Granada and Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua
11.02.2011 - 18.02.2011 30 °C
Our trip from Roatan through Honduras to Nicaragua can best be summed up the following way: One flight, 3 buses, 4 taxis, stopping overnight in grim Tegucigalpa where we got the advice not to leave the hotel if we could avoid it, and in Managua where we were totally surprised by the aggressiveness of the touts working for the local buses (taking your backpack right out of the trunk of the taxi before you have even openend the door to get out). What a tour! We were so happy and so tired when we finally arrived in Granada, Nicaragua.
Nicaragua reminded us a lot of Cuba: From the landscape, the way people go about their daily businesses, to the rocking chairs found in every house. We stayed for two nights in the colonial city of Granada which reminded us of Trinidad: A pretty town of little, colourful houses and churches. The heat was crazy so we just spent our one day in Granada walking around from one church to the next cafe to the next shadowy spot. Here are some impressions...
Originally we had planned to fly to the Corn Islands for some beachtime, but the weatherforecast was so dramatically bad that we had to change our plans. We decided to travel to Isla de Ometepe after two nights in Granada, so the next morning we set out for what would be an amazingly long journey (so unexpected!) during which we spent 2 hours waiting for the bus from Granada to depart, another 2 hours on that same bus, fifteen minutes in a taxi with 5 people, 1 hour on a ramshackle lancha to the island, and another 1,5hours in a taxibus to the hostel (we had never imagined he island was that big!). Check out how we sat in the most crowded chicken bus ever!
We had what turned out the be two very active days on the Isla de Ometepe, right in the middle of the Lago de Nicaragua (the biggest lake in Central America). On the bus we met our friends Mel and Jenny from Canada (we have run into them along the road through Guatemala a few times) and their friend Stephane from Switzerland (No, not pronounced as Stephanie!We do not pronounce the e!), and decided to tag along with them as they had a hostel reservation for the Hacienda Merida. Good choice! They luckily had a bed for us in te dorm and we had a great time with the 5 of us on the island.
On our first day Mel, Stephane, and us decided to hike up Volcano Maderas. It was an 8 hour trek, basically 4 hours just climbing up, up, up...the last hour was so difficult, the landscape changed into dense cloudforest and we had to climb through mudpools and drag ourselves up on branches and trees. Quite a challenge! Malka found out she is not a natural hiker ;-) but made it up to the top nevertheless (Karin, your little backpack looks kinda muddy now...ehem...). On the top we were a bit disappointed by the big cloud blocking the view, but the hike was an adventure in itself and the changing landscapes were fascinating!
Of course we were so tired afterwards we fell into our beds at 8pm and slept for 10hours straight...the next day we spent relaxing in the morning and then going on a 4 hour kayaking trip in the afternoon with Mel and Jenny. It was a beautiful trip, along the shore of the island and into a river with the Volcano Concepcion on the other half of the island as a dramatic backdrop. We saw lots of beautiful birds, turtles, and even howler monkeys in the trees over our heads. When we went back we had to fight strong winds and an approaching dark cloud, but luckily we made it back in time (with sore arms though!).
After two days of full programme we decided to hit the road together the next day, Mel and Jenny going to Masaya and Stephane and us traveling into Costa Rica...