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Airboy has the great pleasure of welcoming MotherOfSodwee for her debut blogging experience. Please do leave comments and reactions to her stories. First up is her trip to Central America with beloved FatherOfSodwee. Photos are below…

Vivienne Gill MotherOfSodwee in Nicaragua

Well here we are just back from the most amazing 3 week trip to Costa Rica & Nicaragua…..first of all a few hard facts relating to the 2 countries……

COSTA RICA : population 4,2 million.Their standard of living is the highest of all the Central American countries. A democracy, current president is Oscar Arias. Shares a boundary with Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south. Capital city San Jose. The only country not to have an army. The population call themselves Ticos (for the men) and Ticas (for the women) A third of the population is less than 15 years old.

NICARGUA : population approx 6 million, biggest country in Central America and also the poorest, shares a border with Honduras to the North and Costa Rica to the South, Pacific to the west and the Carribbean to the east. Capital city Managua. The peolple there call themselves “Nicas”. Current president Daniel Ortega.

Ok that’s enough of the geography lesson, and more of impressions……the first 2 weeks of the trip were organised around a discovery of the volcanoes, tropical forests, the flora and fauna of the 2 countries, first of all in Costa Rica and then moving up into Nicaragua. We were a party of 9 altogether + our Nicaraguan guide Alicia and our driver Diego.
Day 1 started off with a walk to see our first crater lake at Poas volcano, which was a sharp turquoisey green colour and a walk around the crater lake. Lush vegetation everywhere, wet tropical forest. After that bathed in the thermal spas at foot of the volcano Arenal, a heady 39° – 42° depending on the pool you were soaking in. It was actually pouring down with rain as we soaked in our pools, sipping coctails and watching my toe nail varnish disintegrate before my very eyes in the sulphur pools…..shock resistant varnish L’Oreal ??? I think not !!!
The following 5 days were spent walking around Rincon de la Vieja, watching the red lava flow down the sides of Arenal volcano in the dark, bathing in more sulphur pools, getting close up to mud pools bubbling away at approx 100°C, fumeroles, smoking craters, dips and swims in crystalline rivers and sun dappled waterfalls….it was really spectacular stuff !!!!
We then found ourselves on the frontier crossing to pass into Nicaragua where we said goodbye to Diego our drive and the decadence of having our own private minibus to transport us around and hello to a more “hands on” approach to the trip thankfully Alicia our guide was still with us and made the border formalities extremely easy as she did everything for us…that was quite something to behold actually, just the activity going on in the frontier area, huge juggernauts banging through on the dirt roads, no tarmac anywhere, dust billowing everywhere, families moving through from one side to the other, hawkers and sellers for hamacs, drinks, snacks, ice cream, you name it it seemed to be there….. Alicia finally got us through the redtape and from there we headed to st Juan del Sur. A well-known beach resort onthe south west coast of the Pacific. Had some lunch there then caught our first local bus for a village called Ostionale – our first stop in Nicaragua staying at a fishing village. The bus journey was pretty eventful Eric didn’t want to let the ruksacks out of his sight so went up on the roof to keep an eye on things it took a few hours after the journey for this stomach to find it’s way back to the right place in his body. Up on te roof he was joined by an individual rather the worse for wear in the alcohol department – who pulled a knife on him, fortunately the bloke was too ratted to do anything dangerous with it but as a result got thrown off the top into the bus, whereupon he started being a complete pain in the ass and hassling all the women in the bus – he finally got chucked out for good 2 miles on….huzzah!!
The fishing village Ostionale was great, very basic and just beginning to welcome in tourists who stay with the inhabitants in their homes, we ate fresh fish caught locally, red snapper accompanied with rice n’ beans. We had a ramble along the coast the next day, empty beaches, white sands, you know like the advert kind of stuff….beautiful, mangroves, crabs everywhere. The following day we saw tortoises coming from the sea to lay their eggs…….amazing, they lay between 150-170 eggs each time…….had a hop over to Ometepe island to see more volcanoes and then we went up to Grenada, a Spanish colonial city on the north west edge of Nicaragua Lake. Chilled out a bit there, cruised the town, drank a few beers and checked out the “in” place to be in the evening, the “Café Nuit”, to listen to some live music and strut our stuff to the reggaeton and salsa music……challenging stuff mind !!!
That’s when we left the group and continued on our own up to Las Penitas a paradisiac place on the coast west of Leon. The hotel was rustic simple feet in the ocean, hamacs everywhere, the best cocktails ever and fresh caught fish lobster and shrimp on the menu every night !!! What more could you wish for…….nothing…… so we stayed for 5 days and then started the marathon trip home…..just to finish if you do get the chance to visit, seize it as this part of the world is truly fabulous, still relatively unspoilt, not yet swarming with tourists, meanwhile hope you enjoy the photos………..


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