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Curious what backpackers do in Nicaragua? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.
  • The island of Ometepe was the highlight of our trip in Nicaragua. Everywhere you go, there will at least be one giant volcano in the background. The island has beautiful beaches and rustic villages. Riding the motorcycle and sharing the roads with cows, horses, and pigs. Enough expats have come here and opened up decent western restaurants, but the local lunch platters have not failed us a single time.Read more

  • Luckily for us, the often challenging task of finding bike boxes was made much easier in Managua by our host Darling. She had recently hosted a cyclist who had flown his bike to Managua to start his trip and left one bike box with her. She then called around to a few bike shops and found us another box from a shop 5 km away. All that remained was to go pick it up, and we figured we could find a way to carry the box on our bikes after watching another cyclist fashion backpack straps for his bike box back in Mexico. It certainly made for a wide load, and was a little hard to manage in the wind, but ridiculous sights like Karl riding with a 5 foot box on his back are common on the streets of Central America, so drivers just gave us a wide berth and moved on to avoiding the next traffic hazard.

    Packing bikes into boxes is never a fun task, and really marks the end of a trip, so is a bit sad as well. Fortunately, after we finished the job we managed to connect with Joe, who just rolled into Managua from the mountains, for a fun last evening of stories and reflection. We also managed to offload leftover fuel and bits of gear that Joe could use as he continues south towards Ushuaia. Our 8 am flight the next morning meant we said goodbye to Darling before 5 am as our taxi driver lashed his hatchback door over our bike boxes. We were off to the airport and the fast way of travelling back north...
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  • We heard a lot from this event in the past and now finally it was our time to sledge down the Volcano Cerro Negro.

    It is a short 45min walk up a fantastic small black Volcano, the 2nd newest on the whole American continent. The view up top was probably the nicest part of the tour.

    Then it took us maybe 30min to put on our bright green dresses ?? and another 2min to board down the stony side of Cerro Negro in the sunset. ?

    It was great fun, really, and not as dangerous as people kept telling us... ??
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  • San Juan del Sur is a known surf town, but for some reason we were just not quite in the mood to surf. The beaches here are very nice, and found a local spot where bunch of people are fishing. Just couldn't resist to join the fun!

  • Amazing breakfast this morning for only $3! Lindsay is running late - she is locked in her hostel and the night guard had to remove the glass louvres so she could crawl out the window hahahaha

    Its already stinking hot and humid as we set off in the tour guides cruiser to Cerro Negro. The drive is rather scenic as we head through the villages passing numerous horses and bulls carrying wagons of timber and other misc goods.

    We arrive at the black mountain which stands in contrast to its scenic surroundings. Our cool guide 'Chris' hands us our boards and bags with overalls, goggles and gloves and we start the descent.

    Its a rather steep ascent with numerous stops to rehydrate. Half way up were met with a beautiful panaramic view of the surroundings of the adjacent mountains.

    At the top its time to get down to business. We don on our full length demin overalls, cotton gloves and clear (but badly scratched) goggles and pose for numerous gangster style photos. We peer over the crest and cant even see the bottom due to the increase in slope. Its taken 60 minutes to get up and now 90 seconds to reach the bottom.

    The adrealine rush is insane! Its difficult to stay in a straight line as you put your feet out to balance. The slope of the volcano steepens and the speed of descent is thrilling. Rocks are smashing into your body and face from all directions. As you approach the bottom we lose balance and crash the board and roll sideways until the momentum stops. It takes a few moments to conprehend what has just happened.

    What an epic experience! Easy to see why its rated no. 2 in CNN's thrill seekers bucket list!
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  • After a pretty hectic week we are off to San Juan Del Sur for a bit of R and R. San Juan is probably one of the most touristy areas of Nicaragua, popular for its surfing, partying and beachside living.

    Too old to party now we decide to follow our friends Vish and Kitty to Playa Maderas, a nice beach area 10km north of SJDS. The beach at SJDS is not very nice and so most people take shuttles from town to the nicer beaches nearby. No supermarket there so we load up on food and head off.

    There's not much in Playa Maderas, just beach, a few accomodation places and 2 restaurants. Perfect. We find a beautifully relaxed hostel set in the bushland, complete with outdoor kitchen, individual huts, howler monkeys in the trees and of course hammocks. It feels great.

    After settling in we set off to check out the beach and its.. not what we expected! Much smaller than we imagined (at this point we realised how spoilt we are with our Australian beaches) but most notably there are 2 buildings on the beach, one is a hostel and the other is "Taco Loco", one of the restaurants in the area. Taco Loco is blaring doof doof dance music and the deck area is full of.. well, bogans. Hmm.. interesting! We wander over to the next bay and run into Vish and Kitty and have a good laugh about it.

    As we walk back to our hostel at dusk up the dirt road, the few accomodation places and private houses have lit up laterns and fairy lights. So pretty. We are definitely happy to stay here for a few days.
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  • Awoken by howler monkeys in the morning we start the day with a bit of hammock time and chit chat. Lindsay has decided to head back into town for groceries so we can cook a feast tonight and then make a bonfire on the beach- woohoo!

    We also move to a new accomodation today. The hostel is great but we found a special little place available that was just too good to miss. Run by a lovely lady called Dunia she is in the middle of constructing a set of 3 little cabins/ apartments just down the hill. The place is stunning. Everything is beautifully crafted and made with love. She's even left us a bowl of fruit and made us some elderflower iced tea as a treat. We could live here :-)

    A bit of surfing in the afternoon and back home for some rum and fresh fruit cocktails and chicken fajitas for dinner. Vish and Kitty come over and we set off to the beach for our bonfire! Unfortunately its a windy night and all the driftwood is a bit damp so after a few failed attempts, no bonfire :-( We settle for watching the lighting storm light up the sky instead.

    Poor Lindsay discovers today she had money and credit cards stolen from her wallet in Ometepe :-( Makes us remember to always be cautious and not get complacent.
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  • Spend about 16 hours here. We had to catch a bus to Guatemala so we had about 18 hours here. We went to a mall, got some suplies, watch The Hobbit 3 and then went for a long walk through a big avenue full of crazy ugly "belenes" which is the representation of jesus birth. Then we got to this pier full of restaurants and karaoke bars dedicated to latin american revolutionary figures like Bolivar, Che, Allende, Sandino and so on. The thing is, I did not bring my phone. So there's no pictures of this crazy and weird landscape. But seriously it was strange as fuck.Read more

  • Our last stop in Nicaragua is a homestay at the entrance of the “Cañón de Somoto”.

    There is local music coming out of almost every house and a very nice family hosting us.

    For the day we did a 4 hour tour through the 90m deep canyon with a few cool jumps and lots of swimming – and because the sun didn't shine it was very very cold. But in the end the sun came out and we had an awesome day walking back, chilling in the hammock and talking to the locals.

    Cool tour, nice people!
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  • Up early for the big journey, we set off at 7am for the first leg: a 90min bus ride to the border, Penas Blancas. Dubbed Kris and her 3 ducklings.. we are following her like little sheep (we also picked up another stray, Lindsay from Canada, late last night).

    The bus to the border is fairly smooth sailing, we even managed to get some money changed on the bus for a decent rate. When we arrive, the confusion begins.

    The hustling is not too bad on the Costa Rican side as the majority of the money changers and taxi drivers are kept behind a fence. They have managed to get around this though by positioning themselves in conveniently cut out giant holes in the fence where they stick their bodies through and call out "Cambio cambio!" whilst waving giant wads of cash.

    We are approached by several people trying to "help" including a lady trying to usher us to a house to pay a fee. We resist for a few minutes until we realise she is actually legit and get taken to a hut on the side of the road to pay our $8 exit fee and have our passport stamped.

    We then find our way to the crossing (there are no lines or directions anywhere) where our passport gets inspected. We walk a few minutes and reach "no man's land" (again, no directions anywhere) where we head towards another makeshift hut to one side where we get infrared scanned for Ebola and get given a scrap piece of paper with a stamp on it that looks like something your primary school teacher gives you. I think this means we don't have Ebola. Onwards we go!

    A few more hundred meters and the hustling begins again, now with people trying to direct you and sell immigration forms, which are actually free at the counter. We manage to bypass all this, get to the office, pay $1 at the first counter (???) and $12 at another counter, get our stamps and head through. We pass another checkpoint and that's it! We're in Nicaragua!!
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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