Nicaragua
Departamento de Rivas

Here you’ll find travel reports about Departamento de Rivas. Discover travel destinations in Nicaragua of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

82 travelers at this place:

  • Day95

    Nochn Vulkan......

    March 1 in Nicaragua

    Leon ist eine tolle Stadt! Sie hat genau die richtige Größe, um sich treiben zu lassen. Viele Wandmalereien erinnern an die Revolution und insgesamt merkt frau/man, dass Leon eine größere Rolle in der Geschichte Nicaraguas gespielt hat. Noch dazu haben wir ein ganz schönes Hostel erwischt, dass mit fröhlichen Niederländer*innen daher kommt und neben warmem Wasser (seit Panama das erste Mal wieder), eine gut ausgestattete Küche bietet, die Frau/man nutzen kann. Wir kaufen grosszügig ein und essen drei Tage lang köstlich. Nach langer Reisezeit kann ein frischer Salat himmlisch sein! Und die französische Bäckerei verkauft richtig guten Käse, auch nicht leicht zu bekommen bisher.
    Und von hier aus kann frau/man vier Vulkane besuchen und verrückte Dinge tun wie beispielsweise mit einem Board einen Vulkan herunterbrettern, was wir nicht tun wollen; wir melden uns für eine Sunset-Tour an.
    Um 14.00 Uhr gehts los. Mit dem Jeep werden wir zunächst eineinhalb Stunden bis an den Rand des Kraters des Vulkans Telico gefahren. Von hier ist der Blick schon atemberaubend. Nicht nur "unser" Vulkan ist zu sehen, sondern auch der höchste Nicaraguas, der San Christobal. Ein einstündiger Spaziergang führt uns hoch und oben dürfen wir das erste Mal über den Krater lugen. Es raucht und dampft! Ach ja, hatte ich vergessen zu erwähnen: Der Telico ist aktiv, wird aber natürlich seismologisch beobachtet. Viel zu sehen ist erstmal nicht, aber frau/man kann die Lava hören. Wir besichtigen eine kleine Fledermaushöhle, in der es nur so wimmelt und dann geht die Sonne auch schon unter, was wunderschön anzusehen ist. Rot und orange und dazu der Blick bis zum Pazifik. Als es dunkel ist, gehts noch einmal zurück zum Krater und nun können wir tatsächlich ein bisschen Lava erkennen - weit entfernt glimmt es leuchtend orange.
    Das war ein schöner Ausflug, wenngleich wir lieber ein bisschen mehr gelaufen und weniger gefahren wären!
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  • Day136

    Volcan concepcion

    February 18, 2017 in Nicaragua

    Om 5uur sochtends opstaan omdat we even een vulkaan gaan beklimmen. Hoewel we wel hogere bergen hebben beklommen was dit wel een uitdaging. Je klimt en klautert bijna recht omhoog, hoe hoger je komt hoe minder begroeiing je tegen komt, tot dat er alleen nog maar rotsen zijn. Op handen en voeten klim je naar de top en let je op dat je niet iemamd om ver kegelt met de losse rotsen die naar beneden kunnen rollen.

    Op 1700 meter hoogte konden we helemaal aan t randje van de krater komen, we hoorde het lava pruttelen en konden de zwavelgassen ruiken. Vanaf de vulkaan heb je uitzicht over het hele eiland en de andere vulkaan.

    Het was de spierpijn wel waard💪
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  • Day55

    Ometepe, Nicaragua

    February 24, 2015 in Nicaragua

    Isla Ometepe is een vulkanen eiland in een meer. Op Isla Ometepe gaat er van alles mis. Sab vergeet haar zeeziekte pilletjes te nemen, waardoor de bootreis geen prettig vaartocht wordt. Het hostel waar wij naartoe willen is vol, gelukkig hebben ze nog wel een plekje in de hangmat. Wat niet heel comfortabel slaapt, maar wel zorgt voor een super goede ochtend want je wordt midden in de natuur wakker waarbij de ene prachtige vogel na de andere langs komt. We slapen in een volledig zelf onderhouden ecolodge / hostel, compleet met: composttoiletten, waar je niet in mag plassen (want dat doe je in de natuur), tot Sabrina's grote schrik een tarantula, schorpioenen, bidsprinkhanen en open douches in de natuur. We wilden geld besparen ( jaa de luxe van het zwembad in Playa Maderas moet toch gecompenseerd worden ) dus hebben we fietsen gehuurd ipv ( wat iedereen doet ) een scooter om het eiland rond te gaan. Wij dachten 35 kilometer fietsen, dat doen wij wel even. Dat hebben wij vorige zomer op Texel ook gedaan. Toen wij deze geld besparende beslissing namen. Hebben we geen rekening gehouden met een temparatuur van 35 graden en volle zon, geen enkel eet- of drinktentje onderweg ( we waren dus ook niet zo slim om genoeg water mee te nemen ) en dat een groot deel van de rit berg opwaarts is. Dusss.. 6 km, 2 uur, en heel wat zweetdruppels verder besluiten we terug te gaan, waar we gelukkig maar 1 uur over doen, want als je eerst 2 uur bijna alleen maar berg op gaat, hoef je op de terugweg alleen maar berg af :-). De volgende dag heeft Sab knallende hoofdpijn ( we denken dus van iets te veel inspanning en zon en iets te weinig water ). Dus we doen 2 dagen niks. We sluiten ons eiland avontuur af in heerlijke mineraalbaden, het water komt rechtstreeks uit de vulkaan. En we nemen de ferry terug van Schiermonnikoog naar Lauwesoog... uuhhh ohnee... We zijn in Nicaragua.. toch leuk om hier z'n hollandse veerboot tegen te komen.. waar de midden amerikanen niks aan veranderd hebben.Read more

  • Day51

    Playa Maderas, Nicaragua

    February 20, 2015 in Nicaragua

    Van de stad gaan we naar een vissersdorpje ( inmiddels een toeristen party dorpje ) San Juan del Sur. Omdat we niet in de party modus waren zijn we naar een klein strandje verder op gegaan. Playa Maderas. Hier was helemaal niks anders te doen dan eten, zwemmen (jaaaa... we hebben onzelf getrakteerd op een hotel met een zwembad, wat een luxe ) en surfen. Naja surfen... we kunnen op het surfboard staan zeg maar terwijl het surfboard mee gaat met de golf. ( voor de goede orde.. we staan dus niet op het droge.. maar echt in de zee ;-).Read more

  • Day236

    surf, eat, sleep, repeat II

    March 19 in Nicaragua

    Es war mal wieder an der Zeit, die Wellen riefen. Zudem war das Surfe der Hauptgrund meines Abstechers nach Nicaragua. Also ging es im Anschluss an den Zigarren WS Richtung Meer, ins gemütliche El Gigante. Anders als der Name vermuten lässt, ist der Ort nicht riesig, dafür aber an manche Stellen die Wellen.
    Der Ort ist eher beschaulich. Eine Sandstraßen, ein paar Unterkünfte und Restaurants, Surfbrett Verleih, fertig.

    Ein typischer Tagesablauf:
    - 06:15 Uhr aufstehen, Kaffee Kochen und den Wellen zusehen
    - 07:00 Uhr Yoga
    - 08:30 Uhr Frühstück
    - Anschließend, je nach Bedingungen, surfen
    - Mittag und Mittagschlaf
    - zweite Runde surfen
    - Abend essen, 1-2 Bierchen trinken und manchmal mit anderen beim Lagerfeuer am Strand den Abend ausklingen lassen
    21:30 Uhr schlafen

    In diesem Rhythmus kann man hier schon etwas versacken, weshalb ich am Ende auch zwei Wochen an diesem schönen Ort war. Das es mir nicht alleine so ging, war auch mal ganz schön. So hatte man eine feste Gruppe an Leuten um sich herum.

    Auch das Surfen macht langsam Fortschritte. An einem Tag hatten wir dann die großartige Idee, einmal dort ins Wasser zu gehen, wo die Surfer sind, die es wirklich können. Dort angekommen stellten wir fest, daß die Wellen mit knapp über 2 Meter, steil und einer ordentlichen Kraft, doch nix für uns waren. Ein paar Meter weiter konnte man allerdings die abgeschwächte Variante fahren. Ca. 1,5 Meter, kraftvoll und mega steil. Nachdem uns die Wellen ca. 30 Minuten bearbeitet hatten, war dieses Experiment auch erledigt. Danachso ging es völlig geschafft und erkenntnisreich wieder zurück zu unserem "Haus Stand".

    Zwei weitere Ausflüge gab es in den Tagen auch noch. Einmal eine Motorrad Tour, es war eine Wohltat mal wieder auf nem Moped zu sitzen. Sowie ein Ausflug nach Popoyo, einer sehr schönen, langsamen Welle, auf der man lange Reiten kann.

    PS: On top gab es hier immer wahnsinnig schön Sonnenuntergänge!
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  • Day148

    Volcan Maderas, Nicaragua

    March 14, 2017 in Nicaragua

    You guessed it! Another Volcano.

    Maderas is the shorter of the two volcanoes that make up Ometepe, the surprisingly big island in the middle of Lake Nicaragua. It hasn't been active as far as records go and this is evident with the thick green cloak it wears; tropical rainforest from (almost) lake to summit. We chose Maderas over the taller and more dramatic Conception (the other volcano) for two reasons; proximity to the hostel and because the scenery was very different to the last leg killer - Acatenango.

    Alas we made the decision just before bed the night before, teed up a guide, ordered some food and hurried off to sleep - the 5.30am rise was a little unexpected.

    The morning proved a bit of a faff as our guide waited for us to eat breakfast. Then we waited for our lunch to be prepared. Then we went to find water. Then we waited for a late comer. It wasn't until 7.30 when we actually started making progress toward the summit. Nonetheless I was thankful that we had not yet - and would not today - see the inside of a bus, van or other cramped and sticky form of transport. Win.

    I love the efficiency in which central americans climb mountains. Again, the trail pointed at the summit essentially from bottom to top, no switchbacks or gradual climbs - these guys mean business! This time however we climbed from essentially sea level (our hostel - although technically a lake, it is still only 33m above the sea) to 1390m. A fair old nudge. As we neared halfway, the going got tough. A couple of french compatriots were hurting and threatened to pull out. We wouldn't have it, and despite still resenting them for the Rainbow Warrior we dragged their sorry arses to the top - literally at a snails pace. Our guide Simon, patient with the pace, was quick to amuse - wracking up the howler monkeys with impressive vocals and at one point even appearing to be in conversation with them. He was a great guide, humorous and self admittedly crazy with two front teeth made of gold to suit the personality.

    We really found rainforest. Thick, wet, hot, muddy and infinitely green rainforest. The track got so steep and bush so thick that for much of the latter half of the walk, we were literally climbing up, over, under, along and around trees, tree roots and the like - all the while in the cloud with no buena vista in sight. The earth got sodden and the mud thickened but we pressed on - slowly but kind of surely. At a few places the track was nerve-wrackingly vertical making it quite a unique climb. We found the summit in thick cloud and sat down for some well earnt grub, the disappointment of whiteout evident on everyone's face. Except for Simon. He was yabbering at the cloud gods at the top of his lungs and waving his arms like a teacher erasing a whiteboard. What more would you expect from a man who's been climbing that same mountain four times a week for the last 20 years?!

    Twenty minutes or so later, Simon got even more excited. We perked up, stuck our heads over the crater and got a partial - then full - view of the crater lake, brown and scummy as it was. Moments later the isthmus and Conception came into sight, gently but deliberately announcing their presence. It was a spectacular view which belatedly rewarded all of our efforts. It had nothing on Acatenango but what will? Perhaps we ought to lower the bar!

    I can't say the descent was any easier. Lowering ourselves through gaps in tree roots and slipping through mud and rock. It took almost as long as the ascent and was just - if not more - fatiguing. The sun came out and we found glimpses of view on the way down but this came with the heat we had been lucky to avoid all morning.

    When we reached the bottom, hunger, heat and fatigue had taken their toll and there were a few broken souls. They made a swift recovery with Coke, chips, bananas and beer, topped off with a swim and hammock. Cheers Maderas!

    I won't go without reiterating how mental our guide was. He's 61 and doesn't look a day over 40. He's also fit as a fiddle, not just walking but running too. Last Friday was the annual Ometepe ultramarathon. He competed with 38 or so others from all over the continent in a 100km course that makes our wee climb look like a walk in the park. Not only do they circumnavigate the island (and some - it's bigger than it looks), but for good measure they throw in the ascent of Maderas AND Conception (8 and 12 hour hikes respectively) - oh and a 200 yard swim across the crater lake, just 'cause. Wanna know the best part? It's almost all done in the dark, kicking off at 6pm and the leader not coming through until 6am earliest. I'm personally struggling to think of anything more difficult. Also pretty chuffed that Cat and I picked all that up in Spanish! (Admittedly it took a few tries and a large amount of disuading our disbelief). I guess I'll sleep like the baby I am tonight while the real men summit mountains like champs!
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  • Day366

    Ometepe

    May 17, 2017 in Nicaragua

    Still with Emma & Blake we jumped on the tiny ferry over to the island of Ometepe. Parking the van on the small deck was an exercise in complete trust as they directed me to within an inch of the walls, trucks and people! It was a short journey across to the amazing double volcanoes rising out of Lake Nicaragua (the largest in Central America).

    As we drove out of the small port town we ended up on the runway, with awesome views of the towering Volcano Concepción. Rather than tackling the 10 hour hike we headed to the more leisurely Ojos de Agua (Eyes of Water), where we spent a lovely afternoon relaxing around the glorious spring fed swimming holes. It cleared out when the last bus went passed at half 4 and we had the place to ourselves, along with a troop of capuchin monkeys (white face) and howler monkeys, for a very peaceful night.

    In the morning we hiked the other side of the island up Volcano Maderas. It was a tough and muddy 6+ hour walk, and we weren't rewarded with the views of Concepción we were hoping for, but some more close encounters with monkeys made it worthwhile.

    We were feeling justifiably lazy the next day and ended up back at the swimming hole as a respite from the 35+ C heat, and bumped into some people from our hike a few weeks earlier. That evening we had a few beers watching an incredible sunset followed by a pretty authentic Italian with Blake & Emma, before the heavens opened and we barely made it home without squashing any of the hundreds of large frogs that had covered the road.

    In the morning we dropped our friends at the bus station back on the mainland to continue their journey south as we headed back to León, via the only Walmart on the country to get some much needed western treats.
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  • Day149

    Ometepe, Nicaragua

    March 15, 2017 in Nicaragua

    Of mountains and mud.

    Ometepe is the not so tiny island in the middle of Lake Nicaragua. It comprises two volcanoes; Concepcion and Maderas, which are joined by a not so narrow isthmus. They're an ever present backdrop making for stunning scenery at every turn.

    We arrived to Moyogalpa via a rickety old ferry, that took to the wind and short chop like a penguin to flight. It heaved and rolled and water came through every side. At one point a look of concern appeared on many passengers faces, as a thick film of water sloshed around the lower deck. The fact that the engine required manual cooling (with a bucket of lake water) gave me no reassurance and I spent much of the second half of the hour long journey estimating my swimming capabilites and researching my travel insurance policy. Needless to say we made it, chuffed with our lives and the meagre US$1.15 it cost us.

    Unfortunately, Moyogalpa was our last stop with Mike and Char. They're off to Costa Rica ahead of us to meet up with some old friends. They've been some solid travel buds and we'll be sorry to see them go! The return of MERC is no doubt already an occasion in the making. You never know, perhaps we'll bump into them in Panama in a few weeks time...

    Did you really think the journey would end there? With only two buses for the day? In the heat of the afternoon we entered another crammed sweatbox and endured the final two and a half hour bus to our hostel 'Chocoyo' in a wee country town called Merida. Boy were we glad for a dip in the lake and a cold Toña. Toña has become a great friend in Nicaragua, always a cold and refreshing drop to perk us up after a hot day. On this occasion, yet another dreamy sunset filled the sky and glimmered on the water. The woes of the days travels forgotten in a moment.

    Chocoyo is definitely one of the most simple hostels we've had yet, but it sits right on the lake and has a view to die for. It has a restaurant, which is really just a kitchen because it has no menu and every now again a lovely Ometepan lady wanders past and asks you what you would like to eat. It's not like you have a choice - the nearest restaurant is about a 30 minute walk and lucky to be open. Fortunately for us, her food is well priced (we actually never saw prices) and thoroughly enjoyable! She and the other (I assume) family members are very kind and helpful, they even teed us up a shared guide for our Maderas hike the next day (see next footprint). My only qualm with the restaurant/common area was the dirt floor which they insisted on keeping damp - muddy feet were impossible to avoid.

    Day two on Ometepe was a toss up between a bicycle, a kayak, a motorbike or a waterfall hike. Given our exertion the day before, I was strongly advocating a motorbike, for which Cat took little convincing. The only problem was that I'd never ridden a motorbike before and the roads for many kilometers either side of the rental shop were pretty rugged! A quick google (thank goodness for good internet!) and some nominal convincing of the hiree that I had a license saw us in good stead. Although the look on his face when I stalled as we were pulling out was definitely one to remember. We spent the day exploring the island by bike and we only got caught out once by an ignition fault (quickly overcome by a friendly passer by) and multiple awkwardly timed stalls - the funniest of which would have to be at the boom gate, stalling right underneath it while old mate was holding it up. Priceless.

    Despite the size of the island, it has a reasonable amount to offer if you can find it and find a way to get to it. Word of mouth is by far the best way to plan your days. We spent an afternoon at the - I'm going to take some poetic license here and make a new word - touristised 'natural' springs of Ojo de Agua. It was refreshing and delightfully clear compared to the lake water, yet natural is far from an accurate adjective. It was essentially a man made outdoor pool, complete with waterside bar and restaurant and many gimmicky souvenir stalls. However we managed to pass the afternoon swimming and reading before being washed away by torrential downpour! I hadn't seen rain since Cuba (you beauty!) so I almost enjoyed it, even more so by knowing we didn't have to endure this on the previous day's hike. Well played sir. With rain came more mud, which by this stage had undoubtedly become impossible to avoid.

    Our mornings began without fail with roosters crowing and dogs barking, if not for some other godforsaken farm based racket. This made for early nights and an early day routine I have grown to enjoy. Especially on this quiet and outstandingly dramatic island. Definitely a stop worth making if you're the adventurous type.

    We left Ometepe the same way we came in, looking back to smiles and waves from our hosts. It rained again while we were waiting for the bus which more than anything, served as a reminder as to how lucky we've been with the weather so far. We're feeling for all you folk back home! Next stop is Popoyo on the Pacific coast, can't wait!
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  • Day151

    Popoyo, Nicaragua

    March 17, 2017 in Nicaragua

    The end of the road.

    Well, at least it seems that way; Popoyo is hard to get to. It took us literally the entire day from Ometepe - bus, boat, taxi, walk, bus, bus, walk. We had to go through Rivas again, a hectic transport hub where you are hustled and bullsh*tted by every second person. Craving avocado, Cat and I had a throughly enjoyable avo, chip and cheese sandwich in a throughly unenjoyable location: a stinky nook on the roadside by the bus station - litterally the only spot we could find to put our bags down. Gross. But it made for an easy and timely transition on to the bus. The roads steadily degraded as our journey progressed, eventually leaving us wandering 2km down a gravel road with all our stuff - chasing the last of the daylight. Our accommodation was all but at the literal end of the road. We were absolutely buggered when we arrived, but it was all worth it. There's something magical about watching the sun go down with a cold beer - it instantly makes you forget the days hardships, stopping time for that wee moment. Bliss.

    Popoyo Beach Hostel sits right on Guasacate Beach, a massive stretch of fine brown sand which looks out to...well...New Zealand I suppose. It's a surfers paradise and you get that feeling from the moment you see it. Theres only one road and a dozen or so buildings. Signs are made from rickety old surf boards, transport is primarily dirt bikes which are all fitted with surf racks, nobody is wearing a shirt and shoes (or even jandals) will get you awkward looks. Fresh water is a luxury (we only got it at 4pm for a rinse and that ran out way too quickly) and food is sold off the back of a truck - actually there's a shop, and a few restaurants if you want to spend a fortune. Alternatively, you can buy fish from the fisherman on the beach, if youre quick enough. Luckily we heard this was the case and did a supermarket shop on the way - not enjoyable carrying groceries plus all our baggage - but well worth it!

    Everybody here surfs. They eat surfing, sleep surfing, talk surfing and then drink beers - before and after surfing. There's numerous breaks, reef breaks, point breaks and beach breaks to suit everyone - beginner through pro, goofy to natural and just outright useless - like myself and Cat. The best part? You can surf all day, everyday. Lake Nicaragua helps form offshore breezes as many as 360 days a year making for clean waves all day long on any tide. If you want a surf holiday - this is it. Hostels and lodges tuck themselves away in the hills and headlands and offer surf camps for those who want to spend a little more. Get in quick - construction here is booming and a huge plot of land just got sold to a developer for units. Dreadded units.

    Cat and I got with the program and rented boards for the time we were there. We surfed two breaks, both around 15 minutes walk from our hostel. It's fair to say not a lot of time was spent on the board, but we were stoked to come away with only bruises and soggy lungs. A solid effort conisdering the swell was under a metre. It took many sessions, the water was surprisingly fresh and warm ups on the beach were frequent. Time was easily spent watching others make it look easy and holaring at locals, surfers, dogs and the odd pig which tried to eat my surfboard. The rest of the day we swung in hammocks, read books and sank Toñas - such an easy spot to chill out. I even went down 3-0 to Cat in a ping pong battle which I'm sure I will be reminded of regularly. Unluckily for us there was no power for almost the entire time we were there. No power means no fans and when nature turns off her 25 knot turbo fan at night it warms up super fast! That was not a good night's sleep. Lucky for a gas stove or we would have gone hungry that day too! You should have seen the mess in the kitchen after everybody cooks in the dark...I felt sorry for the cleaner!

    On the first night we were there, our hostel lit a huge bonfire on the beach in front of the terrace. The whole hostel gathered round and drank beers and rum, while strangers wandered out of the darkness to join. Another unreal evening! For lot's of people, this is their end of the road. They've drifted in and never left, and it doesn't appear that they're leaving anytime soon. One such fairy lady (or gypsy, I never know but she danced and hula'd a lot) had a young kid who was a spitting image of Mowgli from the jungle book. The three year old was an absolute menace, kicking and thrown sand, demanding rides, pulling hair and stretching clothes while his mother hula'd away carelessly. Hilarious entertainment when you're not the subject. Eh Cat?

    Popoyo came and went just as fast as every other stop on this journey has. We spent the next morning retracing steps to Rivas (I am so over that place now) and then onward to San Juan del Sur for Sunday Funday Pool Crawl. Sounds dangerous.

    PS: sorry for no surfing pics. We have no waterproof camera and I wasn't about to leave my phone unattended on the beach. You'll just have to believe us. We did it. Promise.
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  • Day154

    San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

    March 20, 2017 in Nicaragua

    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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You might also know this place by the following names:

Departamento de Rivas, Rivas

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