Sorry for the spoiler alert in the headline, but this country was nice in many ways! Coming from Costa Rica I would say CR and Nicaragua offers pretty much the same kind of attractions and experiences: beach, surf and hiking – three things I don’t mind at all.
San Juan is a small coastal town by the Pacific ocean. Everything here is a little smaller, cheaper and less developed compared to Costa Rica. Here you don’t find the big hotels along the beaches, the mountains are not as high but one thing was bigger here; the waves. I had a hard time catching them since they were a lot faster, bigger and more powerful – but to progress your skills, no matter what it is, you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone. The relaxed vibe here in addition to the beautiful small colored streets and houses makes it easy to “kill” a couple of days in this place.
After many weeks by the ocean I was really looking forward to go hiking again. I went to an island in Lake Nicaragua called Ometepe which consists of two volcanoes. I went here mainly to get away from the ocean for some days and to do some hiking, but this turned out to be some very interesting days – and I’m not talking about the hiking. On the boat on my way to the island I met a girl from Nicaragua (now living in the US) and we got to know each other on the boat ride and it was interesting to hear her stories growing up in a poor country like Nicaragua. We also made a plan to leave together the same day and go to the city of Leon. I’m so grateful I met her both as a person and also for helping me getting to Leon. The day I went there was the day before a big holiday here so the buses were PACKED with people and it would have taken me many hours getting there. She had connections in Nicaragua so we were lucky driving a car to Leon instead of taking the bus. That saved me many hours and a lot of energy – so if you read this: muchas gracias, señorita!
Though, the most interesting part of Ometepe island was staying with a local family. When arriving I went to a hostel, but since I was the only one there they invited me to stay in their home instead – which I gladly said yes to. Even though they only spoke Spanish we could understand each other a little bit. It was interesting to see and feel how it is to live under such circumstances. As a refrigerator they used a bucked which they filled with ice that they got from the neighbor who were lucky enough to have a freezer. I like to think that I have perspective on both the world and my own life, but you can never be reminded too many times how lucky we are living in the northern parts of Europe. I’m a very honest person, but I felt I had to take a white lie when the family asked me for how long I was traveling; I said just for 2 weeks in Nicaragua then back home. The world is sometimes an unfair place and I didn’t want to remind this family of that fact, since none of the family members had ever left their own country and I’m traveling for more than a year and have visited all of the continents multiple times.
So, all in all Nicaragua was a place I really liked. The only thing I didn’t like about my visit here, was that it was so short – only a week, but considering the life I’m living I guess that’s a luxury problem.