Nicaragua was cruisy. Our cycling route lacked the gradients of Guatemala or the guns of Honduras and we cycled a paltry 500km in just under a month. It sounds like I´m complaining because it wasn´t hard core enough (which I am) but actually Nicaragua was a paradise of voclanoes and lakes and monkeys eating mangoes. It even has a bike lane.
We started in the mountains in the North, splurging on a night in an eco-hotel/coffee plantation/cloud forest reserve. In the morning we went for a walk through the ephiphyte choked forest, listening to and watching the local howler monkeys. I strongly recommend that Karori Sanctuary get howler monkeys. They sound like lions (eh Nieves).
We then spent a couple of weeks at La Mariposa, a beautiful butterfly and hammock decorated Spanish language school underneath Volcan Masaya. The school is not-for-profit and employs about 40 locals, in a real little Nica town. We stayed with a local family who fed Andrew a giant avocado each night for dinner.
Once school was over, we cycled down to Granada, a hot colonial town (whose specialty dish is steamed yucca with pork crackling and cabbage, interesting) from where we could take a boat across massive lake Nicaragua, via Isla de Ometepe. We stayed on the isthmus of the island for two days, cycling around one of its two volcanoes. Ometepe (touted by one tourist map as the largest island on a lake in the world in Central America) is a magical place where the weather changes every five minutes concealing or revealing the jungle clad volcanoes.
Our banana laden ferry left Ometepe in a bug plague/lightning storm. We woke up in the fishing town of San Carlos, in time for rice and beans for breakfast, and a quick boat to CostaRica.
Ay, Nicaragua, sos mas dulcita
que la mielita de Tamagas
Pero ahora que ya sos libre,
Nicaraguita, yo te quiero mucho mas