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Nicaragua

Nicaragua

Curious what backpackers do in Nicaragua? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.
  • Day59

    Leon lässt sich zu Fuß sehr gut erkunden und hat mir auf Anhieb gut gefallen - der schöne Stadtkern in denen die Touristen nicht groß auffallen sodass der Flair ungetrübt und nicht verfälscht ist. Auch hier fällt mir wieder die Freundlichkeit der Nicas auf. Egal was man will oder benötigt, Hilfe leisten sie gerne und immer, somit hab ich mich mit Carlos - der zukünftige Besitzer meiner derzeitigen Unterkunft, Hostel "La Latina" , schnell angefreundet. Er war Anfang des Jahres drei Monate in Deutschland und hat sich einen seiner Träume erfüllt. Die Tage soll wohl der Investor des Hostels kommen - dieser kommt na klar (Insider an Maike ;-)) aus Hamburg! Seitdem Carlos wieder hier ist hat er schon einiges an dem Hostel verändert - zum Beispiel gibt es als Frühstück pancakes ! Sau genial! Er war auch so lieb und hat mir einen echt guten guide für das Volcan Boarding empfohlen sodass meine Glückssträhne in dieser Hinsicht auch weiter anhält. Mit Henry, unserem guide, und einem älteren paar auf Holland ging es also morgens zum Cerro negro. Die Fahrt dahin war schon interessant weil Henry auf jede Frage eine ausführliche Antwort hatte. Nach dem "Einchecken" in den Nationalpark ging es auch schon zum Fuße des erst ca 1850 entstandenen und somit jüngsten Vulkanes Nicaraguas. Mit seinen nur 700 Meter ist er auch recht niedrig aber wächst stetig. Der Aufstieg began mit einem fetten Regenguss und ich dachte schon:" jetzt holst du dir die erste fette Grippe" aber schon nach wenigen Metern über eine steinige Landschaft bekamen wir die ersten tollen Ausblicke und somit schob ich den Gedanken beiseite. Dazu kam auch, dass mir durch den Aufstieg nie kalt war und wir auch das Glück haben dass das Wetter in nica ja super schnell wechselt. Somit kam auch bald die Sonne raus und wir konnten einen tollen Blick auf die verschiedenen Krater des Vulkanes erhaschen. Da dieser Vulkan nämlich wandert hat er inzwischen fünf davon und laut Henry werden es noch mehr. Die Voraussage ist wohl auch dass er zu dem größten Vulkan des Landes werden kann. Oben angekommen konnten wir nämlich dann auch die komplette Vulkankette sehen die sich entlang der Pazifikküste zieht. Henry lies sich auch nicht nehmen dass wir etwas weiter in den Krater kletterten und dort ein kleines max 5 cm tiefes Loch buddelten sodass wir den Qualm und die Hitze des Vulkanes besser erahnen konnten. Am meisten war ich von dem Farbenspiel begeistert. Die schwarze Erde bzw Sandmischung kombiniert mit den verschiedene Mineralien in gelb, beige, rot und grau und nebenan der blaue Himmel und weitere Vulkane die aber vollgewuchert sind da sie seit zig Jahren nicht ausgebrochen sind.
    Nun wurde es aber ernst - wir zogen unsere jumpsuits an - rotmann statt blaumann ;-) - und bekamen Instruktionen wie wir möglichst viel Speed drauf bekommen. Um es kurz zu machen: nach dem ersten Versuch stellte ich fest das mein Board kaputt war da die hintere der beiden Querbalken nicht fest war und ich somit immer in die Mitte des boardes rutschte und somit nicht das Gewicht auf der schnellsten hinteren Stelle halten konnte. Somit war die Abfahrt ein Desaster und am Ende hab ich es einfach nur noch so wie in der namib desert auf den dünen gemacht - ich bin den Hang hinunter gesprungen wie ein Känguru- war auch ganz lustig! Auf der Rückfahrt hab ich Henry weiter damit beeindruckt wie gut meine Augen sind und zig verschiedene Vögel Auffindig gemacht sodass wir diese den Holländern zeigen konnten. Vlt werde ich auf meiner Reise doch mal was guide arbeiten aber das heißt: vögelarten und deren sitten lernen wir Vokabeln um alle fragen korrekt beantworten zu können - oder ich improvisiere und erzähle denen einen vom Bär wie im Film "slumdog Millionär" am taj mahal, lach! Alles im allen war der Ausflug dann doch genial weil der guide alles gerettet hat und somit das boarden in den Hintergrund geriet. Nach einer Dusche und einem Plausch mit Carlos ging es abends dann auf die Piste: zuerst in eine Salza-bar und danach in den Club. Es ist immer wieder faszinierend den nicas beim Tanzen zuzuschauen - die Leidenschaft und die Erotik ist genial! Auch wenn sie nach wenigen Minuten Klatsch nass geschwitzt sind - es geht immer weiter! Langsam bekomme ich auch den strikten Rhythmus aus mir heraus und baue mein Gefühl für deren Rhythmus weiter aus! Wenn ich in Deutschland zurück bin komme ich auf den Beat im Musikverein dann nicht mehr klar - ich sehe das schon, lach!
    Nach ausschlafen und pancakes entschied ich mich spontan ans mehr zu fahren. Mit dem Taxi zum busterminal (für einen Euro) und dann weiter für 50 ct mit dem "chickenbus" wie die touris die Busse hier nennen an den Beach. Dort war so gut wie nichts los da wir low Season haben. Die Wellen waren Mega krass sodass ich auch nur einmal im Wasser war. Auch wenn das Wasser total warm war - verblüffend warm!
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  • Day355

    We cruised a couple of hours down from Somoto to the large town of Estelí. We spent a hour or two exploring the town and getting a feel for Nicaragua. There wasn't much to do in the town and I didn't feel like another 3 hours drive down to León, so we decided to head into the eco community areas this region is famous for.

    The road started well enough but the final km to the café finca (coffee farm) was probably the worst road we've traveled on, with large water channels cutting wheel sized ruts into the muddy, steep and winding road.

    Despite that it was a nice chilled stop and in the morning we did a short but glorious walk up to the Tisey Mirador (viewpoint). Unsurprisingly they did a pretty mean cup of Joe (coffee for the non-yanks) as well!
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  • Day154

    Sunday Funday.

    San Juan del Sur - or just 'del Sur' because every second place around here is called San-something and at least half of those are San Juans - is a beach town on the Pacific Coast of Nicaragua. It's our last stop in Nicaragua and we're here to party.

    I feel quite confident now that we have seen tourism in Nicaragua at all stages of development. Popoyo in it's very early days - still sleepy and hustle free - to Granada in it's maturity, catching unwitting tourists at every turn. Del Sur has strayed from the scale. It has a lot of tourists, and a lot of locals, but it has a very heavy influence - or should I say affluence - from American expats and tourists alike. In fact, the entire northern half of the beach is littered with Miami-style mansions; infinity pools and four car garages, as obvious as they are obnoxious. To be fair, many of these are owned by rich Nicaraguans, but it doesn't take a petrol head to recognise a six-wheeled Dodge Ram and there's no doubt who's behind that wheel. If I were to make a prediction, it's only a matter of time before Del Sur is another South Beach, Cancún or Gold Coast; high rises lining the beachfront, loungers for rent on the beach, overpriced clubs and valets for the hummers and soft tops. I could be wrong but it's half way there already; beach clubs with horrendously loud music, surf shops and western restaurants, fishing and surfing tours, and prices and payment regularly in USD. It's very different to the rest of Nicaragua and a bit of a shock for us!

    After we had settled in to our prime location accommodation, Javiers Hostel (another great get from Cat!) we headed down to the beach to see what all the noise was about. We stumbled across a very haphazardly organised rugby sevens tournament, much to our surprise! There were four mens teams from the surrounding regions and two womens teams. Some Canadians, Americans, an Aussie and a Brit are working on developing the sport here in Nicaragua to get a team in the Centro-American Games and then hopefully the Olympics - good on them! The lads are in their very early days - plenty of big hits and not a lot of smarts or ball skills - and some of the teams had only been together for a few weeks. They were all surprisingly big boys considering that until that moment I don't think I'd met a Nicaraguan taller than me! We dwindled away much of the afternoon watching Nicas brutally smash each other into the sand and on occasion, trot over to the sideline to wash the beach out of their eyes and mouth. The girls were no less intense, absolutely tearing each other apart - one girl opting to don a bikini which was probably one of her poorer life decisions...I hope. Great to see such passion for sport and I hope they can qualify for the games!

    The rest of that day disappeared as we explored the town and it's eateries and bottle shops. As you do when on the pacific coast here, we watched another cracking sunset on the beach with our mate Toña. A live band brought in the evening and we drank rum and dined in its deafening sound checks (honestly I think it was well over an hour of squealing at full volume). The local Saturday markets served up a mountain of food to satisfy the afternoons hunger and it was delish! As we were finishing up, the band stopped and the big screens on the beach stage turned on. Hundreds and hundreds of people gathered on the beach to watch a local Nicaraguan contend the World Featherweight Boxing Title - another sporting event riddled with passion. The fight went 12 rounds and our mate lost by two points, a gutting finish to the night for us, but it didn't stop the rest of them!

    Sundays in Del Sur are reknowned for the Sunday Funday Pool Crawl and people come from all around to party. I'm not exaggerating when I say almost everyone we've met in Nica in the last week was there. Lots of guys from Popoyo shuttle down and back just for the day! At 30USD pp we'd blown our daily budget before the day began - might just write this one off. The day kicked off at Pachamama hostel in the baking sun with beers and rums, loud music, swimming, bar games and a bucket load of glitter. I hate glitter. It's the permanent marker of sparkles, and sparkles are exclusively a temporary affair. Next stop was a beach hostel, where things got lively and the pool came to life in all forms of bombs. We headed up the hill in the back of many utes to watch the sun go down at the Naked Tiger Hostel - this place has an epic location overlooking all of Del Sur and some. The night deteriorated from there but it was definitely a day well spent!

    The following day was spent largely in recovery, and another day-long power cut made it all the worse. We did, however, make it up the headland at the northern end of the beach. Said headland hosts a 25m statue of Jesus not unlike Christ the Redeemer in Rio. In fact, Giant-Christ-on-a-headland is very common in spanish speaking countries - at least 17 other Jesuses tower prominently all through the Americas and Europe, we discovered. Just another emphatic reminder of how important religion is in these parts.

    Remember that offshore breeze I mentioned in my last blog? It's in Del Sur too. It's in every town and field between Lake Nicargua and the Pacific, and it howls! Literally blinding winds which whip up all kinds of sand and dirt leaving you permanently rubbing your eyes like the big baby I might sound. It's been up around 30kts since we hit the coast, blowing us around like shopping trolleys in a carpark. It might be good for surfing, and if you gave me a windsurfer I'd be giggling mad, but when I'm trying to sit on the beach or eat off a paper plate it's quite the nuisance!

    This brings up the end of Nicaragua for us. Another country scored off the list with some unforgettable experiences added to it. The sunsets, surfing and the cheap food undoubtedly the highlights and the hours and hours of chicken buses definitely hosting the lows. We cross the border at Peñas Blancas today and head south to the capital, San José. Costa Rica will be brief, so we'll be doing our best to make the most of it!
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  • Day83

    First of all I apologize for only posting pictures of sunsets all the time. I got lazy taking pictures but sunsets still catch me. I gonna try to change that habit ;)
    I spend another night in SJDS before heading back out to Maderas for the surfcamp. I had booked a night in a hostel which looked nice online and I thought this might be another option for volunteering. But when I got there I realized this place was more about partying than surfing. I walked a little around town and even though I didn't necessarily like SJDS it kind of felt like coming home. Just because it's so familiar now. I had been here not just the nights before and after the surfcamp last time I was there but also on a lot of short stops on the way to surf spots from the camp (we often stopped here to buy lunch or other stuff).
    At night I cooked dinner and hung out at the bar in the hostel and talked to the volunteer there. Her job seemed nice but like I said the hostel was a little to focused on partying - when I went to bed around 10:30 pm everybody else went out. Only one guy also said "I gonna go to bed. Early surf tomorrow.".
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  • Day82

    As I really fell in love with the hostel in Granada I decided to again not do a long travel day all the way from Estelì in the north to San Juan del Sur in the south but split up the journey and stay one night in Granada.
    I left our little crew in Estelì together with Miriam who lives in Granada. Once on the bus we ran into Laura. I had met Laura in Leon while working in the hostel. I told her how everything went down and she wasn't to surprised to hear that I quit. She was also on her way to Granada.
    It was nice talking to her. We talked about how used you get to see weird stuff which would really surprise you back home. Just in the morning I saw a horse which someone had left on the foodpath of a road fixed on a lantern like other people leaver their bike. In general you see a lot of animals running around everywhere alongside big roads. Cows, pigs, horses.
    We watched the landscape become dry again and after changing buses in Tipitapa (yes, that's really the name of a town) and Masaya we arrived in Granada. Laura walked with me to my hostel but as they were fully booked (I had made a reservation the night before) she had to stay somewhere around the corner. But she came back after dinner and we hung out together with another german guy talking about our travels. The next morning I had a last breakfast on the little roof top terrace before catching the bus to Rivas.
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  • Day84

    I was super excited to get back to rapture for a few more days. I wrote to Kim and she told me they were going for a 8:30 morning surf session at Playa Maderas. That worked perfectly for me as I could take the Shuttle running to Maderas from Sun Juan early in the morning and just join them there.
    It was funny to be waiting at the beach for the rapture surf shuttle to arrive. Kim was the only guest I still knew but there were also Wade (surf guide), Dany and Alvaro (surf instructor) and Sarah (volunteer) jumping of that car.
    Even though I had only not being surfing for about 10 days it took me a while to get back into it. Especially as I wasn't taking lessons anymore. But it was still fun. We went to 3 different beaches the 3 days I was there which was perfect. I still liked Remanso best.
    The crowd of people was again really nice. A group of 5 germans who had been there last time I was here also came back so there were a few more familiar faces.
    I talked a lot with Sarah about her job as a volunteer and was pretty excited when Vincent asked me how long I would still be in Nicaragua as they might need a new volunteer soon. But Sarah told me she was leaving in about 3 weeks. That didn't really make sense with my schedule. But the next day Sarah came to me and told me she had decided to leave early and wanted to recommend me as her replacement! We went to talk to Vincent about it but he told me there was a friend of his arriving the next day to take Sarahs Job. Seriously? How close could I miss this opportunity twice? But luckily it took him like 5 minutes to realize that he would prefer spending time with his friend without him working. So here I am. Working as a volunteer at my favorite place where I can go surfing almost every day!
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  • Day354

    We only had a few km after crossing the border to reach Somoto Canyon, and were still high up (well 800m) surrounded by glorious green hillsides. After staying in the yard of a local guide & his family, we set off at 9am to do the long canyon tour with Claudia, one of his daughters. She kept asking us if Maya liked swimming & we soon realized why as we had to launch ourselves off rocks into a deep, smooth sided, water filled canyon. Maya was loving it and swimming really well, until she discovered that it was far easier to sit on the backs of our life jackets!

    We opted for the long tour and spent 5 hours meandering our way through the canyon. Fortunately the water was a beautiful temperature, and it was much nicer to lazily float along than walk along the banks.

    By the time we got back to camp we were pretty shattered, and we had a lovely meal cooked for us by Fausto's wife. The whole family lived on the same plot and they kept coming over for little chats. They were all members of the village cooperative who ran the tours of the canyon, and it was nice to be away from the backpacker trail and in the heart of real Nicaragua.

    That night it rained pretty hard (well the rainy season is supposed to start in May), and by the morning the place had turned into a quagmire. The whole family got covered in mud trying to get us out (at one point the main guy Fausto even insisted on washing my feet!) and after an hour of struggle we eventually got our tyres onto firm ground.
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  • Day107

    I was pretty excited to spend my birthday at the surfcamp as this would mean I would spend it with people I knew and could probably even have "a little" party.
    My friend Ines from Guatemala was also coming to visit me at the camp the week of my birthday. She arrived the day before. We thought about celebrating into my birthday. But as people at the camp usually go to bed early to be fresh & ready to surf the next morning, we skipped that. My birthday started with an early morning surf session at Playa Maderas and after I caught a few nice waves I was already satisfied with my birthday even before breakfast. But it kept on getting better. Ines had seriously brought a cake all the way from Guatemala which she baked with her mum before getting on the bus. Also everybody seemed to be in a party mood so we got a cooler and beer to take to Yankee Beach with us. So I spend my afternoon eating birthday cake and drinking cold beer at the beach with two more surf sessions. When the sun was going down I thought I didn't need anything else for the perfect birthday. But the day wasn't over. Our surf guide Wade had promised to take over the bar for me that night and organized a Mojito Special. So after dinner (my favorite at the camp: beef tacos!) we started drinking mojitos at the bar. First I thought it might be a quiet night again. But at some point Ines started doing rounds of rum shots and I guess that's when things started getting crazy 😜
    The night turned into a wild party with people dancing on the bar (me) and doing the shotgun-thing with beer cans (not me). A girl arrived late at night and Johannes and I did paper-scissor-stone to figure out who had to check her in. Even though I won I somehow ended up showing her around. And according to what she told us later I didn't stop explaining to her that it's normally not like that in the camp - people partying after midnight (which is true). But we kept on going till around 3:30am. Before I went to bed (or actually the hammock as we were fully booked and I was sleeping under the stars that night) I was shocked of the mess behind the bar - who should clean this up? But when I woke up the next morning everything had magically disappeared.
    All together this was definitely one of my best birthdays ever!

    As Ines was staying a full week we took advantage of the semana santa weekend and went to Saturday Funday (over easter they did three parties which means Friday to Sunday Funday). We went to San Juan with almost everybody from the camp and had a few drinks in the bars along the main road. But when we went to Pacha Mama we realized that not a lot of people decided to go for the saturday option. Compared to my first time this one was more a Rapture Funday - I guess we made out almost 50% of the crowd 😅
    We still had a lot of fun but went home quite early and I was happy to enjoy a relaxed sunday as the end of my birthday weekend.
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  • Day116

    The surfcamp had a boat available for boat trips to a few surf spots further up the coast for a while now. But as this trip was only for more experienced surfers we figured we should offer another option to use the boat. So I used one of these days where I had to stay at the camp by myself to wait for new guests to make a poster for a "Sunset Booze Cruise". When the guests got back to the camp that day everybody wanted to join so we actually had to split up into two groups. I joined the first group with a few of the guys who had been at the camp for quite a while.
    The tour included free sangria (after my recipe which I had invented a few days before for a Sangria Night at the camp), beer and ceviche. So I prepared a cooler with all the stuff and Wade gave us a ride down to Playa Marsellas where the boat picked us up. The waves were wild that day so it wasn't the easiest task for the captain to come onto the beach with his boat but he managed and he took us out to the ocean safely. But now actually drinking the sangria wasn't the easiest task for us as we were jumping over the waves like crazy.
    We went up north along the coast and made a stop at a nice and secluded beach where we were almost all by ourselves except for one other fancy yacht (next to our small fishing boat).
    On the way back we convinced the captain to let us jump in the open ocean. The water was super clear out there!
    Unfortunately we (or our captain) didn't catch any fish while we were on the boat but the other group did the next day and they happily shared it with everybody (prepared by our kitchen).
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  • Day119

    As a present from everyone who stayed at the surfcamp for my birthday I got to go on a horseback ride on the beach for sunset. I picked a day when a few people from the camp were going as well.
    I told our guide I had some experience with horses and would like to have a horse "un poco mas rapido". His question was "un poco mas loco" tambien?
    When we got to the beach I understood what he was talking about. My horse really wanted to run! But this was what I was looking for. At some point Heikes horse started racing mine and from this moment on we had a lot of fun together racing down the beach while the others stayed behind. Even though I had been to the camp for a few weeks now I never went further down the beaches coming after Playa Maderas. So it was a nice way to explore them by horse now. We took a little break on the last bay watching the sun go down before heading back with a few more races for Heike and me.Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Republic of Nicaragua, Nikaragua, ኒካራጓ, 니카라과, ニカラグア, ନିକାରାଗୁଆ, นิการากัว, นิคารากัว, ນິຄາລາກົວ, នីការ៉ាហ្គ័រ, ประเทศนิการากัว, สาธารณรัฐนิการากัว, i-Nicaragua, Nekaraguwa, Nicanahuac, Nicaragoa, Ni-ca-ra-goa, Ni-ca-ra-goa (Nicaragua), Nicaragua, Nicarágua, Nicaraguadukɔ, Nicaragwa, Nicearagua, Nikalakua, Nikaraagua, Nikaraaguwa, Nikaragoà, Nikāraguvā, Nikaraguvän, Nikaraguwa, Nikaraguwaa, Nikaragva, Níkaragva, Nikaragvo, Nikaragwa, Nikaraqua, Orílẹ́ède NIkaragua, República de Nicaragua, نیکاراگوآ, نیکاراگوا, نکاراگووا, نیکاراگوئه, نکاراګوا, نيكاراجوا, نيكاراغوا, ניקאראגואה, ניקרגואה, Νικαράγουα, Никарагва, Никарагуа, Никараква, Нікарагуа, Нікараґуа, ནི་ཀ་ར་གུ་ཨ།, Նիկարագուա, ნიკარაგუა, निकारगुवा, निकारागुआ, निकारागुवा, निकाराग्वे, નિકારાગુઆ, నికరాగువా, ನಿಕಾರಾಗುವಾ, நிகாரகுவா, നിക്കാരഗ്വ, নিকারাগুয়া, নিকারাগোয়া, နီကာရာဂွာ, නිකරගුවාව, ニカラグア共和国, 尼加拉瓜

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