||Most important decisions in Nicaraguan business are made outside of formal meetings. Meetings serve principally to formalize decisions already taken, to communicate the decisions to others, or to give the impression that the decision is being made at the moment. Given this, business entertainment is essential.
The most common type of business entertainment is lunch. Be advised, however, that an invitation is not an automatic indication that the lunch will be paid for by the person who made the invitation. It may simply be an invitation to join one another.
The decision to pay or to have your lunch paid for is delicate. While an occasional paid invitation is acceptable, it should not become routine between the same people. This is interpreted as an expression of an interest, and makes the person cautious.
Alcohol consumption is common in Nicaragua. You should not act surprised or uncomfortable with this. However, if you do not choose to drink make yourself clear by ordering a non-alcoholic drink for yourself. While this is acceptable, there are still some who interpret it as a rejection. You have to judge this situation for yourself, but be prepared because this is not at all uncommon at lunch
Although organized restaurant dinners are becoming a more frequent form of entertainment, Nicaraguans still tend to prefer the intimacy of gatherings, parties, socials and shared meals in one another’s homes. If you are offering an evening or weekend night party, plan for it to start late. Guests will come at any time after the official hour of the party, and if the invitation says 8:00, expect most to not show until around 10. This explains why the food at informal dinners is also served very late. It is not appropriate to establish a finishing time for the party.
Serve a variety of drinks and finger foods throughout the party. It is common to have waiters and bartenders available to serve guests, as Nicaraguans are reluctant to serve themselves when invited to someone’s home. This changes with increasing intimacy, but if not everyone invited has the same level of intimacy with you, it’s better to have this service for the party.
Music is almost a must at any informal gathering, and it is common for Nicaraguan guests to dance. Sit-down parties for conversation, except with small groups, are normally regarded as boring and controlled. This flies in the face of the relaxed, tropical nature of the culture. You will be encouraged to dance, too. Enjoy yourself and give it a try. This too is viewed as an embrace of Nicaraguan culture.
If a meal is to be served at the party, it is most often served at the end of the party. This is considered the mark of the beginning of the end of the party. Enjoy the meal, then serve coffee and dessert, and prepare to greet your departing guests.
Table manners are also relaxed. A well-dressed table is appreciated, however pretentiousness with formal place settings or manners at the table are frowned upon.