August 8, 2016

Nicaragua!



My trip to Nicaragua could have easily been written off as a bust. It pretty much rained for the entire time we were there and when the rain finally stopped, it was overcast for the rest of the day.
I am super grateful for my awesome friends, who made the trip awesome despite the yucky weather. The people you travel with can have a huge impact on your experience.

We booked our tour through Viator, the only tour company I use when I travel. It was a day trip which included a stop at an active volcano, a stop off in Granada, a boat ride on Lake Nicaragua and a trip to a local market for some shopping. It also included lunch, transportation from our hotel, visa and park fees. For a hundred and seventy-five bucks, it was a pretty good deal.

We were scheduled to be picked up at 4:30 in the morning but didn't actually get picked up until close to 5:30, which meant standing outside being attacked my ravenous mosquitoes. Can I pause for a sec though and talk about those mosquitoes. They were on another level y'all. I swear they were immune to bug spray. I'm surprised we didn't come back with holes in our skin.
We were slightly annoyed by the late arrival  of our tour bus but what can you do? You just have to be flexible in these situations.

Our first stop was for breakfast in Liberia. We had a beautiful view of a lake. Unfortunately it was overcast and it began raining before we left to continue our journey across the border.
I can only imagine how much more stunning it would have been if it had been sunny.






I slept most of the way until we got closer to the Nicaraguan border. Listen, border crossing is usually tedious but the process to cross over from Costa Rica to Nicaragua is arduous. It took over two hours, mostly of us just standing around waiting to get our passports stamped and what seemed like 15 passport checks. I may have exaggerated a tad, but it was a lot. 

Finally we made it across the border and the rain decided to really unleash itself in full force. Our first scheduled stop was the volcano but because of the rain we had to put it off. Luckily we had very persistent tour guide who wanted us to enjoy every bit of our trip and get what we paid for, so he made sure that as soon as the rain held up we were back at the Masaya National Park to visit the volcano. 
Visiting an active volcano was never on my bucket list but man it was such a cool experience. If you look closely enough, through the sulfur smoke you can see actual lava. 



Of course, we made some news friends on the trip. I think people are naturally drawn to our energy. We have so much fun that they just want to be part of it. It's always great to make connections with people from all over the world.


The next leg of our adventure led us through the city of Granada in a horse led carriage. I wish we could have explore on foot because the city had some colorful buildings and I wasn't able to get any good photos. We did stop off at the chocolate factory and tried some yummy chocolate and liquor though.




After a very long day we enjoyed a relaxing boat ride on Lake Nicaragua and even stopped at an islet to feed some monkeys.





I was pleased with the trip overall and even more ecstatic because Nicaragua made number eighteen on my list of countries visited. Slowly but surely the number is growing!!!