A Travellerspoint blog


Just hanging


sunny 27 °C

We hopped a chicken bus (grabbed two of the last seats) and shared our ride (and our laps half the time) with a lady carrying parrots in her bag to Managua, then jumped another bus to Granada.

We enjoyed just chilling out and eating local food in this pretty city on the edge of the lake. We caught up on internetty things and did quite a bit of planning as well to justify the amount of hammock time. : )

Posted by Addy21 05:59 Archived in Nicaragua Comments (0)

Chilling on the Rio San Juan

San Carlos and El Castillo

sunny 29 °C

We arrived bright and early in San Carlos and organised our tickets to get down to El Castillo (only accessible by water). Despite many assurances to the contrary we triple checked about the buses at the bus station and discovered they were only running on Saturday, oh well.

The trip down the river was lovely and we arrived in El Castillo to discover some great cheap hostels with private rooms right on the water. The town was tiny and very easy to walk around and it was really lovely watching the water. We teamed up with some other English speakers to organise a tour into the nearby reserve. It was fantastic.
As we were signing in at the administration area we had howler monkeys hanging out just above us and saw a green and black dart frog which was a pretty cools start to our adventure. We saw caiman in the water and then arrived at our jumping off point to walk into the jungle. Our guide was great and explained the uses of the local plants and kept a keen eye out for local wildlife.
Matt spotted our first Blue Jeans or Strawberry Dart Frog, incredibly tiny bright blue and red frog. Very cute. We saw another one along the way as well as a troop of Cappuccino Monkeys and a big family of Spider Monkeys (my personal favourite). At the end we even made our way into a little stream off the main river to go swimming.
We headed back up the river, catching site of a toucan along the way and grabbed lunch with our fellow tourists. Later that afternoon we headed up to check out the old fort (built to stop pirates coming up from the Caribbean and sacking Granada, which seemed to happen with alarming regularity). The views were amazing and it was pretty interesting reading about the history of the pirates in the area.
The place we stayed with gorgeous, right on the water with a killer view. See what I mean...
The next day we hopped a boat back to San Carlos, and took up residence in what must have been the worst hotel we've experienced so far (mouse in the first room, and God knows what running around in the roof all night). Despite the shabby accommodations we really enjoyed San Carlos. They had food and music happening on the water each night and generally it was just a cool little spot. We jumped on a tour going out to the Solentiname Islands to round out our lake and river adventure. It was a nice day, checking out the islands, going for a swim or two and spotting howler monkeys from the boat.

Saturday we jumped up early to secure the last two seats on the local bus to Granada.

Posted by Addy21 05:38 Archived in Nicaragua Comments (0)

Monkeys, monkeys, everywhere


sunny 32 °C

After a quick stop in Liberia, which didn't turn out to be as pretty as the guidebook said, we decided to make a dash for Ometepe for Matt's birthday. Omotepe is an island in the middle of Lake Nicaragua composed of two volcanoes, one active, one not.

We arrived in Rivas, got a taxi to San Jorge and got the afternoon ferry across to Ometepe. We got a huge room with ensuite which was being rented out by a local couple, and set about making the most of what was left of Matt's Birthday. We headed down to the water with a half bottle of wine we'd picked up in Peru, and watched the sunset. It was absolutely magical, so beautiful. Then we wandered back up and took the couple's recommendation for local food, had some great chicken, gallo pinto (rice and beans), salad and plantain chips for about $2. Then we wandered back to a very cute bar we saw on our way to dinner to round the night out with a few drinks. At 80c for two cocktails, we may have had one or two too many.
The next day was very relaxed. We chilled out and watched movies while recovering from Matt's Bday celebrations.
Our third day on Ometepe we decided to explore the island and do some swimming. We hired a scooter and set off. We met some local kids at one swimming spot who kept hunting out pippis for us to eat. Apparently, it's all about lime, chilli and salt. We finally convinced them that they wouldn't last in our bag as we scooted around the island all day, and they took them home to eat themselves.
We headed over to the other great beach spot on the island and chilled out for a bit. Mostly we just really enjoyed zooming around the island. It was great seeing the plantain farms, little colourful towns, beautiful blue birds everywhere, and occasional road blockage from locals moving their cattle. We also headed down to the port for the boats which stopped off between San Carlos and Granada to get a final answer on whether they were running over Semana Santa. The answer was no! Damn!
The next day we got up bright and early to hike up the active volcano. It was at this point we realised our host (and guide for this tour) was probably an alcoholic. Apart from the smell of alcohol, he'd also stuffed up the bus timetable which meant we walked the 3kms to the start of the hike. It wasn't the end of the world but didn't give us a huge amount of confidence. The hike itself was great though, we saw soo many monkeys: at least three big groups of howler monkeys and two groups of cappuccino monkeys. We got most of the way to the top but couldn't go quite all the way because of the wind. It was incredible, you really did feel like it would push you off the volcano!
The following day we said goodbye to Ometepe and got the 6pm ferry across to San Carlos. We paid an extra 30 cordobas to set ourselves up ourselves up outside on deck chairs. The moon on the water was beautiful and once I pulled out my sleeping bag to keep off the wind I was incredibly comfortable and slept like a baby.

Posted by Addy21 05:18 Archived in Nicaragua Comments (1)

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