Trip Start Feb 19, 2010
257Trip End Jan 31, 2012
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Where I stayed
Decided to do a morning yoga class in Granada before heading to the bus station. Found the class to be interesting enough though at the time it didnt feel like the class covered all that much. Guess thats the problem with only a single hour.
On the way to the bus stop a taxi driver offered me a ride to San Jorge for $5 and decided to take it. While a bit more expensive then the bus it would definately be more comfortable, faster and get me to the dock rather than the nearby road.
Ended up making it just before the next ferry and caught it to the island where I found the hostel I was staying at. Place a bit run down but will be good enough for a night. Also place run by an old hippy with his dreadlocks
Spent the afternoon wandering around town but could really get a clear view of the volcano from town. Had originally planned to head to another part of the island but ended up deciding to just do the tours running out of the town. Had the option of an island tour with another couple or the volcano. Didnt feel like being the thrird wheel so decided on the volcano.
Once again there is quite a few rocking chairs around the place. They seem pretty popular for some reason in Nicuragua. Also noticed a bar full of pokies.
Early night for an early start.
Day 2 - Volcan Conception
Was up at 5:30am to catch a chicken bus to the start of the trail. Weather unfortunately is cloudy but at least its not raining and the volcano is not complete clouded in.
First half hour or so was along a fairly clear trail through a village, jungle and some farm land
Half way up had some nice views of the lake and the other volcano. Pity the clouds are out since the dark skies dont make for good photos. Not long after getting past half way up the clouds rolled in and the views completely disappeared. Lots of shrubs close to the trail, lots of mud and lots of slippery rocks.
Near the very top the wind really kicked in. Managed to crawl up to the rim and look over even though I was told to keep back. Could see rocks covered in sulphur and smell the sulphur fumes coming up out of the volcano. After getting away from the rim decided to stand up and battle with the wind. Trying to keep in one place was a bit of a challange and a bit of fun.
Heading back down decided to take my time since my knee feels OK for the first time in a while and I have no real desire to agrevate it. Besides, the trail was wet muddy and slippery and taking it slow, while less fun, is definately the safer option
While the Danish guy on the hike was cruizing along at a good pace Bernito was struggling a bit. He'd never done hiking before and thought going up a steep volcano would make a good intoductory hike. Before we made it down his knees where aching and I could see them shaking each time he took a step down. He ended up using a walking stick, which definately helped, but was happy to make it finally down the mountain. 3.5 hrs up, 4hrs down.
At least we made fairly good time compared to the other groups I talked to later. Also definately did better than a couple of german girls the guide was telling us about who took 12 hours and were crying most of the way down the mountain. Doesnt sound like a pleasant experience though it probably made a good story for them after,
On the way down found some howler monkeys and by grunting at them managed to get them to howl back at us. Finally made it out to the road where we waited for the bus to get us back to town.
Ran into Bernito later that afternoon after he had a rest and he said that after lting down for a bit his knees had recovered and didnt ache any more. Guess it was the unexpected strain of the walk.
Had dinner in town at a local pizza place. Must say it was the best pizza I have had on my travels and alos one of the better pizzas I have ever had. Well worth the price of $10. On heading back to the hostal ran into Bernito again at the bar and chatted with him and two french candian girls Valerie and Mare Jose
Next got to the the part where it started to go up , up and up for the next 3hrs.
Day 3 - Museums, Waterfall, Petroglyphs, Santo Domingo, Ojo de Agua water Hole
Had organised to do a tour of some of the islands hot spots with the guide I had gone up the volcano with the day before. This tour was cheaper than the other one I had been looking at mostly due to the fact that he would be taking me around on the back of a motor bike. While this was fun, I wanted some space between me and him and ended up with a sore on my sitting bones as a result of it bouncing on the pilon at teh back of the bike.
Started teh tour by visiting a couple of museums. The first one was Nicaraguas money museum. It appears that Nicuragua has other countries make its currency and that it decides to change what appears on its notes and coins whenever a new governement comes into power. Seems like the people who use to run the country like to put members of their family onto the countries currency. Giude mentioned that the current currency has more local hostorical sites and cultural specific theme rather than a personal one so maybe the currency will now stop changing with the governemnt.
Another interesting thing is that in more primative times money actually did grow on trees. That is cacoa seeds where used as the currency of exchange and payment and its production was controlled by the fact that only the people in power were able to grow the trees
From this museum it was a short walk to the next one which had some historical items from the people who have inhabited the island.
After a nice ride though the country over a very rough road that I would want to do in a car we reached the second stop which was the waterfall. Had a nice walk through the trees, up along a creek amd up to the waterfall. While not a lot of water was coming over the falls there was at least some. Also had some nice views from the trail taken to get to the falls. Most unexpected thing about this walk was finding the crab in the pool near the waterfall.
Back on the bike again with another bumpy ride and views of the lake and volcanoes to reach the finica with teh petroglyphs. Wandered around a bit to find and check out the various petroglyphs around the place before heading to the lake side town of Santa Domingo (where I had originally planned to spend a night or two) for lunch. Seems like a nice small town with some nice views of the lake and nice nearby walks though the beach that use to exist no longer exists. Appears that like the rest of Central America Nicuragua has had a lot of rain and the level of the lake has risen to the point that part of the coast line (along with building) are now under water
Final stop after lunch was a water hole where it was possible to swim. Nice place for a dip and the pool was long enough to do a few laps. Ended up swimming the length of the hole about 10 times and given it took around 30mins I must have covered at least 1km in the swim. Another interesting point was that you could feel a current since water came into the pool from a river before passing over a dam to continue along a river down to the lake. Felt weird hanging over the dam and having the water rush past.
Ended the day by heading down to the lake to watch the sun set. Definately some nice color in the sky for the sunset. After sunset headed for dinner then back to the hostel to sort through my backlog of photos.
Had been umming and arhing about whether to have a quite (San Carlos) or party (San Juan) New Years. Had heard a couple of people that night at the hostel say they were catching the ferry tomorrow to San Carlos (suggesting it was running) and that New Years in a party town without anyone to party with (unless I found a hostel that had dorm beds and made friends on new years eve day) would be pretty boring. Ended up deciding on San Carlos since it also meant one less transit into San Jose and an easier border crossing
Day 4 - Altagracia
Decided to head down to Altegracia find the terminal and get a ticket for the ferry before lugging my pack with me. One hour chicken bus ride to Altagracia where I had a 2km walk in some unknown direction to reach the terminal. Thankfully found someone to give me directions and while I wasnt always sure I was heading in the right direction running into the lake sort of suggested I was on the right track.
Nice walk to the terminal through some plantations, along the lake where people were doing their laudary and through a small community of houses. Unfortunatley found that the ticket office was closed and would not open til 1pm. Ended up walking back to town getting a bus and then killing a bit of time before getting my pack and heading out on the chicken bus again towards the terminal.
Had decided to head here early just in case I couldnt get a ticket (sold out). Instead found that the ticket office wasnt open and eventually managed to get enough info out of a couple of guys working in the nearby yard that no ferry was coming
Unfortunately it is silly season at the moment. According to the schedule at the ticket office there is a boat running (what I had seen on my first visit) but there was also an attached note saying that it wouldnt be stopping at the island (missed that the first time I looked at the schedule). Guess I should have asked those people Ihad heard in the hostel whether they were departing from the island. If I had I would have had time to make it to Granada to catch the boat.
Thankfully still had time (as planned) to get back to Moyogalpa and catch the 5:30 ferry back to the main land where I was planning to spend New years in San Juan.
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