Posts Tagged ‘leon nicaragua’

Nicaragua:  42/70

I stayed at two farms in Nicaragua and traveled a lot all over. One place was Matagalpa (a bigger city of about 600K) in the middle of the country. Another was San Antonio De Upa, a tiny hamlet (population 30? Maybe?) that you hike 8K from the bus stop to get to and is off the grid. Jinotega (180K population) is just north of Matagalpa.

I left here and went to Jinotega to another farm which was closer to a town (hitch-hiking is the preferred method of transportation of getting to/from towns) which is a blessing and a curse. You get access to bakery shops(!!!!) but you are also closer to more people (potential zombies). Being at the Biosfera the land, forest and natural springs were magical and I felt connected with the land. It was also pretty high up on a hill and semi-tucked away. The highway was right at the end of the driveway, so you never felt totally isolated. (again, blessing and a curse for the zombie apocalypse).

*note: if you’re a coffee drinker, this is the place to be! Actually, this is one of the places that Starbucks gets their coffee.

Leon, Nicaragua is great place to settle for a few days as it’s very close to beautiful beaches, volcanoes (that you can sled down!), public markets and lots of people to socialize with. (the locals are incredibly friendly and most people speak English in the bigger cities).

For being the second poorest country in the western hemisphere I stuffed myself silly (on zombie-apocalypse day) for 5$. Also, being the second safest means that I will most definitely be returning to Nicaragua soon.

LOCATION: 8/10

Nicaragua has many different climates all within a few miles of each other. You can be in a sweltering hot city in the middle of Leon and drive 20 minutes and be on a gorgeous beach. Or drive 20 minutes the other direction and be in the coffee plantation mountains.

Lots of places to hide away and get away, with paved roads and easy access to more populated (read: better equipped) areas.

WATER: 8/10

There are natural springs everywhere. Drinking the tap water, though, you need to be careful as it’s unknown where that water is coming from. Bring some iodine or find a spring.

FOOD: 7/10

If you like rice and beans, you’re in luck! If you like veggies, the market is your friend. (requires a trip to a high-populated area). If you need meat- you also won’t have a problem, but refrigeration is an issue (as is electricity in general.) but if you can find other people to share a chicken/cow with, then again, you won’t have an issue with food here.

LODGING: 2/10

Most of the houses here are pretty rustic unless you happen to find a really wealthy person who reinforced their house with concrete/sand bag foundations. Keeping out the elements isn’t the problem—but keeping out a hungry hoard would be.

COSTCO/SUPPLIES: 1/10

In all my travels I couldn’t find a general warehouse of goods. There are plenty of little shops- but you would have to know where to go/what you’re looking for (as the signage isn’t really well laid out/labeled). I’m also not really sure what the gun situation is, but only the bank-guards seemed to have them (that I saw).

NON-DEAD DANGERS: 7/10

The worst issue that I had were mosquitos and/or fleas—and even that was limited by comparison to other countries that I have visited. Other issues would be earthquakes or mud-slides during the wet-season.

Being on organic farms, however, I was told that the bigger problems were the locals using pesticides and those chemicals leaking into the water supply/other crops/land. This could have long-term health problems…. But I won’t get into that here. (we’re just thinking about surviving zombies, afterall.)

LOCALS/CULTURE: 9/10

Hands down, the nicest people I have met in Central America so far were the Nicos. Very polite! So thankful/appreciative that I was there! They were patient with my (abysmal) Spanish and giggled internally when I resorted to miming what I wanted. Besides being overly friendly (trying to pick me up), I loved my time here.

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Dec 23rd, Leon, Nicaragua

Dear Mom,

I went volcano sledding. Hold on, let me repeat that for you. I SLEDDED DOWN A VOLCANO! Yep. new sport. Basically, you hike (30 min) up the side of the youngest (and most active) volcano in all of central america (Cerro Negro) with a make-shift toboggan (basically a board with a piece of PVC pipe on the front and a piece of formica board on the back), change into an orange jumpsuit (“for protection”), take a deep breath and sled down.

The “ash” is basically fish-gravel (but black, smelly and hot). The sun was beating down on us and most people were still hungover from the night before (the Big Foot Hostel had a huge party the night before with free drinks and a lot of beer pong). The sunset was breathtaking and the thrill of going 70+km on a piece of wood (DOWN A VOLCANO) is totally worth the price of admission (25$– plus you get 2 free mojitos… If you survive).

The only scary thing was the potential of the mountain spewing at any minute. Other than that- it is just a great story and bucket-list item. Not to mention that Leon, Nicaragua is probably one of the safest and cleanest cities I’ve been to yet in all of Central America. Totally worth a visit.


Dec 24th, Isla Los Brasiles, North of Poneloya, Leon, Nicaragua

Dear Mom,

The Hostel had a special where they drove you to the beach for the day and then they provided an all-you-can-stuff x-mas dinner with an open bar. I gladly paid the 25$ and laid on the beach and did absolutely nothing. To say this is paradise is an understatement. Except for the 15 people that were included in the special, the beach was deserted. It was actually a sea-turtle sanctuary (Nicaraguans will scour the beaches in search for the eggs, dig them up, and sell them on the black market. This organization buys the eggs back from them, hatches them as best as they can and releases them back into the wild.) So after a very hectic day of laying on the beach, sunbathing and playing in the bath-water-temperature ocean, I decided to be productive and save some sea turtles before going back to the hostel for an amazing dinner that didn’t disappoint! 🙂


Dec 28th, San Jose, Costa Rica (Zapote)

Dear Mom,

I went to see a bull fight today at the “Annual Festival”. The whole area was set up with carnival rides, beer and food tents, and a huge stadium that holds (maybe) 5K. The seats are, well, ok–there are no seats. More just like platforms. In the center is a dirt pit and a “moat-like area” that holds all the people (out of reach of the bull).

My (crazy) friends were in the moat until it was their turn to jump into the pit with the bull. No one, sadly, was able to explain to me why this stuff happens– except it’s like Central America’s version of Hockey…. You wait for the blood to show up and then you get all excited and really pay attention.

I should note, though, that my friends got a t-shirt and admission (and the best seats in the house)– and I had to pay 30$USD for a semi-crappy seat. So I think they got the better bargain. (Remember: Risking your life sometimes pays off!)

Would I have jumped in as well? ABSOLUTELY! But someone had to take the pictures.


That’s all for this week, Mom… I hope you didn’t have a heart attack from this.

Love,

LN