Nicaragua..world of Toña, Flor de Caña, Sunday FunDay, Lava shot, Volcano boarding and many more..

Posted: May 11, 2014 in Caribbean, Central America, Nicaragua
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My first stop in Nicaragua was on the North, a town called Esteli. I planned to visit the Miraflores natural reserve to finally spot a quetzal but sadly my health decided for me..

After my recent Acid reflux I was not expecting getting one again!! But sadly it came back and put me in bed for 4 days. This  reflux is an awful thing..there is no relief. You should not lie down, you are too weak to walk though or even sit..you are hungry but you can only eat dry stuff that absorbs the acid..defo a good way to drop a few pounds down! I met some lovely people though in the hostel. Once I was strong enough I took the bus to Leon with Wayne.  Leon is an incredibly hot town..I’m talking about 35-40 degrees..The hostel we wanted to stay in was full so we stayed in Cerro Negro, just in front of the other one. I very much liked this hostel..as apart from people it had everything..pool table, comfy chairs, hammocks, bamboo swing, and a rubber kids pool. This is where I spent my first afternoon.

Childhood memories

Leon is a nice little colonial town..there is an excellent juice bar just by the main park where you could choose among more than 50 juices.

with the clown Leon church Leon church

I was in Leon at the start of the biggest Latin American celebration, the Semana Santa. For us it’s Easter but they celebrate the whole week and there are possessions where they dress up and carry Jesus Christ on their shoulder..

semana santa

I met Nikki in Honduras and she said she might come to celebrate my birthday to the Surfing Turtle Lodge (Near Leon on the beach) and she came to the same hostel as me and Wayne so we hang out the 3 of us for a day before the Turtle Lodge.

Leon was memorable for me because I decided to go to the hospital and check if I have gallstones given that this acid pain usually moves to the back the last couple of days. The doctor sent me for blood and urine tests, and ultra sound (this latter was private).

So I spent a morning doing all these and turned out I had no gallstones. First thing I’ll do when I’m back in England is to do a helicobacteria test as I read it’s a common cause of acid reflux.

So after these adventures once I got better I went to the Surfing turtle lodge around the 16th of April to spend my birthday and the rest of Semana Santa there. It’s a little paradise..There is not much to do..only surfing if waves are good but while I was there they weren’t. The other activity is to watch turtle eggs hatch and when the sun goes down send the little turtles on their way to the ocean. It’s important to do this in the evening as they have more chances to survive.

sending off turtles to ocean turtle fun our lodge those gorgeous sunsets..

 

We played every day at 4pm volleyball and the losers had to go up to the bar and have a little dance for Ice Ice Baby and then down at one go a Smirnoff Ice..I was almost every day on the bar:)

So a few words about the group…I think Surfing Turtle was the foundation for the rest of my Nicaraguan travels when it comes to fun people to travel with! Ben and Imogen (Australian couple) is defo my fave couple, we shared joy, tears and beers in our Nicaraguan stay. Nikki I talked about earlier is a super cool chick, traveling with her little guitar, passionate about tattoos and has a great voice! She is from Canada..Kevin! He arrived! I met him in Copan Ruinas and although our ways separated for the rest of Honduras he promised he would come for my birthday and there he was! With a bottle of rum from Roatan and a bracelet and ring from another traveller friend of his! Sweet! Alina and Celine. I met Alina in Leon, we travelled together to the lodge and hung out there together. She was very nice and lent me her local phone so I could call La Costeña to book my plane ticket to the Corn islands (next destination, more about it later).Her friend Celine came only for the last night so I didn’t chat to her much that time. And an unmissable addition to our group was Wayne..well..he is a tough one. So Wayne was a great travel companion up until the Lodge..

He is one of those people who claims that he hates hang out with travellers but he still does and tries everything to appear cool and not a ‘gringo’ (Latin Americans call foreigners gringo. Originally this word was used for North American people but it seems to apply now to everyone.) His agenda for the 5 days in Surfing Turtle Lodge was to get hammered..so he started drinking in the morning most days and finished last …unless he climbed on other people’s bed and was sick in them. By the end he managed to have more enemies than friends..in a way it was very sad and I felt sorry for him but he earned this for himself and somebody who doesn’t want to be helped cannot be helped.

After 5 days of fun we left the turtle and some of them stayed in Leon, I went to Managua, spent a night there just to be able to leave a few things before flying to the corn islands due to weight restrictions. That one night in Managua was fun, I went to the cinema and watched Rio 2. I miss cinema!!!!

Next day at 2pm I had my flight to Big Corn. I went to the airport on chicken bus..thought to save 20$ before the expensive Caribbean islands…

Flight was one hour, as soon as I arrived at Big Corn I took a boat to Little Corn island which is the backpackers’ favourite. Just a note on the flight..if you are planning on going there and you don’t know how long for do not book it on the website! call them or buy the ticket in an agency so you can get an open ticket for the same price (return 165$).

When I got off the boat I met Gil, lovely Canadian lady and then Nienke (The Netherlands). Lovely girls, great to hang out with! I shared a room in Cool Spot with Nienke so like this we paid 7.5$ each instead of 15$. We discovered some great restaurants, Happy hour in Tranquilo was a must every day. I signed up for a 10 dive package at Little Corn Dive centre but sadly I got sick (flu) so i could not continue diving there but I did 3 and I saw some nice things..but overall Little Corn diving is quite low key..

Few days after Nienke left and Immy and Ben arrived along with Alina and Celine so the turtle crowd was back!!! Except for Kevin and Nikki.

Here are some pics on Little Corn Islands:

First view on Little Corn Nienke and Gil :) glad they draw a picture to! View from Iguana Island pose

Internet on the island is not great..My internet strategy was ..breakfast at Iguana where I would connect with the world, stock up with water, play a little game where you had to hook to a metal ring on a string to a metal hook and have the best (and sweetest) French toast on the island. The last 2 pics above were taken at Iguana.

With Immy we discovered the most expensive resort on the island..300$ a night..great view and great little bungalows..but a little expensive in my opinion..

Yemaya life is good beach bar beach pose

 

Immy and Ben, and Alina and Celine stayed but I decided to spend a night (almost 2) in the Big Corn island.

I took the morning ferry to be able to explore the big island..There are more locals on the Big Corn and you can actually get some cheap local food not only touristy expensive one. I splurged though on my last night and I stayed in Paraiso Resort in a fantastic bungalow with a/c and comfort. Bear in mind at Cool spot I had a mouse on my last night so I really deserved a bit of a splurge!

I would say people who travel to the Corn islands..give a chance to the big corn as well cause it has more beautiful beaches than the little one ..yes you need to take a taxi after dark and during the day cause there are much longer distances but i walked around the island in a day with beach stops.

Few shots on Big Corn:

Caribbean Crystal clear Beach Like a pool Arenas Beach

 

Even though it wasn’t high season..I failed in my attempt to reserve a return flight to Managua. So the only solution was to go to airport on stand by and if people didn’t turn up for the flight I could go. There are 2 flights a day from and to the Corn islands. From is at 8.30 am and 3.30pm..next day for the 8.30 am I did not manage to get on. I did manage to get onto the 3.30 pm one though so it gave me the chance to return to my favourite beach (Arenas) and enjoy for another half day this paradise.

On the flight I met a couple (English boy, Brasilian girl) and as they were heading to Granada we decided to split a taxi instead of taking a bus. It was a total of 25$ for a 1.5h journey so it was well worth it. I picked up my stuff from the hostel and we arrived at Granada around 7pm. I was recommended a hostel called Oasis which had a perfect position and across the street there was an excellent Japanese restaurant where we had sushi…LOVED IT! I missed sushi so much!

I spent a few days in Granada, met Kevin again and then Immy and Ben too, I climbed Mombacho and Masaya volcans, went for a day to Masaya market (if you ever go there and want to buy things go to the old market which is about half price as the new market.) This hostel was excellent value..very spacious and free pancake and fruits for brekkie. ($9 a night)

At Mombacho I was climbing with a German guy who was travelling for 2 weeks with his mum! such a great effort by the mum to see his son in Nicaragua and climb a volcano with average inclination of 60 degrees.

At the Masaya volcan I was walking with a Nica boy and an El Salvador boy. They came to the market with me after. Nice people!

Granada parque central Granada Granada Mombacho volcan volcano climbing buddies Masaya volcan view from Masaya crater Masaya market giant papaya

I met Alex as well in Granada which was a great surprise ! We went for dinner ..big crew! I loved it then we went out partying. Sadly Immy and Ben didn’t come with us but it was an excellent night!! We started at a local place playing salsa, latin, 70s, rocky! Then we went to Granada’s greatest club called I ❤ weekend. What a night!

Alex Kevin fiesta

After Granada I went to Ometepe which is an island in one of Nicaragua’s big lakes and on the island there are 2 volcanoes. Concepcion (the higher one) and Maderas. Nikki booked a hostel for me ( Zopilote farm)..very organic and nice place. I got there, nice people in the dorm, we had a pizza night, met Nikki finally and Monica from Spain and we decided to hire a scooter for next day so we were cruising around the 3 of us on the bike. Loved it! The highlight of the day was Ojos del Agua natural pool from volcanic crystal clear water.

Ometepe bird Zopilote dorm Zopilote farm Zopilote bus Riding a scooter

 

Ometepe crew Juump!

 

 

The next day Monica and I decided to climb Maderas volcano..humid..hot..rainy, muddy. Based on these take the necessary equipment. Great cloud forest though and I even saw the most dangerous snake on Ometepe, red and black colour which lets you live 2 hours once it bites you:) What a lucky girl I am not having got bitten!:)

hill fighters! lake crater With Monica chicharra

 

Getting around in Ometepe is not easy. There are some buses that are not very reliable. Hitching is a possibility, To get the ferry back to the mainland we had to hitch from Santa Cruz to Moyogalpa. Now that was a serious fun!

hitching in ometepe

I forgot to mention that while I was in Granada I discovered that someone scammed me…Probably one of the cash machines I used was read by hackers and they took almost 600 pounds from my account. I blocked it immediately and ordered a new card to San Juan del Sur (to where I had no intention of going cause it was known being a party town of teenagers hosting this fantastic event of Sunday Funday) as I didn’t know how posts arrive to Ometepe. I picked a hostel in San Juan and said to the customer service rep.  He promised 7 days so..I was hanging out a few days in San Juan staying at different places. Why?

1. Casa las Olas, owned by an Aussie couple in their 50s..it’s a beautiful place with an infinity pool but there was a group of Aussies who were drunk every day pretty much during the day and night which took away the charm of this lovely place.

Casa las Olas

Next day we moved to the hostel I ordered my bank card to, Casa Oro. They mentioned to me earlier that they would charge me $5 for this post with is ridiculous. When we occupied our beds I found bed bugs!!! These are my biggest nightmare! I notified the staff so they came into the room with a special liquid which turned out to be tequila! so they got rid of the mattresses, sprinkled the frame and lit it up!

They suggested I do the same thing with my backpack without the lighting it up bit.

The process didn’t help. I couldn’t sleep because of the evil bed bugs so I moved downstairs to a different room in the middle of the night. Grrr

For the evening we hired a movie with Nikki (The shrink) it was a great movie and proves you can do different things in San Juan del Sur not only drinking.

Next day we moved to another hostel and went to a surfing beach called Maderas. It was a lovely beach but we didn’t surf so we came back next day to do a surfing class. This class gave me the final proof that surfing is not my sport. Too much hassle and once you stood up once it doesn’t give you that amazing feeling ..but that’s the case with every ‘non first’ I guess..

Travel to Maderas with daily shuttle Maderas surfer Bad Ass Eat With the girls Beach fun <3

 

The conclusion of my Nicaraguan trip was that my card never arrived so I blocked it (Barclays really should deal with situations that can occur during travelling) and ordered it to London. San Juan was not that bad although young travellers should watch out cause there is a drug problem there…2 travellers died while I was there.

Nicaragua was awesome! Very safe and fun! You always meet people and your money lasts long! Also true that I haven’t seen another country where so many T-shirt merchandise is being sold! Every other traveller has either a Lava shot or a Volcano boarding, a Toña beer or Flor de Caña rum T-shirt. I only bought a surfing turtle lodge one!

In my next post I’ll talk about Costa Rica and Panama. Stay tuned;-)

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s