A Travellerspoint blog

Tela, Honduras

sunny 30 °C

From Esteli it took all day and too many buses to count to get across the border into Honduras and up to the capital Tegus. After struggling to find a cashpoint that worked we eventually managed to get some money and went for dinner. The next day I travelled to Tela, a small town on the Caribbean coast, so it was another day on buses.The following day I hired a bike and cycled to the nearby botanical gardens, apparently one of the biggest in the world. That evening I was walking just a couple of blocks from the hotel to a cafe when i got stopped by 2 guys with a gun, so I just had to give them my bag. Fortunatly I didn't have that much cash on me or my passport but I did loose 2 bank cards and a lot of really annoying things like my guide book and suntan cream. The following day I spent all morning trying to sort everything out. I have 2 other bank cards with me, neither of which would work, so I only had a bit of cash left, most of which I had to spend on the phone to banks in the UK. I was unable to get any money from anywhere, so had to spend the weekend doing nothing as I had too lottle money left. So I was not happy when I went to the bank first thing Monday morning and found that none of them were going to open until Tuesday. Another day of doing nothing at all. I couldn't even just go and sit on the beach because I couldn't afford any suntan cream.Finally the banks opened on Tuesday, and after waiting there for over 4 hours I finally managed to get some money. So I got the next bus out of town. I was trying to get to Copan but as I had spent so long at the bank, I missed the connecting bus and got stuck in San Pedro de Sula for a night. But at least I had got away from Tela. The following morning I got the first bus to Copan and started getting everything back to normal again.

Posted by katiew 19:51 Archived in Honduras Comments (0)

Learning Spanish in Esteli

semi-overcast

From Leon it was what seemed to be a long bus ride further north to Esteli. I arrived in the evening for what I planned to be just one night. I found a really nice new hostel (La Luna)run by an English women and met a nice group of people there. A few hours and glasses of wine later I didn´t want to leave. SO the next morning after having a look around the town I decided to arrange some spanish lessons for a few days. Although my Spanish is good enough to get by, I decided a few lessons would be a good idea to correct all the mistakes I´m making and to get a bit more fluent. I found a really good teacher at the Gallery of heroes and martyrs and have spent the last 5 days having 4 hour lessons every morning. I have learnt a lot but still need a lot more practise, so I think I will carry on with lessons when I get home.

After finishing my lessons I have travelled further north and crossed the border into Honduras. I spent my first night in the capital Tegucigalpa before travelling up to the coast today.

Posted by katiew 15:31 Archived in Nicaragua Comments (0)

Granada and Leon

semi-overcast

From San Juan del Sur I travelled up to Granada. Although it seemed like a very nice colonial city I ended up spending only 1 day there. I enjoyed exploring the city but within the city itself there isn´t really that much to see and do. I was there at the weekend and it seemed very quiet, so as I´m getting short of time I decided to move on to Leon.
Leon is another colonial city with some impressive buildings and a very interesting political history. I spent a day looking round the city and went to the museum of the revolution where I had a good guide who explained all the recent political history of Nicaragua. I found it really interesting to listen to the stories of someone who had lived through a lot of it and seen the changes happening.
I also visited Leon Viejo, the original city that was founded by the Spanish but destroyed less than 100 years later by an earthquake, and had been covered with volcanic ash so it was only rediscovered about 50 years ago. It was an interesting place to visit and the site itself was just a really nice place to wander around, by the lake beneath the volcano.
The following day I went on a 2 day hike with a charity called Quetzaltrekkers. They organise hiking trips for tourists and use the money for that to fund various projects working with the local communities to help street kids, improve education etc. I really enjoyed the couple of days I was with them, the volunteer walk leaders were really good, the hike itself took us to some very nice places and the other people in the group were all really nice. It was an early start the first day, we had to meet at the office at 4am, to get organised and get the bus to the start of the walk. First we climbed Cerro Negro, an active volcano that first erupted in the 1800s so is very new. One of the most amazing parts of the walk was when we walked down into the crater, there wasn´t actually any lava, but some amazing rock formations and a lot of steam vents, a very strange landscape. From the top of the crater we literally ran down the side of the volcano, so although it took about 45 minutes to climb up, it took about a minute to get down again. We then climbed another volcano, El Hoyo which also had some impressive features that were really interesting to see. We camped on the side of the volcano and enjoyed a nice night here. Cooking on the steam fumaroles was good fun.
THe following day we got up to see sunrise over Volcan Momotombo and Lago Managua. It was a hot and steep walk down from the volcano to another lake where we spent a couple of hours cooling off and having lunch, before getting the bus to Leon.
In the evening there was a big parade through the city and fireworks to celebrate the religious festival of the Virgin de la Mercad. This was good to see, then I had a much needed early night to recover from the last few early mornings.

Posted by katiew 14:33 Archived in Nicaragua Comments (0)

Surfing and Rum in San Juan del sur

sunny 25 °C

I decided to spend a few days in San Juan del Sur to try surfing again, as I had really enjoyed the afternoon when I first tried it in Chile, but haven´t done it again since. The following day I had my first lesson at Remanse beach, a little way down the coast from where we were staying. There was a group of 5 of us having the lesson with our instructor Fred from Peru. Within about 10 minutes everyone else had managed to stand up a few times. Hours later I was still struggling to make much progress. But despite swallowing several litres of salt water and ending up very bruised I still enjoyed the day. In the evening I went out with a few people from the lesson and from the hostel and I discovered the common drink in central America, rum. After we lost count of how many bottles of rum we had, we ended up back at the hostel sometime early in the morning. So the nextdaywas spent at the beach recovering from both surfing injuries and a hangover.
After a days rest we were ready to try surfing again. After I had been so bad the first day I decided to have the beginners lesson again. I have no idea why, but for some reason I found it a lot easier this time and it didn´t take me to long until I was able to stand up fairly regularly. So we had another really good day surfing. And despite planning on having an early night to get an early bus the following day, we also ended up repeating the evening before and drinking too much rum again.

Posted by katiew 08:25 Archived in Nicaragua Comments (0)

Isla Ometepe

sunny 26 °C

I got the bus from San Jose to Rivas in the south of Nicaragua. Despite there being huge queues at the borders it was actually an OK journey. I arrived in mid/afternoon, so just had time for a walk round the town, which was OK as there's not really anything to see here. But I enjoyed it, its very different from Costa Rica which is very westernized and developed. The following day I got up early to get the ferry to Isla Ometepe. I had planned to go to Balgue, a small village in the south of the island, 2 bus journeys away from the ferry. The first one was no problem and the driver said I just had to wait half an hour for the next bus to Balgue. But after waiting a while and asking a few more people, the only person who could give me any kind of answer just said I would be waiting a long time. As the bus stop was in the main square it was a nice place to sit for a while anyway. After I had waited about an hour and a half a parade started around the main square as it was a national holiday. At that point I realised it was going to be impossible for any buses to go anywhere for a long time, so I enjoyed watching the parade then gave up and went and found a hostel for the night. I spent the afternoon walking to a nearby beach and swimming in the lake to cool off.
The following day I decided to give up with the buses and did what the locals seemed to do and cycled round the island. THis was a really nice day, the roads around the island are relatively flat so it wasn't too hard going, except it did feel like I was cycling in a sauna as it was so hot and humid. Luckily I cycled past several nice beaches so was never far away from somewhere to go for a swim to cool off. I made it to Balgue and ended up getting there just in time to see some of their independence day celebrations. Everyone from the village seemed to have gone to the main square for the day to listen to the various speeches. I cycled back to Alta Gracia and managed to see some of their celebrations in the main square. A parade with a lot of drumming and dancing, which everyone seemed to enjoy, including me.

The following day I moved on to San Juan del Sur.

Posted by katiew 07:17 Archived in Nicaragua Comments (0)

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