Moto Adventures

Saturday, November 25, 2006

A Diamond in the Rough

Can you guess what this is?

Top: View over Granada
Bottom: View over Laguna de Apoyo
In southern Nicaragua you will find the Laguna de Apoyo set conveniently between the cities of Masaya and Granada. An area rich in history, beauty and geology.
Ken and I went to volcano Masaya for a day trip thinking it would be very cool to look down into an active volcano, which it was, and ended up staying a week in the area.
Volcano Masaya was refered to as ¨the gates of hell¨by the spaniards in the 1600´s so they placed a cross on the top of the volcano to help ward off the demons. Today there are 5 craters and one of which is still active, it smokes and chokes daily. We took a night tour into the crater where we watched green parrots return into the crater at dusk to nest safely from predators, decended into lava tubes filled with millions of bats, and looked down into a glowing red betching mass of molten lava. There is a constant stream of sulfuric fumes from the crater and we were given gas-masks just in case the fumes got too bad to breath.
It was on the top of Volcano Masay that we met ¨Ken¨of Ken and Carol and the Guest House La Orquieda. After a short exchange about how beautiful and pristine Laguna de Apoyo was we had to see for ourselves if it was as clear, clean and blue as our own beautiful Lake Okanagan.´s a lake that sits in the bottom of an old inactive volcano. I don´t know where the water came from but it really is clear, clean, warm (there is a hotspring or two locatted on the lake, that makes me question weather it really is inactive or not) and bonita. La Orquieda Guest House...ah yes...a private beach, a beautiful garden with its´ own hammocks, and a fridge full of cold beer for Ken. We had to tear ourselves away from it after.....solo uno dia mas!!! Just one more day!!!
A half an hour in either direction of Laguna de Apoyo is Masaya to the north and Granada to the south. Masaya is ¨the market place¨in Nicaragua, it actually has 2 markets places, an old market located in the ruins left behind by an earthquake where artesanias show and sell their crafts, and a new market that is larger in size than a city block with everything from meat to souveniers to Calvin Klein jeans. Granada, like Antigua Guatamala, is a colonial town with many ancient churches, palm lines squares, tiled roofs and lots and lots of great restaurants and cafes.
Returning to the Pan-Americian hyway, headed south to Costa Rica, we both agree (even after paying our first bogus $6.00 trafific fine) that Nicaragua is our favorite country, so far! But, many more to come.
By the way the first photo is looking down into the hole in the crater, full of lava.

Monday, November 13, 2006

A New Week

View overlooking San Juan del Sur

A new favorite country and a new favorite beach. Nicaragua, you have to love the people, the food (if for no other reason than the price), the beaches, the rainforested mountians and the relaxed easy going way of life. You don´t have to look far to find a beach front palapa to sit in and enjoy a hammock, a beer or a ¨Flor del cana¨ rum and coke.

A 25 ft cross stands guard on the top of a hillside overlooking the town of San Juan del Sur. A cobblestone road so steep that it is a challenge to hike the 30 minutes to the top leads you to a rewarding view of the town, beach and surrounding forest and farmland. The breeze off the sea is a welcome repreave from the heat of the day and the hike.

18 km south of town lies ¨Playa Coco¨ (yes we have found yet another beautiful coco´s beach). At least a km of beach lies stretched out before you with waves that are just crying to be rode by board or body. A few scattered homes, a hospedaje, restaurant, a small store and couple of local pigs and chickens, you know just the nessessities, make a day at the beach a pleasant affair.

Alas, after our 9 day layover here, it is time to move on to a few more volcanos and Costa Rica. Will we be back? You bet, Brenda start looking for those cheap flights.

Speaking of cheap, our hotel here cost us $100 for a week and food averages 35 to 70 cordobas or $2 to $5 a meal and drinks run about $1, makes for a pretty inexpensive beach vacation. You know us we always like a deal!