I arrived in Nicaragua on April 1 after
a very long bus ride from San Jose, Costa Rica. Nicaragua is an
interesting country, not too difficult to get around in, beautiful
colonial cities, very dramatic scenery, lots of volcanoes, and
cheap. It has a fair number of backpackers, but not too
many other tourists. Too bad, the country could use some
regular tourists since it is quite poor and backpackers are notoriously
My first stop was Granada, a colonial city
on the shore of Lago de Nicaragua, the largest lake in Central
America. Lago de Nicaragua connects to the Caribbean by way of
Rio San Juan, which is navigable most of the time. This resulted
in Granada, way over on the western side of Nicaragua, being attacked
by pirates from the Caribbean. Also, since the western shore of
Lago de Nicaragua is only twelve miles from the Pacific Ocean
at its narrowest point, before the Panama Canal was built people
who wanted to cross North America could sail to the west shore
of Lago de Nicaragua, take a short stagecoach ride to the Pacific
coast, then finish their trip by sea. At one time Nicaragua was
in contention for a canal connecting the Caribbean to the Pacific,
but Panama was chosen instead. Just an interesting bit of
history, Granada might have been a big time port city on the route
from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
On 14 April I stopped goofing off in Granada and took a bus and ferry to Ometepe, a volcanic island in Lago de Nicaragua.
On my last night in Ometepe I ate fish, which was a mistake. I returned to Granada feeling pretty bad and once again got a room a Hospedaje Central. I don't know what was wrong with the fish but it was days before I felt like doing much of anything. On Thursday I felt well enough to catch a bus for a few days in Leon.
From Leon I took a bus to Managua on April 30.
I went to Managua on Wednesday, April 30, hoping to find a guide to take me to Vulcan Momotombo, a very active cone volcano. Unfortunately this was the beginning of May Day weekend when most of the city shuts down. Official tourist offices were closed, and I could not find any private tour groups. Rather than stay into the following week for what looked like a futile attempt to find a guide, I decided to move on to Honduras, starting with Tegucigalpa.
Sunday morning I caught a bus from Managua to Esteli, then Esteli to Ocotal and the Honduran border, crossed the border and got a bus to El Paraiso, then another bus to Danli. I spent the night in Danli and did not reach Tegucigalpa until the following day. I could have done the entire trip to Tegucigalpa on a Tica bus, but it left at 5:00 in the morning and there was no place I could have eaten breakfast that early. I hate traveling on an empty stomach. Anyway, on May 4 I left Nicaragua for Honduras.