Next destination on our map was Nicaragua. Officially the 2nd poorest country in Central America after Haiti, and the biggest, with the smallest population to its size.
What attracted us to this place was the island of Ometepe, the biggest island on fresh water that contains two volcano. Situated on Lago de Nicaragua, aka the Sweet Sea, where bull sharks roam around freely.
Coming from Honduras, we made a 4 day stop in Granada, the oldest city in Central America and very similar to Cuba’s Trinidad.
After walking around and checking out different hostels we settled on one with the biggest room we have ever stayed in. I mean this place was something else. Imagine a room with very very tall ceiling, black and white square floor, huge space and two small single beds positioned very far apart from each other. We had to slightly talk louder to hear each other.
But the highlight for us in Granada was bumping into Julia, a girl who was our roommate in Utila, and who introduced us to Chanel.
Chanel, originally from Suriname, lives in Holland and is currently doing her internship in Cost Rica. Became our roommate for a week!
After few days of walking and hanging out in Granada we decided to make it over to Isla de Ometepe. Took a 4 hr boat at the speed of 10 mph, on a Shark infested Lago the Nicaragua. When we eventually made it to Altagrcia it was late and dark, so we got suckered into the first hotel we looked at.
Somehow like always things just happen for a reason. While chilling in the common area we met two guys Richard and Erwin who were relaxing before their big hike the next day. Many travelers come here to hike the volcano, including us.
“So how much is the guide charging you? Where exactly are you going? What time? How long? What are you guys bringing? ….. Can we come along?” was a series of questions coming from us.
We were ready for something else. Seeing many beaches and cities we wanted to get into the jungle and hike around. Totally feeling for some greens.
These guys were super cool, and were totally open for bringing us along.
Unfortunately, Chanel was unable to come as she didn’t have a pair of hiking shoes. This totally worked in her favor as she was saved from the craziest hike ever.
Next day started really early, we met our guide at 4am, took a 2 hr bus ride to the park’s entrance, and ate a decent breakfast. Iza, Richard, Erwin, our guide and I, started our hike up the Maderas Volcano (1,394 meters height) at 7am.
Instantly Iza and I were left behind.
“ammm, where are they rushing to? Shit! I don’t think my legs can move any faster. It’s not fare they are tall with long legs.” I smiled, and kept cracking stupid jokes.
But it wasn’t long before the caffeine from our morning coffee came down and we faced reality. We were in a rain forest doing the rain season. It started pouring rain and we were only 1hr into our hike.
Hour 2, still hiking up hill. This time I am behind the guide.
Hour 3, quick break for a sneakers bar. My legs are starting to shake, we are completely soaked. The rain is still pouring.
Hour 4, we are almost there, still walking/climbing up. The trail is turning into a stream, pebbles are more slippery and our guide is having a race competition. Let’s see who can get there faster.
“WTF, why is he running? I can barely see where I am stepping.”
With two 2 liter bottles finished and completely soaked from rain and sweat we finally reached the summit with invisible crater lake.
“what are we looking at?” I couldn’t see anything, there was so much fog that I only saw the lake’s shore. Wow this is what we came here for?!?!
Honestly I had no idea what to expect once we reach the top. We spontaneously decided to hike with these guys, with no research what to expect or what we will see.
So we made it!!! Looking at whiteness… A fog and some green grass. Couldn’t see anything. It was quite awesome actually!! The thought of not knowing what was there, I imagined a huge castle made out of crystals with a charming prince waiting to be kissed and saved from the roaming aliens in the water.
Woken up from my daydream, I was rushed to finish my sneakers bar and get ready to hike down.
“we will take a different road to get down, it will be faster and easier.” said our guide.
Iza begged for some more time as she stuffed Erwin’s Oreos down her through. She kept eating and kept complaining how hungry she was.
“when I trek, I need to eat! Give me some of that pig skin” she smiled and looked at Richard’s bag full of pig skin.
After, small stretches and body ache complains we head back down. We float down with the stream created by the rain, mud up to our shins and slipping left and right.
“First to slip is buying everybody beers!” Erwin screams.
Beers!!! No way! Vodka shots please.
Iza was the first to slip, we were all guilty of it, it was just physically impossible not to slip. Or not to step into mud up to your shins. Covered in mud, legs were shaking, but we kept it strong and kept up with the guide. I got a second wind and I was flying.
The sun came out and the sounds of the rain forest increased, crickets were singing, monkeys were roaring, and ants were working.
Finally we came out of the forest into what was one of the coolest views I’ve seen from above. The other volcano in the front distance, with the lake surrounded and the jungle palm trees in the front. Definitely the best part of the hike.
“awwwwww, I can’t go on anymore” Iza almost cried, and looked at her crotch. Apparently her quick dry underwater, which was super faithful decided to fight and cut her till she bled. “I can’t walk anymore!”
I told her to take her undies off, but she was stubborn and kept walking.
After 5 hrs of walking down, we made it to the bus and eventually back to our hotel. Iza was bleeding couldn’t move, we smelled really bad and were barely alive. With legs shacking and with the use of last effort we sat at the outside table and had some BBQ chicken with rice and beans.
Chanel joined us and listened to our days story, “Chanel, you are so lucky not to come with us”
The day end up with foot massage and some good rum.
While hiking I wanted to kill myself but now, looking back it was fucking awesome!
Rain forest hike, checked!
Spent two more days just recuperating from the intense hike, and just chilled around the Island. Then we packed our shit and decided to go to Nicaragua’s surfing town, San Juan del Sur.
After walking in the blazing heat and being picky at what hostel we stay in, we agreed on the cheapest one, with the smallest room. It was the three of us and we were ready for some surfing and partying,
San Juan del sur, is full of tourists, mainly surfers. Quite expansive for Nicaragua, but a cool place. The same day that we made it to our hostel, was also the same day that 4 Israeli guys came in. Young straight from the army with full energy, and half naked. I don’t think anyone of them even owned a t-shirt. It was just shorts and ass cracks. Yummy.
We had a great time there, really just chilled, relaxed and did nothing. One day end up going to the beach, where Chanel got a surfing class from a local 15 year old. One day just sat all day on the balcony and people watched.
“holy shit it is pouring, where is my camera?” it was pouring so hard. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this kind of rain. After taking few shots, I came up with the brilliant idea to just go running in the rain.
And just like that, Iza, Chanel and I, were skipping in the rain on the streets of San Juan del Sur. With so much rain coming down, the streets were quickly turning into rivers, and water running down from balconies were turning into waterfalls. We were in the concrete rain jungle.
“this is awesome!!” running in the pouring rain, laughing and full of pure joy.
Only after I realized I was wearing a white t-shirt.
The day before Chanel left, we all went out to a local bar/club The Pier. With many drinks, and crazy music we had one of the best times. Danced and smiled all night. Chanel the girl who doesn’t drink had way more energy then I’ve ever seen a sober person have. Shacking her hips, she danced along all night. The shirtless Israeli guys were with us and partied on.
“I love the way your friend dance” some guy told Iza. But she brushed him off as she knew I was not interested.
Truly a great time.
Next day Chanel had to go back to reality, while Iza and I made some good old home cooking. Chicken soup, with chicken, potatoes and tomato salad. So simple but so so good. All of their chickens are organic and so good!