29.08.2009 - 01.09.2009 91 °F
Bocas to Ometepe, Nicaragua…..miles traveled…….420
The boat left Bocas in the morning to mainland. From there we hopped on a minivan that drove us to the Costa Rican Border. We saw a lot of banana plantations on the way, including the famous Chiquita Banana.
The actual border crossing was a ramshackle of a bridge that we crossed ever so precariously on foot.
Once on the other side, we transferred to another minivan that took us to San Jose. There, we spent the night at Hotel Elvis across the street from the bus that would take us to Managua, Nicaragua early the next morning.
From Managua, we headed directly to a taxi that took us to the bus station for routes leaving out to the San Jorge on Lake Nicaragua (best known for being the only lake with fresh water sharks). We arrived to San Jorge and bought our tickets for the ferry that would carry us over to the volcano island of Ometepe.
Needless to say, it was non-stop travel for a few days there and we were pretty tired by the time we found our way to a hostel, one of our best deals to date – $14/night.
Unfortunately, our time was shortened on the island due to problems accessing cash. The ATMs were not friendly and we ended up getting enough cash for our food and return trip via a pharmacy that operated doling out cash on the sly. We had two days to explore. We enjoyed the view of the two volcanoes that make up the island and enjoyed swimming in the lake and taking in some rays on the black sandy beach even though the fresh water sharks were surely lurking!!
It certainly was a tranquil place. Only one road rings the island.
Scooters, motorcycles, and the bus service are the main motorized transport. Bicycles, pedestrians, and horses make up the rest of the traffic. Outside of the two main towns you are very likely to be stopped by crossing herds of cows, stray pigs, goats, or chickens.
Sara saw her first Brahma cow. They are well suited to the heat, luckily the hump that Sara thought was a growth was merely one of the trademarks of the breed along with their large floppy ears. Once you leave the main road you will be walking on a dirt path. We walked about two kilometers from the main road to the black sand beach through pasture and banana trees. We had the beach completely to ourselves. We were caught in a thirty minute torrential downpour when we sheltered under a palm frond covered restaurant nearby to enjoy the rain.
After this brief respite, we returned to Managua to catch the bus and speed boat (panga) to journey to Bluefields on the lively Caribbean coast.