Hello and welcome to the Monday Sessions where I post questions to some of my traveling friends. Everyone has a story to tell of what they have seen with their own eyes. Travelers are no different. Be it fun, practical, eye opening, a learning experience, or a shift in thinking the experience of new places and people can be an incredible thing. These sessions aim to provide a bit of travel motivation so you may be inspired to craft your tales of adventure.
Starting the series is my friend Bobby whom I met a number of months ago. Earlier this year he and a friend went travelling to Central America. Of the countries they visited Nicaragua was a his favourite. Here’s what he has to say about this gem of a country.
The Mesaya Volcano, Nicaragua
WTW: You visited several countries in Central America on this trip. Why did you choose Nicaragua for today’s focus?
Bobby: To tell you the truth I did not know much about Nicaragua before I went. One of my best friends is in a punk rock band and his drummer is from Nicaragua so they told me “you have to go, its awesome.” They showed me some pictures and I was sold. Once I got there I have to say it was amazing. This tiny little country has something for everyone.
WTW: What areas of the country did you visit? Which was your favourite?
Bobby: I visited San Juan del Sur, Ometepe, Rivas, Grenada, Masaya, Esteli, Somoto, Leon, and Las Penitas. We went on many excursions and hikes in between these as well.
I liked different places because of different reasons, but my favorite experience was hands down in Ometepe. It was mostly to do with with the people I met there and the fact that the island was not as touristy as other places I’ve been to in Nicaragua. This island is made of two volcanoes in the middle of Nicaragua lake, which is the only place in the world you will find fresh water sharks. The island does not have much traffic and most people get around using scooters or motorcycles. There’s a natural spring there which is awesome, and a few good hikes as well.
WTW: That sounds amazing! I can see why you enjoyed it. What type of activities did you do while in Nicaragua?
Bobby: I surfed a lot in San Juan. I watched a couple baseball games in Ometepe between Moyogalpa and Altagracia (the two rival towns on the island). Rode scooters around Ometepe and my friend and I got our licences suspended in the process. Got to experience the Nicaraguan legal system getting our licences back in Rivas. Amazing Spanish colonial architecture in Grenada. Saw real lava at the Masaya volcano. Had some amazing coffee and cigars in Esteli. The Somoto canyon hike was the best hike in all of Nicaragua. And I got to board down a volcano in Leon.
WTW: Those make for great stories. What surprised you the most about the country?
Bobby: What surprised me the most is the diversity and beauty of the country; there is so much to do and so much to see for such a small country. And contrary to what people say it was extremely safe. The prices are also very affordable which was nice. There is a little something for everyone in Nicaragua: young or old, shy or bold, just look at some pictures and you’re sold.
WTW: Can you name a favourite memory?
Bobby: There are so many but one of them has to be hiking through Somoto Canyon. It was a hike that involved both swimming and hiking through a gorgeous canyon. We did some cliff jumps at one point and rode in a boat at another point. The hike was one of the most beautiful I have seen.
WTW: That is fantastic! Nicaragua sounds amazing. Any tips or suggestions for travellers considering visiting Nicaragua?
- Just go, you won’t regret.
- Take the local buses (chicken buses) they are really cheap and fun. Every once in awhile people get on the bus and sell a wide variety of stuff. For example: food, drinks, candy, medicine, groceries, electronics etc. It’s like experiencing going to the mall from your seat on the bus.
- Travel a bit off the beaten path, this way you will see the true Nicaraguan hospitality. Ex: one of the person that worked at the hostel lent us his spare scooter. He just met us and trusted us with it. Wow.!
- If you like to party go to San Juan del Sur for “Sunday Funday” it’s a massive pub crawl. Also stay at Big Foot Hostel in Leon, they are the original volcano boarding hostel.
WTW: Thank you so much Bobby. I agree with you that it sounds like it has much to offer everyone. Below are a few photos that he agreed to share (all photos taken and owned by him). If anyone has comments please add them below.
Happy Travel from Wanders The World.
Volcano boarding outside of Leon
My friend volcano boarding in Leon
Mesaya Market Mural – Biggest Market in Nicaragua
Ferry to Ometepe
San Juan del Sur
A cigar factory in Esteli
Me and my friend riding on a borrowed scooter
Drinking from coconuts in Ometepe