Did you know that Nicaragua is only a 2 hour and 45-minute flight from Texas? Follow our World Explorer’s Program Manager, Heidi Smith on her recent trip to Central America.
I took the red-eye flight out of San Francisco. After a brief layover in Houston, my plane landed in Managua before noon on the last day of 2017. We took a taxi from the Managua airport straight to the colorful colonial city of Granada.
Most Nicaraguans spend the New Year holiday eating dinner with their family and friends. We rang in 2018 along with the locals setting off fireworks in the streets.
We woke up early and had our first (of many) traditional breakfast called Gallo Pinto before leaving Granada for Rivas.
In Rivas, we took a hot and sweaty ferry ride to Ometepe Island in the middle of Lake Nicaragua. There are two volcanoes on the island, one of which is active.
We stayed at an eco-hotel on the far side of the island. We had to take a 4×4 to cross the island.
We climbed the non-active Volcano Maderas. We had to have a guide lead us up to the top. It was a very steep and very muddy climb – not for the faint of heart!
Four and a half hours later, we had reached the top and descended down to the lagoon inside the crater of the volcano. Unfortunately, it was super foggy at the top!
We had to climb back up a big hill before we could start back down the volcano. Going down was even more difficult than going up. The trip to nine hours in total!
After waking up with bug bites, blisters on our feet and sore muscles, we made the journey back across the lake on the ferry and headed out to the Pacific coast to a small surfing village called Playa Maderas.
The rest of the trip was spent swimming, surfing and watching amazing sunsets at the beach. The local Nicaraguans were extremely friendly and eager to share their culture and beautiful country with us. If you are looking for an inexpensive trip abroad, I definitely recommend Nicaragua!