Jan29: Charco Verde
Here we go again waiting for a bus for an hour... At around 10am we jump on it to go to Charco Verde, a lagoon with some sort of witch or legend associated with it...mmmh...Anyway there are supposed to be the best sunset there. Accommodation at Hotel Finca Venecia, $20 room w bath, nice backyard w beautiful view of the lake, and... wifi!!! Finally I can update my blog and website and communicate w friends and family!
I ended up spending the rest of the afternoon online but with view of volcan conception in front of me. It also rained so it was just perfect. Dinner here was ok.
Tomorrow we are supposed to take the ferry to San Carlos: 9hrs, sleeping on an hammock on the deck, arriving at 5am... Weather forecast is wind and rain : s
Today we want to go to Merida, on the south part of the island, where there is Isla de Monos, a small island with rare monkeys, which you can reach just swimming.
The road to go there is unpaved, rocky and hilly so bikes are not an option today.
There's a bus at 11am, so we go for that, we chat with the family that owns the kiosk at the bus stop, there's a fun little girl playing with parrots... Time passes and it's 11.45am, no bus has come and I decide to hitch hike!
We get a ride with two nice Germans, father and son, who are going to Cascada S. Ramon and we decide to join them: you can't be picky when you get a ride!
The waterfall is actually very pretty, you can't swim but you can have a nice shower with water falling 50m, $3 entrance, 2hrs nice hike w no car, 1 hr w car from half way.
The Germans decide to drive back making the full loop around Volcan Madera. The road is very bumpy and we spend over an hour passing by local families with their pigs, chickens, dogs, and horses...at the end I'm exhausted and I wish I had a better sport bra!
Pizza night at El Zopilote is fun as usual and I'm very happy to discover that their delicious home made fermented honey water has 14% alcohol because the other night I thought I got drunk on a soda!! : D
Tip of the day: transportation in Ometepe is unreliable and unfrequent so if you don't have much time, rent a car with good suspension if you can afford it!
Jan27: Ometepe, Ojo de Agua
_Nice breakfast at El Porvenir with vulcano views and colibri flying around the garden flowers.
Rented bikes ($7/day) to go to Ojo de Agua, which is a gorgeus natural spring water lake where you can swim, dive and drink coco loco. Close to Santo Domingo.
Lunch at Casa Istiam just in time to avoid rain but wifi doesn't work, it's a problem apparently in this area.
Looking for wifi we go back to El Zepilote but it doesn't work there either so we put our head lights on and we walk down in the darkness to have dinner again at comedor Santa Cruz... Also the pork is amazing there!
Tip of the day: always carry a flash light with you! There's no public lighting in these Ometepe villages!
_ After breakfast walk to El Zopilote, very interesting permaculture farm run by an Italian family. They also have accommodation, pizza night and yoga! ...by the way they are looking for a resident yoga teacher starting at the end of February, contact them!!!
Unfortunately there's no room there for us so we find accommodation at Albergue Porvenir, $10 per person for a room w/ private bath, clean and w/ nice garden & view, but 10min walk to public trasport. The good thing is that it's on the way to the Inanitah Eco-Community where we're planning to go in the pm. After biking uphill carrying big backpacks to move our stuff to the new hotel, we start the hike to this inspiring spiritual community half way up Volcan Madera. 30 min later we are there, they share their lunch leftover with us (!) and I talk around w/ people to understand more about it. The two founders were not there today unfortunately.
The community is completely sustainable, they do permaculture and support the local people, the buildings are all made w local material and traditional construction techniques, they are big on tantra and yoga. I stay for a beautiful sunset Hatha yoga class w Darshana.
The hike down at dusk in the jungle w no lights was a little adventurous but the pizza night at El Zopilote cheered the spirit: met a lot of travelers, musicians, and inspiring people. Not to be missed.
Jan 25: Poste Rojo y Isla Ometepe
_After a scarce expensive breakfast and the risk of getting sick out of bad milk, at Poste Rojo a group of monkeys arrived on the canopy around the lodge and it was beautiful, I think I took 50 pictures!!!
Despues bus to Rivas $.8, then taxi to San Jorge $3, and lancia to Ometepe $1.5. This lake can be really rough!
Lunch at the friendly Corner House, Moyogalpa, where the owner gave me a lot of info and suggestions. Wifi available. Recommended.
Mini bus to Santa Cruz, $5 each, settled at Hostal Santa Cruz with great view of vulcano and dinner at Comedor Santa Cruz, where I had amazing fresh fish finally! The nice owner brought us even two more fishes for the same price!! Recommended.
Jan 24: Granada y Poste Rojo
Breakfast at Kathie's waffle, nice porch, a little pricey but good.
I met this couple from Cali, they are building a house here, interesting.
After breakfast I stop by a Dutch real estate agency, I believe you need to go to the locals to get the best prices but I had a good overview.
Despues vamos al Poste Rojo, which is an Eco Lodge 15min from Granada, with tree house accommodations in the middle of the jungle...sounds good right? Instead I was very disappointed: the location is gorgeous and it has the potential to be a great destination but it's unfortunately mismanaged, and care is lacking (food, maintenance, and hygiene) so instead of calling it an Eco lodge I'd suggest Eco trash.
Nevertheless, even with the noise coming from the bar I had the chance to teach yoga on the deck at sunset, thank you.
Jan 23: Laguna Apoyo y Granada
I woke up at 6am absolutely motivated to do some great birdwatching: apparently at dawn there are all sort of birds around the San Simian property. I accommodated myself in an hammock and followed every little movement and noise for 30 min without any result apart from white squirrels, so I went to the dock for yoga and there I saw a Martin Pescador and another blu creature. Nice.
I had my first yoga or this trip and it was lovely, as the swim in the lake that came afterwards.
Afternoon to Granada by bus $.5, central hostel w $5 private room with shared bath, Av. La Libertad close to Av Barricada. Clean and friendly, not so popular, wifi available.
Being Monday night there was not much going on around: stroll around El Parque Central and the market,drinks at a nice bar under the colonnade SE corner of park and dinner at Las Colinas del Sur. Take a taxi to go there. There was supposed to be the best fish ever but I think mine was far from fresh. Calle La Calzada is the most touristy place in town, with all restaurants and bars, I personally prefer more authentic spots.
Jan22: Managua & Laguna Apoyo
_Breakfast at Mirna's in Managua Martha Quezada: omelette with American cheese, I was not impressed.
UCA Bus to Laguna Apoyo $1, then taxi to the crater shore 150 corbobas, the bus just leaves you on the main road.
First Tona, the Nicaraguan Beer, at Monkey Hut, nice view of the lake and chats with other travelers. A bit noisy and crowded by the beach where people were bathing.
We stay at San Simian Eco Lodge for the night: the swiss owner Daniel comes and pick us up. He has 5 cute cabanas on the lake with outdoor enclosed garden bathrooms. Tasty dinner with fresh fish and veggies. Daniel spent the evening recommending us places to visit in Nicaragua, very nice guy. No yoga offered but there's a nice dock where I'll practice tomorrow morning!
Jan 21: The journey starts
__Even this time Spirit Air surprised me with some last minute trouble: I bought a one way ticket to Managua and at La Guardia airport they didn't want to check me in because "Nicaragua immigration needs proof of my plans to leave their country"... but couldn't they tell me that when I booked the flight??? So I had to buy my return ticket trying to guess where I will be at the end of April...not easy but at the end I decided for Armenia, Colombia on May 1st because it's close to Ecuador and to the ocean and I can use my miles... Hope it'll work out.
Arrival in Managua at 1.40am and immigration couldn't care less if i had plans to leave Nicaragua or to stay there for the rest of my life...Spirit Air is very sneaky... but we all know that right?
We had a taxi waiting for us and a reservation at Hotel Los Felipes, nothing fancy but decent.
Jan10-Jan 21: New York City
___I'm getting ready for my trip: packing, planning and organizing.
I'm challenging myself to bring less than 100 items on this trip, you may think it's a lot but it's not.
Travel light is so important, I want to have the backpack half empty.
Stuff bothers me, especially on the road... and I know I'm going to buy new things along the way according to how I feel and leaving the old behind is part of the game.
I'm very excited!! : )