After we spent a month in Guatemala we headed to Nicaragua as our final stop in Central America and to also finally spend some time on the beach.
We began our two day journey to Managua, Nicaragua from Flores, Guatemala. Day one we had to take a bus to Guetemala City, we departed at 10:30am and arrived around 10:30pm–we were quite exhausted, but happy one leg of the trip was complete. The next morning our bus departed at 6am. We chose to take a more upscale bus since it had a direct route to Managua and would be more comfortable for the long journey. We chose Platinum Centroamerico and paid around $70 USD total. This was a yacht on wheels–we had reclining seats, pillows, blankets, meals, etc. The only downside was that they movies they included to watch were in Spanish with Spanish subtitles OR the one movie with English subtitles was a Nicholas Sparks movie–you can’t win them all. Our bus was supposed to arrive in Managua at 11:30am, however we arrived at 2:00am–a 20 hour journey.
We decided to only stay in Managua for the night and headed out by bus to Granada the next day–as short 45 minute drive. Granada reminded us a lot of Antigua, however it felt more like Nicaraguans actually lived and worked there. In comparison, Antigua is filled with tourists and expats. While we loved the city, we did make the mistake of heading to the nearby Lake Nicaragua. We do not recommend this to anyone, the shore near Granada is quite dirty and filled with gnats. One of the highlights of Granada was visiting the Masaya Volcano–one of only 3 in the world where you can view an active lava flow. This was an amazing sight, the downside is it’s power doesn’t translate well into a photo or video.
After Managua we headed to Ometepe Island. While many people hike one of the two volcanoes on Ometepe, we opted to spend our time enjoying the beaches. While we had heard great things about Ometepe, Megan wasn’t a huge fan. Perhaps if we were to go again we would for sure hike one of the volcanoes, it was difficult at the time to get into the hiking spirit when the weather was either extremely hot or raining.
San Juan del Sur
By far, our favorite place in Nicaragua is San Juan del Sur and the surrounding beaches. The minute we had arrived Megan wished we had arranged to spend more time there versus Ometepe. Our hostel was a bit of an adventure to get to. By foot, the easiest way is to cross the beach and then cross a river that leads to the beach. One can see the remnants of a bridge that once existed, however rumor has it a group of Australians were jumping on it and broke it. Now, there is a man who cashes in on the need of people crossing by charging to take them on boat. During, the day when the tide is low you can do it on foot as long as you don’t mind getting a bit wet, but in the evening when the tide is high you must pay to cross. We spent one day relaxing in San Juan del Sur and drinking liter after liter of beer at an establishment on the beach. The next day we went to one of the popular nearby beaches, Maderas, and wandered to nearby Playa Marsella. This one had less people and it made for a relaxing beach day.