Over the border to Nicaragua

Trip Start Feb 07, 2012
Trip End Apr 24, 2012

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Flag of Nicaragua  , Rivas,
Friday, February 17, 2012

Leaving Costa Rica for Nicaragua was fun but logistically and physically challenging process. We left Playa Grande Inn bright and early with our taxi driver/friend Jake.  Another new friend Kevin (who had not slept since the concert the night before) joined us by laying in the back of the pickup so he could make his "border run" (every ex-pat has to leave C.R. every 3 months for at least 3 hours). We were a motley crew.  A nice drive to the border, when then had to trek with our gear across a road dodging trucks, busses and cars.  (Read diving out of the way, as they weren't stopping for anything…especially walking gringos)  Thank goodness we had Jake with us who had been thru this before and Kevin to help carry our bags, as you can imagine the organized chaos of crossing the Nicaraguan border.  There is a “disputed land” between the 2 countries you have to walk across in the mid-day equatorial heat, queuing up in maddening long lines, only to walk another 10 minutes for another line, and yet do it two more times.  Crossing the border between India and Nepal was like a day in kindergarten compared to this border!  Finally, we made it thru.  Big hugs to Jake and Kevin and we were on our own to navigate the sea of eager Nicaraguans hoping to take us to our next destination. 

Our super nice taxi driver spoke a little English so we practiced our Spanish and enjoyed the 45 minute drive to San Jorge, a small village on the Lago de Nicaragua (Lake Nicaragua).  On the way we got nice glimpses of Isla de Ometepe (Ometepe Island)  and the 2 incredible volcanos that are present.  On the way we even passed a huge wind turbine farm which made Sarah (and all of us) very happy!  One night in San Jorge, at the clean and affordable Hotel Dalinky, and we boarded a ferry to go to Ometepe.  The ferry terminal was typical Nicaraguan fashion with organized chaos of colors, sounds and people.  Almost no English is spoken anywhere here, so it was a fun challenge to figure out the process.

Lake Nicaragua is easily the size of Rhode Island.  It is massive.  Ometepe is the largest island found on a fresh water lake in the world.  It has 2 huge volcanos that dominate the vistas everywhere.  It is green and lush and the people are beautiful and friendly.  One thing about Nicaragua is that everything is very affordable. A huge dinner for $7 and $1.5 beers!  We found a nice little hotel in Santa Cruz with help from our young taxi driver that had internet and a nice restaurant.  The constant winds kept the mosquitoes away, haven’t seen one on the island, but could not fight off other little bugs, but at least they did not bite.  The village is very quant with a few little markets, houses and a school.  There were horses (and cowboys) all over.  Beautiful views everywhere.

We also visited a farming cooperative called “Finca Magdalena”.  It is literally at the base of one of the volcanos and is combination organic milk, veggies, fruits and coffee farm.  It is a cooperative run by 24 local families. They have a rustic inn.  We went on a tour through the jungle, and were thrilled to have our first monkey sighting.  We also saw lots of birds and lizards.  We also saw petroglyphs that were many, many thousands of years old from the indigenous people of Ometepe.  Our tour guide taught us much about ancient and recent Nicaraguan history.

So far we are loving Nicaragua..... MAKE SURE you click on slide show below to see all of the picture.....
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Lal on

Your blog is great! Keep it coming and I'll sit here with my $2 PBR at PizzaBar66 in Lyons Colorado and make pretend I'm on a trip of a lifetime. Actually, maybe I am.

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