Today closes my last day in Nicaragua, a country I have quickly fell in love with. I’m not sure what it is about this place but I have really connected to it. Maybe it’s the scenery- volcanoes, mountains, beaches, palm trees and critters of every variety. Maybe it’s just what we’ve gotten to do here. Maybe it’s that there’s only a week left and I’m holding on as hard to this experience as possible.
First, we arrived in Granada, a colonial town, similar in many ways to Antigua, except without the cobblestone. It was much more European than Antigua also. I really loved it there, and could definitely see myself living there. The entire time I was there I had major nostalgia for France.
To get to Granada, we had to take an 18 hour overnight trip that was certainly eventful! First, we saw a man on a motorcycle get hit and thrown off his bike unconscious. Them, we had a flat tire. Then one of the border officers decided to be a dick and try to get a bribe out of our guide. Then in the morning we got 2 more flat tires! In the end it took us 22.5 hours. Crazy!!
On our first day in Granada, I took a horse and carriage your of the city, and got some history. Then, we went on a speedboat through some of the 365 islands off the coast. The islands are owned by a combination of indigenous people, locals and super rich nicaraguans and americans. There was a lot of lovely birds, and one island with monkeys. The monkeys were put there as a tourist attraction, which is sad. But now the monkeys know that tourists are there to feed them. So we fed them some cookies from the boat then one of them got adventurous and jumped in the boat! We all tried to just keep calm so she wouldn’t scratch us, as she walked along the boat, then she came and sat in my lap! I just laughed and didn’t touch her, and asked for someone to take a picture but I was so nervous! Anyways it was all fine. We also went to an island to grab a drink, and there were a couple of guys there who seemed to think they were cool. One in particular thought he was pitbull and seemed to think it was appropriate to call me “mamita”. Barf. I ignored him, and the tour guide threatened to beat him up, but he was harmless. I have to say though that I’m very over the men and their commentary here! It’s really not as harmless or complimentary as it was in France.
The next day, we did a full day your. We started with a tour of a Masaya village and got a demonstration of how they make ceramics using traditional indigenous methods. It was cool and the ceramics were beautiful. After that, we headed to the Laguna de Apoyo, a lake with beautiful water where we spent about 3hrs in the water. We ended our day at the top of a volcano, on a hike where we saw bat caves, lava tunnels, and an active crater.
The next morning we headed out to Ometepe, a large island in Lake Nicaragua. It was created by lava flow from 2 volcanoes, one of which is still active. The greenery and flowers here are SO lush. The lake is freshwater, but because it has a river between it and the ocean, there are sharks who have adapted to the fresh water.
Here, we’re staying with host families which is an interesting look into the reality of living conditions here. The houses have tin roofs, bare walls and there is space between the roof and the walls so there are tons f lizards and bugs in our room. Luckily we had mosquito nets so I felt better about that. This morning we got traditional breakfast of rice and beans with fried cheese and plantain.
Yesterday we spent the afternoon at a watering hole because we were all dripping sweat and sweltering hot. Most of our group today decided to tackle the massive volcano Conception, which is a 1600meter, difficult hike. Some didn’t make it all the way to the top. I, because I am sane, opted for a cultural tour.
We started with a bio reserve where we saw monkeys, birds, snakes and lots of lizards. It was so beautiful, and I found myself so incredibly happy – I actually said out loud “I can’t believe this is my life!” The day only got better from there. We headed to a town to see some ancient Aztec stone sculptures, then to see some petroglyphs. They were really cool, and so basic!! Honestly they look like drawings I would have done as a 5 year old! Haha. Then, we went over to a beautiful beach, with bath warm water. We ate lunch there and I got lobster with garlic sauce. Om nom. Fucking delicious!
We finished off the night with a beautiful sunset, dinner with our host families (which was kinda awkward because they’re not very talkative) and now I’m sitting with some of my tour group just chatting and rehashing the day and talking about Christmas (which is weird because it really doesn’t feel like Christmas!).
Today has really been an incredible day. All day I’ve had a smile plastered to my face. I can’t quite describe the feeling, but it’s like there is nothing else I would do in that moment to make life better. The future and it’s problems seem far away and manageable, and life right now seems too good to be true.
Tomorrow we head to Costa Rica where I’m planning to challenge myself with some zip lining and canyoneering. If I’m lucky I’ll get to maybe feed some monkeys! We’ll see! On to the next adventure!!