Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Saying "Hasta Luego" to Nicaragua is Hard To Do!!

The beginning of our final week in San Juan del Sur and the country of Nicaragua has been filled with several adventures and a small earthquake.  Time keeps marching on but I certainly wanted our time here in San Juan del Sur to crawl.  So love the life in this wonderful country and have made so many good friends for life.  So much so that we keep trying to figure out a way to keep seeing them.

But before I forget, our friend Tim Morales, made a video of our trip to the Turtle Reserve and I wanted to share it with you.  http://youtu.be/C7I7WdWuNDc

Last Saturday was a very good day with 5 of us, Chad, Wayne, Renada, Mike and me, heading out to Playa Hermosa for a day at another beach.  This is privately owned property with an entrance fee of $3, which is included in our $10/ea roundtrip transportation charge. The beach is absolutely beautiful.  With a restaurant and bar beach side, we were set for the day.

Everyone enjoyed it in their own way with many walks throughout the day, some rock climbing, some wading in to the ocean, a nap in the lounge chair by me along with some reading of my book, and, Chad, did a bit of surfing.  Unfortunately, early on, Chad stepped on a small sting ray and got stung on the bottom of his foot.  He was in quite a bit of pain for about 2 hours but then it subsided and he was able to stop grimacing.  It certainly put a damper on his day!  After watching a beautiful sunset, we all piled back into the truck for a bumpy ride back to town.

This was our lovely ride from town. Not quite the lap of luxury.  Mike & I invoked our seniority status and rode in the back seat.  Mike's & my back appreciated it muchly!

The small hostel on site.

A resident of the beach.

Several sea stacks in sight.

The view from our lounge chairs in the shade.


You just never know who you'll see on the beach.

A view toward the north point.

Live Star Fish!

Found these in the tide pools.

The view back toward our spot on the beach.


Art made by bugs in the sand.

Sand Dollar

The property we came through to get there.


Thanks for the nice picture, Wayne!
But our week started out in the usual manner with Sunday being football day for Mike.  And, me, when I could watch the teams I root for.  Since the Seahawks were playing the second game slot, I wandered down the road to meet up with Mike and Louis who were well entrenched in the first game.  Unfortunately, the Seahawks just couldn't keep it together and with too many penalties, lost to the 49ers.  Still a good day out at Dorado's beach bar with the ocean bay glistening in the sun while we idled the day away.  Not a bad life, at all!!

This was a holiday weekend in Nicaragua with the celebration of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary - La Purisima. The town came way alive with many visitors from Managua coming here to enjoy the beach for the long holiday weekend.  But the locals are the ones that made most of the noise and boom booms (firecrackers with only a loud boom).

So it was nice to leave town on Monday morning early at 6:30am.  We had made arrangements to take a private tour of Ometepe Island.  Wayne, Renada, Louis, Mandy, Mike and I, climbed into our van and were whisked off for the 7:45am ferry ride to the island.  In Rivas, we picked up Berman Gomez, our guide.  After an hour and ten minute ride, we were deposited right in the town of Moyogalpa, at town of about 3,000. 

The group walking toward the ferry.

Sitting up top on our trip over to the island of Ometepe.  Wayne, Renada, Mandy, Louis & Berman.

A picture of volcano Concepcion.

The whole island has about 42,000 residents and along with 2 volcanoes, it is larger than the island of Hawaii and has a figure "8" shape.  The larger volcanoe of Concepcion, at an elevation of 5,282', is still active and erupted the last time in March, 2010, with the smaller volcanoe of Maderas, at an elevation of 4,573'

A quick stop first to get coffee and a nibble to eat before heading out in another very comfortable van for our day.  The drive down through and out of town revealed a very pleasant and well cared for way of life.  Everything was tended and seemed to indicate a higher standard of living.  Maybe not but certainly seemed that way.

Our first stop was at Charco Verde Lagoon, a private reserve with beautiful plants, wildlife, and a gorgeous lake.  There's also a beautiful beachside resort should you want to spend some time on the island.

From there we continued on the paved road that led to the next larger town of Altagracia on the other side of the island.  Here is where the ferry from Granada comes in after a 4 our ride down.  The town has a completely different energy in a slower pace and not so touristy.  Berman wanted us to see the 5 beautiful artifact statues that are centuries old.  The history is that the government had told the Louvre that it chose one statue from the whole country to put on display for 5 years.  the one chosen was the Eagle Headed statue in these pictures.  The towns people became so enraged that they took all of the statues out of the church and placed them in concrete in the courtyard so that they couldn't be removed. 

The original church, which is under renovations and is over 300 yrs. old.

City park entrance.

The Eagle statute is the middle one.

The inside of the new church, which is only 10 yrs. old.

Inside of old church.

Our next stop was a quick one where we ordered our lunch so it would be ready when we came back from our next excursion.  Further along the east side of the island, we stopped at a finca (farm) that was a cooperative.  Up a short hike, we viewed several rocks with petroglyphs etched in them.  Pretty neat hike and rocks!

Lunch turned out to be delicious!!  A huge feast of fried chicken, pork, beef, garden salad, beans, rice, and French fries.  No one went hungry!

Too bad we didn't bring swimsuits because our next stop was at a spring that the owner had turned into a natural swimming pool.  A small fee and you could swim and play in the refreshing waters.  By the way the water naturally flowed down to the stream, it's estimated that it produces about 150gpm.


Caught ya, Louis!

Another quick stop to get some magnificent pictures of the volcano Concepcion with the van almost getting high centered at the entrance.  I think we enjoyed watching the van get turned around a bit more than the picture taking.  :)

Just never know when there will be a traffic jam! LOL

Don't mess with me, Willis!

These are for you JB!  Bacon!

Volcano Concepcion.

Da Group.

 Needing to kill a little time before catching the 3pm ferry back to the mainland out of San Jose del Sur, we stopped at another beautiful spot on the lake with a resort.  Enjoying a refreshing beer and wine under the covered patio on the lake edge, we all relaxed while the afternoon rains came.  We actually had to get a little wet while running between the drops getting to the van and then getting on the ferry.

Volcano Maderas

However, the rains passed quickly and after the staff wiped down the benches, we made our way up the top deck to watch the beautiful island and the sun drenched volcanoes. As this ferry was a quite a bit newer and more spacious, the ride back was smooth as glass.

Volcano Concepcion.

Raining in Rivas, where we're headed.

 Mike finished off the day by watching his beloved Bears beat the Cowboys at Dorado's.  I enjoyed a very quiet evening on the veranda in the dark just gazing at the bay.  And, listening to the celebrations going on right below us.  Lots of signing and boom booms.  Knew it was going to be a loud long night for little sleep.

Woke up this morning to see the 2,600 passenger Celebrity cruise ship in port.  Mike and I decided to stay home and relax after several days of activity.  We're looking forward to another group community BBQ tomorrow night. And, then Marti and Steve Owen arrive Thursday afternoon from Granada for our last few days of fun in the sun in San Juan del Sur before we leave on Saturday.

I want to thank Mike, again, for all of the beautiful photos that he takes.  He's been suffering badly with swollen eyes while here in Nicaragua.  Haven't figured out what the root cause is and that's frustrating.  He's been a trooper though and hasn't let that keep him from enjoying himself.

My next post will probably not be until we reach Puerto Vallarta, Mexico...our next "home" for a full 5 months!  Now, that will be different.  So until then, hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season no matter where you are!

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