Nicaragua: October 7 – 8, 2014

  • Ometepe
  • Currency: Nicaraguan Cordoba (USD is widely accepted, but you will get change back in local currency, surprisingly, you get better exchange rates at supermarkets than banks)
  • Ometepe is an island in Lake Nicaragua, with two volcanoes (one active, and one dormant) – both of which you can climb!
  • There are proposals for the building of a canal through Lake Nicaragua, like the Panama Canal, in the hopes of increasing the country’s growth
  • Our group stayed at several local homes as part of a homestay, which allowed us to glimpse into how the locals live, the food they eat (there’s a delicious tamarind drink)
  • Wi-fi and entertainment was limited to a main area next to the lake, where we basically played a game that’s basically like Uno, but with a normal deck of cards, called ‘Last Card’ for hours on end (and one night being stuck in this area until late because of not wanting to walk back to our houses in the torrential rain)
  • I opted for the ‘lazy tour’ instead of the volcano hike, which consisted of:
    • An easy hike around a lagoon and going to a black sand beach (caused by the volcanoes surrounding the area)
      • There’s a legend about a man that haunts the nature reserve surrounding the lagoon called Chico Largo – he is a real man from the past who was unusually tall and descended from shamans. It was rumoured he was “friends with the devil”, and that he sacrificed animals. In recent times, the legend is that people who go to hunt illegally in the reserve have gone missing, because Chico Largo is protecting the wildlife and nature.
      • We saw howler monkeys, turtles, butterflies, and a boa constrictor (which the guide felt obliged to pull onto the path when it tried to get away so we could take pictures of it)
    • Visiting a petroglyph site, with a 10 minute nap in some hammocks beforehand (I’d probably give this one a miss – it wasn’t a particularly interesting site)
    • Going to the Santo Domingo beach for lunch
    • Going to a volcanic spring called Ojo de la Agua (Eye of the Water)
  • Language:
    gallo pinto: a rice and bean dish (it’s delicious)
    naturales: natural
    con: with
    fresa: strawberry
    papa: potato
    papa puree: mashed potato
    papa fritas: french fries
    menú: menu
    cena: dinner
    desayuno: breakfast
    elefante: elephant
    oso: bear
    león: lion
    tortuga: turtle

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