Nicaragua Packing List + Giveaway

Nicaragua Packing List

Today I’m sharing my Nicaragua Packing List and a special giveaway! I love reading packing lists but I haven’t written one since this one for Burma (Myanmar). Today is going to be a special post because it also includes a giveaway from the Clever Travel Companion. Exciting! Find more details and how to win at the end of the post.

 I was determined to pack light and pack right for this trip to Nicaragua. But, as usually happens, I still felt like I had too much in my 38 liter backpack. Funnily enough I constantly got compliments on how small my backpack was- so it couldn’t have been that bad! I still could have made a few edits- so here is my Nicaragua packing list with comments about what I would change. (Note: This was for a three week trip).

Nicaragua Packing List Shoes and Bags

 The Backpack

 Gregory Women’s 38 liter backpack- (Similar bag here). I bought this bag a couple of years ago in Beijing. I love it because it really is incredibly comfortable and light, even when having to walk on unpaved roads in boiling heat .

 Eagle Creek Pack It Half Dirty Packing Cubes-They keep everything organised in there and they zip in half so you can use one side for your laundry.

 The Day Bags

Nica Cross Body Bag–  I always use it my on travels. I find it much more convenient and safer than a regular handbag.

 Karrimor Day Backpack– It’s small enough to roll up and stick in my bigger backpack. I’ve had it for ten years and originally it was a zip off day bag on a much larger backpack. I use this one if I want to go hiking or some other activity where a backpack is better.

Roof of Mombacho Cigar Factory Granada

The Clothes


Clever Travel Companion Secret Pocket Tank– I loved this. They let me have one to try  and I loved it so much I asked to do a giveaway for you guys (you can choose any item from their online shop if you win. They will ship internationally too!) There is a secret pocket at the front and I used it to stash extra cash, credit cards and my US permanent resident card when I travelled on public transport. I felt safe in Nicaragua but it was reassuring to know my cards and most of my cash were hidden away and I’d never lose them or have them stolen. I usually wore a very light top over it to keep it extra hidden. I didn’t do much partying in Nicaragua but it would also be a great top to wear to keep your hotel keys and cash in so you could go out hands free.

4 Tank Tops–  This was too many! I could have done with two. I just wore my favourite beach one when I was at the beach/islands and a tighter one was useful for the one time I did yoga (one time!).

 3 T-shirts- This was a good number to have. Nothing else to add.

 4 Lightweight “Nicer” Tops- Two would have been better. I didn’t need 4. I wore them all but I could have just washed the other two in the sink as they are so lightweight.

 2 Exercise Tops. 1 would have been fine. I used it a few times (washed in between) for hikes. I never really “worked out” because it was too darn hot!

1 Hoodie- I only wore it in on the plane and in Matagalpa in the evenings, but I’m glad I had it.

Leon Cathedral Roof


 2 Pairs of Shorts– This was fine. I could have just used one if I had to.

1 Beach/Surf Shorts– No problems here.

2 Three-quarter Length Leggings- These were great. I wore them every time I travelled on transport as well as for just walking around, doing yoga (once guys! I only did yoga once..!) and for hiking. So easy and comfy and attracted less attention than if I wore shorts (Nicaraguans don’t wear shorts so much). Plus I could sweat as much as I liked as they are sports leggings (did I mention Nicaragua is hot!?).

1 Pair Light-Weight Long Trousers.- I was so happy I had these. I wore them in the evenings for walking around/hanging out. I felt that trousers attracted less attention than shorts/dresses and protected me from mosquitos.

Packing for Nicaragua


2  Dresses- I really could have just brought one.


 Underwear– I stuck a bunch in a packing cube. No regrets.

6 Pairs of Socks– I had enough but I wore them way more than I thought. I didn’t expect to wear my trainers/running shoes as much as I did. They definitely all got washed and then worn again.

Bikinis- Two sets. I could have got by with one on this trip.


Rainbow Sandals– l loved them. I only recently caved and bought some when I saw a more girly pair with thinner straps. They are so comfortable for walking around as they actually (shock horror) have arch support!

Havaianas– This was an old pair I just brought to use in the shower etc. Necessary.

Gold Sandals– I really wished I hadn’t brought these. Waste of space. I loved wearing my comfy Rainbow sandals everywhere.

Nikes– Very necessary.

Nicaragua Packing List

Other Things

Sarong– I have a super light, cotton sarong. I used it a lot in hostels as it was a lighter weight than the typical Nicaraguan top sheet.

Fake Wedding Ring– Depending on where I travel, I sometimes leave my engagement ring at home but I still wear my wedding ring. However, my wedding ring also has diamonds on it and I just didn’t feel like bringing anything of this kind value (sentimental and monetary) to Nicaragua. I found this cute jewelry stand called Bear Fruit Jewelry (you can also buy their stuff online) and bought a $20 plain ring. I do actually like the ring though so now I’m back in the US I wear it on my other hand.

Earplugs– I slept with these every night. Nicaragua is very hot so having a high speed fan on at night is necessary. However, they can be a bit noisy and the ear plugs helped to block it out.

Eye mask– I rarely used it but I was glad I had it.

Mini Torch and Whistle (with nifty compass and thermometer on it!)- I put these two together on a key chain. The torch was necessary when staying in places with mosquito nets. You usually need to switch off the light on the opposite side of the room and then find your way back into the net. I also used it in Ometepe when I stayed at Finca Mystica (which was amazing by the way!) to find my way back to my room. I didn’t use the whistle but it was a nice safety thing to have.

Travel Towel– Very necessary as I stayed in at least one hostel that didn’t provide towels (you could rent them if you didn’t bring your own).

Two Locks– I brought one with a key and this combination lock. The combination lock is easier as you don’t have to worry about a key.

Polarized Ray Ban Sunglasses– I love them.


I won’t bother listing all my toiletries. But I will say I decant everything into 100ml bottles from Muji. I seriously recommend those to everyone! That way I can carry my backpack on as a carry on. I also always carry tissues and wet wipes/hand sanitiser when I travel.


I don’t like travelling with a laptop so left it at home.

Kindle– I have one of the original kindles and it’s still holding out. I read a few books on the trip. My absolute favourite I read this time was the new Bill Bryson book- The Road To Little Dribbling.

Ipad– I have an ipad mini, I just prefer the size. I mostly used it for watching films, using wifi and the occasional (but rare!) bit of blogging. I don’t like reading on the ipad which is why I brought my kindle as well.

Ipad Keyboard– I didn’t use it a lot but it makes it easy to type on the ipad when putting together a blogpost or sending emails.

Olympus Mirrorless Camera– I’ve had this mirrorless camera for about 5 years now and I still love it! They are so much lighter than a big DSLR but can do just as good a job. It has taken a bit of a battering over the years but it’s still going strong. If I had to replace it, I’d just get the same one or a newer version like this one.

What I wish I had Brought

Usually I have a bunch of things to list in this section but I can’t think of anything else I really needed.

 Polaroid Cube + Is the only thing I wished I had. Unfortunately I had bought a faulty one and so couldn’t take it on the trip. I think these little guys look so awesome though and they are a much cheaper alternative to a Go Pro if you just want a little action cam to play around with for fun.


Phew! Ok, now on to what you’ve all been waiting for- the giveaway! The Clever Travel Companion are offering one item of secret pocket clothing to a Paper Crane Stories reader and they’ll even ship it internationally. You can head over to their website to see their full range for men and women. I personally really liked using the secret pocket tank top but, if I was going to get a second item (which I may well do), I reckon I’d get the leggings or underwear! Such a  great idea!

(Giveaway Closed). To win enter below and a winner will be selected at random. There are a bunch of ways to enter- including commenting below, liking my account on instagram etc.  The more you do the more entries you get. Please make sure you click on the box and follow the instructions to make sure your entry is counted.

Discount code

If you don’t win or you just can’t wait, use the code PaperCraneCompanion to get a $5 discount on their website!


I hope you liked my Nicaragua Packing List and the giveaway. Let me know in the comments if you entered the giveaway!

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Packing for Nicaragua


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28 thoughts on “Nicaragua Packing List + Giveaway

  1. Great piece with loads of handy tips, as usual!! I also love your camera recommendation and I’m seriously thinking of getting one for my LA roadtrip coming up 😉

  2. Hey, great post, it’s difficult to choose but you have to think practically most of the time. I’ve entered by the way x Jules

  3. I loved this post because I always like hearing what/how other people pack. I’m a pretty good packer too. For our two-week trips I always only pack a suitcase to use as a carryon and I still feel like I end up taking too much.

    I’ve heard great things about Rainbow Sandals; I might have to get a pair! I’m also happy to learn about the Clever Travel Companion company; such great clothing for traveling!

    1. I love my Rainbow Sandals- I always resisted buying them as I didn’t realise they actually made different styles. It took a couple of wears to break them in but now they are perfect! Thanks- I thought it was such a cool idea to have hidden pockets like that in clothing as I’ve never been into money belts etc. Good luck 🙂

  4. I am quite a minimalist traveller so I usually try to fit all my things into a carry on.. it’s so convenient and saves me loads of time waiting for my luggage! But next year I’m going on a lonnnngggg trip round Central and South America (will defos be referring back to your blog for Nicaragua tips!) so probably won’t get away with hand luggage when I’m packing for so many different activities! Also, loving the secret clothes, especially the tank top, leggings and underwear 🙂

    1. I love travelling carry on only. I completely agree- I love saving that time waiting for luggage to come round on the carousel- plus you don’t have to worry about it getting lost! I think the secret pocket underwear is awesome- I want to get some next time.

  5. love the v neck shirts with secret pocket-such a clever idea! I try to be a carry on only person if it’s a weekend only trip. When I travel for work, I have to bring so much stuff-gifts for hosts, suits, etc. that it’s impossible to do anything but a giant suitcase.

  6. I try to stick to carry on when ever possible.

    Clever Travel Companion’s hidden zipper clothing is so clever and useful. For traveling or just places where you don’t want to carry a purse.

  7. I love that last photo of you! The contrast of red is so perfect and bold. I’ve always wanted to go to Nicaragua. I’ve seen a couple of lists listing it as a great place to vacation and retire because it’s very cheap, and you still get the beauty of the oceans and Spanish architecture. Someday… 😉

    1. Hi Leigh- haha! Yes, it was for three weeks. I should make that clear- thanks for pointing that out. Everything fitted in my 38 liter backpack (with room to buy a huge bag of coffee and lots of cigars to give out as presents back home) so it was all good. 🙂

  8. What a fun giveaway!
    I’m a carry-on only gal. I’ve tried both ways, and it’s certainly the best for me. 🙂
    I like both the tank top with two pockets best. It would make it much easier to access your valuables while in public, as opposed to the underwear. lol

    1. Thanks, Hannah! Haha yes you probably don’t want to be fishing around in your underwear in public haha! It would be good if you just want to stash stuff out of sight until you got to a hostel though. I agree- carry-on is so much easier!

  9. Thanks for sharing your camera recommendation! My camera zoom has been broken since the summer and I’m planning to replace my camera eventually. I’ll look into this one!

  10. I have the same rainbow sandals and bought them for the same reason! I used to travel without my wedding ring, but then it was stolen when my house was broken into (just while I was at work). Now, the vintage replacement ring I got just comes with me. I thought the house was safer, lol. This is a helpful list, I’m thinking I might replace a pair of my shorts with an extra pair of 3/4 leggings now! 🙂

    1. Those Rainbow sandals are the best, aren’t they? Oh no! I’m sorry about your wedding ring, that’s terrible. I would think the house was safer too. 🙁 I was really happy I had those leggings and wore them such a lot, especially for public transport etc. I guess you’ll want lots of shorts for the Corn Islands though- eeek!

  11. I had never heard of the term “mirrorless camera” despite the fact I sold cameras for a month or two. But I might consider buying one because I could use a new digital camera. So new mirroless cameras run about $500?

    1. I really like them. They are so much lighter and smaller than a dslr. I would definitely shop around and do some research but I really like the Olympus Pen E series. The one I have is one of the first ones, but they have released quite a few newer models since then. You should definitely be able to get one for around $500. Let me know if you get one!

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