Emily’s Travel Diary

Monday, 28 Nov 2005

Location: Granada, Nicaragua

MapI don`t think I could have asked for a better end to my travelling experience (I still have another week, but I will just be here, so it was the end of the travelling). We went to Nicaragua this past weekend. We had a wonderful time...good group of girls, well planned and just an all around good trip:)
Thursday, we left Puntarenas at 4:30am to meet up with the bus to Nicaragua. It turns out the bus didn`t actually come until 7, so that was a little annoying, but it all worked out. We got on the bus, made it through customs without complication (Meghan got the red light, but the guy looked at her and just laughed and sent us all back to the bus without searching anything) and headed to Granada, Nicaragua. In all, the trip was about 7 hours of travelling and wasn`t bad at all (nice bus, air conditioned, etc). We finally got to Nicaragua and took care of some errands we had to do (bank, hotel, return bus ticket). Side note: The money ended up being a huge problem all weekend. First of all, it is 17 cordobas to a dollar, which is difficult enough, but secondly, the bank gave us 500 bills and NO ONE had change for it! It was a mess! Anyways, Thursday we just wandered around Granada and checked out the city. Granada is the oldest city in Central America, so it had a lot of the old buildings and all cobblestone streets and everything, so that was interesting. We got to climb up one of the towers of this old fortress and watch the sunset, which was absolutely amazing! For Thanksgiving that night, we got the name of this really nice Spanish restaurant and we went and ate there. It was a little more expensive, but really good and definitely worth it for Thanksgiving.
Friday morning we had decided to go to Ometepe, which is a huge island (including 2 different volcanos) in Lake Nicaragua. We hopped on the bus in Granada, which turned out to be an old school bus, completely packed with people. That was an interesting experience. As soon as we got to Rivas, we were trying to get off the bus and we were all being grabbed at and assaulted to take one of the taxis. It was pretty unnerving. We finally got a taxi and went to San Jorge, where we caught the ferry to Ometepe. This ferry may have been one of the most interesting experiences of my life! It looked like a little tugboat. They packed about 50 people onto this boat (we had to walk down this old wooden plank that wasn`t attached to anything to get on...very scary!) and then they started throwing on bags of frozen chickens. They must have put on at least 10 bags full, and I was really worried that our little boat was going to sink! Then, on the way, the lake was really rough and there was water splashing over the sides all the way. I was soaked when we got there! Once we got to the island, we found a really helpful taxi driver that took us to this cute little beach. It was a nice hotel there, so we were able to stay in a really nice new cabin for four of us for $25 total. Loved it! Plus, they had free use of kayaks, which was awesome. We got up early Saturday morning and kayaked on Lake was completely surreal!
We ended up leaving early Saturday morning to head back to Granada. The trip back was a lot less eventful. We actually got on a real ferry and made it pretty quickly. Once back in Granada, we did a little shopping and then headed out to Masaya, which is supposed to have a cool outdoor market. The market was fun, but it was a lot like the markets I have been to a lot in Mexico, so it wasn`t all the new for me. The other girls loved it though! It was Meghan`s birthday, so Andrea and I headed out to find a cake when we got back to Granada. That was an interesting experience! But, we finally got it figured out and we were able to totally suprise Meghan and have a Nicaraguan cake for her:) Later on, we went to eat at this place we had heard a ton about...The Bearded Monkey. It was a hostel too, but they didn`t have any more room, so we just ate there. It had probably one the coolest atmospheres of anywhere I have been before. It was full of back packers and there were all kinds of different languages everywhere. It was really neat!
Sunday, we caught the bus back to Costa Rica and the trip went really well. We got back into Puntarenas by 7pm. All in all, I was really excited about the trip because all weekend the four of us girls did really good with the language (no one spoke English!) and the travelling (with crossing the border) and having planned really well. It was good stuff!! Now, I just have another week here, then finals next Monday and Tuesday and then I come back!! I`m not sure if I really want to anymore!