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Report 1166: Nicaragua, November 2006

By Chiocciola from Washington, DC, Spring 2006

Trip Description: Nicaragua, November 18 - November 26, 2006. A week of lakes, volcanoes, beaches, and little kiddos.

Destinations: Countries - Other Countries

Categories: Hotels/B&Bs; Beach; Day Tours; Sightseeing; Walking/Hiking; Independent Travel; 2 People

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Page 1 of 9: Saturday: From Cold Washington to Sunny Nicaragua

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The Maderas Volcano

It is difficult to write a brief introduction to this trip report, because Nicaragua is SO much more than just a one-week vacation to me. Short story: I went to Nicaragua in May of 2002 to volunteer at an orphanage. I had previously lived and worked in Panama and was ready for some more Central America. I fell in love with a country and a ten-month old baby who is now my five year old goddaughter, Linda. I have been going back on a regular basis ever since, spending probably a total of eight months there. My last visit was in March and I couldn’t wait to go back.

This trip was going to be different, though: my boyfriend was coming with me, and I was not staying at the kids’ house like I usually do. Instead we would travel around with a rental car and stay at different hotels, while making frequent visits to the kids.

There is nothing better than leaving a rainy city to go somewhere sunny. So the anticipation and excitement made up for having to get up at 3:00 to make our 6:30 flight. Washington National Airport was filled with vacationers off to sunny Thanksgiving spots, all of course taking American Airlines’ flight to Miami. But we were plenty early and things moved along. I was giddy and BF was tired. Both flights went well and I was beside myself with excitement when we touched down in Managua.

The rental company did not have the pick-up truck that we had reserved, so we got a smaller car instead – which would turn out to be quite a pain on all the bad roads. And the rental car guy pretty much talked us into bribing him so that he wouldn’t mark anything on the car when we came back! But at last we took off from the airport, heading south towards Rivas.

BF did a superb job on the driving and if it wasn’t for me, we would have taken the smoothest road to Rivas. Instead we got a little too close to Granada and ended up on an awful road for about 15 kilometers. Oh well! For the first time it struck me that there are just not that many cars in Nicaragua. We felt completely safe driving and made great speed on the parts of the roads that were actually good. We stopped at Rivas’ “super market,” a small convenience store next to the Texaco station, for drinks and snacks, before heading to our hotel. All in all the drive took just a little over two hours.

We stayed at the Hotel California in San Jorge, which is a small village close to Rivas, and the closest village to the orphanage. The hotel just opened this past July and was a great choice – clean, with private bathroom, air condition, secure parking, and breakfast included. I think BF found it quite simple but it really worked well. It was also a nice property with trees and horses.

After a quick shower it was off to see the kids and mainly Linda!! The road to the orphanage was even bumpier than before and we quickly realized that while our car was a tiny bit taller than a normal sedan, it didn’t have anything extra as far as suspension went. Riding a bike would have been faster.

As always, it was great to see the kids and I was thrilled to see Linda again. She seemed happy to see me, too! We hung out with her and the other kids until they went to bed and then we went into town for a pizza dinner. It was great to be back and to know that this time I would share Nicaragua with someone special.

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