I (35, male, American, solo, Spanish 101) spent the last 2 months (July/Aug ’18) studying/living in Playa Gigante, Nicaragua. On the weekends I took road trips to all points SW Nicaragua. I encountered ZERO problems and had the most *amazing* time. For better (for me) for worse (for the people), the beaches, restaurants, hotels and tourists places were empty. In Granada I saw 5 foreigners. Some days in SJdS I saw no foreigners. Tourist towns were ghost towns, except for the locals waiting for your return. Sounds eerie? It wasn’t. I received the most gracious and warm welcome everywhere I went. It was a wonderful opportunity to connect with the people.
The political problem is grave and complicated, but it will likely have no effect on your safety or ability to travel. As someone who has been “on the ground” for 2 months, I observe that it has had devastating effects on the people, but has no effects on a tourist. Demonstrations lately have been (organized) pro-government, and the massive shut downs earlier in Spring are not likely again (heavy government suppression). Further, those demonstrations are/were limited to Managua/Masaya which you probably aren’t going to visit anyway. The beach towns, state parks, and Ometepe haven’t been touched by protests, then or now (and won’t be).
Deals are to be had because they are desperate for your business. But my feeling was that any dollar I saved was a dollar they wouldn’t see tomorrow or the next. Things are already cheap, therefore I tended to tip generously.
Many businesses have closed. Thousands are laid off. Do check directly with your hotel to verify they are open (if you booked on Expedia, Booking, etc).
In case you are wondering, I have no personal/financial interest in Nicaragua (check out my profile, I get around). I just hope that I can convince someone to go and have an experience like I did. There is nothing we can individually do about “the situation,” but one by one, one to one, we can make a difference in the individual lives of every Nicaraguan we encounter.
Feel free to message me (or post here) if you have any questions.