Now that we’re established in a new country—Costa Rica—it’s everybody’s favorite blog time: map update time! We’re including just the legend for places we visited in Nicaragua. If you want to see the legend for locations 1 through 14, you’ll have to scroll down and look at our last map update. Click on blog entries for November.
As you’ll see below, Nicaragua was a worthwhile destination for us. To preview, we met awesome people that are due to become lifelong friends, some through impressively random encounters. And, notably, we had a couple diverse and extremely informative volunteer opportunities.
15 – 10/31 to 11/25 – Leon, Nicaragua. A young town bustling with a small ex-pat scene. We lived at the headquarters of QuetzalTrekkers, a volunteer-run organization that leads hikes up volcanoes and donates all proceeds to local charities. During the three weeks we were there, we busied ourselves with various projects ranging from hanging shelves, to finding a local peanut butter source, to working with street kids at Las Tias.
16 – 11/25 to 11/27 – Jinotega, Nicaragua. A respite from Leon both as regards climate (it’s cool) and tourism (there’s very little). We stopped in this mountain for two nights and busied ourselves with computer stuff. Here Joe became a journalist.
17 – 11/27 to 11/28 – Masaya, Nicaragua. To celebrate Thanksgiving night we had pizza in Masaya, famous for its artisanal crafts and markets. Joe’s “fake wallet” stolen .
18 – 11/28 to 11/30 – Laguna de Apoyo, Nicaragua. Small world: Our CouchSurfing host was the son of a patient Juleen served in Chicago. We stayed in his mini-mansion, toured his finca, ate amazing food, and delighted in conversation about our Midwestern roots.
19 – 11/30 to 12/01 – Playa del Coco, Nicaragua. A random ride made us friends with Laurie, an amazing person and New York City lawyer. Half-Nicaraguan, her family holds onto a glorious beach house on a beautiful, sparsely populated piece of Nicaragua’s Pacific coast. We gladly kept her company for the night.
20 – 12/01 to 12/09 – Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua. Two volcanoes dot the center of the figure eight shape this island makes. We roughed it for the week at Project Bona Fide. Most rustic week of each of our lives. Very educational. The people made the experience.
21 – arrived 12/09 – Liberia, Costa Rica. Only a few kilometers into Costa Rican territory, the difference between this place and everywhere else we have been is stark. Lights shine brighter. Skin is fairer. Streets are cleaner. Prices more painful. Our wallets will not allow us to leisurely take in Costa Rica.
Despite its harsh reputation, its reputation particularly with Americans that is, Nicaragua both entertaining and interesting. For anyone looking to go south to travel, live, or whatever, we recommend it.