Nicaragua was such an awesome experience. Yes, it was awe inspiring.
The flight in was below satisfactory and I highly recommend that you don’t fly via Spirit Airlines. Pay the extra 50-70 bucks and get a seat that reclines, food on your flight, a free checked bag under 50 pounds, and more.
Arriving into Managua at 1am was a little nerve racking considering its a 3rd world country, late into the night and we were somewhere we’d never been where everyone is speaking Spanish much quicker than I prepared for. But once we stepped out of that plane, we could feel the humidity welcome us with a slobbery warm kiss.
We found our hostel, and fell asleep almost right away. I woke up in the morning to the same wet kiss of humidity, and an anxious boyfriend who wanted to get the adventure on a roll.
That day we made it to Granada, where we spent most of our time. Granada is an amazing little town right near an enormous lake that everyone recommends you don’t swim in. But our hostel, had a pool which was such a nice way to escape the humidity. It also had super cheap beer, hammocks, parrots and cool people. Oh! and of course, el ron y coca cola.
The town was super cool. There was a huge street market where you could get fresh, and cheap veggies, eggs, and meats. It was a great spot to observe the culture and people. Tiny little stands, wild dogs sniffing for food, corners and allies that popped out of nowhere; it was a great time. There is a church in the middle of Granada that helped us navigate our way around the small town. If we knew where the church was, we knew where delicious street food was and how to get back to our hostel.
From Granada, we could take buses to anywhere we wanted to go. We went to Volcán Masaya. We took a bus to the park then sat in the back of someone’s truck to get to the top of the park where you could look down into the roaring volcano.
Another day, we went to Lagoona de Apollo which was the most beautiful lake I have ever swam in. It’s a crater lake, like the one we all know in Oregon. But much much smaller. The water was crystal clear. The heat from the earth below warms the water to about 80 degrees fahrenheit. There are minerals in the water that are good for your body, so you come out feeling amazing. They also had a nice bar with delicious cocktails, and cooks who made awesome food.
Another must do is to take a ride from Granada to the Treehouse hostel in the jungle near there. In the morning you wake up to the howling of Howler Monkeys and a couple local dogs wrestling around who also like the pets. At night though, it becomes a huge party. Everyone goes to the main treehouse and drinks, dances and plays the night away. Unfortunately I was feeling sick, so I didn’t enjoy that aspect of it as much. But it is still such a cool experience.
We ended up leaving the Granada area to go to somewhere on the beach. We ended up taking a long and HOT bus ride to a small town where we got on a taxi to get to Playa Maderas where we stayed for about 3 or 4 days. The sad part was that we got TOTALLY ripped off by the taxi driver, so he took pretty much all our cash. The surf boards to rent, sunscreen almost everything there was cash only, but luckily the restaurant.hostel we stayed at called Los Tres Hermanos took debit card. It was such an amazing beach.. The water was amazingly clear and warm, and the surf looked great (by surf I mean surfers) the beer was cheap, the cocktails were delicious and los tres hermanos who owned the hostel were super friendly and interesting humans. Every year, they would go to Germany and ski!
From there we went to Playa Gigante which was a very very poor underdeveloped beach town. It was an amazing place to stay.. We stayed at the Monkey Hostel which was up on a tiny hill that overlooked the amazing beach below. We stayed in a room next to an Australian couple who talked about the horror stories the indigenous people went through in there country and how awful there people treated the Indonesian folk who served them in Bali. We talked of other more uplifting things as well, don’t worry; we aren’t masochists of the mind and spirit. There was also a kitty that we found in our room who rummaged through our belongings and played with the walls (? strange kitty).
One things I liked most about El Gigante was how quiet it was. I am 100% an introvert (probably closer to 75-80%) so I don’t last long in social situations like the ones at the Hostel in Granada or in busy towns. It was quiet enough to hear a truck that came around once a day, yelling out over a speaker. They were speaking loudly, in a monotone voice, speaking Spanish. When you heard it, you knew you had to get up, collect your moneys, and walk down into the dirt/mud “streets” to meet the truck for the cheapest and freshest veggies, fruits and eggs. It was GREAT.
We tried spending time in San Juan Del Sur where everyone says you have to go, but we only lasted about 25 minutes. It was like being in Santa Cruz, which is 45 minutes from our house in the States. We went to Nicaragua to experience the culture, not to see more Americans getting drunk and partying.
We ended up going back to Granada for a last couple days which was a pleasure. WE LOVE NICARAGUA. We actually might move there one day.