We had another jam packed day planned today. We started off walking to the bus station and catching a local bus headed towards Managua. We were getting off just a little out of town at the turn off towards Laguna de Apoyo. Once there we were to catch a taxi to the lake. But just as we were about to get into the taxi a local bus turned in and so we jumped on that instead. We then had a joke about how blairse we have become about jumping on a bus and not being 100% certain exactly where it is going. Unfortunately for us this bus didn’t quite take us all the way to the lagoon and we had to walk the last 3 kms.
On arrival we payed a fee to get into one of the resorts as the public spot wasn’t much chop and spent the next few hours lounging in an inner tube tire on the lake. The lake is crystal clear water that is fed by rain water and springs. The water in some places can be a little warmer than you would think, we found out from our guide yesterday it is because there is actually a dormant volcano underneath whose vents emit steam. All in all a pretty relaxing start to the day.
We made our way back to Grenada by catching a taxi to the motor way and flagging down a bus. I ended up in the dicky seat right next to the driver with Tim squished in the isle. Luckily we only had about 12 kms to travel.
After checking out the local market and realising it wasn’t for us. We again filled our bellies with some Vigoron from our ladies at the park and slowly made our way towards lake Nicaragua to commandeer a boat and captain to take us to the isletas. Most people get a tour through an agency but Gabby our hostel lady told us it is better to go down and get the captain yourself as you get the whole boat. This is exactly what we did and I soon found myself on the back of a push bike with the owner in front and Tim following on another bike. Bikes over here would be up there after buses as one of the main forms of transport. The locals have it down to a fine art, especially the ladies who sit side saddle in front of the driver often with a child on the front handle bars. As you can see by the photo I may have been a little to big and definitely not very elegant but we made it work even if all the locals were laughing at us.
We tentatively asked if we could buy some beers for the trip and not only did he say it way okay but he actually went and got them for us so we soon found ourselves in a boat with just us and our teenage captain and his girlfriend who came along for the ride. The owner of the boat soon tried to get more money out of us but after some intense negotiations on Tim’s behalf we were away and boating!
The isletas were formed when volcano Mombacho exploded and around 350 tiny islands were formed. These were owned by the local indigenous people but unlike the Kuna in Panama these guys sold out and a lot of the islands have been purchased by rich Nicaraguans and Americans and massive houses have been built.
On one of the islands an ex pat introduced Howler and Capuchin monkeys. They have been fed by the boat operators to the point where they will occasionally jump from the trees onto the boat to get the avocados or fruit the captains have. Well there were about 3 boats full of people and our boat with just us so we got the monkeys as they apparently avoid the full boats. It was awesome. These guys were no where near as tame as the ones in San Blas but they still let us touch them and get really close. It was very cool just to see them move around the boat. They enjoyed it so much that they didn’t want to get back on the island and our captain had to splash them with water to get them to climb back onto the trees.
Our next island stop was one where an old Spanish outpost had been built which had views back to Granada. After getting some photos we walked back down to the boat only to discover that our boat had left but he did leave his girlfriend guarding our bag and she told us he would be back in 10 minutes. We didn’t mind at all as we sat on the pier watching the sun set and a man in a little canoe throwing his cast net.
Old mate came back but with another group who wanted to see the sunset so we all piled back in the boat and watched it set while on the trip back. There was a little bar just where we got off so we decided to go in and have a beer. Very much a locals spot we got a few stares but nothing we were not used to.
It quickly got dark and we were told by our hostel not to walk around this area at night but to get a taxi. So after paying we asked the barman to call a taxi for us but he promptly told us that he couldn’t and not many came this way. Well we had no other choice but to start walking home. The strip is full of bars and clubs but at this hour it is pretty quiet and dark. We soon found a security guard and asked him to call a taxi but he said again that you can’t call but we could flag one down when one passed. So we promptly sat beside him to wait. 10 mins later one went passed and we were safely out of there and back into old town. Probably nothing would have happened but it is sometimes better to be safe than sorry.
We soon found ourselves sitting back and enjoying some very cheap mojitos along the pedestrian street watching the world go by. S
Thought I would get a bit of exercise in.
Just lounging around.
View from the resort.
Some of the not so nice colonial buildings, but for us almost as beautiful.
The craziness leading to the central market. The old blue and white building housed the market.
Rice and beans and corn sold by the bag full.
We decided against eating in this market. Not quite up to even my adjusted South and Central American level of hygiene. But still an awesome experience to take a walk through.
Who knew there was so many different types of white rice.
The pedestrianised street that came alive at night.
We honestly could have taken thousands of photos in this city. Literally picture perfect.
Another old church. Very cool as there is maybe only two or three in the city not restored.
Like I said, not very elegant but it got the job done.
Getting ready to climb aboard!
As you can see in the background, everyone wanted to be on our boat!
Shot of the day. Even though they were so close they move so much and make it so hard to get a good shot. Awesome work Tim.
Obligatory us shot.
The man in a canoe with a cast net.
Sunset over Granada.
A storm brewing on the horizon.