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Nicaragua
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HOME > Nicaragua 

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Nicaragua travel info

15 days,  June 06



NICARAGUA INTRO

Kind of travel:
Alone in a wholly independent travel

When:
1st-15th   June 06

How I moved:
the typical yellow steel buses are cheap, relatively clean and they reach every corner of the country

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 in Granada

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  

Dangers/ 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!!)




IMPRESSIONS ABOUT NICARAGUA

For sure Nicaragua doesn’t enjoy the same stability and wealth of the neighbouring Cost Rica, but it’s still quite a safe country to backpack in. There’re some "not to go" areas, but they are far even from the "off-beaten-tracks" and the capital Managua is definitely not the place where you wish to wander after the twilight (even before to be honest :-).
Moreover visiting the country considering its recent past will make your trip much more interesting than just bathing your ass in the Caribbean Sea as you can do in several other Central America destinations. That’s why I think that the Nicaraguese past is itself a reason to travel there rather than one to skip the country.
The last but not the least, remember that Nicaragua is not just Ometepe island and the colourful Granada!

Alby

THE TRAVEL

My God 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$) where we jumped over the ferry for a scenic trip to Ometepe (1h).
The two volcano island is really a must in Nicaragua: not too touristy (at least in June) and wild enough to be explored, even if in June the brown water of the lake makes its beaches not so attractive as in other seasons. If you wish a swim in transparent water, don’t miss the springs near the playa Santo Domingo called "Jogo De Agua".
After few days there in 1h by ferry and 2h by bus I reached the colourful Granada. There I slept in the "hostel Oasis", one of the nicest hostels I’ve ever seen: swimming pool, internet free, hammocks and a lot of backpackers. (dorm, 6$). You can have a lot of fun in Granada, but don’t 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 it’s 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 didn’t 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 it’s 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)
The day after I entered Honduras sleeping in San Marcos then passing by Choluteca and again entering Nicaragua up to Leon. While I didn’t 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 Leon)

Alby

 

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