Surf Time!

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

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Where I stayed
Los Cordones Surf Lodge

Flag of Nicaragua  , Managua,
Thursday, March 1, 2012

Our next destination was a remote "surf lodge" on the pacific called "Los Cardones".  It was a multi-hour, hot and dry trip from La Mariposa Spanish school.  We went thru the large and busy city of Managua.  Many, many miles outside the city we traveled in remote Nicaraguan wilderness with the occasional little town.  As we turned down the last 14 kilometer stretch of bumpy, rutted dirt road, we were more than a bit concerned as to what could possibly be at the end. 

When we pulled into Los Cardones, we knew were in a little remote paradise.  The "lodge" consists of a bar/hang-out area, dining area, and several other palapas - all "open air".  There are 6-7 little sleeping palapas, all right on the beach.  There is no electricity, internet, no flushing toilets, and no hot water!  There is a great beach surf break directly in front of the lodge.  We had anything from knee to head-high waves, depending on the tides, swell, etc.  There are 2 other surf spots a long walk or short drive way, including a world class hollow point break called "Hemmes" (short for Hemorrhoids) that also went by the name "Meat Grinder".  It is an amazing left super clean barrel with a very nasty bottom of sharp reef, if you don't make it.  Needless to say I did not surf this spot myself. 

The stars were amazing.  We were literally the only property on the beach for more than a halfmile on one side of us and a mile or more on the other.  I would wake up each morning at first light and grab my board and surf.  I had at least 3-4 sessions per day.  I rented a 8-0 fish at the advice of the camp surf instructor that worked out great.  Many mornings I had the entire break all to myself.  At most there was 8-10 people on the break (rarely)and we quickly got to know each other - visitors and locals.  It was wonderful.  I got some great surfing advice from several people (thanks Andre, Issac and especially Lydia).  It was great to surf, then sit under the shade, eating fresh pineapple, fresh bread and drinking fresh squeezed local fruit juice while watching the waves.

We also spent time at the local school volunteering.  We went with Jackie (manages the surf lodge) to help kids do a book exchange.  We brought in donated school supplies that will later get distributed.  I played the mandolin then let the kids also take turns strumming for me.  It was awesome to see their faces as they strummed the mando.  The boys played soccer and frisbee with the kids.  Sawyer and Hunter were able to use their Spanish to get the kids involved in a big game of "Monkey in the Middle", Mono en la media....very, very sweet.  They played this game for almost an hour.  Most of the kids walk more than 30 minutes one way to this school, remember this is hot, dry Nicaragua and this is a primary school for students ages 4-10. The children were absolutely delighted to have us there and it made our hearts sing.

The lodge includes food, beer and drinks in their fees - we ate and drank like kings.  The food was really wonderful.  Meal time was a great to chat with all of our new friends - from Wyoming, New Hampshire, Norway, France and other parts of the globe.  We quickly made many new friends and really enjoyed their company. We would eat together, surf together, play music and sit around the bar.  It is amazing how after only a few days one can quickly make quality friendships.  The boys also made many new friends including a close buddy David from Wyoming.  They were inseparable.  They also made some great friends with children from New Hampshire, Emma, Sammy, Taylor, and a bunch more!  We can't wait to surf and hang with them back East. 

I know it is impossible in "normal life" to just turn off the TV, news, internet and other "conveniences" in our world, but living without them for a week, I was really happy.  There was no bad news to worry about.  I realize how much the media works us into a frenzy of worry so we keep tuning back in.  I know - sounds Utopian, but let me tell you - it was great.  Take my word for it - try going a week with no TV/news/internet.  The amount of quality time you can have with friends and family is refreshing.  I think the majority of us would be way better off!
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Pat Reno on

What a wonderful adventure that your family will never forget! Your entries and photos are great - the happiness comes through.

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