Nipping up to Nicaragua
Trip Start Apr 14, 2010
96Trip End Apr 16, 2011
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We decided that in the circumstances the only thing to do was to press on as quickly as possible. So two long and slow bus rides (one spend standing) and a few hours spent in a Panama City mall later we found ourselves on a night bus heading across Panama to Costa Rica and the capital San Jose
The following morning we had to get up at the crack of dawn (actually before that at around 3am - if anyone ever tells you travelling around Costa Rica is easy don’t believe them) in order to start our marathon journey of 5 different buses, a taxi and a boat to Nicaragua and specifically the volcanic island of Ometepe in Lago Nicargua where our friend Raakhee was waiting for us
Ometepe is really quite a beautiful place. It is an island in the middle of a massive, sea-like Lago Nicaragua that is formed of 2 volcanoes that rise up out of the lake and is quite stunning. It was also a fun place, with a busy hostel full of nice people and fantastic, cheap food in all of the restaurants. After an evening chatting non-stop with Raakhee until Sarah lost her voice entirely and celebrating 4th of July with some nice Americans we got up (quite late) the next day and hired a couple of mopeds to go off and explore the island. This was particularly interesting as neither Sarah nor Raakhee have ever driven one themselves and they needed too as the shop wouldn’t let all three of us ride around on one.
After a brief moped lesson we set off round the island, stopping first at a beautiful swimming hole with crystal clear, cool water, followed by lunch at a lake-beach restaurant where we had cheap lobster and several stops for photos of the volcanoes that had poked themselves out of the clouds
The plan had been to get up early the following morning to climb to the summit of one of the volcanoes and we emerged out about 6am to have a look at the weather and decide whether or not to go ahead. The weather looked a little cloudy and, in a slightly tired and hungover state and mindful of just how damn hot it had been the previous day we decided to give it a miss. We are, it has to be said, finally just about over volcanoes.
Instead, we decided after a second breakfast of fantastic Eggs Benedict in a row at the fabulous Cornerhouse cafe on Ometepe (run by a nice Brit) to head off the island and across to the Pacific coastline and the beach resort of San Juan del Sur. We realised, to our surprise that the whole way up from Ushuaia we had only been on the Pacific coast once in Arica, Chile, 10,000 odd km of coastline away - something that had to be remedied. It was also our last night with Raakhee as she was heading south and we were going north and we fancied heading out for some drinks and dancing. San Juan didn’t disappoint and after manic hour at a bar with Ladies night (aka free drinks for ladies until 10pm, aka how many cocktails can Sarah & Raakhee drink against the clock) we found ourselves in a lively bar and graced the dancefloor with our presence. It was only slightly marred by the fact that the DJ was one of those who seemed incapable of playing a single song the whole way through. Instead he would mix 2 (or 3 or 4!) songs into and out of each other and mess with every single one (why?! just leave it for goodness sake!) oblivious of the fact that he kept emptying the dancefloor and with his antics and ignoring Sarah’s repeated requests for Shakira.
The next day we headed back to the main highway together where we said sadly goodbye to Raakhee after a fabulous few days and headed our separate ways – although not before a taking a photo of Sarah and Raakhee together by the sea each with a monstrous backpack to send to their jealous colleagues back in London.