We had to visit a volcano and headed for the Masaya Volcano National Park. I had an old friend whose father was a volcanologist. I thought of what the hazards would have been for him 80 years ago. The park staff warned us that the volcano could erupt at any time, gave us instructions on what to do in case of volcanic activity (“keep calm”) and made us park by backing in to our spots, so we could leave easily if we had to. Barricades were minimal.
It’s a long way down. Previously, these calderas were used for sacrificing young women and girls, to cheer up the gods.
After the volcano, we headed to Lago de Apoyo, a beautiful lake in a crater. We used our trusty ioverlander app to guide us to a place to camp: the Hostel Paradisio’s parking lot. The beach bar was pleasant, the restaurant served good food, and they had good Wi-Fi and did laundry. The hostel guests were relaxed, friendly and there were, once again, plenty of Canadians. The average age was probably less than 30 and the dress code was a bikini. Bill immediately commented on what a great place it was. Of course that could have been because we went for a walk and found howler monkeys in the trees, roaring at us like angry bears.
Next day we pushed on for San Juan del Sur. San Juan was busy and reputed to be a bit of a party town, so we drove onto the deserted (we thought) Playa Madura. The road was rough, steep and bumpy: a 4 wheel drive road. When we finally got there, Capi made a bee line for the surf. We were in hot pursuit, then stopped, amazed. The beach is small, and was crowded with surfers. Hundreds of them. The rustic beach bars were full. Someone had set up a bikini shop under a tree. A volleyball game was in full swing. And the water was loaded with more surfers and swimmers. It was late in the day and we couldn’t escape fast enough back to San Juan del Sur, avoiding oncoming cars loaded with yet more surfers.
Nicaragua is a horse riding nation. The horses are small, good looking and spirited. They are usually being ridden to herd or chase, or are pulling carts.
Of course, we discovered in San Juan that the dog friendly hotels were located near to Playa Madura, so we went to our only option, the historic Hotel Victoriano. It was a bit of a splurge but what the heck. It was quiet.
And the next day took us to Costa Rica.