A string of surprises

A good portion of NicaraguaC2C is over and it’s been a string of surprises, both pleasant and otherwise.

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Breathtaking view of Volcan Mumbacho and Laguna de Apoyo

Aside: I’ve done a terrible job of updating you here but the Facebook page has a pretty regular stream of pictures and captions.

Good surprises started on the first day when car rental was cheaper than anticipated and Masaya volcano was more spectacular and worthwhile than I’d expected. Of course the first of these was achieved by choosing a compact car (which has led to its fair share of adventures since) and the Masaya hike was almost halted by a surprise rainstorm and a minor paw injury to our canine companion. So even from the first day the unexpected brought both beauty and challenges to this venture.

The first night campsite was a bear to find – the farming ‘suburbs’ of Granada being bigger than expected – and was colder than expected, but the second day brought superb views (shown above) and good food in the towns of Caterina and Masaya.

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An excellent dish at our restaurant find of the year in El Ostional

And the list of the unexpected goes on day to day. For example, food as a whole has been rough: expensive mediocre American food or repetative Nica food that’s budget friendly but almost invariably includes bland sides. Exceptions are fresh-squeezed juice for about $1 on Ometepe and our favorite Nica restaurant – which had no sign and was hidden in El Ostional, of all places. In that tiny town which only has two restaurants we ate like kings for $5 dinners (see above) that included fresh fruit juice and dessert. And even the sides of 3/4 meals we had there were excellent.

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Feeding capuchin monkeys waa a great and unexpected part of our stay on Ometepe

There have been many more surprises for sure: We generally loved Ometepe (where we had a great living arrangement) even though we didn’t do the hikes we’d planned. The lively and popular Hermosa beach was underwhelming after mostly wonderful experiences of La Flor (which included sea turtles!) and El Ostional beaches. We’ve only had one long driving day in all the travel, which has been pleasant. Overall we’re finding more to see than to do or eat in Nicaragua, but that comes in part from our efforts to keep expenses low.

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James hunkers down for the long ride on choppy seas on the ferry from El Bluff to Big Corn

And now we’re on the East side of Nicaragua, on Big Corn Island, and getting here was full of its own surprises – including the use of some interesting water taxis and a ferry over rough seas that took almost twice as long as expected. Now we’re here; let’s see what the next surprises will be.

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