After almost 7 weeks in Costa Rica it was the right time to move to Nicaragua. I was very curious whether all those rumors about chicken buses, cheap hostels and food are true. I decided to start my trip in San Juan del Sur. Despite its small size this village is probably the most touristic place in whole Nicaragua. Lot of hostels, restaurants, bars, yoga studios and great surfing beaches around. At least that’s what everybody said.
Very funny thing happened to me on the bus from Rivas to San Juan. On the bus station I met these 2 american girls Chloe and Kate and we started talking. Easy going and very cute, they were on internship in Nicaragua for couple of weeks. The best thing was that Kate’s parents are journalist and they just published number one best seller book. Isn’t that world a small place? Anyway, I made it San Juan on time and watched the final of Championship Leagues in one of many local bars. What a great match.
Unfortunately everything else didn’t work out for me. I don’t like bloggers who describe all their travelling experiences as amazing. That’s because it’s simply not true. Everybody has its own problems and they usually don’t go away while backpacking. Well, for me San Juan del Sur was exactly that unpleasant time. The city was too loud while in fact I needed the opposite.
Everybody was crazy about “Sunday Funday” party. Pretty lame in my opinion. You pay $30 for the t-shirt and entrance to 4 expensive bars. Drinks are of course not included and you have to pay them separately. Everybody gets drunk and next day there were so many people with these t-shirts which just made me smile. This is how things end up when something is mentioned in Lonely Planet book.
Anyway, there were couple of good things about San Juan. I met Alicja from Poland, really great girl, always smiling and thinking about her life.
Then there was this bridge that was destroyed couple weeks before my visit. Really funny story – 150 people decided to jump on it at the same time. The bridge didn’t survive 🙂
And I cannot forget one of biggest statues of Jesus Chris above the village.
But that was it. It was the right time to hit the buses again. This time to Isla Ometepe.
Ometepe island is the biggest one in Nicaragua and what’s funny, it’s in the middle of the biggest lake in central america – Lake Nicaragua (Cocibolca). The island was formed by 2 volcanos, Concepcion and Maderas. The only way how to get there is by ferry from San Jorge. You can get to San Jorge port easily from Rivas by public bus for 7 NIO which stops on the street right next to bus station. Don’t get fooled by taxi drivers.
San Jorge ferries usually travel to Moyogalpa and can be pretty interesting ride. They use them to bring all the stocks to island. I have never seen so much rice in my life. The price varies – from 35 to 50 NIO, depending on the boat.
Me and my girlfriend stayed under the volcano Maderas in small village Merida. Very nice and cheap place. It was recommended to us by Anuar who works there and whom he met in the bus. He was even our guide to volcano. I can highly recommend him. He does many things from renting the motorbikes, volcanos hiking or providing accommodation and speaks very good english.
The next day we visited waterfall in San Ramon which was a little bit disappointment. The problem was that it was very dry and there wasn’t much water in the river. Anyway, still beautiful hiking and at least a nice shower.
Our third day we decided to climb the volcano Maderas using the harder trail but with more beautiful views. It took us 8 hours to get up and down and some places were really steep and slippery. Not very surprising as it was raining almost every night. There’s a small lagoon at the crater and we originally wanted to sleep there. Unfortunately, the storms and constant raining didn’t allow us. Volcano nature is beautiful, usually covered in clouds with many monkeys and birds.
The last day we visited Playa Domingo which was completely deserted. Travelling during rain season has definitely its benefits. Nice chill out afternoon with my girlfriend and Natasha (the broccoli). What I found out is that it’s not very recommended to swim there. Lake like many others in Nicaragua has been used as sewage destination for years.
Well, I really like Ometepe island despite the fact that it feels quite isolated. It’s very hard to find a good supermarket or even local fruits and vegetables. Everything is prepared for tourists with restaurants and prices are higher. What also bothered me was that everyone was offering us something, from motorbikes to volcano guides. I understand it’s quite hard to live on the island but I like to make my own research. Anyway, I definitely recommend this place. Only the fact that this is an island with 2 volcanos on the biggest lake in central america makes it very interesting.