La Isla Bonita

Trip Start Jan 14, 2007
1
14
19
Trip End Mar 05, 2007


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Flag of Nicaragua  ,
Friday, February 23, 2007

Sorry for the lack of updates this past week.  We were in seclusion
on La Isla Ometepe in the middle of Lake Nicaragua. . . not much in the
way of communication options there!  More to come
shortly!  Viva Sandino!

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Lol and I spent a fantastic two and a half days on Ometepe.  We traveled there with two Canadian friends we made in Granada - Matt and Terry, from Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories (do YOU know anyone fromYellowknife?  I didnŽt think so).  The boat ride across Lake Nicaragua was an adventure.  One of those third world trips you curse yourself for taking at the time and then revel in after you survive.  The lake is particularly rough and we were in a relatively small boat with very little in the way of railings to keep baggage and people on board!  I have some great pictures/video which IŽll try and upload ASAP (stop your whining Tall Boy).  We stayed in a great little place right on the lake.  Our first day, we hiked one of the two volcanos on the island - Maderas - the smaller and inactive one with 6 fellow travelers.  One of the few remaining cloud forests in the western hemisphere, the Maderas hike is renowned for being extremely wet and extremely muddy.  That it was.  The hike begins at a cooperative farm/coffee plantation originally started by the Sandinistas and now providing work and housing for 29 families.  The trails winds its way through farmland and then into the cloud forest.  The demonic calls of howler monkeys echo from all directions.  Unfortunately we only heard them, never saw them.  Soon, we were in the middle of thick clouds and ankle deep in mud.  The trail wasnŽt exceptionally difficult but the mud made the going very slow.  But our group made it fun - 4 Canadians and 3 Americans.  We debated who would have to be eaten first should we have to bivouac on the mountain for the night.  We agreed one of the pacifist Canadians should be sacrificed. After slogging our way to the densely forested summit (no view), we then descended into the crater for a view of the crater lake.  The view wasnŽt much however, given the thick fog that still enshrouded the mountain.  Kinda a buzz kill to summit a mountain and not be able to see anything. Regardless, it was a helluva an adventure.  And a real test of our laundry skills!  Each of us ended the hike, covered from head to toe in mud. . . all that is, except our local guide!  Our second day on Ometepe, we rented bikes and road across part of the island, taking in beautiful views of both volcanos and enjoying a cool dip in a natural spring. The bikes werenŽt exactly Treks, so the going was a little difficult but we had a great time nonetheless.  The Nicas are extremely friendly and welcoming, esp on Ometepe where tourist is still in its infancy. 

I promise more pictures by tomorrow! 
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