Our trip to Nicaragua exceeded our expectations. Although Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America it’s also the least visited. Due to political turmoil and destructive earthquakes, tourists have been known to skip Nicaragua on their Central American tour.
However, there are now more and more wanderers visiting this beautiful country. Although a bit over crowded the streets of Nicaragua are full of life and rich with culture. After a 3 hour flight we arrived in Nicaragua, since we didn’t have bags to check in we we’re able to get off the plane and head directly to our waiting car. Using backpacks for luggage is not only ingenious but it forces you to pack light, not to mention the time it saves not waiting on your luggage at the “luggage belt”. Our first night was a bit unexpected. Hours before our arrival in Nicaragua we received an email from our Airbnb host explaining how he misread our email and the house we were expecting to stay in wouldn’t be ready until the next day. Luckily, he was able to secure another house and and he promised it would be of the same standard we were expecting. After about an hours’ drive we arrived at our temporary residence. The house was located in the heart of Granada, right behind Our Lady of Assumption Cathedral, also known as the Granada Cathedral.
I must admit, our sleeping arrangements were very nice, not what I expected at all. The hotel was an open air hotel. One of the best things about sleeping in an open air hotel is feeling that easy breezy laid back vibe. At night we could feel the breeze from Lake Nicaragua sweeping through the room, so comfortable and fitting that a fan or a/c unit was not needed. The rooms were decorated well, the beds were made with white linen sheets and a white sheer fabric hung from the windows giving the room an ocean vibe, although it was in the middle of the city. Unfortunately, the first night we slept for about 5 hours because Alamo Car Rental opened for 8 a.m. and the drive back to Managua would take about an hour.
The next morning we woke up full of anticipation, couldn’t wait to see the views, and when we opened the door I was not disappointed. From our front balcony we could see the Mombacho Cloud Forest and from our back balcony we could see the Our Lady Of Assumption Cathedral. The views were absolutely amazing, after taking a few pictures everyone was ready to head back to the airport. Our driver reached the house at exactly 7 am and we hit the road about 10 minutes later. We made it to Alamo at about 8 o’clock and after a brief check in we were driving off in our 4×4 Toyota Helix. Our first stop was Wal-Mart to stack up on snacks and water. It’s funny how you can find a Wal-Mart everywhere. We bought a cooler and some ice to keep the food and drinks cool during the cross country ride.
Since we were already in Managua we decided to visit the Masaya Volcano. Half way up the volcano there was a gift shop and a small museum. Eager to learn more about the volcano we stopped and went in, not before we bought a bag of sliced mangoes and a coconut. After walking around and taking a few more pictures we headed to the top. Once at the top of Masaya Volcano the parking guides directed us to back into the parking spaces. Later I would found out the reason we were asked to park backwards was because Masaya is an active Volcano and if it were to erupt all vehicles should be prepared to move forward. As soon as we stepped out of the car we were hit with the undeniable smell of sulfur. As we walked through the smoke I was thrilled for the chance to see lava (Definitely able to check that off our bucket list). Once at the opening of the volcano, we could feel the heat and see the boiling lava beneath us. It was amazing to take a look inside of an active volcano. EPIC!!! There was a 15 minute time limit on the volcano due to the amount of people visiting, luckily we beat the crowd and now we were off the our next stop El Mirador De Catarina.
Laguna de Apoyo
El Mirador De Catarina is a lookout point in the town of Catarina and it allows you to see over Laguna De Apoyo. Laguna de Apoyo is a fresh water lake created by a collapsed volcano, at its core it stays warm, so the lake is heated year round. When we finally made it to our new house we didn’t stay long, we all were hungry and decided to head out for a late lunch. As we walked down the street we couldn’t help noticing the similarities between Nicaragua and New Orleans with its Colonial Architecture.
The colonial architecture and colors were indistinguishable, almost identical in some areas. Once we arrived at “gringo street”, we were looking for steak. Legend has it, Nicaragua has the best grass fed, hormone free beef in the world. We located a spot that looked promising and grabbed a table, and the whole family ate for $25.The walk back home was also interesting, we came across a parade, and just like we do in New Orleans, everyone joined in the fun the celebration was for a little miss sunshine pageant. As the sun set on Granada, Nicaragua we decided to relax at home with a bottle of wine.