I didn’t have the time to think much. The San-José-bound bus was about to leave. “How long to Puntarenas?” I asked the grumpy driver. “Tres horas,” he said. I mentally completed the sentence: “… Más o menos.”
I wanted to spend the day in the city to spend my last cordobas and buy a few stuff. Fortunately, I sat by a Nicaraguan university student in the chicken bus and I was happy to help him “practise his English” for most of the trip.
That was my plan: hop onto the chicken bus with the bike (the best part with these buses is that it’s completely normal to bring along a bike, a chicken, a cow or huge bags of frijoles with you), get off at El Quino, bike the four kilometres to the beach and then bike the 25 kilometres back to town.
I can’t drive a motorbike so I rented a bike for $5. My plan was to get to Altagracia, the other town on the East part of the island. Sure, people told me I was crazy
Isla Omotepe is a pretty unique place: formed by two volcanoes, it rises on Lake Nicaragua. Why did I even hesitate going there? Right, because I was afraid to be stuck on the island without accommodation. Well, I’m glad I made the trip—it’s awesome here.
Everybody had told me to go to San Juan del Sur. “It has the best beaches!”, I heard over and over again.
I am always suspicious of the “best beach EVER” claim. I mean, every beach is nice, especially in this part of the world—the atmosphere, on the other side, is everything. But I had to check out San Juan.
People in León seemed to be fans of three things: churches (each barrio has one), political left-wing murals (the city was and is a Sandinista stronghold) and Big Cola (whatever that is, it was advertised everywhere).
When was the last time that a woman, after hearing sleazy comments from some guy in the street, looked at the stranger and said “wow, I am so turned on, I want you right now!” Yep. Never.
In a way, Granada reminded me of Antigua, in Guatemala: a nice colonial city, big enough to explore and small enough to walk around, the brightly painted buildings, the volcanoes around, the laid-back yet sophisticated feel and the mix of culture and natural beauty.
After pyramids in Mexico and the fortress in Masaya, I decided to tackle Volcán Masaya, Nicaragua’s most heavily venting volcano. And yes, you can do it without a guide—gotta love this country!
I walked to the chaotic market street in Granada to catch one of the chicken buses to Masaya—yes, like Guatemala, Honduras or Belize, Nicaragua uses these colourful US school as public long-distance buses. Needless to say that rides are long, bumpy and crowded but very fun.
The view on the Mombacho volcano was pretty amazing and so was boating on the lake. Suddenly, it was like stepping into another world, far away from the city.
Right now, I am fulfilling a long-time fantasy of mine: I am all by myself in a hotel room (i.e., not in a hostel, in a dorm). I am on the bed, a can of Coke Zero and a bottle of water on the table beside me. The TV is on (some Hollywood movie dubbed in Spanish) and I have a relatively good Wi-Fi signal. Life is easy, eh? Wait until you read this. I deserved that fucking room.