|ABOUT THIS TRAVEL
15 days, June 06
Kind of travel: Alone in a wholly independent
How I moved: the
typical yellow steel buses are cheap, relatively clean and they reach every corner of the
Freezing or baking?: the
lowlands were quite hot and damp but still not unbearable, while on the mountains the
temperature is was fresh!!! It rained every day, and clear days were rare.
Where I slept: Hostel
(Hospedaje) are quite common and cheap (5-15$). In Granada, Leon and Ometepe I found great
places where to meet travellers and enjoy the time: the best one has been the Oasis Hostel
What I liked: travelling
by bus is easy and cheap. Ometepe is wonderful, the off-of-the-beaten track in the
mountains is another face of the country and surfing down the Cerro Negro is SPOOKY!
What I disliked:
lack of respect of the locals to the nature, the drunk people in the mountains, the
irregular raining and the difficulty to organise the trips to the volcanoes being alone.
Moreover I hated people who called me "white" (chelo)!!!!!!!!
How much daily: I spent
around 30$/day but consider I did not tight the budget. If you are alone in the low season
(June), as in my case, it can get expensive or impossible to do the trips to the
Volcanoes. Flying out Nica from Managua is 32$ tax
hassles: Managua is not the best places where to hang
around, some dodgeys in the beach were quite interested to my bag and drunks in the
villages of the mountains were annoying. For the rest the country looked quite safe. It
seems the small Corn Island and the north-east of the country are not safe.
What to bring: I
found a small umbrella very useful and the Footprint guide of Nicaragua
(2nd edition by R. Leonardi) turned out really well done (sorry Lonely Planet, but this
time you got beaten!!)
how ugly is San JosŤ!!
I landed there from Madrid and immediately I wished to flee.
After few hours I was there I was already holding the bus ticket to Nicaragua and the next
morning the super air-conditioned semi-empty bus was heading north along the narrow strip
of land (San Jose- Rivas 9h, 12$)
In Costa Rica the sun alternated to the clouds and the rain
without any hope for a full bright day.
Crossing the Nicaragua border in Penas Blanca implied: paying
7$, a long queue under a hot sun to get a glance to the backbag by the border guards and
in one hour bus ride I was in Rivas. I got off with Racheal (an English girl) and we
shared a cab to the harbour (10 min, 2$) where we jumped over the ferry for a scenic trip
to Ometepe (1h).
The two volcano island is really a must in Nicaragua: not too
touristy (at least in June) and wild enough to be explored, even if in June the brown
water of the lake makes its beaches not so attractive as in other seasons. If you wish a
swim in transparent water, dont miss the springs near the playa Santo Domingo called
"Jogo De Agua".
After few days there in 1h by ferry and 2h by bus I reached the
colourful Granada. There I slept in the "hostel Oasis", one of the nicest
hostels Ive ever seen: swimming pool, internet free, hammocks and a lot of
backpackers. (dorm, 6$). You can have a lot of fun in Granada, but dont expect to be
the only white there!! I also had a day trip to the volcanic lake called "Laguna De
Apollo"(private minibus, 1h), but to be honest I got bored like the hell being stuck
on a beach the full day.
From Granada to Magatalpa its a 5h bus trip stopping over
in Managua. The mountains are off-the-beaten-track in Nicaragua in fact once left Granada
till Leon I didnt meet any other traveller. The weather was so different than the
hot one in the low lands; it was quite chilly (15- 20C), always rainy and in the morning
misty. Nicaraguese mountains are definitely not Alps but for sure its worth to visit
this rural part of the country especially if you like walking in the wildlife.
I got to the small village of Yucul (bus, 1h from Magatalpa)
where on foot in 1h I got to the "Esperenza Verde Reserve". This is an area run
by locals where you can sleep in wooden bungalows (12$/night) and walk around the tracks
that snake in the forest.
My nexxt trip was to Jinotega (bus, 1.5h from Magatalpa) and I
reached the village of San Raphael Du Norte (bus, 1h from Jinotega) characterised by the
middle-aged cowboys and young kids wearing school uniforms.
Passing by Esteli (bus, 3.5h from Jinotega) I got to Somoto
(bus 2.5h from Esteli) where I wanted to visit the canyon 30km from the town. It turned
out a funny trip with Manuel, a local guy, who took me there first by moped, then crossing
over rivers and finally by a boat "borrowed" from the local community. (read the
funny story below)
The day after I entered Honduras
sleeping in San Marcos then passing by Choluteca and again entering Nicaragua up to Leon.
While I didnt get particularly charmed by the town, I found great "surfing
down" the volcano Cerro Negro. In fact I followed a crazy trip organised by the Big
Foot hostel to climb the volcano and once at the top to slide down the very steep slope by
wooden boards: my last adventure in Nicaragua before flying out from Managua (bus, 2h from