Managua to Masaya: 30 KM
Elevation Gain: 361M
For us, big bad Managua did not turn out to be bad at all. It is big. We frequently hear stories of how dangerous a certain spots up ahead of us are. And we hear of other cyclists who go to extreme measures to avoid spots with bad reputations by taking long circuitous routes around, pushing in dirt up mountains, or taking a bus. Managua is one of the places everyone said to avoid at all cost. Well, we went through it without incident. It has the same feel as other big citiies. No better or worse. Most people on the streets minded their own business, not acknowledging us, or anyone else, as anonymously as in other densely populated areas. The host at our hostel said Managua streets were pretty safe as long as you did not dangle your valuables and as long as you did not wander the streets after 9PM. Not unreasonable advice. With that said, we did not tempt fate and did not linger.
As we exited our hotel, straight away we had a steady 5 km climb. We had a good workout to get to the town of Nindiri which has a scenic view into a lake filled crater. We had decided to wait for breakfast until we reached this scenic spot. A few restaurants are perched at the edge of the highway that have good lake views. But they open at noon, too late for us. We decided to get some lunch in the central Nindiri because we were told there were restaurants there. After riding the kilometer to the town square, we were told those restaurants would not be open until noon as well. But, hey, the lady that told us that there were restaurants was technically correct. We did find a fruit cart and relaxed on the gazebo in the neatly landscaped town square. We noticed Michelle's tire was low and leisurely repaired it as we relaxed and rested. Then as we departed, Dave's tire went flat. Oddly enough, we could not find the cause of either puncture...... A bad sign because this usually means more trouble ahead.
We pressed on the last few km to Masaya and checked into Madera's Inn. The first quoted price seemed a bit high but they reduced the price as we set out to leave. It was still well before noon so we set out to explore the town. Masaya has two markets, the typical public market and the antique market with crafts. The old craft market is surrounded by impressive walls. The crafts inside were disappointing. We didn't bother with the public market. But we did have fun on the giant patio furniture at a juice stand in the central square. And later that night, Michelle caught her first glimpse of a sloth up in a tree there.