Saturday, October 02, 2004

Week 14 - Ometepe, Nicaragua to San Jose, Costa Rica

September 25 to October 1, 2004

Saturday to Sunday - OMETEPE, NICARAGUA

Left Granada by boat to the world's largest fresh water island, Ometepe. This island contains two volcanoes and has about 32,000 people living on it. The ride to Puerto de Gracias took over four hours. The small wooden boat was mainly for supplies and a few passengers - locals and some tourists.

The boat ride was so pretty with views of the island volcanoes.

On the boat we met five other travelers. The seven of us decided to go to the same hotel south of Santa Domingo. Our bus arrived in the dark - so we did not know how amazing the place was until the next day. There were absolutely no other people there - just us seven. The front porch overlooked Lago de Nicaragua (Lake Nicaragua) and was between both volcanoes. Amazing views from every side...lots of flowers and birds too.

The seven of us ended up really enjoying each others company and we stayed for two nights. Between us all, six countries were represented - United States, Brazil, Germany, England, Switzerland, and Sweden. We spent time swimming, walking, and hanging out. Our hotel was quite far from any other houses, hotels, etc. About a half hour walk from anything - so it really felt like we were all alone there. So nice and quiet. Our last night there we talked the manager into letting us use their restaurant kitchen. And so, we all cooked together for the seven of us, for the manager, owner, other employees, and some of their friends. It was very special and extra great to spend the evening with people from Nicaragua - seven countries represented in total.

Preparing dinner ...

Dinner ...


The next day, we all left by bus to Moyogalpa. The bus ride was short in distance but took over two hours because the road was very rough and unpaved - though extremely pretty with views of the volcanoes and the island's southern shore. Very interesting - there was a lady traveling with a piglet in a handbag. I have seen people travel with chickens, but this is the first I have seen of a piglet. She said she got a deal on it - 200 cordobas (about $12.50 dollars), but she said she knew the guy so he gave her a deal - 150 cordobas (about $ 9.40 dollars). So, in a few years the little piggy will be on the family's plates for dinner.

We then took a one hour ferry to San Jorge and a bus to Rivas - where we all said our goodbyes and split ways. The five went together to San Juan del Sur and Kiko and I left for the Costa Rican border at Penas Blancas.

Border crossing went well and we almost missed the last bus to Liberia, Costa Rica at 5pm. Liberia was a nice, wealthy, cattle town. We spent the night there so as to avoid arriving very late to San Jose.

Tuesday to Thursday - SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA

Our hotel room had a 6am checkout time - we left at 9am with permission. We arrived to San Jose, Costa Rica's capital, and went straight to Denis's hotel (Kiko's sister's fiancé). It was so great to see him - we had not seen each other since last Christmas in Brasil. We did not get to spend a whole lot of time with him as he was busy working long hours. But, it was for sure better that we had some time than none at all. It was very awesome of him to let us stay with him in his five star hotel!!

Kiko and I were spoiled for three days - a huge contrast to our last hotel that had rats and some roaches. Here is a photo of where we stayed the night before...

Do know that it is only by our choice that we stay with rats and roaches because we seek out the cheapest accommodations possible. Note that there are many nice places in all countries - we just cannot afford them as our trip is so long.

Kiko and I did pretty much nothing for three days but enjoy the luxury of a five star. We also got our clothes washed!! First time since Guatemala - and that was a highlight! We have not been anyplace long enough lately to allow clothes to dry - therefore, no washing.


Said goodbye to Denis and left San Jose to Fortuna with hopes of seeing red lava pour down from this active volcano (Central America's most active volcano - Arenal). When we arrived, we about died!! We ran into our five friends we met in Nicaragua (the group we spent time with on the island of Ometepe). So great and surprising to see them. They were lucky and got to see the red lava. Kiko and I however, did not - too cloudy and rainy. But, it was still well worth the trip there as we got to bump into them. The town was very touristy but very nice. The next day, I am very excited for... my little brother, Kyle, who currently lives in Santiago, Chile, has to fly to New York for some job interviews. And... he has a five hour layover in San Jose!! Perfect! I cannot wait to see him!

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