San Juan Del Sur
June 5-8, 2016
Crossing the Nicaraguan border only 24 hours after the Panama border was not originally on the books, but we did what we had to to get this overlanding underway. See our notes for instructions on the sometimes crazy other times convoluted crossing.
In any case, arrived into San Juan Del Sur safe and sound, kitty in hand, and let out a sigh of relief. We said out final goodbyes to our friend Chris (who had started traveling with us nearly 3 weeks before and been very, very patient with the entire paperwork process) and began celebrating.
Celebrate through a good bottle of whiskey, and a bite to the face.
San Juan Del Sur is definitely gringo overridden. A bit of a backpacker haven for those looking for a taste of home. For example, caesars at the Loose Moose which we sampled. If we are honest, the bar scene there is quite gross (ie. white girl wasted, “Sunday Funday” and ladies drink free pubcrawls). We were here last year, but prices seem to have already increased. Most hostels now only have private rooms for $35 + (low season) whereas last year they were at least $10 cheaper (in high season).
We did find a gem of a host however, a few blocks from the beach. Her name was Elizabeth, she ran Hostel Elizabeth which was essentially an ancient family home that had 3 floors added on for guests. The engineering of these floors was creative at best. The private rooms/shared bathroom had a breeze (very important) and views over the entire city.
$20 USD. Also, she had a STUNNING full apartment for rent for $30 USD a night. Don’t be put off by the bottom floor, which is a dreary and inhabited by two giant rabbits…
Foreshadow: Our kitty loved it there.
June 8 -10, 2016
Ometepe is breathtaking. Also, an overlanding paradise filled with countless free camping possibilities. Ferry there was a bit pricey with the truck & 2x passengers (approx $30 USD), and the ferry wranglers really wedge you into your parking space with increasing aggression, however the ferry on a calm day is a great way to get lead up to a few days (or a lifetime) on the volcanos.
Ometepe was quite sweaty, but at least now we are acclimatized. Thankfully we were able to cool off in Agua de Ojo, a volcano fed crystal clear watering hole with a pretty cute dude in it.
The first night we camped on a deserted beach nestled under Volcan Conception. Brett built a romantic fire on a small island, and we spent the night with the kitty on the island watching a lightening storm. Kitty fell asleep face down on the island. Must have been a long day playing on her first beach. She learned to jump that day.
Then, while sleeping, we experienced the lightening storm up close and personal. Our newly improved tarp system held up great.
On the opposite, more rugged and obviously poorer side of the Volcan Maderas, we hiked to the San Ramon Cascada. Hot Tip: the reserve will let you camp across the road on the pier for free, use their bathrooms and wifi as well, 24 hour security. Waterfall was $3 USD. Another Hot Tip: Hiking to the waterfall is awfully humid. Within 2 minutes of starting we were soaked due only to sweaty humidity, not due to the state of our physical ability. But the 4 hour hike is %100 percent worth it for the incredible waterfall secreted away at the top. Don’t give up like poorly dressed flip flop girl or jean woman!
Second night, second incredible lightening storm over the lake. Sunset was awful.
We finally also admitted to ourselves that perhaps trying to bring Skinny Scratchy all the way back into Canada would not only compromise our mission, but also potentially not be great for kitty. Our hot truck is only going to get hotter, and we can not always guarantee where we will be staying and the kitty safety factor. Also the fact that she only sleeps on my head makes a full nights rest really difficult. We made the difficult decision to return to Hostel Elizabeth, to grandmother Elizabeth and let her become a kitten mom. She had originally offered, however we were not quite ready to part ways with our rescue.
Goodbye Skinny Scratchy. Its been a wild ride rescuing you from certain death in a dog filled garbage pit on the Panamericana. We will forever miss you and your tiny little face, and the way you chase butterflies, and dig a million tiny holes then try to poop in each one of them on the beaches.