Well, as our house sit winds down here in Nicaragua we get to reflect on the time we had here. We had some tough times, like when Cheli got REALLY sick. And we had some fun times, like when I got covered in Chocolate sauce.
Much like how I compared Canada to America to Panama, I decided I would do a quick comparison of Nicaragua and Panama. So which country is better…Nicaragua or Panama? Let’s find out with these completely random categories:
Panama has…hot sauce on every table. Nicaragua has spicy food that I love on the way in, and curse the next day as that food exits. Okay, let’s face it, I really want Panama to have better food but it rarely “wow’s” many of us foreigners. In fact, a Tico friend said the same thing. I was pleasantly surprised, though, with the food at the recent Gastronomica event in Panama City. That’s hopefully a sign of things to come for the food scene in Panama. But Nicaragua’s food options just seemed to be better and all around more flavorful.
Winner: Nicaragua by a chili pepper (or two)
Panama: Yeah, there’s a joke about this right? Like “What service”? Well, I get good service at stores, like Do-It Center, or the Rey, but it’s the restaurants in Panama that are lacking good service. I mean come on servers, smile once in a while. Hey, I know – serving food sucks, I’ve done it. But you’re not going to make it better wallowing in your self-pity, so smile, say “Buenas”, and get me another fucking beer!
Nicaragua: Great service every restaurant we went to. Beers come with a napkin wrapped around the top so you can wipe it off, and straws are left with a little piece of paper on them still so you know you’re getting a new straw. When you say “gracias”, they always reply with “a la orden”. Okay, they don’t always smile, but they’re generally seem happier to be doing their job than in Panama’s restaurants.
Nicaragua’s two main cervezas are Toña and Victoria.
Panama has a few more options with Panama, Soberana, Atlas, Balboa. 507
Yes, there are other options but these seem to be the big sellers. I prefer Toña over Victoria, and Soberana over Toña . Unless I feel like having something stronger, than I’ll go for a Balboa. But Victoria is cheaper than Toña in Nica…oh the beer choices…To be honest, a lot of these beers taste VERY similar. Whatever’s on hand does the job.
Winner: Panama because of variety.
Having visited Nicaragua in 2012, I must say, not much has changed. People here are poor. When you walk the streets there is almost always someone with their hand out looking for money. Kids want to take your grocery cart back to the front of the store (10 ft away) for a few cordobas. When you go to one of the main tourist areas, Granada, the poverty is even more noticeable, as are the “glue kids”. Add to that we were given the finger by a 5 year old, yelled “gringa, gringa, gringa” at by another youngling, and got a nice welcoming “fuck you” while eating because I didn’t buy one of those ridiculously stupid wood-carved bird whistles. And just the other morning, while walking to the store to get phone data, we noticed a few young kids with machete’s in hand and other tools and not in school uniform as they walked along with an older man, presumably on their way to “work”. I’m no Principal Edward Rooney, but shouldn’t those little Ferris Buellers be in school?
While living in Panama, I adored the “buenas” attitude of the people there. Get on a bus…Buenas! Walk into a store…Buenas! The children didn’t really pay attention to us in Pedasi. They wouldn’t say “buenas”, but they wouldn’t be insulting us either. In fact, we rode buses overloaded with school children and never received treatment similar to what we did in Nica. Not in Pedasi. Not in Las Tablas. Not in my brief time in PC, or our visit to; Bocas, Boquete, David, Chame, El Valle and Arraijan. Nunca in Panama.
Winner: The Peeps of Panama
Panama is an ocean lover’s dream. You can fish, dive, snorkel, sail, surf, SUP, dude (see what I did there, clever, eh). You can also enjoy many festival festivities, fairs, go zip-lining, gamble at a casino, gamble at a cock-fight, watch some drag-races…to name a few things.
In Nicaragua, you can also surf, SUP, sail, fish, dive, go zip-lining, get covered in chocolate, “volcano board” down a volcano, stay on a volcanic island, or swim/kayak in a crater lake…to name a few things.
Okay, so there’s plenty to do in both countries.
Well, looks like a 2-2-1 tie. We can’t have a tie. That’s just no fun and can’t possibly promote internet trolls to post anything sour or fightworthy, so one more category….
Nicaragua: Christ of the Mercy, San Juan del Sur
Panama: This girl:
Winner: You tell me???