Graduated Learning: Life after College

I got my degree, I got a job…now what?

My Trip to Nicaragua: Final Thoughts February 24, 2008

Overall, I would have to say that my trip to Nicaragua was pretty darn amazing. I met cool people, looked into volcanoes, ate tasty meals, and spent time with my really good friends.

Here are a few things to keep in mind if you ever go to Nicaragua (or go on any other trip, for that matter!):

You might find yourself spending lots of money because it’s so little money by comparison. I know that was a bit of a problem for me. The exchange rate was so much in our favor that we definitely splurged a bit. Besides, we figured we might as well spend a lot, since we don’t know if/when we might go back. Also the country is rather poor, so I think we looked at spending as something beneficial to the society. Maybe that’s a little pompous sounding, or something, but I don’t mean it to sound that way at all!

Get a guidebook. My friends and I had two books. One from Lonely Planet and one from Moon. I think it worked out pretty well to have multiple guidebooks so we could find out more information (some information was only in one of the books, and we could get multiple angles about a certain place). I recommend reading through your guidebook to some extent, just to know what you’re in for. I especially recommend reading the intro to the country section (in the Moon book, it’s called “Know Nicaragua”). That way you know details like exchange rates, entry fees, medicines/shots you’ll need (and should plan on getting a certain amount of time ahead of time), customs, languages, safety, etc.

Know some Spanish. While you do run into a few English speakers, you’re going to want to know enough to know at least some middle school/high school Spanish that will help you find what you need (food, lodging, restrooms, etc.) and you’ll want to know numbers so you know what prices you’re agreeing to! Or if you don’t know Spanish, at least travel with someone who does.

Don’t be afraid to haggle. At markets, in cabs, etc. you can haggle for a price that seems more reasonable to you.

Taxis are different from what you experience in the states…you agree on a price before you head out. The good part is that you know they wont drive your around randomly just to run up a tab. I can’t think of what’s bad about it, except if you are unable to haggle for a good price.

Just as a recap, here are the links to each day of my trip:

Day 1: Fort Lauderdale (to Managua)

Day 2: Masaya (from Managua)

Day 3: Ometepe (From Masaya to San Juan Del Sur)

Day 4: San Juan Del Sur (to Managua)

I’d love to hear of your travels, as well!

[Edit:  If you’re wondering what shots, immunization, or medicine you’ll need on your trip, check out the CDC’s Traveler’s Health site.]

 

My Trip to Nicaragua: Day 2: Masaya November 2, 2007

Filed under: Travel — Stephanie @ 4:21 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Tuesday:

Like I mentioned in my last post about my trip, the hotel came with a complimentary breakfast! We could choose among a list of meals (some were more “American” than others, since the hotel is popular with business travelers). We all picked the Nicaraguan Breakfast (red beans, rice, scrambled eggs, cheese, corn tortilla, fruit juice, coffee). We checked out of the hotel, and off to a pharmacy to look for some aloe, as well as some more sunscreen. Due to our not-perfect Spanish, we ended up getting some diaper rash lotion that contained aloe. Close enough, eh?

Took a cab to get to the bus going to Masaya. At a couple of the stoplights, people came up to our cars, trying to sell us bananas, cell phones, birds, and baby turtles, among other interesting objects.

The bus (well, it was more like a van) to Masaya was a bit crowded, but we all fit in there pretty well.

We found a great hotel, Hotel Monte Carlo, which had rooms for $10 US per night! (You could splurge and get air conditioning for an extra $10)  The woman running the hotel was super friendly. She hailed a cab and made a deal with the driver for a trip up to Masaya Volcano National Park.

The volcano was AMAZING!!! It was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. The park rangers handed us gas masks because there was sulfur emitting from the active crater. I definitely coughed quite a bit before we put those on! We went all the way up to La Cruz de Bobadilla (The Cross of Bobadilla)…though I think there was a sign saying not to go up there! We read in a guide book that there were demon parakeets that lived in the volcano…they were able to survive even with the toxic sulfur gas, an interesting adaptation. There was also a dormant volcano that had been so for centuries. It looked very different: instead of brown and gray rockiness, it was green, grassy, full of trees and flowers.

Back to the city for a tasty buffet for only 38 Córdoba, which is about $2 US!

We wandered around the market for a while. I obsessed about what to buy. I knew I wanted a hammock and an ornament (or something I can turn into an ornament). Now before you think I’m some silly tourist, let me explain the ornament thing. I realized that a big part of decorating the tree at Christmas is remembering where all the ornaments came from. And since I also don’t have any ornaments up here (they’re all at my parents’ place), I figured this would be a good way to start.  I’m pretty sure we all bought hammocks.  M bought a few paintings as well.   We also grabbed some ice cream before heading out!

We relaxed for a bit at our hotel, and then ventured out to Lake Masaya, to see the sunset. It was beautiful to see the sunset over the volcano and lake.

We had a late dinner at a nearby restaurant. We were the only people there, and by the end, the guys working there had gotten ridiculously drunk and giggly, which was fun, cause some of us were getting giggly too!

M and L headed to an internet cafe to check on some things, and A and I headed back to our hotel to get a good nights sleep.

 

 
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