Tag Archives: Nicaragua

Ometepe Island, Nicaragua.

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We took The Globe Trol on a ferry to head to Ometepe Island, Nicaragua
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Islandtime in Nicaragua

We had about a week left in Nicargua before we had to be at the border to cross into Costa Rica.  Without hesistation we decide we should ferry over Lake Nicaragua and spend our last week on Ometepe Island.  Ometepe is an island formed by two volcanoes in the middle of Lake Nicaragua.

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This was our first stop on the Island is located in the isthmus at Ojo de Agua.  This was/is one of my favorite places that we spent any time at.  We again had zero expections driving up the dirt road wondering what was going to be at the end, the pictures above is where we found ourselves.  We spent the whole day here swimming in the these natual fed spring pools surrounded in the jungle.  Monkeys came out for a visit when the sun was setting and pretty soon we had the place to ourselves.   The next morning we left this paradise looking for garden to spend the next few nights at.  We drove towards Volcan Manderas, the smaller of the two where we found a hippie-garden-farm.  It’s run by an ex-pat couple who have nightly family-style dinners and cocktail hour before dinner.  Thier space was beautiful and The Globe Trol was shaded by fruit trees, flowers and herbs  perfect enough for us.  They called a guy down the street and got us hooked up with a dirt bike to rent within an hour of being there.

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We rented the dirt bike for the day and took it around the entire island.  It took us over six hours to ride around both of these islands most of the way the road is dirt and in terrible shape.  We took our time and stopped several times to take in all the great views, passing countless farm animals, plantain and banana plantations and a stop for lunch halfway around the island.  We stopped for lunch at a mexican restaurant in Nicaragua owned and run by an ex-pat African.

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Hiking up the volcano towards the waterfall

The following day the hippies’ neighbor offers to take us up the smaller volcano for a waterfall hike.  It was an interesting hike, she takes us through locals yards where we are interrupting their family lunch to ask if we can pass but apparently this was her usual route.  We walk past a small coffee plantation, cocoa trees, all types of fruit trees and underneath aggitated howler monkeys.  Halfway up about an hour and a half she looses the trail and we were in someone yard again.  For about fourty-five mins we are walking back and forth through this persons land looking for a specific trail.  From this yard you could find at least eight split offs and finally we just pick one and go.  Another hour and half go by and our neighbor-guide is iffy on the trail the whole way until we find the waterfall or whats left of it.  It was wiped out by an earthquake a few weeks before and barely anything was left of it.

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one of the volcanoes on the island

We had some beautiful weather during our stay on Ometepe Island and stunning views.

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Volcano Boarding down Cerro Negro ;)

 

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Our ride out to the volcano with a bunch of Irish backpackers

While we were in Leon, Nicaragua we heard there was some Volcano Boarding that could be done.  I checked YouTube for other particpants’ videos to see if this was something that I could do, if there were any survivors and if anyone had pro-tips.  Christian would have bet you that I wouldn’t do this type of activity.  After every YouTube video I’d run up to him and say something like “they go like 40-60 mph on a board down the volcano!” “People crash pretty hard, some girl went rolling the rest of the way and flew off her board!”  His response was always “yeah, I’m sure, are you sure you wanna do this?  I want to go but I’m not sure if you’re going to like it.  I don’t want to spend money on this if you’re going to get up to the top and I have to worry about you trying to walk down it instead.”  My type of fun isn’t going fast, free-falling or adrenaline-raising type of activities.  I prefer a very relaxed chill type of fun, but I figured this might be the only place in the world that I would be at where I could go down a volcano on a board.  The board is a sturdy piece of wood with a raggedy rope tied to the end for you to hang onto and underneath the board is a piece of metal and fiberglass to make it fly down the gravel-volcano.  When you are at the top and looking down it’s steep enough that you can’t see the route beneath you.

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Here’s Cerro Negro Volcan (Black Hill Volcano) 2391 feet high and last eruption was in 1999.  It goes off about every 20 years or so…

When we arrive at the top we get a briefing from our guide in his broken English, “lean back to be fast, sit-up for slow, and lean back a little bit for medium-fast.  Tap your feet to turn, use feet to stop, hold on.”  Okay sure, but I’m not going first.  I’ll go last, I need to see the ratio of wipe-outs and damage to successful completion.  I was counting how many seconds until I could see someone appear alive from the bottom, the first girl wipes out and we don’t see her for ten minutes.  Then he says ok, Next!   Thirty minutes later Christian and I are the only ones left at the top of the mountain besides a guide using his thumbs to direct boarding traffic.

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Hiking up the volcano, Christian has his board strapped to his back I hired a porter for $5.  Learned a lesson from our hike in Guatemala.

I wanted to go down before Christian so I wasn’t the very last left up there, but Christian gets the thumb first.  I’m waiting on my board, breathing heavily underneath my bandana and a swarm of bees or wasps come across the top of the hill surrounding me.  Are you freakin’ kidding me!!!!  I start scootin my butt on the board to go slow but get the hell out of the swarm.  My lane wasn’t ready, there was a girl wiped out just below me.  “Come on lady!! Hurry up, I’m gonna die up here!”  “Please, please let me go!”  I’ve never been so anxious to do something I was nervous about.  Fuck it, I’m going she better move!”  A swarm of wasps is more horrifying than this volcano boarding, I hang on and head down the volcano.  Just in time I get the thumbs up as I pass the guide.  I’m looking down ahead of me and I can’t spot Christian.  So I lean back, pick up speed and it feels like I’m literally flying on gravel.  Sit-up sit-up sit-up, slow-down slow-down slow-down aaaaaggghhhh, phew I’m good.  I’m coming up on the speed gun so I lean back to pick up speed so no one will know how slow I was going, plus now I can see the bottom.

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You can see how far the lava pooles out when active, almost a mile.  So beautiful.
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This volcano is HOT, the ground here was steaming and too hot to touch
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Christian leaned back hard for some speed right before he wiped out, tore this outfit into pieces, ripped his goggles off and the go-pro went flying.  Clocked at 63kph (40 mph)
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This is me trying to go as slow as possible, sitting straight up and trying not to fly off the board.  Clocked at a smooth-tranquillo 24kph (15mph)

I made it to the bottom of the hill in one-piece and probably the dirtiest I have ever been.  There’s dirt and gravel everywhere, we all had dirt rings around where are goggles were.  I find Christian in shambles at the bottom, I run up to him screaming “wasn’t that awesome! I wish I went faster, can you believe I was going 24kph, I’m so fast!!!”  What was your speed, what happened to you?”

Christian was banged up, missing shoes and his go-pro, bleeding from his arm, leg and face and his suit was torn into pieces.  “I was picking up some serious speed hit a bump flew off the board and rolled down about half way,” he said.  Well how fast were you?  63kph he told me.

The survivors were given a cold beer and a cookie right away and a second beer back at the hostel.

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Helloooooo Nicaragua, We had no idea you are so amazing!

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Leon, Nicaragua
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Catedral de Leon, Nicaragua

We arrived in Leon, Nicaragua with very little expectations other than our friends said it would be hot.  The heat here was no joke, it was diffilcult to move between the hours of 10:30am and 4pm.  We found a cheapish hostel to stay at and parked The Globe Trol on the street right in front of the hostel.  Christian tipped the security guard of the hostel to look over The Globe Trol for the night.  The next morning Christian found our van-haus keyed all over the two sides that the guard couldn’t see.  That’s the risk when we visit a city and park on the street.

After our nine hour drive the day before from El Salvador and two border crossings we slept-in until the room turned into a sauna.  We slowly made our way towards the central park plaza for some touristic photos.   At certain times during the day you can walk on the roof of the Catedral de Leon for $3 per person in your socks.

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Granada, Nicaragua

Our next stop was Granada a few hours south of Leon, this was a colorful colonial city that we only spent the afternoon at while on our way to Ometepe Island, Nicaragua.

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Butterfly Sanctuary in Nicaragua

 

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Christian takes me to see the Butterflies

I really love me some butterflies so when Christian found out that just outside of Granada there was a tiny butterfly sancturary it was on our Must Do List.  It’s doesn’t fill the gap on my bucket list where the Monarch Sanctuary in Mexico was, but I couldn’t say no to a tent full of giant colorful butterflies.