Today was our last day in Niquaragua. Now every one has had a good time. But we are starting to drop like flies. Many of us are getting sick with one thing or another as I am sure you can imagine. But it is all different severities. The bride is an infectious disease Dr. and did bring an assortment of antibiotics to help but not all seem to be effective. But as they say the show must go on!
The tour guide we had on day 7 returned to pick us up at 9 am ish. At his point our group was showing signs of wear and tear from being on the to for almost a week. Of about 12 people in our group still in town 7 went on the boat tour this morning. The boat tour consisted of seeing a small number of the 365 islands in the western part of the country. Now our tour guide showed us what he called the “hillbilly” part which were mainly fisherman that sold fish and were very poor. Then we moved to the “Beverly Hills” sections which were not even 50 yards away but had homes with more luxury then many home in the real Beverly Hills but for a fraction of the cost.
As part of the tour, we stopped in the local village to get a closer look at how they lived. Many of the people as you might think lived in small shacks and did not have doors. They were all friendly and welcoming. I actually felt safer there then I do in some areas of downtown Kansas City. The houses did have electricity but it was used only for the tv’s and they all had satellite dishes. Our guide told us it was to help distract them from their everyday lives which makes sense. Now some of the villagers did come talk to us and showed us the inside of their house. Before we got on our boat we had coconut water out of a coconut. After we finished drinking, the villager that sold us the drinks used a machete to cut them into quarters to take to the next place. Our tour guide donates 15% of his profits every year to the island and buys second hand clothes and toys for them. Which is pretty cool.
The next place we went was called monkey island. It is a small island that has 4 howler monkeys on them. We threw the coconuts on to the rocky shore of the island so the monkeys had food. There was more then enough coconuts to go around so they did not have to fight over them. One of the monkeys was hanging upside down by his tail while eating it.
We then went to another fort in the area. It was built in the 17th century if I remember correctly. I was a little distracted with my camera at the time. It was used to keep pirates from attacking the city. They had areas to shoot canons off. It was neat but not as big as the other fort from day 7.
After we left the fort we headed back to the hotel to pick up the rest of the group so we could get lunch. Then our guide came back to pick us up around 2. The second part of the tour consisted of a city tour. About half of the tour was walking and other half was with horse drawn carriages. This part of the trip we took in a lot of information especially the churches.
The first place we went to was the San Francisco church. Now according to the all the guides we have had about 80 – 90% of the country is catholic since they were occupied by the Spanish for so long. There was a museum inside of the church that had more local history and Petra cliffs and bowls. From there we moved to the carriage rides to go from place to place.
The next stop was the cigar shop where we got to watch them roll the cigars. This is the same place the governator, Arnold Schwazenegger, buys his cigars and evan has one named after him. The size of that cigar is very odd. I should have taken a picture of it to prove it, but they are available for the general public to buy.
We did a drive by viewing of a few places but they were closed so we stayed in the carriage so I am not going to detail about those places.
Today we went on a 7 hour around the outskirts of town. And no, we were not shooting a remake of Gillian’s Island, we did made it back. We did have a new tour guide. He was very good and very knowledgeable.
For starters we went to the Coyotepe fort. Which has an interesting history. There is probably enough good information about it to write a book but, I will give you the gist of it. It was mostly a military fort that was involved in the local civil war and held P.O.W.s. The Fortress was built in 1893 by President Zelaya and was used to observe enemies invading Nicaragua. At any given time it could hold up to 2,000 prisoners; but not comfortably. Most of the time they were looking for spies. Once a person was identified as a spy they were tortured. But I will spare the details but it sounded painful. Once the fort was shut down it was deemed a historic site but people were still tortured there. Our guide told us that this fort did apear in an episode of ghost hunters international and they found a lot of stuff. He said it could be found on YouTube; so I for me will be checking out that episode when I get a chance.
Then we went to a masayan volcano. We has a cave you can tour, but it was closed from flooding. There was a lot of gas in side of the volcano so it was like a white mist. We could not see the bottom but it was still worth checking out. There was another area of the volcano that many tourist do not get to see because of the high sulfur content. In this area it was about a 2-3 minute hike up a trail but we were only allowed to stay there for about a minute because of the sulfur so everyone had to have their cameras ready before they got there.
We made our way to crater lake and started at the top to get a nice view of the lake from a birds eye view. This lake is still part of the volcano but just in a different part of the park. There was some kind of celebration going on at the visiter center. Eventually we made our way down to the water and went swimming. It was a great place to go swimming. You could see the mountains and trees all around you and the clouds made it very peaceful. It did start raining but we had a full day of excursion.
I was a little busy on day 6 and not a lot to blog about on day 5 so I just combined them.
Day 5: Since it was our last day at Pelican Eyes Resort and since everyone was still tired from the wedding it was our rest day. My wife and I both got massages before lunch. Some of the people that were in the wedding went to the beach that is part of the professional surfing circuit. Some family had to leave to go home to the states. For the most part everyone else went to the pool to enjoy some last minute sun and ocean view from the pool.
Day 6: Almost everyone was woken up a number of times throughout the night because the celebration downtown was shooting off mortar fireworks as part of the celebration. We think the celebration is the 101st founders day. So the town was out celebrating. Everyone in our group had to be packed and ready to go in the lobby at 5:30 in the morning. We had to catch a ferry to go to Ometepe Island which has 2 volcanoes (Concepción, Maderas) making up much of the land mass of the island.
The group had a private tour guide take us to their archeology museum, El Ceibo, which, had a lot of artifacts in it about the island and some from the surrounding area. Our guide said that one of the volcanoes was due to erupt any day, week or month since it has a eruption cycle of 50 years and the last eruption was 1957. Yikes!!!
Then we went up a side of one of the mountains to see a coffee plantation. Now I think most of us thought it hold have a barn, house, any building…. So after a 2.5 mile hike up a side of a mountain we see the crops mixed in with much of the vegetation. Which was still ver cool, interesting and educational. But no farm buildings or equipment. So then we trek down the mountain enjoying the scenery and wildlife.
For the last part of our outdoor journey we made our way to a restaurant and had lunch and went to a hot spring. Now at this point we had about 30 minutes to swim in the hot springs if we wanted. Only the bride and groom actually did get in. While everyone else was drinking coconut water through a straw and taking pictures.
Then we had to get back on the bus to make the 4:00 pm ferry, which left half an hour late on our way to Grenada. Many of us fell asleep on the bus from being up early and all the excitement. After checking in at the hotel we got to a late dinner. Next entry I will go int more detail about the hotel since it was kinda late when we got in.
Day 4 we went into town to get a few more groceries for breakfast and get some sodas. There were more street vendors out and about trying to sell things. A pipe burst and we did not have running water for a few hours. That made it a little hard for people to get ready for the wedding.
The wedding turned out nice. It sprinkled a little but luckily the ceremony was able to run its course but we almost did not get the group photo in before it started to rain harder. But it only rained for a short time and the clouds moved out and it made for some good pictures of the ocean and the cliffs at sunset. The reception went late into the night and everyone seemed to have a good time.
Today, the entire wedding party and Both sides of the family went on private sail boat tour in the bay and went to a private beach. The private beach was actually owned by a retired army General. There was not a dock for the sail boats so we had our choice of swimming from the boat to he beach or taking a smaller boat to the beach. Now most o the younger people (under 40) swam from the boat. Now, that was a work out! I for one was worn out but then again I am not a spring chicken anymore. Now we were there for about 2 hours and were provided some water, beer and warm pop. We also had wraps and dip on the beach and boat. The entire trip lasted from 10am – 4pm.
Today, we decided to take a stroll on the beach today that was by the bay. It was only a 20 minute walk from the hotel. The beach it self was littered with trash and water was dirty. But this was just be of a number of beaches. There were many restraints/bars that were along the beach. Many of the these places had thatch roofs. They were your stereo typical places that a person might expect to see in a place like this. As a side note/fun fact this is one of the most famous places to go surfing. (refer to website). Then we went back to the pelican eyes resort for the afternoon and hung out at the pool for a few hours. Especially since the humidity has been between 76-94. It is nice to get a little relief. All of the pools have an amazing view of the ocean and the cliffs.
After we had our fill of the pool, a few of us went back into town to get some more sunscreen. Which actually turned into an adventure. Since this weekend is fathers day, there was a parade that was put on by one of the schools that was in the community. Which was a little bit of a surprise that they celebrated fathers day a week after the United States does. The kids carried a a couple statues of what we assumed were Jesus on platforms. All of the kids were in white polo type shirts and dark pants and were being escorted by adults. Then we presided to go back to the resort and have a few drinks tell dinner and enjoy the sun set.
For dinner we went down to the iguana bar which is apparently known for their fish and chips. This bar is more like a place you would see at a beau back in the states with multiple flat screens and double levels. The atmosphere was fun as everyone watched game 7 of the NBA finals between the Spurs and the Heat while listening to the music from the live band at the restaurant/bar next door. Then by 10 our group was ready to call it a night and walk back to the resort.