After Laguna de Apoyo, we headed out on Tuesday on a 30 minute trip to Granada and after some wandering around in the bustling city market with our backpacks on, we found our hostel. It was a giant, yellow colonial building, complete with rocking chairs, a juke box and a zany but cute little owner named Manuel. After checking in, we walked around Granada for a while, taking pictures of some of the beautiful cathedrals and went into a hammock shop where at risk youths make hammocks for the public. It was an incredibly hot day, but by night it cooled down and we were ready to grab some food. While walking down the touristy street, we saw our 2 Canadian friends that we had talked to at Laguna de Apoyo, so we sat down and had some mojitos and some food with them. While we were eating, the street and all the lights suddenly went completely dark – yet another power outage in Central America! It only lasted about 30-45 minutes, but we sat there in the dark and enjoyed that random outage. After that, we decided to head out to a local bar by the water, where we met a fun and silly Nica friend, Danny, who gave us some free rum and salsa lessons. We returned home pretty late, exhausted, to the watchful eyes of Manuel, our hostel owner.
Wednesday, feeling the tiniest bit hungover, we laid about in rocking chairs for a bit to avoid most of the morning rain… Then, we headed out to explore the town a bit more and found a man offering a horse-drawn carriage ride & tour to the lake, so we took that, snapping pictures along the way! We then headed to a few more churches and climbed to the top of the bell tower in La Merced church to see a beautiful view of Granada. It is a really colorful town with a decent amount of commotion and about 5 large, gorgeous cathedrals – a very nice place to visit if you don’t mind a little heat. After that, we went to grab some dinner and then headed out to meet up with our new Nica friend, Danny(who didn’t speak hardly any English) for some drinks. We went to an Irish pub where people were playing trivia, then headed to a more local bar where drinks were cheaper. We then headed to a disco by the water, where we were the only gringos and danced a bit – all in all a very fun night out speaking Spanish!
Thursday, we had decided to head off to San Juan del Sur, a beautiful beach town and popular surfer’s destination. We decided that taking a local bus would be cheaper than a shuttle or taxi, so we trekked to the spot that we were told to hop on the bus. When we arrived at the bus station, we saw a rinky chicken bus (as they call them) that was to be our ride. We reluctantly agreed to put our backpacks on top of the bus and hopped on! It ended up being a fun ride – we met a bunch of tourists and a few locals and chatted it up on the ride. We arrived in a town called Rivas where we then shared a cab with 2 nice Canadian women to San Juan del Sur. Upon arriving in San Juan del Sur, we definitely liked the tranquil vibe and the close proximity to about 5 beaches. We grabbed a room at a slightly sketchy hostel… we nicknamed our room the penthouse because it was up a rickety spiral staircase on the top floor of the building. It ended up being kinda grimey and had lots of bugs and a gross shower… but we survived it. After that, we went and grabbed lunch, wandered around town, and laid on the beach, sipping pina coladas and watching the sunset. After 2 nights out in Granada, we just had a drink out and then headed to bed!
Friday, we went out to the beach near our hostel and laid out for a bit until we started reading more about the beach… there was an algae in that part of the beach that apparently gave you a rash… and there were about a million boats in the beach, hence the brownish water. So, we decided to run around town and ask how to get to the other nearby beaches. After much arguing with taxi drivers, we finally found one to share with 2 New Yorkers to a beach called Maderas, a popular surfer beach. We hung out there for a few hours, enjoying the rays, the clear waters and eventually a gorgeous sunset! When we headed back to town, we found a bar that just happened to have free drinks for ladies!!! So we had a few there and then walked around the strip of bars in town, stopping to take some “bridging”(similar to planking, haha) pictures at a cute bridge on the end of the strip. We then went to a hopping gringo club, where I was asked by a local woman if I was Katy Perry…
Saturday was a bit of an intense travel day… we took a cab from San Juan del Sur to a ferry office in a town called San Jorge, then took the ferry to La Isla de Ometepe – a beautiful green fantasy island! However, we failed to research exactly how big Ometepe is and exactly how to get to our next city/hostel… While we were on the ferry, we talked to a few hippy kids that claimed to know which bus to take to a town called Merida. We hopped on yet another chicken bus that took us about an hour and a half closer to our destination, however, we were told to jump out in seemingly the middle of nowhere. With our 40ish pound packs, we saw a sign that said 6 kilometers to our hostel, and for some reason didn’t believe it (and there was no one really around to ask and NO taxis/other buses in sight), so we decided to start walking. And walking. And walking.
After about an hour and a half(and maybe 2ish miles) of walking on a bumpy, rural dirt road past cows, plantain plantations, and a volcano… it was starting to get dark and we were being eaten alive by mosquitos. We saw a pack of dogs up ahead and Ali decided to stop and ask a local family for help(she’s a smart one). In our broken Spanish, we asked if they could help us call a taxi – thankfully they even called our hostel for us! While we were waiting there, we played with the children at the house – one was hearing impaired, so the kids showed us their Spanish/sign language book and they were teaching us sign language(and in effect, Spanish) at the same time – a very cool, random experience. Shortly after, our hostel heroes arrived on an ATV and a motorcycle… which we threw ourselves and our baggage on, and were off! Thank god they came for us, as it was about another few miles to our hostel, and now totally dark!
We arrived at our hostel around 8 pm and met the owner(Ali is working with him teaching Spanish) and settled into our rustic room. We were pooped but had a hard time sleeping as this is a very buggy area and after our trek and sleeping in our new room, we had about a million bug bites each! But thankfully we were alive after our long and adventurous day!
Sunday, we didn’t do much at all… just relaxed around our hostel, Hacienda Merida and drank smoothies and admired the view of the lake. Ah yes, there happens to be a giant high school group from the U.S. here at the hostel at the same time as us – yikes! We are supposed to be here 2 weeks, while Ali teaches Spanish(which she started today – Monday – there’s a cute picture below of her teaching), but I may do a bit of adventuring around the island by myself(safely, of course) while she gets her teach on! Stay tuned for more adventures…