Good Times in Nica (ragua)
Nicaragua was all I had hoped for. Nice beaches, relatively good roads, old colonial cities, a nice crowd of travelers, lots of volcanoes and inexpensive too. There was really not much left to wish for but to come back soon!
Our first bigger stop in Nicaragua is León. As the countries second biggest city it is the political and intellectual center of the nation. Walking through the old cobblestone streets it still feels very small and relaxed. But because it’s unbearably hot, we have to escape to the refreshing ocean after a day in the city.
The following days Rani and me stay on the coast, hopping from beach to beach. I rediscover the MacGyver in me and we build a nice sunroof from my old tarp. It always feels good to make some use of all that stuff I brought down in the camper! By now the camper is really like a women’s handbag with endless surprising treasures in every corner. It will be truly hard when I have to move back into my backpack in September…
After all those exhausting beach days we check in into a luxury lakeside resort with our camper. ;) Paying about 5$ per night we are allowed to use all the facilities including a private beach. Laguna de Apoyo is probably the best swim of my life. The volcano-heated water is just about perfect temperature and super crystal clear with nice waves running into our beach all day. A very welcoming staff makes us stay for three days and we couldn’t be happier.
Only half an hour’s drive away from the lake we check out Granada, the first European city in mainland America and settlement of the conquest. I personally like the city much more then León and there are possibilities for nice pictures around every corner. On the second day we meet Twinkle and Rodrigo in the bell tower of the La Merced church. We know Twinkle from Utila and soon we agree to join them for a full moon party in a treehouse out of town.
After a good night out, new ideas are born and we invite Twinkle and Rodrigo into the camper to join us for a while on the road. Again we start off with a few beaches along the coast, before we drive onto a ferry in San Jorge to get to gorgeous Ometepe Island.
Ometepe is formed by two volcanoes rising from Lake Nicaragua. We are told that there are 365 islands in Lake Nicaragua, one for every day of the year. Ometepe is by far the biggest one of them and a good playground for our new group. We have a lot of fun exploring the islands beaches, waterholes, waterfalls and jungle trails. Accidently trying to drive up the hiking trail of Volcano Concepción with the camper, getting stuck in deep sand before having to reverse out a few kilometers without seeing anything and maneuvering millimeters around giant rocks turned out to be a really good teambuilding experience for example. :)
Sneaking into a hostel every evening we make lots of new friends and satisfy our bodily needs with freshwater showers and cold beer. Life doesn’t get much better I suppose. Following our trip around the island we drive to San Juan del Sur, a touristy city close to the Costa Rican border, to meet with old and new friends. The weekend culminates with the Sunday Funday, a crazy all-day pool party fun ride around the city. To clean body and soul we spend a few days on close Playa Maderas before heading for Costa Rica.