#smilingeartoear Successful border marathon:-) We made it from El Salvador (El Amatillo) through Honduras into Nicaragua (El Espino) in 1 day. Everything went really well. During the drive through Honduras we weren’t even pulled over – no checkpoints, woohoo! Another pleasant surprise was to meet again Shannon & Joshua ….great chat on the side of the PanAm road. We relaxed at the Hostel Sonati (they let you camp in the backyard) in Esteli. Went for a hike in the nearby Reserva Natural Cerro Tisey and cooled off at the waterfall Estanzuela. Next on our list was the Volcano Masaya, Laguna Apoyo, Granada, Ometepe Island and San Juan del Sur.
Reserva Natural Cerro Tisey – Cascada Estanzuela
We were dissapointed to pay entry fee and to find a lot of garbage. We watched locals how they threw away their empty beer cans over the waterfall or they just left and did not pack out their garbage.
Volcán Masaya National Park
The Masaya Volcano National Park comprises an area of 54 km² and includes two volcanoes and five craters. The volcanoes have erupted several times in history, and were feared by both the indigenous people and the Spanish conquerors. The Spanish baptized the active volcano “La Boca del Infierno” or “The Mouth of Hell”. They planted a cross, “La Cruz de Bobadilla” (named after Father Francisco Bobadilla), on the crater lip in the 16th century in order to exorcise the Devil.
After the interesting visitor centre/museum we drove right up to the craters edge. The crater is a huge steaming, gas emitting, sulphur smelling, hole into the depths of the earth. There was so much smoke, we could not look down the crater. We were hoping the wind would shift away the smoke but you are not allowed to stay too long. But we enjoyed hiking several trails that lead to other craters or viewpoints.
Laguna de Apoyo
Lake Apoyo is a 48-square km lake that actually lies on the Apoyo volcano crater. It’s a beautiful setting with very clear water for swimming. We stayed in a nice dorm at the Monkey Hut Hostel with a very clean shared kitchen and a nice terrace with great views. Kayaking and drifting around in giant inner tubes was lots of fun.
Colonial city of Granada on the shores of Lake Nicaragua
Granada has some of the best preserved colonial architecture in Nicaragua and due to the recent investment in tourism, it has become very popular among travellers. The Cruz Roja (Red Cross) has a nice fenced parking lot and they let you camp and it’s only a 5 minute walk to the town centre. The highlight for us was the view from the church tower and the a delicious all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet at the ChocoMuseo.
This island is located on the Lago de Nicaragua and is formed by two joined volcanoes, Concepcion and Maderas. We heard good things about the hiking and lots of other activities on the island but decided to skip it because of the costs for the ferry.
San Juan del Sur – the most popular beach town in Nicaragua
We found a nice (more quite) place 9km North of San Juan del Sur on Playa Maderas. We relaxed at Casa Maderas Ecolodge a couple of days. I was looking forward for some yoga lessons (I saw on the website their beautiful yoga platform) but unfortunately there was no yoga teacher). We also did some travel planning for next country “Costa Rica” and catching up with other stuff you have to deal even while travelling…