Hello again from the PWB Nicaragua team! We are officially past the half way mark of our tour, can you believe it? Time is a funny thing. It has a tendency to zoom right by when days are filled to the brim, and we certainly have had full days. The halfway mark also happened to be our week off on tour! So, may I present to you a bonus blog of our break excursions! Enjoy!
If you want to go to a place where your mind will be blown by the sheer beauty of it, definitely go to Ometepe. The entire team ended up on this hour glass shaped island at one point or another, and everyone except for one visited Finca La Magia, a quaint little guest house at the foot of the Maderas volcano. I stayed there the full week. Our former PWB member Bea (aka Hoop O’Clock) has been living and working there as of recently, and she happens to be a great friend of mind. Sooo naturally I ended up there! I had the pleasure of sleeping in a bedroom in the upstairs of her bamboo house, with a view of the lake and Costa Rica behind it. So amazing.
On my trip I hiked up a nearby waterfall, saw tons of wildlife (including a scorpion the size of a large ant, wow!), and spent so much time admiring the surrounding beauty. I have to say the highlight of the trip was taking a bike ride around the circumfrence of the Maderas section of the Ometepe island. I left at 6:30am and made it back to the finca at 2. I stopped for breakfast, later a coffee break at a really neat cafe with some gorgeous murals, and spent a good chunk of time walking up and down steep rocky roads. Walking allowed me to really take in my surroundings. Many times I was alone on the road, and it was so peaceful.
All in all, I had a super refreshing and fulfilling time off. I am super happy to be back to work in San Marcos with the team, and I’ll be visiting Ometepe again after the tour is over! Yay. – Sara
Mural at Cafe De Los Artistas
Saturday night I partied on the beach
Sunday I payed for it
Monday I cleaned and tidied the León house and traveled to Managua
Tuesday I met my partner at the airport and hustled to omotepe, by land, sea, and foot
Wednesday we toured the island by scooter and bathed in bliss
Thursday we took bus after boat after bus after hitched rides to get across the country to remote beach heaven in Salinas Grandes
Friday we made no plans
Saturday – breakfast, stretch, swim, kayak, birdwatch, sunset swim, bioluminescence, massages, good plan!
Sunday we met Jackey and traveled in the crew minibus to San Marcos
Overall week impression – MARVELLOUS!
What could be accomplished in the span of one week? Well, it all depends upon the adventure we choose to undertake for ourselves. Do take a leisurely stroll and melt our worries in the tropical breeze, or do we opt to raise the tempo with the hopes of keeping up with our anticipation. I personally chose the latter and dove in for a keen experience. I had the fantastic experience of summiting multiple volcanoes, met wonderful artists, crashed a motorcycle on the Pan-Am highway, and rode another around the most breath- taking volcanic island cluster. I am left wondering if I elected the right cadence for a week-off in such a beautiful country, and in a completely ineffable appreciation of all the personal connections I have encountered. The people of Nicaragua are such a warm, generous lot. Their big hearts and kind words have left a mark upon my mind that I hope will stay with me long into the future. P.S- Choco-banano 4 lyf – Leo
(Bonus Haiku from Leo)
Craters reaching out Ablaze they caress the sky Prompts embrace of life
A beautiful eco jungle hostel, a motorbike and a few litres of petrol, and a set of juggling clubs is a winning combo for a week off in Nicaragua. Omotepe (tropical island on Lake Nicaragua) is full of nice attractions that you can go to as an excuse to ride a 200cc motocross bike over rough terrain. It’s not often that I’m a tourist but I think I did it pretty well last week. – Jacob
I headed to the beautiful island of Ometepe, to spend time in the jungle on a more remote farm called Finca La Magia. Along with a couple of my team mates, we perused the island, hiked to a waterfall, and chilled out while looking out over the lake. I saw monkeys, tropical birds, and heaps of crazy weird insects. Also the water of the lake was often so still and calm. One day we went to the ‘beach’ with Bea (the tour coordinator from last year) and the family who run the hostel with her. It was so cute! After that time I split and spent a few days in Granada, where I took respite in a great hostel, went to yoga classes, and took care of my body and mind in preparation for more work in San Marcos. I ate cheesecake and on my last day went to a freeform dance class. Granada is beautiful and in the evening there was a big free street concert with brass bands playing in the square. It was wonderful to see another city in Nicaragua and how they all differ a little. It really had a Spanish vibe to it, and was the perfect thing for me to do before heading back to work with the team. -Helen
Note- must be read in a fairytale voice with an Irish accent
Once upon a time, a little girl called Darine decided to climb a very big volcano called Maderas. She got up very early, even before the sun did and packed a lovely lunch of sandwiches, refried beans, 8 boiled eggs, a beetroot and chocolate spread. After a nice big strong coffee, Darine and her crew set off on their adventure.
The first part was cute and giggly and full of nice relaxed breaths. She was birds, horses, women carrying things on their heads and bulls she thought were going to kill her.
Then, it started to get a little steep. Darine looked up every 15 steps to see when the steepness was going to stop and then realised… she was climbing a volcano. She trudged on and on and then suddenly, something very unusual happened. Her legs turned to jelly! They still looked the same, they still smelt the same, they even still wore the same clothes but they felt just like the jelly she used to eat after she ate all of her dinner at her grandmothers.
She just sat down to have a good ole cry for herself when she saw something glimmer from behind a big pile of mud. She peeped behind the big pile and saw a pair of sparkly boots with a note. Darine looked around to see if she could see who left this magical gift but nobody was to be seen. She went ahead and read the slightly soppy note
Stop being such a little wimp. Also, your runners are going to fall apart. Here are some boots of determination” Darine slipped on the boots and immediately marched on with confidence, energy and of course, determination. She marched over roots, under boulders, climbed up ropes and finally, made it to the summit! With a massive breath of accomplishment, she stood at the top with her hands on her hops and looked around to the amazing view of… cloud. All she could see was cloud. So she poured chocolate spread into her mouth and slipping every 10 steps with her little jelly legs, went down the volcano again. The end.
Vacation was a whirlwind packed with adventures, travel, and somehow also an abundance of rest. My partner Mike came down from the States, and we spent the week bouncing around from Leon to Poneloya, Granada, and Ometepe. We started off going to a turtle reserve in Poneloya called the Surfing Turtle, which required a bus ride, walk, boat ride, and horse drawn cart through a jungle to reach the beach resort. We relaxed there for a night and enjoyed good food, swimming, a group volleyball game, and a night of learning card games from other travelers from Australia. The next day we travelled a few hours south to Granada, where we stayed near the town center at a chill little place called the Backyard Hostal. The amenities included cornhole, darts, a pool table, foosball, a pool, amazing food, and lots of really cool art being painted on the walls while we were there. The same people who own the hostal run a place called the Treehouse, which is about a 20 minute ride outside Granada, and we headed there the next day. After a short but steep hike up the side of mountain we found ourselves staying in a legitimate treehouse for our room, with a view overlooking the mountainside. This hostal was apparently quite a party spot at night, which we didn’t know when going, but got into the spirit with their 90s themed dance party in the evening. In the early hours of the evening I heard howler monkeys for the first time, and throughout the morning although I didn’t actually see any monkeys until Ometepe. After out night at Treehouse we headed to the island of Ometepe, probably the most magical and beautiful spot of our vacation. It’s an island with two huge volcanoes, one of which is still active. We rented a moped on our first full day on the island, as it is a popular way to get around and see more of the sites. Unfortunately, the company we rented it from didn’t give us much instruction, or warn us about staying clear of the gravel roads. About 20 minutes into our ride, we crashed the moped…. twice. Mike had a few rough scrapes, and the moped was a bit damaged, but we managed to get it back in one piece and decide it was not worth the risk for unexperienced drivers. Future travellers, beware! The rest of our time at Ometepe was beautiful. We saw monkeys, lagoons, waterfalls, exotic birds, butterfly gardens, beautiful flowers and plants, farms, and an abundance of local life. I would absolutely recommend this gem of a place to anyone looking for a beautiful and affordable vacation spot. It was a bit hard to get back into work mode, but I found myself missing the team quite a bit and on our last day of vacation I made my way to San Marcos where we began our next project.