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Reisverslag San Juan del Sur and Ometepe
17 december 2016
San Juan del Sur and Ometepe
I've already traveled for more than 2/3 of my time. And money. In less than one month my flight goes back. Super sad, weird and too soon, and at the same time I'm looking really forward to be at home. One of the main reasons:... Sinterklaas doesn't exist here! And what is a year without Sinterklaas? Nothing! Dear friends, we have to celebrate this when I'm back! Meanwhile, the whole country is in Christmas style. Lights and decoration, people singing and shops are stuffed with ugly Christmas stuff -although I haven't seen a single Christmas tree-. Christmas in 35degrees? I don't feel the vibe.
Which country I'm in? I crossed the border to Nicaragua! Totally different than Costa Rica or Panama, but I'll explain that later. My first destination was San Juan del Sur, a super touristic hyped village along the Atlantic coast, famous because of its beaches and parties. The parties I had to skip, I caught a huge cold, but the beach was amazing indeed. White sand, amazing geological formations and caves bordering the sea and beach. A earth science dream. Hitchhiking around -which is incredible easy here-, we saw a lot sound San Juan.
Next stop: Ometepe, a volcanic island in the middle of lake Nicaragua. Two volcanoes next to each other, grew together to one island by sedimentation of sand, and roads along those gigantic structures in the form of a 8. To come in the island, we had to survive an insane boat drive. The ferry looked more like a ruin from the "scheepvaartmuseum" than something which was really able to float. So completely optimistic we began on this bumpy ride. And we survived!
The capital of Ometepe, Moyogalpa, wasn't worth the visit, and after one day we moved in to -I dare to say- the most amazing place in Nicaragua. Permacultural farm Zopilote ran a hostel as well, with a campsite, hammocks and some dorms. I will try to explain why it is such an awesome place. There is an amazing backpackers vibe. Everybody is super friendly, super hippy and a little weird. The area of the farm is huge, with huts spread over the whole area. I'm between: plans, trees and gardens. It's located in the middle of nowhere and they are almost self sufficient. Ecological and biological, including those super nasty eco-toilets.
We decided to go camping, in the non-waterproof tent of Hector (my Costa Rican travel mate), with a different inner and outer tent, without a sleeping mat. What is traveling without a challenge? :P
A motor ride along the island was a great idea to discover the Nicaraguan countryside -see observations below-. However, the less good idea was me on a motor. I was amazing for at least 50m, until I forgot how to break. We quickly switched drivers, on the backseat I was less dangerous. More adventure for the day after: climbing volcano Maderas, one of the two volcanoes of this island. The rain decreased the view and increased the slipperiness of the path. The lagoon in the crater showed is maximal 3m of its wonders. Concluding, it was more a physical and mental challenge than a great hike. Maybe we are gonna be more lucky with volcano Conception? Sadly luck wasn't on my side: -besides the fact that somebody hacked my credit card and the bank blocked it- I became ill. Fever, sick, dizzy, diarrhea, and everything you can think about. In a tent, without sleeping math, without "normal food" and without doctor or pharmacy within 5 hours of traveling, it was not the best place to survive this. Luckily I had amazing support from Hector and on distance from my parents. After a couple of bed(bad?)days I was ready to kick the world again, masomenos..., and we decided to move to a bit bigger city, just to be sure.
After being in Nicaragua for more than a week, these are my observations:
- it's super duper cheap. For 2$ you can have dinner, and for 5$ you've a bed in a dorm.
- it's poorer then everything I've seen before. Actually it is the the second poorest country of Latin America (and located next to the richest, Costa Rica!). Small wooden huts with roofs made from leaves. Around the huts is rubbish everywhere. In the huts it is a mess as well, and still there are always >8persons living in an area as big as my student room. Of course they spend most of their time being outside, but only by thinking about it I miss my privacy.
- the Nicas, that's how the Nicaraguan people call them self, are super friendly. Everybody greets each other and wants to help.
- although, men are even more macho. Shouting to you and holding your arm if you want to walk away.
- no English speakers at all. And the Spanish is also very different than I'm used to. Luckily I'm traveling with a fluent Spanish speaker... :)
- the landscape is, compared to Costa Rica, much more rural. Everywhere is agriculture instead of rain forest. The agriculture is not structured in plantations of course, but randomly spread around huts and properties.
- everywhere are horses, pigs, cows and dogs. Mostly randomly walking along and over roads, presumably with an owner. Somewhere.
Summarised it was kind of a culture shock to come here. It's so rough, untouched and indigenous compared to Costa Rica and Panama. Now I'm reasonably healthy again, I'm curious what the next week will bring, because finally I'm gonna spend some time in cities: Granada and Leon, here I come!
Foto's bij verslag (9)
17 december 2016 09:01 | Door: Ger van den Berg
Tjonge Sjoukje, wat spannend allemaal en wat maak je veel mee daar en wat een verschillen in cultuur in die landen; wat geweldig dat die mensen in Nicaragua die zo arm zijn, toch allemaal zo vriendelijk zijn; ja die machocultuur van die mannen is jammer; fijn dat je weer gezond bent zonder dat er een dokter bij geweest is; dat ze daar alleen maar Spaans spreken! gelukkig heb je een goede vriend die goed Spaans spreekt; nou jij maakt tenminste wat mee op deze wereld; die ervaring is veel waard voor een goede kijk op het leven.
17 december 2016 23:58 | Door: Sjoukje de Lange
Dank voor je lieve en betrokken reacties Ger! :)