Nicaragua is a beautiful and interesting country. There is so much to see and do there. Volcanos to hike or surf, jungles to explore, rivers to raft, oceans (2) to swim or surf, historic cites, small farming or crafting towns to visit, local markets to shop, you’ll never get bored.
I spent a few weeks vacation in Nicaragua last summer (they laid me off while I was there). I was actually going to attend another blogging workshop in Costa Rica. It was much cheaper to fly into Managua (and cheaper for everything else too), so I decided to spend more time exploring Nicaragua instead of Costa Rica.
I started off by taking a Spanish immersion class for a week in Granada at Nicaragua Mia. They picked me up at the airport in Managua and delivered me to my home for the week with Sra Maria Elena. She took very good care of me while I was there and even gave me a nice birthday cake. 🙂
I spent the week exploring the beautiful historic city of Granada after my classes at Nicaragua Mia. It’s a small city and very easy to walk everywhere, or if you’re tired you can hop on one of the cute little horse drawn carriages. They’re all over the place and very affordable. I took a tour on one with a local guy and got to see a lot of the city and learn more about it’s history.
I liked to walk the few blocks down to Lake Nicaragua to check out the Malecon. They always had people selling snacks and drinks, sometimes playing music for tips. There were kids playing and couples strolling by holding hands.
From there, I could walk back up a few blocks towards town and pass through the lively pedestrian street La Calzada, full of bars and restaurants with outdoor tables and wandering mariachi bands. I usually stopped for a 2 for 1 drink special or ice cream, maybe even stick around for dinner.
From there Central Park, surrounded by churches, hotels and government buildings was the next stop. I liked to go up the church tower to look out over the city skyline and the lake. Then come down to sit in the park (free wi-fi) to watch the ‘action’ for a while- the line of horse carts drumming up business, the food and drink vendors, the families watching their children play, the school kids heading home. It was all nice to see and calming in a way.
I was a little sad to leave Granada and my hostess Maria Elena, but excited to get to Costa Rica for my blogging workshop. I was really hoping to learn how to improve my blog and finally figure out how to monetize it.
After a long day on the bus, crossing the border into Costa Rica, I arrived at the hotel where we would be staying the next week. It was beautiful! Way out of my usual style of travel. Very nice, but unaffordable for the kind of long term stays I like.
I spent the week there with a dozen other bloggers, all of us excited to be learning how to better our blogs. It wasn’t all work and no play. We took day trips to hike a volcano, horseback ride, and to Tamarindo for a day out sailing, snorkeling and fishing.
When the class was over, I headed back to Nicaragua. San Juan del Sur was my destination for the next few days. I found a nice apartment right on the beach. Nothing special, but it was on the beach, close to everything and all I needed (full kitchen, AC, wi-fi). I spent my days walking the beach, wandering around town enjoying the laid back atmosphere, taking lots of photos and an excursion to see the sea turtles come in to lay their eggs.
I could have stayed longer, but I wanted to get back to Granada for the Tope de Toros and Hipica. I was really looking forward to the celebrations. I wanted to watch the ‘running of the bulls’, see all the decorated horse carts and the competitions. I heard it would be a week long, city wide party. I was ready for some of that!
When I arrived, I was disappointed to learn that they had changed the dates at the last minute. Nobody really knew when they would have the parades, etc. But turns out not during my stay. So, I cut it short and headed to Matagalpa. I was ready for some cooler temperatures.
I met an old friend T., from high school there (he was looking to escape his kids), and we had a good time exploring the area. We found a small town of weavers, we checked out a waterfall on the way, we looked through the local markets. It was cooler than Granada and definitely worth the trip.
From there, since T. had a rental car, we headed to Leon, another colonial city. We spent the day hanging out in the city center, looking at old churches, listening to music, checking out a special food and drink show for the trainee bartenders and having lunch.
It was about time to go home, so we headed back to Managua for the last couple of days. I wasn’t really ready to go back home, but I still have too much to do here to just say ‘the hell with it all’ and stay down there. I really need to find a way to get rid of this stuff here!
*A post for the A to Z Challenge (N)