A Travellerspoint blog

Granada

A colourful colonial city, a lagoon, a baseball game and markets

sunny 30 °C
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After we arrived in Granada around noon, we went to explore the city centre first. It is a nice colonial city with a lot of pretty buildings and very busy streets, especially in the market area near the hostel. The hostel was really nice too and it had a great pool that you could actually swim in (as opposed to most hostel pools which are just about deep enough to get wet when sitting).
Granada

Granada


Granada

Granada


Granada

Granada


Street vendors in Granada

Street vendors in Granada

Since we were in Granada on a weekend, we tried to find a good place to party at night, but this seemed impossible. Even the locals did not seem to know where it is best to go, they all told us something completely different. So no party for us that weekend....

The next day we took a shuttle to Laguna de Apoya, a crater lake not far from the city. We spent a quiet day there at the lakeside, lying in the sun and swimming in the lagoon - at least as far as a raft which was anchored in the water on which we could then lie in the sun again.
Laguna de Apoyo

Laguna de Apoyo

When we got back we went to the main square where we tried some local foods, vigorón and nacatamal, both were very tasty.
Eating vigorón

Eating vigorón


Nacatamal

Nacatamal

On Sunday, we went to watch a baseball game in Granada. Baseball is very popular in Nicaragua, so we wanted to see how the locals pass their Sundays. It was not too busy in the stadium and we did not quite understand what was going on in the game, but it was an interesting experience. There were traditional foods sold as snacks and one of the player did some interested dance performances to keep us entertained.
At the baseball game in Granada

At the baseball game in Granada


At the baseball game in Granada

At the baseball game in Granada

In the afternoon, we got a local bus to Masaya, one of the main artisan centres of the country. We visited both the old (very busy, smelly and chaotic) and new markets and then had a walk around the city centre, where some dance festival was on and we saw children performing traditional dances.
At the market in Masaya

At the market in Masaya


Traditional dance performance in Masaya

Traditional dance performance in Masaya


Huge chairs on a terrace in Masaya

Huge chairs on a terrace in Masaya

Posted by sarahm_lux 07:55 Archived in Nicaragua Tagged masaya granda laguna_de_apoya Comments (0)

Isla Ometepe

Volcanoes on Lake Nicaragua

sunny 30 °C
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When I finally left San Juan del Sur, I went to Isla Ometepe, an island formed by 2 volcanoes on Lake Nicaragua. On the ferry there I met an English girl I knew from San Juan. We shared a taxi with some other people to a hostel because it is not easy getting around on the island. There are not many buses and some roads are really bad, so that transportation is slow. Unfortunately, the hostel we wanted to stay at was full, so that the taxi brought us to another one, which was not quite the same, but it was alright.
Isla Ometepe

Isla Ometepe


Sunrise on Isla Ometepe

Sunrise on Isla Ometepe

There are many activities that one can do on Isla Ometepe. However, most of them did not appeal to either of us at this moment, so we ended up staying less time than we thought on the island. We slept there 2 nights and only had 1 full day there. That day we rented bikes and rode them to some natural volcanic pools. The water there is not hot, but it contains many minerals and is said to be very good for your health. Apparently a day at the pools makes you 5-10 years younger. I did not see any difference afterwards ;) We spent pretty much the whole day at the pools, relaxing, bathing and eating coconuts. On the bike ride there and back we could see the beautiful landscapes of the island and had good views of both volcanoes. So we decided we had seen enough afterwards and left the next morning.
Natural volcanic pools

Natural volcanic pools


Volcán Concepción

Volcán Concepción

Posted by sarahm_lux 16:03 Archived in Nicaragua Tagged isla_ometepe Comments (0)

San Juan del Sur

A very sticky place...

sunny 30 °C
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On Tuesday, 22th November, I got the bus from San José to the border with Nicaragua. I met an Irish girl on the bus who was going to San Juan del Sur too. We crossed the border together and then got a taxi with 2 more people to our destination. That night the 2 of us decided to go drink a couple of mojitos in a bar that seemed nice. And this started the whole crazy San Juan party week ;-)... We got along really well straight away, so we spent most of our time together after this. Later on, we met some other people from our hostel and went out to the only bar open that Tuesday. This is pretty much the story of every night in San Juan: dinner somewhere, drinks at the hostel, then partying at one of the few bars in town. Obviously there was a lot of cheap rum and a lot of dancing (sometimes even on bar stools) involved ;)
Night out in San Juan del Sur

Night out in San Juan del Sur


Night out in San Juan del Sur

Night out in San Juan del Sur

During the days we were really lazy. We went to some beaches in and around the town. The first one was really bad. We were there during high tide and there was no beach at all, only rocks. So we sat on some chairs next to the sea the whole day. The beach in town was nothing special, but alright if you wanted to spontaneously go to the beach for a while (to go to all other beaches you had to get a shuttle which left the hostel at a certain fixed time). The other 2 beaches I went to were really nice!
Beach in San Juan del Sur

Beach in San Juan del Sur


Beach near San Juan del Sur

Beach near San Juan del Sur


Sunset in San Juan del Sur

Sunset in San Juan del Sur


Sunbathing in rocking chairs

Sunbathing in rocking chairs

I also spent a day with the Irish girl at a luxurious hotel up on a hill in San Juan. We paid $5 and they gave us a towel and drinks and we could spent all day at their pools. It was a really nice, quiet and relaxing day. The views of the bay were great from up there.
In the hotel pool

In the hotel pool


View of the sunset from the hotel pool

View of the sunset from the hotel pool

Other than partying and being lazy I didn't do much but eat. We definitely went out to eat too often in this town. But the food was good and quite cheap (as well as really unhealthy...).

When I got to San Juan I thought I'd stay about 2-3 days. I ended up staying 8. I said so many times that I would leave the next day, but never did. This was partially our hostel's fault. The common areas made it almost impossible not to meet new people all the time and everybody was always up for a party. I met some really great people here and had such a good time that I just did not want to leave. And when we went out we always met new people staying at other places as well. At some point I had to leave though and on Wednesday I finally did it. I still feel like I want to go back though... Strangely, this happened to many people in San Juan del Sur; I was not the only one getting stuck. We decided on my last night that it was just a very 'sticky' place and that guidebooks should rate places on their 'stickiness' so that travellers are warned before coming there ;)

Posted by sarahm_lux 15:53 Archived in Nicaragua Tagged san_juan_del_sur Comments (0)

Manuel Antonio

A beautiful National Park and more lazy beach time

semi-overcast 30 °C
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After a long day of travelling by bus, ferry, taxi, bus and another last bus, I arrived in Manuel Antonio on Friday afternoon. Again I stayed in a very nice hostel with a busy balcony and an amazing view of the surrounding area including over the Pacific ocean.
Sunset seen from the hostel

Sunset seen from the hostel

The main attraction here is Manuel Antonio National Park which I visited on Saturday morning with a Swede I met at the hostel. We hiked around the park for hours, exploring every open path, and spent some time at one of the beaches (although it was raining quite a bit by then...), eating some lunch and enjoying the view. We wer happy to see some wildlife: 2 sloths :-), many monkeys, birds, lizards, hermit crabs, coatis and caterpillars hanging on strings in the middle of the air over the paths.
Howler monkey in Manuel Antonio National Park

Howler monkey in Manuel Antonio National Park


Hermit crab in Manuel Antonio National Park

Hermit crab in Manuel Antonio National Park


Lizard in Manuel Antonio National Park

Lizard in Manuel Antonio National Park


Coatis in Manuel Antonio National Park

Coatis in Manuel Antonio National Park


The walk through the jungle was great, though muddy in some parts and the beaches were really beautiful. In the hour before we left the park, it started raining a lot, so that we ended up leaving completely soaked :( But it was worth it.
View in Manuel Antonio National Park

View in Manuel Antonio National Park


Beach in Manuel Antonio National Park

Beach in Manuel Antonio National Park


Beach in Manuel Antonio National Park

Beach in Manuel Antonio National Park


Beach in Manuel Antonio National Park

Beach in Manuel Antonio National Park

Just in front of the park is a nice large beach. I went to this beach on Sunday and this morning, enjoying the lazy beach life and reading a lot. Every afternoon it was raining, so that I spent Sunday afternoon in one of the hammocks on the hostel's terrace. This afternoon I took the bus to San José. I will sleep over here tonight so that I can take a bus to Nicaragua in the morning.

Posted by sarahm_lux 20:39 Archived in Costa Rica Tagged manuel_antonio Comments (0)

Montezuma

A tiny village on the Costa Rican Pacific coast

semi-overcast 30 °C
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Montezuma was the next beach town I went to. This time on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. I had a nice few days there. The village is very small. It basically consists of 2 streets. There are some hotels and restaurants, 2 small supermarkets and 1 bar.

The beaches are nice and directly in the village, which made for a nice change after having to use some kind of transportation method to get to most beaches recently.
Montezuma

Montezuma


Beach in Montezuma

Beach in Montezuma

There are also 3 waterfalls nearby. It takes about 1/2 hour to walk to the first one. Through a river, over rocks etc, this is not such an easy walk in flip flops, but it was fun nevertheless. We only went to the first and biggest waterfall and went for a swim in the pool below it.
At the waterfall

At the waterfall

When it was raining in the afternoons (rainy season is still not over :-( ...) it was very nice to hang out at the hostel. They have a great outside common area and animals would visit the hostel regularly. The monkeys were swinging through the trees and running over the roof, the tucans and parrots were hanging out on the trees' branches, a coati (a type of racoon) and a large lizard would visit every day and the skunks were coming into the kitchen to steal the cats' food.
White faced capuchin

White faced capuchin


Tucan

Tucan


Coati

Coati


Skunk eating the cat food

Skunk eating the cat food

My last night in Montezuma I visited the only bar in town with my hostel friends. It was reggae night, which meant that about 3 reggae songs were played in the course of the night... There was a fire show, a lot of funny to watch local surfers and some interesting dancing going on.
Fire show

Fire show

Posted by sarahm_lux 17:40 Archived in Costa Rica Tagged montezuma Comments (0)

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