I realized that while this blog is supposed to be “tales and tidbits from our surf travels”, I have yet to post anything about surfing. So, I have some catching up to do…
About a year ago we traveled to Nicaragua on my last spring break of college. We chose Nica because we wanted to experience something new, and somewhere that wasn’t a tourist destination. Neither of us knew anything about the country but we found good reviews on some surf websites, so we decided to venture into the unknown. I would highly recommend Nicaragua to anyone who wants to venture off of the beaten path and knows enough spanish to get by. If you love Costa Rica but dislike the expense and how Americanized it has become, go further north to Nica!
On this adventure, we only had eight days to soak up as many experiences as possible. We flew into Managua in the evening to find out our hostel reservation did not go through on the internet (imagine that!), so we had to find a place in a city that has very, very few road signs. We eventually found a quaint little place called Johnny’s and a roadside restaurant that served us our first of many ‘chicken lady’ dinners. It was quite delicious but we never could decide what was going on around us or if we were in a bad part of town. They just kind of stared at us and talked in very fast spanish.
The next morning we headed out in our rental car (I would totally recommend renting your own car for a short trip) to San Juan Del Sur. It was a lovely drive with several great stops in between. Little did we know that soon we would end up on this island made up of two volcanoes in the middle of massive Lake Nicaragua…
Eventually we made it to the place I personally think of as Utopia, San Juan Del Sur. It is the most beautifully quaint little town that exists perfectly in between large cliffs and a bay, filled with bright colors, natives and travelers. There are many hostels to choose from and many friends to make, not to mention a noteworthy surf spot minutes away. I absolutely loved this place and am itching to go back. We found the perfect hostel for us at La Casa Feliz for 8 bucks a night – with our own room! It was unbelievable. There was a courtyard in the middle which served as the living room, it was filled with plants, music, a bamboo shower, hammocks… Heaven I tell ya.
We found delicious places to eat, fun people to surf with (unfortunately, no pictures of surf…), played baseball and soccer on the beach, tried new things, partied with the locals. It was so wonderful…. sigh…
We eventually met two people, Liz and Ty, who changed our trip completely. They needed a ride to catch a ferry back to Ometepe Island. We had a car and no plans, so we teamed up. It was great to make new friends and see where the winds took us. Upon arriving at Ometepe, we settled into Little Morgans for just $2 a night. I still can’t believe it! We each had a hammock next to the lake although we splurged the last night and rented our own casita and motorbike. The island was breathtaking and like stepping back in time. If you had a ten dollar bill, you were pretty much out of luck for getting change. Here, we made new friends, rode on the luggage rack of a van on an unpaved rode, had pizza at a sustainable farm, took a motorbike tour of the island (later Ryan told me that the brakes were completely shifty…awesome), hitch hiked after some locals tried to screw us over, lost Ryan’s favorite hat, found Ryan’s favorite hat two days later, almost hiked up a volcano, and slept under the stars. It was fabulous. Man, that island was cool.
We were sad to leave and even more sad to figure out we were broke and had to sleep on the floor of the airport the next night. Nothing makes an adventure more legit than sleeping on tile with one sleep sheet between two people and backpacks as pillows. Oh – and trying to shower in an airport sink.
I loved this trip and it really set fire to something inside of both of us. Eight days just wasn’t nearly enough… everyone we met had months or years. This was just a taste of what is to come.