Angel in El Congo

Trip Start Jul 04, 2010
Trip End May 10, 2011

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Flag of Nicaragua  , Chinandega,
Monday, March 14, 2011

Potosi to Jiquilillo   51 km  39C

Trip Alt 319 m
Avg slope 2%
Max slope 8%

At 5 am, we rattled Rafael out of his bed to open the gate for us. The sky was lit up with stars...too bad the road wasn't. It was pitch dark. We clipped on our lights and off we went. The road was so rocky and full of holes that I classified it as an outward-bound experience. Once in a while, guys on bikes would come out of the darkness and startle us. They must know this road by heart to maneuver so effortless around this obstacle course. 

As the sun started to light up the western sky, a few basic palm thatch roofed houses appeared along the road. The roofs almost extend to the ground. The house itself built of sheets of metal, wood, bamboo, or sometimes, red brick.  The properties and homes are neatly raked and void of litter. The scenery around us is beautiful, views  of volcanoes, lush green pastures with healthy looking floppy eared white cows grazing. I love riding through the peaceful villages with friendly people calling greetings out to us.

After about 5 km, we have to ford muddy puddles that stretch across the entire road. We sink to our ankles in the thick mud. Traffic is light but steady. A few chicken buses and trucks rumble by. Men on horseback and guys on rusty bikes pass us as we struggle to keep upright on our bikes.


It took us 5 hours to cover 32 km to get to pavement. It was 10 am by now and a real scorcher. We were over due for a breakfast. We passed through the town of El Congo without finding a comida. We stopped and asked the owner of a small tienda and she confirmed that we indeed passed a comidor a while back. She must have noticed the disappointment on our faces or the drool running out of our mouths as we eyed a big watermelon on her table out front. She motioned for us to sit down in the shade as she went and cooked us each a big plate of scrambled eggs with tomato and caramelized onion, frijoles and banana chips. Word must have gotten out as slews of kids in their neat white and blue school uniforms came by to ogle at our bikes and us. Then this cute little boy no older than 4 or 5 on a horse came by and checked us out.  After we devoured our meal the sweet lady served us the better half of that watermelon.

Refreshed, we carried on to the turn off to Jiquilillo. We were disappointed to see the road was all rock and dirt and we had another 7km of crappy road to navigate. We took a long rest on the bus stop bench and Dave even took a nap. It was some consolation that the beach was down hill. But the road was so bumpy, we had to practically crawl down many sections or else shake our bikes apart.

We settled into Rancho Esperanza, a real backpacker place, and used the maps and guidebooks in their library to plan the rest or our journey through Nicaragua and into Costa Rica.
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