Ziplines and Volcano Boards

Trip Start Oct 01, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Nicaragua  ,
Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Its arrived! It is cup of tea / wine time for you all. Mark here, and i shall try and pick up where Becca left off. So, firstly we are both now qualified divemasters! It took one week longer than expected due to us both getting some form of unpleasant tropical disease, kind of frustrating but ultimately not that big a deal, there really are worse places to get stuck! In this final week Becca dropped the camera in the sea (but its ok as we have a back up!), we both had to down snorkels full of alcohol (HAD to!), and decided to accompany Bernard, Mary and John down south in Bernards campervan! So we left Utila in good spirits, looking forward to getting back on the road again and visiting a new country...only problem being that whilst we kept trying to extend our visa, a combination of the officials holiday and his stubbornness preventing us from doing so! It was fine he can extend it on the mainland.....

So we headed off to the mainland and started the 450km drive to the capital Tegucigalpa (where john was due to depart) after being told we would have to pay a fine of 100quid each when leaving Honduras (i still carried a lot of hope for bribery), which was a blow considering in all the other countries you pay $1.50per day that you outstay your visa! On our first days driving we stopped off at the Pulhaphanzak waterfalls (piccies to follow!), really quiet impressive at 43metres high! We knew we would not get to the capital before dark as we still had 200km to go, so we camped in the van at a brewery serving real ale! We were astounded! So after a hideous nights sleep we continued the drive to the capital, where we decided to alter our path a little, and John decided to stay one more night, and so we went south instead of east to a nice little town called Choluteca. There was not a huge deal there barring a market, but was a pleasant enough place to stay for a half decent nights sleep (which never came due to the heat!), something to eat and a few beers. One thing i must add regarding leaving Utila is how nice it was to finally be exposed to an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables wherever you want and all at cheap prices!  

The following morning we drove towards our border crossing..and it was a very painful experience. The whole process took 2hours, we could not bribe the officials (possibly the only people in central america that you cannot bribe), paid our fine, and headed into Nicaragua, which may possibly be the best country so far! We passed through a really nice small town of Somoto to get a super cheap beer/lunch combo, and headed to Esteli (which is coffee country). This was not as happening as we thought it would be so we headed down to the travellers capital of Leon. First impressions of Nicaragua.....definately lives up to its reputation as the poorest of these countries, we saw a marked increase in begging, shanti-style buildings, and a lot of the really young kids are sniffing glue to supress their hunger - not very nice to see. There is a lot more agriculture going on, its very green, i cannot wait to buy some coffee, becca bought a hammock for 1pound 50, and they have lots of weird and wonderful little pastries on every street corner. I do not think we have paid more than $1 for dinner since we have been here!

Anyways, back to Leon. It was great to get back to staying in a proper hostel with a kitchen, a few showers, TV, pool table and bar again! Was a really pleasant city, with great outdoor street style restaurants. We spent 3nights there just relaxing, getting used to being in a īplace with traffic and people again, and making the most of the food! I also decided to partake in Volcano boarding with Mary. What this consists of is driving through some beautiful farming communities, and hiking up an 800m volcano...putting on a boiler suit, some shattered goggles, and careering down a volcano with a 40degree gradient on a flimsy plank of mdf at over 40kph!!!!! Was really fun though, i did have a spectacular fall, i cannot remember the last time i had a genuine graze! So after my little adrenaline fix, and Beccas cheesey chick flick fix, we headed off to Managua to drop Mary and Becca off to volunteer at a garbage dump, to buy ourselves a visa for Nicaragua (as we were told we had 5days to leave the country!)...this was a make or break day in terms of travel plans! We got our visa for decided to stay in Nicaragua, Mary checked in with the volunteering place (but is back with us now), and we made our way down to the colonial city of Granada.

Granada is really nice, its 100% gringoville, but nevertheless very nice. Yesterday we went for a boat trip on Lago Nicaragua around all these tiny islands, where we saw plenty of Kingfishers, Montezumas, and not to mention a whole island of Spider and Capucchino monkeys!!!That was a highlight, and Becca fed one a tomato which made her day! We wanted one less day than what we have here, but our next port of call is Isla Ometepe - an island consiting of two twin volcanoes at either end, in the middle of an 8400squaremeter freshwater lake, and we cannot get a boat across until saturday. So today we are relaxing, and i hope i have convinced Bex to come on a canopy tour with me tomorrow! What a canopy tour is, is a tour through a cloudforest whereby you make your way around by a series of ziplines and rickety walkbridges! I think it looks great, and we all have to call her a wimp and a coward if she doesnt do it!!!!!! Basically we want to get all our adventure style activites done here where it is about half of the price of Costa Rica. Its funny, before we left we wanted to spend 6weeks there, and now its more likely to be 4-5 days! We will be visiting a friend who we studied with in Xela and then moving on!

Anyways i think this is about it. We do have about 100piccies to get up, but i need to get them from Bernard as they are on his laptop. Sadly the campervan journey will decease here, it works out a little bt expensive not to mention us all having different plans, but it was definately a fun experience! Looking forward to Panama greatly, as we wish to dive with them Hammerhead sharks! We are also now planning our next adventure in our flat in New Zealand! Big misses to you all, when we arrive in NZ we will make some British classics in all of your honours!

Hope blighty is good, and we will speak to you all very soon.


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