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Parque Central Square in Leon, Nicaragua

What cultural faux pas should I try to avoid making in Nicaragua?

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We asked people in Nicaragua if they could share any humorous cultural blunders they commited. For new expats, keep in mind that these incidents are an inevitable part of expat life. Learning to laugh about them is the key!...

"Mostly language stuff. I would say muy bien for "things" when I should have been saying muy bueno. I started mixing the Italian language with Spanish by accident. Words that I've heard my mother use slipped out of my mouth and didn't make sense to the person I was attempting (very badly attempting) to communicate with. My friend kept catching me on making up words in my desperate attempts to communicate. It made everybody laugh," remarked another expat in Managua, Nicaragua.

"Being pensionados we have less money and income than almost any time in our lives yet we are rich compared to our neighbors. No matter how much we try we will never quite understand this disparency and how the locals see us. Our neighbors believe we are wealthy beyond their dreams and no matter how much we share it, they think we are hiding even more wealth. Let me give you an example by a story that actually happened to me. We use Cordobas here which presently exchange at 23 cordobas to one US dollar or about a nickel. Often I will give 10 or 20 cordobas to the street cleaners, garbage men or other deserving souls. Anyway, one day I was walking my dog when I was approached by a young man in need. After exchanging courtesies he stated he needed 50 cordobas to buy a pair of shorts. I was rather surprised that he was asking for so much since requests are using for 10 or 20 cordobas or the change in your pocket. I told him so but he insisted he needed that much. Since he was polite and courteous I reached in my pocket but all I had was a 20 cordoba note. I gave it to him and said that was all I had. I walked away feeling I had helped the young man. The following day I was again walking my dog and the same young man approached me. After the usual courtesies he told me "Do you have the 30 cordobas you owe me?". I was in such shock that I gave him the 30 cordobas and walked away, stunned. In the states I would have been indignant but that is the way it is here. And it is a humorous reflection of society here," said a member in Granada, Nicaragua.

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Other Questions:

What cultural faux pas should I try to avoid making in Nicaragua?

If you live in Nicaragua, newcomers to Nicaragua would love to hear your answer to this question.

If your answer relates to a specific city or town in Nicaragua, please include the name of the city/town below:


Parque Central Square in Leon, Nicaragua

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