Jnster: the story of an outdoors enthusiast in NYC and wherever he wanders...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Ah... Nicaragua... Land of Spanish words pronounced without the final "S", old US schoolbuses concerted into local transportation blasting reggaeton and salsa, best surf break ever in my short surfer experience...

What a cool trip it was.

2008 - Nicaragua

My first time as a solo traveller, and also the first time realizing that I was flashpacking, among a horde of genuine backpackers. Everyone was travelling for 2, 3, 6, 20 months.... And I was there for only 10 days!

Also, just a thought: I realized solo travelling actually means the opposite of travelling on your own. You meet plenty of cool people and travellers and can actually do activities in group.

I only visited 3 places, but it felt like I was also on a 2 month trip. I'm not sure my pictures do it justice.

- Satyed in Granada at the beginning and on my last night in Nicaragua. Beautiful Colonial architecture surrounded by multiple volcanoes. According to the Lonely Planet, it is the oldest city on the American mainland. Quite impressive. The city has been sacked and burnt by pirates, but is now well restored with bright colors....
Stayed at La Siesta, a hostel owned by French "expatriate" Boris and his Nicaraguan wife Marcela. Really nice people, they cook the best French crepes since a long time.

I met lots of travellers (Helge the Norwegian Kurt Cobain and his friend Maria, Laura from Brighton, Angie from Portland...) over cheap local beer and rum at the Bearded Monkey, the unofficial backpackers hangout... We went on a long bike ride to Laguna de Apoyo, a gigantic crater lake. Ah, when it's 36C outside and you got lost on your way on winding road, nothing can match a swim in the fresh water of the crater lake!
Went back to Granada right before sunset and caught my first eerie glimpse of Volcan Concepcion , a perfectly shaped active volcano on my next stop an island of Lake Nicaragua called Ometepe.

- Ometepe: beautiful bi-volcano island, relaxed vibe, even quite hippie on the part of the island farthest from the ferry. We hiked up Concepcion but the guide would not take up to the crater because of a recent eruption. Demasiado peligroso!
We stayed at the beach in Charco Verde, had delicious fresh seafood, and could even kayak a bit around Lago de Nicaragua! (amazing views of Concepcion).

The next day, Angie and I toured the island on mountain bikes around the other volcano (Maderas), and added a hike to Cascada San Ramon. Strenuous day of 38km of bike + 6km of hiking mostly in the burning sun. I think I stayed 2 hours in the hammock doing nothing but relaxing after that...
We stayed in a super basic 19th century Organic Farm, in a funky dorm, where you don't even sleep on a bed, but on a sort of cot made of wood and a piece of tarp... Never done that before in any other country! Beautiful sunset over Concepcion (again), and ice cold Victoria beer shared with fun people: Quebecois bikers, ex-peaceCorps marathon runner JeanDaMachine, the desilusioned Australian surfer dude and others...
In the morning, hawler monkeys woke us out of bed and it was off to a long bus+bus+ferry+colectivo+colectivo+colectivo transfer to the final destination.

The last part of the trip was dedicated to surfing! Yes I am totally addicted now. San Juan Del Sur is famous for being gringozied, so I decided to stay directly on the surfer's beach (Playa Madera), outside of town. At day we surfed (3 days in a row), and at night gather around the bonfire... We had the beach adn waves only for us on some occasions (early morning or close to sunset when the day visitors were back in town). Being able to stand up on my board was an unforgettable feeling for me, it was just like a dream. Once I repeated the move over and over, I realized I'm not a complete beginner anymore. But... I still got beat up in the bigger waves, so I still have to practice a lot to follow in Aaron and Ingar's steps...

That's in store for the next trip...

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  • Nice trip I'm happy for you

    By Anonymous Geoffroy, at 4/21/2008 4:02 PM  

  • Hello Mister Surfer
    Come to my paradise, Lombok Island, a great surf spot !!
    (non non j'ai pas encore ouvert mes bungalows ;-)

    By Anonymous loic, at 5/11/2008 2:04 AM  

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