Great Friends and Great Food

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

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Where I stayed
Hotel Encanto Del Sur

Flag of Nicaragua  , Rivas,
Thursday, March 24, 2011



We were able to store the bikes and luggage at our hotel in Rivas while we went on overnight visit to San Juan Del Sur to meet up with our friends Mike and Kristen. While we waited for the bus on the Pan American highway, a car stopped and asked us where we were headed. At first we were a little suspicious since the car did not have identifying signs that made it obvious that it was either a taxi or colectivo taxi. An old hippy in the backseat poked his head out of the window and clarified things for us. Basically these colectivo taxis will ride around until they have 3 or more passengers. For equivalent of $3 each, he took us the 35km to San Juan del Sur.

We got a beautiful view of the horseshoe bay before we drove the last 2 km into town. We found one of the many airy restaurants that cater to the spoiled western taste. We enjoyed a wonderful brunch and checked out several hotel options before settling on the hotel Encanto, a few streets from the beach. No bells or whistles but clean and comfortable.

We had arranged to meet with Mike and Kristen at 6 pm at the El Delfin Bar. We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around town, the beach front, and seeking fan coolness of restaurants. For lunch, Michelle savored a delicious Bagel and Lox that was worth the side trip all by itself!!

By 11 am the temp got up to 40+C, really too hot to even enjoy the beach. This is a tourist mecca and quite a few ex-pats have settled in this area and, not surprisingly, driving the restaurant prices up. Then again, food wise, everything your little heart desires is available.

Mike and Kristen were already at the restaurant when we arrived. Mike's mom had flown down from Vancouver to be with them for 2 weeks here in San Juan. Kristen's mom had met with them a few months ago in Guatemala. They have another 2 months left of their 8 month total travels. Mike still has a job waiting for him but Kristen has to find another job when she gets back. They both sacrificed a lot to be able to make this big trip. They had rented a cramped room for years in order to stow away money for this trip. Our reunion was sweet. And, after a wonderful dinner, we went to the beach front flat they rented. We enjoyed chatting on their breezy patio before saying goodbye.

Before we headed out the next day, we enjoyed one last exceptional meal at El Gato Negro Coffee & Book Exchange ; a Reuben sandwich for Michelle and a great veggie sandwich on a homemade bagel for Dave. El Gato Negro roasts their own Nicaraguan coffee beans and serve a dynamite cup of the brew.

We then flagged down a colectivo taxi. The driver circled the block to drum up more passengers. And who do we see on the corner doing some bike repairs??? Fin and Matt, the guys we ran into on our way out of Oaxaca. Back then, they had left their bikes in Puerto Escondito and hitchhiked to Oaxaca. Since then, along our route, we heard rumors that the mad threesome had passed through. We were sorry when we heard they just left Xela Guatemala just as we arrived in Xela. They leave quite an impression where ever they go. They are on an extremely tight budget; like $7, a day. They mostly camp, sleep in parks, fire-stations, or couch-surf. Fin is the one who rides with his surfboard on his bike. The French guy, Louis who originally had ridden with them, has gone his separate way and now Andy, from Colorado, has taken his place. Our combi driver patiently waited while we chatted with our friends. They were also heading towards the Costa Rican border.
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