Well, my Nicaragua Adventure was absolutely AMAZING! It was the perfect way to get away, get some rest, and do some exploring of a new country! I am totally in love with Nicaragua now, and I really want to come back sometime soon to do more exploring.
Our adventure stated on Saturday, when we headed to the airport around 2:30 AM for our 5:30 flight. Because we had 9 people, it actually ended up being more expensive to take 3 cabs than to rent a limo, so we ended up in a limo to the airport! I felt a little bit silly, but in all honesty, it was pretty awesome. Our first flight was to San Jose, Costa Rica, where we had a hour layover before taking a tiny plane to Managua. Both flights were fine – the second one was so small that we could feel every bump, but it wasn’t bad at all. Seems I might be over my flying fear a bit – hooray!
The house we stayed in was so wonderful! It was a 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom house with a huge open kitchen and living area. We had our own pool, with tons of chairs on the back porch for tanning. The ocean was about 100 yards away, and we had boogie boards and a longboard to go into the ocean with. There was also a small guest house where there was another bedroom and bathroom. It was perfect for the 9 of us – 3 rooms with 2 to a room, and the king bed 3 of us slept in. The house had great open windows, and the caretakers were amazing. They would sweep and make our beds every day – just like a hotel!
For the first few days, we did nothing but tan, eat, and sleep. The northern winter made me really pale, but now I have a great tan! None of us got serious burns, unlike last spring break, so it was a successful undertaking! Having our own house (and ridiculous amount of sunscreen) really helped prevent burns. We also headed down to the ocean a few times to boogie board and attempt to surf. I was good at boogie boarding and was actually better than I thought I would be on the longboard. I managed to get up onto my knees several times – every time I tried to stand though, I wiped out. After a particularly bad wipe out, I decided to call it quits. It was still fun though! Maybe I can actually learn to surf at some point.
On Wednesday, we had scheduled an excursion, which was probably the highlight of the whole trip for me. We were picked up at 8 AM to drive to Mombacho Volcano Nature Reserve. Mombacho Volcano is an ancient volcano in Nicaragua that helped form the landscape of the area. It is located really close to Granada, one of Nicaragua’s busiest tourist cities. Along the way, we stopped at a small town that specialized in pottery. We got to see someone throw a bowl, which was really amazing – I’ve tried before, and all I get is misshapen attempts! I was able to do some fun souvenir shopping there. I love to get art, and I got a beautiful clay plate with colored clay. It was really beautiful.
After the stop, we headed to the Nature Reserve. A bus truck took us almost all the way up. We stopped by a coffee plantation about half of the way up. The coffee was so delicious! We then went up almost to the top – we still had about 100 m to go. It was a bit of a tough hike up – the hill was really steep. Once we made it to the top though, it was totally worth it. The top of the volcano was in a cloud forest – it was wonderful and cool. We went on a hike around the crater that was about 1 km long. There were some really great views that we got to see. Halfway through our hike it started raining though! We all god pretty wet, but it was a lot of fun.
After the Nature Reserve, we headed down the mountain a little bit to go to a canopy zipline. The zipline was so fantastic! I had always done ropes courses and similar things, but it was the first time I had done a canopy zipline. I really enjoyed it, and had a great time. The views were fabulous and it was so much fun! For the last part, we had a 10-meter free fall! Reminded me of my desire to go skydiving :)
To end the day, we headed to a small town called Catarina for dinner and final souvenir shopping. The town was right by a beautiful lagoon. We went to a restaurant and all got food. I got shrimp that were fried and absolutely delicious! After dinner, we headed to the shops and did our final shopping. I got a really cool purse that will definitely be going with me to Peace Corps (wherever that is). It’s an across the body hobo bag that I can carry everything in. After all that, it was time to head home. It was another two-hour drive, and then we were back. After that exhausting day, we all headed to bed fairly early! I was definitely sore on Thursday morning!
Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and Saturday, we had to head home. After a last bit of enjoying the warm weather, we got picked up and taken back to the airport, landing in NYC finally at 2:30 AM. Now I am back into the real world, with deadlines, homework, and more! Eeeek!