Riding into Nicaragua on the bus went pretty smooth. The farther south you go into Central America, the better the roads are!! The first stop in this new country was Leon. It’s one of those cities most people make a stop at on their way through Nicaragua and historically, I guess the center of the revolution. It is also one of those towns that has a lot of the Spanish architecture I like. The main thing to do here, outside town, would be to climb and slide down Volcan Cerro Negro.
It was a hell of a bumpy ride in the van to get there, but the group of people I was riding with was pretty cool. There were three French girls, a Mexican couple, a German dude, and another American. It was so hot this day out and soon I learned that we all had to carry our own sled up the volcano. Once I found a way to carry the sled in a way that was not extremely uncomfortable, I just put one foot in front of the other and started my climb. It took awhile to get to the top, along with some serious winds that almost took me and my board sailing over the edge, but we all made it fine!
Before sliding down the volcano, we all had to put on jumpsuits, gloves, and goggles. I thought to myself, while our guide was giving instructions, that I got this. I grew up sledding down hills of snow. Looking at where the others came from, I think this may have been most of their’s first time sledding.
Once we were ready, we were off! I went third and overall thought I had a good run. I did accidentally cross over into the other path but I got some good speed. At one point I felt like the sled wanted to come out from under me, but I was able to manage to bring it straight again with some leaning. It wasn’t until I got close to the end I needed to put my feet out to stabilize the sled. In doing this, I got a whole lot of rock spraying up into my face and shooting up my pant legs. But, I made it down safe and the climb up was now totally worth it!
I can’t say that for one of the girls coming down a few people after me. She lost control and rolled badly down the hill. At first it looked cool until I realized this was more serious than a little roll. I quickly ran up the volcano to try and help. She had a ton of rock up in her grill , scratches all over her face, and blood running from her forehead. She also was holding her arm and I just hoped it wasn’t broken. In the end, she was fine. Nothing broken and she just walked away with minor scratches. This could have been a lot worse!
The next day I headed to Granada, Nicaragua. When I got here I checked in to my hostel and started getting an idea what to see here. What I found was a night trip to Masaya Volcano National Park to see the lava in the volcano. I met a couple German girls who were planning to go to this too, so we went out to a travel agency nearby to book a better trip than the one the hostel was offering. The American guy that was on the Leon volcano trip with me just checked in at the same hostel and he was able to join the group too.
The tour first stopped at a very touristy type market that I found to be typical BS. Everything that was there to buy were the same things I have pretty much been seeing on this entire trip. After the hour at the market, we were on our way to the volcano. The time at the volcano was very short, like 15 minutes, because they only let a certain amount of tourists up there at a time for safety reasons. The line to get in this place is very long! But, 15 minutes was good enough for me and I enjoyed getting to see lava for the first time.
The next day I decided to relax and take a walk around the town. Granada is pretty small and taking in the architecture and old churches went pretty quickly.
The original plan after Granada was to head to the large island that is home to two volcanos, on Nicaragua Lake. One of the German girls was heading in the same direction, so we planned to travel together for a few days as we made our way to Costa Rica. Unfortunately, the plan to travel together didn’t work out and with the Easter holiday weekend coming up quickly, lots of things would be shut down leaving me stuck. So, I went to the bus station to see if it was possible to just head to San Jose, Costa Rica and skip this part of my trip all together. The first bus station was a bust and they said they were booked all the way through to Sunday. Fortunately, there was another bus company a few blocks down that had a few spots available and I jumped on it. Off to San Jose, Costa Rica I go and goodbye to the new friends I hung out with over the last few days.