Trip Start Sep 06, 2010
64Trip End Sep 04, 2011
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Where I stayed
Hotel Central, Altagracia
You can ask what I have liked the most about this country and my sincere response would be:
- of course city of Leon - a liberal city with its proud citizens and its unforgettable spirit of hardly fought freedom. Over there, I felt that tourists easily immerse into a local crowd and a normal day-flow in a such way that the unique city spirit is untouched.
- i can not forget about Mombacho volcano and its cloud forest. The possibility to be the only tourist at the ranger station among with 8 rangers, and to see all that endless "green jungle" of the cloud forest will linger within me forever.
- and not to forget the current moment when I am indulging myself with a so "catchy" view of volcano Concecion.
Guys, to me, Nicaragua is a hidden gem stone of central america. So please ditch Costa Rica and other touristy destinations and come here instead. You will not regret.
Thanks Nicaragua, and I promise that it was not the last time I was here!
However before giving a final farawell to Nicaragua, I had spent some cool time on the Ometepe Island - the biggest island on the world located in a fresh-water lake. On Tuesday, right after the National Day parade, I packed my belongings and headed towards the Granada's bus station to catch the bus to Rivas, which is considered to be a base for getting on Ometepe Island. On the way to the bus station, I stopped at the Granada's municipal market to get some bananas to provide myself a cheap and light lunch. Speaking of bananas, you can buy a piece for 1 cordoba and thus stretch your budget to another dimension (not considering the local heat and humidity which supresses your apetite). I was falling a sleep on the Rivas bound bus, as I did not get much sleep during the previous night in Leon. Over there, in the Bearded Monkey hostel, they put me on the upper bed which was just a meter away from the ceiling fan so I was a big freezing at night. After approx 90 minutes bus ride we reached Rivas, where I instantly had to undergo a tough negotiaion with local taxi drivers. They are so competitive that they even come to you while you are still on the bus getting ready to get off. A normal fare for getting from Rivas to San Jorge port is $1 per person, but if you are a solo traveller you are disadvantaged and supposed to pay for unexisting co-passangers. I managed to pay only for two of them, and it was the best I could do
But the most memorable moment of my trip to Ometepe happened aboard of the ferry. There were around 5 ladies of a different age sitting on benches right in front of me. Eventhough I did not understood what they were talking about, I kinda felt that they are discussing me. My suspicion turned to be correct, as one of them turned to me after a few minutes and started asking me those general conversation questions. It was really nice to talk to somebody in English after so many days being surrounded by just Spanish speaking crowd. At the end it turned out that she is a co-owner of a hotel in Granada who is taking part of her hotel staff at one day trip to the island. She also mentioned that one of her employees find me very attractive (how nice to hear the obvious, right :-)) ) and would like to get my email and telephone number. Her name was Roxana, a 25-year-old (her picture is attached; and by the way she did not speak a word of English) really nice and smiling Nica girl. Guys, if anybody is interesting I have her phone number (Faran, what do you say :-) ) - but not my type though.
After this nice chatting and hooking up episode and 1 hr ferry ride here we were on the volcanica island called Ometepe. There are only 35k inhabitants living on this island, and infrastructure is fairly undeveloped there. As you will see from the attached pictures, only some of the island roads are paved with majority of them being rather mud and dust trails
The hotel owner, eventhough did not speak English, promptly understood that I need an Enghlish speaking guide to do a volcano hike. A guide is highly recommended for these hikes, as paths to volcano peaks are not marked and are quite slippery. Unfortunatelly the guide did not have good news for me. Due to the current winter season and related rain, he did not want to go all the way to the volcano peak (1,610m), but only to an altitude of approx 1,300m. I was very disappointed, but there was nothing I can do, as he was apparently the only English speaking guide in the town. The next day at 5.30 am , we left the hotel to do our 5 hour hike
As we were back from the hike around 11 am, I decided to fill the rest of the day with a small trip to the nearby natural spring lake called Ocho de Agua (They eye of the water). It is a small logune with refresinghly cool water which is quite popular among visitors of the island. To get there I took a bus, but there was no bus service for the way back to the hotel Therefore, I simply decided to walk the distance of around 5km. I must say it was a nice 1hr walk through Ometepe villages which allowed me to get a real teste of life conditions in this part of Nicaragua.
After spending two nights in Altagracia, I moved to the proximity of the second Ometepe's volcano called Maderas. Unlike Concepcion, this one is not active any more and has a water lagune in its crater. Following the recommodation of the Lonely Planet guide I opted to stay at the eco-lodge called El Povenir
The only night I spent in El Porvenir was a bit spooky, as I was the only guest there. The whole El Porvenir's staff left at 6 pm, and it was only me and 2 local guys, who were watching the whole complex, left behind. At night, I could hear sounds of all those animals living in the forest...quite an experience :-). I was just hoping that nobody with a chainsaw will show up and cut me into small pieces :-)))
Right after the Friday morning breakfast, I packed my stuff and took a bus and then a ferry back to Rivas to catch another bus towards Nicaragua borders to start new advantures in Costa Rica.
Greetings from Monteverde, Costa Rica.