Nicaragua. Where we spent the month of December. A beautiful, and interesting country full of different people, backpackers, cultures and most importantly, food.
Nicaragua surprised me in so many ways. I thought it would be full of backpackers which would consequently suck out its culture. I couldn’t have been more wrong. This country was full of culture and a complete lack of backpackers, maybe that is because I didn’t go to the famous party town; San Juan Del Sur. It could also have a lot to do with the recent civil war, which I will talk about in my future blog post Behind the Scenes: Nicaragua.
I loved Nicaragua.Volcanoes, beaches and towns bubbling with life. Here is where we ended up:
We arrived in Nicaragua on the !0th December, which was coincidentally our one year (legal) wedding anniversary. We had a long two days of travel going from El Salvador to Leon although very fun and interesting, we arrived exhausted and sweaty into the beautiful town of Leon. We booked ourselves two nights at the more fancy guesthouse Al Sole. A beautiful guesthouse, however, it was out of our budget and we only chose this place to have a nice room for a couple of nights. The room was gorgeous, with it’s own private bathroom, too handsome dogs strolled around and the gardens were beautiful. We then moved to Mangoes Hostel, the much cheaper alternative and spent the rest of out time in the city there. A really nice hostel, with a great kitchen and a freezing pool. We also met some very nice people here so all in all our accommodation experience here was amazing!
We ate incredible food in Leon. We treated ourselves for our anniversary and went to the vegan/veggie restaurant Coco Calala which had the most incredible food. We had iced coffees and burgers and we even snuck back later on in the week where I got to try the ‘fish tacos’ which were truly some of the best food I had come across. This place had the most amazing vegan spicy mayo, if you get the chance definitely try it! We also ate at Restaurant El Sesteo where we each had pasta; Quincy had pesto and I had garlic. Both were so delicious, it felt like we had found an amazing Italian restaurant! For the rest of our time here we tried to eat cheaply, we found a random restaurant on the street that made nice and cheap burritos and we also ate falafel very frequently at the shawarma restaurant.
I will note that it was incredibly hard in Leon to avoid being given something that wasn’t vegan. We also ask for no mayo/cheese/etc but somehow it would either end up in the meal or on the side as a dipping sauce (equally as bad in my opinion). Being vegan was much harder here than most places to my surprise.
Outside of eating we did not do too much in this city. After three months of backpacking I have visibly noticed how we have stopped going to ‘do’ things. Sometimes it is because we don’t want to (hiking) or because it is too expensive (volcano boarding) but we, as travelers, get the most of our pleasure from just walking around and being in different places and finding the best vegan food we can. This town was amazing to walk around and that we did, exploring all the different churches and cathedrals. We climbed to the top of the main square cathedral around sunset and saw some incredible views. It was amazing to see the whole of Leon and it was only then we realised how small it was.
We then took a bus ride to Granada. The information I get for the buses in Central America, is always Centro Coasting following the information here we got dropped off in the center of Granada. We had already scoped out the New Century Hostel, because it was the cheapest we saw online. This hostel was a heaven sent. The owner was so accommodating and went out of his way to make us comfortable, he even taught Quincy Spanish which then lead to us being inspired to start practicing and learning Spanish for an hour, almost everyday.
Granada was the town where we really did not anything. We put in a lot of hours into learning Spanish, walking around and eating. We did take one day to go to the Mansion De Chocolat where we sat by the pool, with the ducks, enjoying the incredibly hot weather that Nicaragua harbors.
One of the best finds of Granada was the Chinese restaurant, Ano Nuevo Chino we stumbled across. It was the best Chinese, I think I could say, I have had in my life. It had an incredible amount of veggie options; including tofu! We ate here at least four times and I will always miss this spot. In this town we also ate the worst veggie burger I have ever had which consisted of; bun, lettuce, tomato, cucumber and ketchup. Truly terrible.
Laguna De Apoyo
It took us a while to finally decide to spend Christmas here. We knew we wanted to but we also knew we wanted to make an epic vegan roast dinner and knew this may not be possible because the Laguna is very far away from everything and is more of a resort/hotel location. However, we found great accommodation at Laguna Beach Club we reserved a two person ‘tent’ for $20 a night. When we arrived though there was an issue with our tent so we got upgraded to a real bedroom. A Christmas miracle! The rooms were too expensive for us so to be in one for the same price as a tent was a really nice surprise.
Our time at the lake was magical. I loved the Laguna. The sun was beating down constantly but the hotel backed onto the lake so we would jump in the water whenever necessary. We continued learning Spanish and we both started using Duolingo again which has been really helpful in our Spanish progression.
An amazing, simple and peaceful day. We woke up, called family and then made an epic tofu scramble. We spent the day n our resort, rolling around in the water, lying in the sun and eating. As we studied Spanish Santa arrived (off the water no less) and came around delivering sweets and taking photos. It was so lovely to see and really brought that Christmas spirit. For dinner we pulled together a pretty epic Christmas dinner, we did a big shop in Granada and brought it all the way to the Laguna. So we could have mash and roast potatoes, caramelized carrots, garlic broccoli, buttery peas and herbed tofu. A magical meal. We then played chess and watched A Christmas Carol. And best of all, I got to spend in with someone I love, in a country I am falling in love with.
We were both so excited to get to this island. Hearing so many great things and after I found a vegetarian hostel back where we were in Flores I was very ready to get there and check it all out. It was a bit of a trek, to get from the Laguna. We had to go back to Granada, take a bus to Rivas (simultaneously getting ripped off on the price), take a taxi to the ferry dock (ripped off again) and then one a one and a half hour ferry. We had read online that the only way to get around the island itself after the ferry was to take another expensive taxi. Feeling not up to the idea, we decided to spend a night in the dock town Moyogalpa. Which was a surprising nice little town. We stayed at Hostal Papagayo, a cheap and very nice hostel. We then found some really great food spots; Hospedaje Central and Restaurant & Pizzeria, La Toscana both having vegan soya meat! We haven’t found soy meat in a very long time so it was quite the treat and the food was delicious.
This was the area were the vegetarian hostel El Zopilote was and the reason for us picking this area. This hostel was great. They had an amazing vegan menu and I ate some of the best pizza and burgers I have ever had in my life, and I say that without being dramatic. The hostel ran off solar power, had no flushing toilets and was completely eco-friendly. It was up on the moment and it felt like an incredible spot to spend a few days. We even had our bananas stolen by a bat (I think), so what is to not like.
We did move from this hostel because it was more on the expensive side and moved closer to the beach at Hotel Comedor Los Cocos. This place also had some great vegan options for food however it was more expensive. We ate every day at Mi Ranchito which had the most delicious food, real flavours and great vegan options again. Our time here was spent eating, lying on the beach, swimming and learning Spanish, The island was one of my most favourite places I have been on my travels so far. So peaceful and a great place to spend a lot of time.
And that was our time in Nicaragua. A beautiful blend of cities and nature and enjoying the completely different culture around us.
As this goes up we will be making the long journey from Ometepe to Costa Rica, a journey that will be very long but I am really forward to arriving and having a week whirlwind adventure in Costa Rica! If you feel like catching up my previous posts were aboutsex in hostels and my time inEl Salvador See you next time!