBTQ travel, by any means. Because, realistically, tourism is Nicaragua is quite low compared to it’s popular neighbors like Guatemala and Costa Rica.
But what I can say is that if you’re a queer person looking for a safe place to practice yoga or learn to surf, then look no farther. Not only will we provide you the best time, but we’ll also provide a judgment free space for ANYONE to express themselves with ease.