My girfriend and I were robbed yesterday morning (5 July 2007) at gunpoint in southern Nicaragua as we were riding toward the Costa Rican border. We were about 30 km south of Rivas on the Panamerican Highway when we were stopped by three young guys who came out on the road blocking our way. They started by asking for water, and then eventually pulled out a gun and threw us and our bikes off the side of the road by a bridge. One held the gun on us while the other two went through the bags and took anything of value that we had. We're both fine, a little scraped up, demoralized and poorer.
Upon reaching the border, we went to the police, who said that we were the third group of cyclists in the last month to be robbed on that stretch of highway. And they are definitely targeting touring foreigners. So we would recommend that under NO circumstances you ride bikes between Rivas Nicaragua and the Costa Rican border--play it safe and take a bus. Or you could check with the Nicaraguan police in either Penas Blancas or Rivas to see how the roads have been. We cooperated with their investigation (including going back to the crime scene with 8 police carrying weapons!), but I think they came away with little evidence to use to catch these guys (if they even bother to try). We had just come from Ometepe, so we don't know anything about how the road is between Granada and Rivas.
We want to post this to as many places as possible so as many eyes see this as possible to try to prevent more robberies. I'm going to post this in the Couchsurfing and Lonely Planet cycling forums...any other suggestions for places to post?
Matt & Cindy