Still recovering from the stomachache/food poisoning, today was a very easy day. Fruit breakfast, nap, some beach time on the hammock, fish taco at De Paso, a nice kiosk where the waitress is so nice and caring. There was a sloth on a low tree, it looked like wood: I almost couldn't see it even if it was few feet away! After another nap we rented bikes and went to town. Since everything is so expensive locals just make their own Sunday party on the beach bringing not only food and drinks but also sounds systems, mixers and reggae music: such a good vibe! Early dinner and early bed like a grandma.
At 7am I'm at the bakery downstairs for a cappuccino and a roll. I enjoyed the roll even if it was a little heavy... It stayed in my stomach for the all day and I think it poisoned me! Nausea in the taxi to terminal caribe, nausea in the 4.5hrs bus to Puerto Viejo. When we arrive I can barely walk but an Italian connection saved the day one more time: Paolo, the owner of Cabanas Guarana' even if he didn't have room for us, gave Robbert a bike to go and look for lodging and he served me a ginger tea for my stomach. I love Italian expats! Robbert came back after almost an hour, it was hard but he found a great room w bath n wifi at Cabinas Talamanca. $20, excellent price for this town. I basically spent the rest of the day in bed agonizing. Maybe for the first time in my life I had no appetite at all!
After a month of Nicaragua, it's time to say goodbye and move on to Costa Rica, we won't stay here long, probably just few days: it's too touristy and expensive. Bus to La Virgen c10, then bus to the border c20. Smooth walk thru immigration and then deluxe bus to San Jose, which felt good after a month of chicken buses!
At around 5pm we are in noisy polluted San Jose, CR, we find a decent new hotel close to the bus station: Hotel Quinta Avenida, $20 for a room with private bath, wifi available, and TV. For dinner we decide to go to the center. It's much more congested, noisy, polluted and dirty than it was 8 years ago. I had to cover my nose while walking in the streets. Finding a decent restaurant that didn't have NY prices was impossible so we just accepted to go to El Patio, a big restaurant on a pedestrian street, with live music and actually good food.
7.30 am practice at Zen Yoga, where Vanessa taught an excellent Vinyasa Flow class. $8
The studio is behind a flower store and you enter thru a little jungle, what a nice combination!
In the afternoon i wanted to take a shuttle to one of the beaches nearby but the shuttles were full so i just stayed on the local beach, which was still pretty nice. Ultimate aperetivo again at sunset at this beach bar with day beds and delicious drinks and food. I think it's simply called San Juan del Sur Restaurant.
Dinner at El Timon where on Thursday they play live Latin music. The numerous tourists dancing made the scene not that smooth but it was ok and we had fun. More drinks later with friends from the local Spanish School Rosa's, which they love. The approaching weekend was already visible: a lot of bars with music and dancing but later in the night only.
Coffee and cookie at Sweet Water Fund, a no profit organization that empowers local women teaching them about nutrition, health, and handcraft: go Cassidy! Then we walk on the beach to the rocks, beautiful view from there. We decide to move to San Juan del Sur in the afternoon. Lunch with delicious lobster and veggies for $9 each at the local restaurant at the end of the beach on the north side. Recommended.
Taxi to Rivas and bus to San Juan. It's so funny the stuff that they try to sell you on the buses: pollo frito, grease stuff, pills for headache, candys, colorful drinks... it's a procession of seller before each trip! See Pictures.
San Juan del Sur is actually better than I expected, not too loud, a little touristy but still Nica, nice long beach enclosed by cliffs at the two ends. We stay at Hospedaje Don Wilfredo, next to beach, slight sea view, room w bath, $12. Wifi and backgammon included! We love it!
Sunset cold swim and pina colada with ceviche on a day bed at a beach bar. Later we walk around town but it's pretty quiet apart from a couple of bars, all the stores close at night.
We wake up at 5am because in our classy room there's a noise of pebbles and sand falling from the wall: what could it be??? Thousands of ants during the night found the left over of a cookey and they were taking it away: so bizarre! I've never found noisy ants!!! So we take advantage of the early start to begin our planned trip. Taxi to bus station 20c, minivan to Managua 40c/ 1.5hr, taxi to other bus station 30c, bus to Rivas 40c/ 2hrs, taxi to Playa El Gigante $15/1hr. We arrive on this nice beach at around noon, we walk around and find a big room w shared bath for $20 at Chele Palmado's, a guest house at the end of the beach with a barefoot bar, great music and good food. Even if it's supposed to be a surf town, there are barely waves and swimming is relaxing. the beaches next door are supposed to be better for that. At 4pm I go for a vinyasa yoga class at Papaya Grove - namely a wellness center but technically just a covered platform - that India just finished to build last week.The class is very nice, $5, I loved to use a mat for a change. Awler monkeys and two cute local girls were watching us.
Dinner and drinks at Chele Palmado's. David -chef/ owner/ manager/ DJ - plays great music, a mix of raggae, funky and chill out. Later this sleepy spot turns into a party but we are too tired to enjoyed it until the end and we go to bed with the music in the background...
In Leon there are a lot of second hand stores so I had fun buying stuff like a tank top for 50 cents and capris for $3, nice!
In the pm I go to the dentist, a young woman that after an xray is still not sure of what's going on. $7
I call my dentist in NY and he thinks it was just a sinus congestion, which makes sense because it doesn't hurt anymore. Next time I go diving I'll take something to clear my sinuses and cross fingers.
Mexican dinner at Chilli Inn, they dont have a lot of vegetarian options.
Breakfast next to Bigfoot Hostel at Pure Earth Cafe, a no profit cafe that support environmental projects. Good food, great atmosphere, and very inspiring phrases in the bathrooms!!
After that I go to the beach at Las Penitas, a little village 20min bus drive from Leon. The bus is so full that I'm basically hanging outside the open door: nice and breezy!
Two little girls next to me are so excited to go to the beach, they are laughing and playing pinching each other chicks, so cute! The beach is beautiful, nice waves, fun swimming in the energy of the ocean.
Back in Leon I enjoy the Sunday afternoon like the locals: sitting in front of the cathedral by the Parque Central, where all the community meets up and the kids are playing. I had four delicious mandarins and a couple of names of dentists where I'll go tomorrow...cross fingers...
Dinner at Cocinarte, a mainly vegetarian restaurant with a very interesting menu.
After the bonfire I couldn't make it to the 6.30am panga to Big Corn as planned; I'll explore it next time around. The next panga is at 1.30pm, which ended up arriving at 2.40pm with people panicking because the flight from Big Corn is at 3.40. Someone paid $100 for a private boat to basically arrive at the airport 5 min before us and discover that the plane was late anyway! The flight was fun because it was a 12 people plane and we were sitting right behind the pilots: a young nica woman was driving, good for her!
Back in Managua we jump in a cub to UCA bus station and then on a minivan to Leon for 40 c and in 1.5 hr we arrive in a cute alive colonial town full of young people both tourists and locals. It's 9pm at this point and there are no rooms available in any decent hostel so we end up staying at Hotelito Casa Vieja in the cheapest and ugliest room I've never been in: 120 cordoba/$5 with shared bath. Even the hammock at El Zopilote was more expensive $3 each. Then we almost couldn't have dinner because all the kitchens close at 9.30pm, even on a sat night, bizarre. Only Mediterraneo was open but it wasn't that good and vegetarian options were very limited.
While at breakfast at Vista de Colore, Tina stops by and tells us that there is a workshop for locals organized by a group from the US to teach them specific skills. We go there immediately and are happy to discover that they are teaching massage techniques and sewing patchwork bags. They also have a program for kids to play with colors and glue. I took some good pictures, check them out!
The rest of the pm is dedicated to reading and tanning. Dinner at Mrs. Bridgette, the best spot for lobster. Back to our cabana, the German neighbors along with the Israeli ones are making a bonfire so we spend the rest of the night with them. Next time I go to a bonfire I hope to remember to bring potatoes and garlic: roasted garlic spread on potatoes is so good!