Sunday, October 28, 2012

Costa Rica 2: Nicaragua Day Trip

There were many opportunities of different excursions we could take from our hotel. Before we got to Costa Rica we decided we definitely wanted to do some excursions to experience more of the culture. After reading some reviews and talking to different people we decided to try a day trip to Nicaragua. It would give us the opportunity to see more culture, walk through a Central American town, go to the summit of a volcano and take a boat ride on Lake Nicaragua. It was a long day but well worth the time especially since we found out that it poured all that day at the resort. We started our day at 4:45 am when we met in the lobby of the hotel. After a bus change and some breakfast we arrived at the Nicaraguan border. The pictures of the day are out of order ... just an FYI.

When we arrived at the border there was about a mile of trucks lined up. The tour guide told us that sometimes these trucks could sit for 72 hours waiting to get through the border... some battle between the truck drivers and immigration officers. 
At times we would pass cattle running down the street with a man on horseback leading them. The tour guide told us that farmers often dont have enough land for the cattle so they run them back and forth down the road during the day. 

These next pictures are actually from the last thing we did in Nicaragua. We ended our day with a beautiful boat ride on Lake Nicaragua. It was such a gorgeous way to end an awesome day. 
see the monkey in the tree

there were little islands all over the lake that were left behind from volcanic activity. Many of them had houses built on them that could only be accessed by boat.

our friends, Karen and Travis... also honeymooners

this kid isn't joking. I have never seen as many people on ONE bike as I have in Nicaragua. I think the record was 4
The next set of photos are from our stop in Grenada, a city in Nicaragua. 
a colorful dining area in downtown Grenada
beautiful church and blue sky 

the streets were tiny and the shops were all painted in bright pretty.
when we arrived in Grenada we went right to this church. We were able to go up in the clock tower and get pictures of the city. The view was phenomenal. 
view of Grenada and Lake Nicaragua from clock tower

Tom and I up in the clock tower

When we pulled up to the church our tour guide told us to give a donation of $1 to the church in order to go up in the tower. Tom walked up and handed the man sitting in the doorway a $5 bill to be generous. We walked in and started to walk into the tower. We were stopped and asked for the $1 donation. Tom said, "I gave it to that man". When we turned around he was gone! Ha, stupid American tourists. Our tour guide made us feel better by telling Tom he did two good deeds for the day as we were forced to pay again to see the clock tower. 

we got to go to a cigar factory and watch them roll cigars. One of our friends even got to roll one of his own
beautiful colorful streets

An old hospital being restored to a hotel
It rained for about one hour of the day which was unfortunately right as we got to the Masaya Volcano. We still got to drive up to the summit of an active volcano and look inside. It was smoking like crazy and stunk of sulphar. Bizarre experience, despite the pouring rain. The pictures below are terrible at best but are the only ones we have from the volcano. 
the cross used to release the witch living in the volcano so the people of the Mayan times would stop sacrificing women to the witch. The conquistadors put a stop to that Mayan tradition. 

The next set of pictures are from our stop in Masaya. We stopped here for the market and lunch. 

A stop for some drinks
we watched these men thatch together a roof from palm leaves...pretty cool

REALLY old fortress walls now housing the market
Our first stop of the day was at a dormant volacano that has filled with water to create a beautiful lake. There was also a small open air market where we bought a hammock chair for $9. 

Costa Rica is 100% natural energy
This final group of pictures is back to the boat ride... ( i dont know how they got all mixed up) This is how we ended our day! It was incredible.

We had an absolutely wonderful time in Nicaragua. It was a super long day but it was such an experience and so pretty!

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