Main Page     All Journeys    Travel Tips


Photos Map&Plan Diary 1 2 3 4 5

 From Diary 4 and the south and eastern part, I now head back to the centre.
I have seen, what I wanted to see, but I still have a few days left. It is a fantastic sunny day, and the wind is calm in contrast to yesterday. I head back pass Granada at first, then all the way out to the coast. The first part is through the low, green hills, then the swamplands and the huge lake, then the green rice fields. There is a line for the ferry, and I use the time dusting off the interior of the car. And then I hit the dusty gravelroad, leading all the way to Granada...

After Granada, the landscape changes. The altitude raises to 850 metres, and the top of the smooth clay hills, are covered in dense yellow grass. Over the pass, some fantastic valleys reveal them self. Dense bushes covers the smooth hills with a deep green mat. I stop a few times, but fail to get the greatness of this landscape. It is a perfect road, and a great drive.

I reach the lowlands, and more cattle country. Then the little fishing village of Masachapa turns up. I drive right through, and on the other end of town, I meet the sea. I find a little restaurant, serving only one vegetarian dish: Fried plantains (cooking bananas) with cheese. It is filling, and then I'm ready for a stroll along the perfect beach.

Besides from the usual black vultures and seagulls, here are several herons and some sandpipers. A few shell are found here at low-tide, and I do a long walk. A few locals are swimming, but besides from that family, I have it all to my self. I had expected the beach near Managua to be packed!

I head out in front of the village, and here I find the colourful glass-fibre fishing boats. A guy is cycling out to the point with butcher debris, and he sure have fans out here. I try the only hotel I see, but $45 is not my thing. I end up paying $7 in lovely León.

As I head that way, I meet the first cane trains. It is trucks with two trailers. I guess they save one truck-driver, but at the other hand, every intersection have two or four orange guys, flapping around with flags. And they are a bit tricky to overtake on the narrow, winding roads. The landscape turns fairly dry, and I see several cacti on the cattle fields. Later, I see they actually have another truck, pushing the cane trains up-hill.

I park the car outside the hostel in León, and head towards the market. It is almost dark, and the food stalls tend to close then. I find a huge plate with loads of rice and brown beans, shredded salad and a huge block of grilled cheese. They ask for €1. I plot it into the GPS right away.

Through the green hills and pass the lake to the Masachapa beach.

24/12. I get the usual breakfast, but celebrate Christmas with a bit of laundry. Then I set off to yet another day at the beach, this time at El Cubano. It is right through the centre of León, and it seems like a busy day. Out on the countryside, it is significantly more quiet, although I see three horse wagons at once. It is slightly dry, and here are a few cacti on the yellow grass fields.

El Cubano seems like a beach town, based on Managua residences. Today, it is real dead! I park the car, and follow an alley down to the wide and perfect beach. I walk for a long time, till I reach some small rocks. Back at the car, I notes a flat tire, but I know I have a hard spare tire and the tools. But only the bag for the jack, it seems! A local lend me his, and soon after, I am on my way.

Well, not long, as the next stop is in Las Peńtas, right down the beach. Here are a few more restaurants, but real low-key. I watch the local fishermen, some small fish, a heron, a crab and a flock of Frigate birds. I find some shadow and a seat at a little local place, selling me a bottle of apple juice.

On the other side of El Cubano, Poneloya is found. And I can't tell them apart. Here, a large lagoon is found behind the beach, along with additional more restaurants and alike. At noon, I figure I had sun enough, and head back to León. It is still very open, and I do loops around the central part at first. I get a large glass of juice at the municipal market, and it taste great, although I fail to figure what fruit it is made from.

By the hostel to rest a bit, and start the work. Then I head down to the local market, hoping for dinner before they closes. It is always hard to tell, when Christmas hit an area. Well, earlier for sure. The other shops are open, but only the chicken-shops sell food. I walk all the way out to the highway, and her is a strange modern mall. It have Pizza Hut and to my great joy: Subway.

It turns out to be a rather quiet Christmas eve around here. The cars are washed, kids have a haircut, sidewalks are swept and some women are warring nice dresses. Considering the amount of shopping, Feliz Navidad tunes and alike, I have endured the last three weeks, I had expected more. The beach at Las Peńtas and León.

25/12. The day is actually only about returning the car, but at 17,00, and I get to see a bit of nature along the extended route. I start with the little Reserva Natural Complejo Volcánico Telica Rota. It is right outside town, and offers some great views to the volcanoes. One look like it is still erupting, with steep and barren sides. The next one is partly covered in bushes, and almost as steep.

I find a Vulkanizer, who is sitting outside, and get my tire fixed for €1,50. I start meeting the huge cane-truck-trains, but fail to find the factory. I would have expected it could wait a day or two, till after Christmas, but no.
The landscape flattens out, and I'm back in the yellow cattle fields. Then the sparkling green rice fields take over for a short stretch.

The altitude gains, and the yellow fields are back, now with Opuntias on. Here, it is a real terrible species, and the cows leave some grass back, around them. I see a single redheaded vulture, feasting on what might be an opossum.
Many of the grass fields are partly covered with guavas trees. The area is around 100-200 metres height, and rather dry. Most of the rivers are barely a little creek by now. 

I reach my next waypoint;  El Sauce town. It is really dead, till I reach the big church on the central square. The mass have just finished, and people, real nice dressed-up, are entering the square. I figured I seen what they can offer on a Christmas Day, and head on, before I get back in line.

The altitude gains considerable to around 500 metres, and by a rugged gravelroad. It leads into some green hills with little farming. Soon after, I meet Reserva natural Tisey-La Estanzuela. It is still slightly populated, and the road is lined with rock-walls. I soon realises; I will have to dust off the car inside once again. I meet a huge herd of cows, and they add to the dust.

A sign explain; I enters Zona de Recarga Hidrica Microcuenca Salale, El Sauce. Some water-collection-ting, right? They can't gather much water this time of year!  Here, the low Opuntias are flowering nicely yellow.
The assent gain strength, and soon after, I reach 1100 metres.

The views to the green mountains are great, although impossible to capture. The few fluffy white clouds, which make the sky look so great, cast some dark shadows on the land.
On the other side of the pass, I reach Reserva Natural Quiabuc, Las Brisas. Never the less, it is still cattle land.

Then I pass Esteli, and outside, the tobacco plants have gained height! Soon after, it is back in the land of yellow grass. I turn into the gravelroad to Reserva Natural Miraflor, and it is real nice. Huge barren Bursera, cacti and great views. Many of the trees are covered in Spanish mosses, and here are ponds for the cattle.

I find a white flowering semi-vine, which I can't place. Here are some of the slim Agave sisalana. The road is quite challenging, and I have to be aware. Despite I am heading for some mountains, the road descents down to Rio Esteli. It is a bit too deep, and over huge rocks, and I park the car.

A few locals are bathing in the river, while one woman is washing cloths. I make a long stroll along the beautiful river, then into the mountains on the other side.
It is getting late, and I have one more treat for myself: The awesome cacti and agave field outside Esteli. I promises my self, only looking, no photos! Well... I did make a few (more).

I bet the farmer would be baffled about each and every single of the numerous Jatropha podagrica he have on his field, are sold for €20 in Danish floweriest. Here, they just take up room. I find a few other cacti, one being a Mammillaria. I find some colourful ticks on the Jatrophas, which I can't place. I have a hard time, dragging myself out of that field. I actually only succeed, bringing some seedpods from the Jatrophas.

And then I'm back, before I can return the car in Esteli. I drive the 20 metres to the hotel, drop the bag and return the car. Then I walk through the real dead town to the square. Here, I find a light meal: Rice with brown beans, cheese, chickpeas stuff and banana fries. Back to return the car, and as I'm still peckish, I try a slice of pizza. I did not expect a 25 centimetre pizza for €2, and further more; one of the best pizzas I ever had!
It is almost dark, when I'm back at the hotel, and I have  lot of photos to delete. Around volcanoes and through Agavas and cacti.

26/12. I have a bit of a slow start, but reach the bus station at half passed seven. 30 huge busses are here, but the booth for León is empty. A line is starting to form slowly, which pleases me, as the bus only departures, when it is full. I sit on a nearby bench, watching the 15 people in line, and relax. Well, until a minibus turns up. I get a good seat, never the less, and lean back for the next two and a half hour.

It is still a great drive, but as I'm in a bus, I don't get to make a single photo. I so much misses my own drive already!. Back in León, I walk through the huge market, which is really packed today. Back at the hostel, I get my usual dorm-bed, and relaxes a bit in the hammock: I have seen the town, and have 21 hours to spend, before my El Salvador bus. No car = wasted time. At least, it is a real cosy town and hostel. Well, after ten minutes I get restless, and head back to the huge market at the highway.

I find a bag of cold guava-juice and a hard but sweet pancake for lunch, served in a banana leaf. It have turned out to be a real hot day; 36C and not a single little cloud in the sky, nor any breeze. I miss my car even more! After a couple of hours, I return to base and a fan, letting the midday heat pass.

After an hour, I can't stand the idle, and head into the centre of town. Would have preferred a drive to the beach: I miss my car! I desperately try to find new angles on the town, but it is getting hard by now. I treat myself with a Subway, considered; I can get rice and brown beans any day. Back at dusk to work, and finish up Nicaragua, despite I have half a day more.  León for once - again.

27/12. I have booked a bus all the way through Honduras to San Salvador in El Salvador, and board it at eight. Another wasted day, but actually faster than I have thought.

Nicaragua have been a great experience. It feel so safe and easy accessible, filled with great nature and smiling people. I really like León old town, and the active volcano Masaya with its orange bobbling lava is astonishing. The afternoon in company with the egg-laying Olive Ridley at Refugio de Vida Silveste la Flor was another great experience. I have driven 2525 kilometres myself, and made 2666 photos THE HIGHLIGHTS. It have not been as expensive as I feared:
Shared: flight, insurance, gear 2.112 10.338
Local transport 841 4.119
Rental car + gas 4.715 23.080
Entrance 390 1.907
Hotels 1.071 5.243
Food 1.777 8.696
Other: Gear, souvenirs 258 1.265
TOTAL: 11.164 54.647

From here, I head through Honduras to El Salvador by bus.

Photos  Map & Plan  Diary 1 2 3 4 5