February – 2014
And then, we arrived in Nicaragua. After our pit stops in Guata, Honduras and Elsalva, in Nicaragua, we stayed some longer. Perhaps because we approached the final destination, you dare to take more time for places. Before you get bombarded with toughts like: ‘but what if it’s nicer below….?’
First location, after a drive of about 10 hours from El Tunco, El Salvador, was village Leon. We arrived late, so luckily we made a reservation with a very nice hostel Turtuga Booluda. Next day we walked around, did some sightseeing. Leon is a nice village but there isn’t that much to do. That’s why I was extra happy with the nice hostel.
From Leon we took a shuttle bus to Granada. This town has much more of a tourist hub, with a real tourist street (Calle la Calzada). Complete with plenty of bars, restaurants, terraces, travel agencies, street sellers and shops. This was the first time I found something like that, since arriving in Central America. I enjoyed strolling around, discover this village, have a drink on a terrace or a nice lunch in one of the many places. There are some little islands close by you can explore on a guided tour by boat. We found this a little bit to expensive, but maybe we should have done it as from a distance it looked nice and tropical. Also in Granada there’s a beach on the lakeside and a entertainment centre, but you find hardly any activity here. Try out this very nice vegetarian restaurant El Kapuyo (on the corner of Calle El Martirio and Calle El Arsenal), Tapas Kedehe (on la Calzada) or little more luxurious Tercer Oio (also la Calzada). Further down the Calzada road, in direction of the lake, you find a very nice lunchroom called Panini’s.
From Granada we took a chicken bus for the first time(!) to Lago Apoyo. Referred as an really nice spot by the LP, it was slightly disappointing. But the ride to it was very fun and adventurous 🙂 Although not as scenic and impressive as expected, we had a nice swim on a quiet public beach and some lunch in one of the restaurants next to the lake. Apparently, if you book a tour to this lake with hostel the Bearded Monkey in Granada, they drop you of at an acompanied hostel along the lake where you will have an really good stay. If you want to go there by yourself, take the bus to Masaya, go of at km 37,5 (just look at the plates next to the way! when on the big road, it’s about 10 mins until you reach this spot). Here, there will be taxi’s awaiting to bring tourists to the lake. The taxi drive already took about 30 mins, so I don’t know how LP did it on foot in the same time You can make an appointment with the taxi guy to pick you up again after a few hours relaxing.
After Granada we went to the mysterious Ometepe Island. We shuttled to San Jorge through nice landscapes. From San Jorge you catch a ferry. Again, it all is non-tourist: between a lot of locals and groceries you sail in an hour to more tourist oriented city Moyogalpa. With some other backpackers we shared a cap to recommended hostels on the island. The surrounding was beautiful! Unfortunetly the goodlooking hostels on playa Santo Domingo were full. We tried finca Ecologica but find it to be full as well. We ended up in Finca Magdalena, and wished we had made reservations at one of the other options! The surrounding of this hostel is beautiful but the place was really isolated. The rooms weren’t that nice and the food wasn’t that good. Also the sanitary was the worst of all the places we stayed in Central America. Although, from this Finca, the track to the top of the smallest volcano starts. So if that’s what you’re planning to do, Finca Magdalena is a good base! After one night, we hiked down to the main road and from cute little Guesthouse Asi es Mi Tierra, we got taxied by motorbikes back to Moyogalpa. There we stayed in Rainbow Hotel and this was perfect 🙂 Maybe a little bit to soon we had to leave the wonderful island again to continue the journey to… Costa Rica!
Nicaragua is easy to travel. Safe, green and friendly with a diversity of places to visit, I enjoyed discovering a bit of this country.
If you have more time, don’t miss out on the Corn Islands and Turtle Surfer Lodge close to Leon!