The oldest city in Nicaragua
Sep 10, 2006
??? ??, 2007
. Because Mombacho has been long extinct, it is covered in cloud forest, but the trail was a great mixture of walking in the orchid and bromeliad filled forest and popping out at miradors to get views of other volcanoes, crater lakes, Granada, and even the distant Isla Ometepe on the other end of Lago Nicaragua. Our little kid of a guide, Alfredo, was actually quite amazing with his botanical knowledge and spouted off scientific names for every plant he pointed out to us. We got a ride back down to the highway in the back of the park's pickup and returned to Granada. That evening we "lowered ourselves" to hanging out at Granada's trendiest youth hostel in order to watch the movie they were showing that night, Thank You for Smoking. What we didn't know until we got there, was that it would be playing in a crowded, hot storage room and (predictably considering the movie) everyone would be lighting up in that air tight oxygen deprived windowless space. Even so it was nice to chill out watching a movie. Our third day in Granada was a day trip to a pristine crater lake called Laguna Apoyo where we did a little sea kayaking, sun bathing, and swimming and went out to dinner at a mexican restaurant full of travelers closely following the superbowl. Today was a pretty mellow day all and all. We walked along Granada's neglected Centro Turistico along the shores of Lake Nicaragua and wondered why it wasn't a more happening place, sipped refrescos from the kiosks in the center square while catching up on our journals, and the usual running of errands after that. Granada has a good feel to it and we enjoyed our time here resting up before a long overland and oversea haul to the Corn Islands on Nicaragua's Carribean side.
It was a short travel day to arrive in Granada from Leon, from one colonial city to another. Walking to the Hospedaje Cocibolca, we crossed the center square dominated by a huge cathedral and down a beautifully restored street of colonial buildings. The charm of Leon pales in comparison to Granada, and consequentially the number of tourists here is greatly magnified. We spent the afternoon exploring the downtown area, checking out old churches (just from the outside, we never venture in), bookstores, and other hostels with info bulletin boards to scope our options out. The evening was cooking pasta in the hotel's kitchen, catching up on email, basically nothing exciting as usual. The next morning we got an early start on the day, treating ourselves to a great breakfast at "Nica Buffet" run by an eccentric Danish guy. Then we caught a bus out of town to the entrance of Volcan Mombacho nature reserve. We paid a steep fee for entrance and transport to the top of the reserve where the four craters lie and another steep fee for the mandatory guide to hike on the clearly marked hazard free trails