Well this travel day from one place to another was expected to be long. I went ahead and made it much longer. We started the morning awaking in our beautiful temporary home of Hacienda Merida, just outside of Merida. We loved it there. There is nothing better in this world than that King sized hammock on the 2nd floor porch overlooking the lake. Everybody should go to this place at least once. Lindsay has many more details in her upcoming/older posts about the place, I´m taking care of this portion of the trip.
So we woke up bright and early as always, sometime before 7. We had mostly packed the night before and were planning on having breakfast this morning and then catching the 8:30 bus up the island. I hadn´t been feeling so well in the stomach for the last few days so I needed some more time for breakfast to digest so we decided to miss the 8:30 bus and catch the 10:30 instead. The byproduct of this being much more time in the hammock on our deck. This turned out to be a bad choice. We were told that the 8:30 bus is the reliable one. What this actually translates to is this “take the 8:30 bus as it will be here on time, every other bus sceduled for the day may or may not show up on time, or even at all so don´t risk it”. The desk staff, which were great in general, didn´t make that very clear. So 10:30 came around and no bus. Picture us sitting along side a muddy dirt road with our packs waiting for a bus watching people bike by and chickens and dogs stroll along. I also passed up a taxi share with some other guests as we were expecting the bus. In hindsight the $15, ( which is a fortune to spend on one thing down here) would have been a good idea.
I decided after about 20 minutes that we would start walking the direction we needed to go and catch the bus if it came along, it never did. We ended up walking for about 1.5 hours in the sun and shade up the same road we had biked the day before so we knew it pretty well. It was a long and sweaty haul with our packs. Eventually we made it to another little town, Santa Cruz, and got picked up by a doctor, nurse, and driver in their Land Rover. They were touring the island doing the rounds and delivering medical supplies and helping folks. We had seemed to catch them near the end of their trip as we only had to make one quick stop with them to deliver the last box of drugs to a clinic at Playa Santa Domingo, a little beach town. After that they dropped us off at El Quino, (the cross roads or fork in the road) with the Nurse where we were all going to catch the bus to Moyogalpa. At this point we were back on track, just 2-3 hours behind schedule and exceptionally sweaty, I smelt pretty bad. It has been interesting to note though that when you really sweat once you get to that stinky point it doesn´t get worse, but just stays constent. So once you´ve ruined a shirt for the day, don´t bother changing unless you´re showering somewhere along the line.
We made it to Moyogalpa about 45 minutes later and got dropped off right at the ferry dock. We must have just missed one as we had to wait about an hour until 3 to catch the next one. So we grabbed some bread from a local vendor, payed to use a less than average toilet, and waited for the boat. It is a very small ferry boat. The one from Granada was a super nice first class vehicle in comparision. This one we sat underneath right next to the water. It was really about the size of a semi truck trailer, probably a few meters smaller. One they turned the engine on I knew there would be no talking on this trip. It was loud. All that aside it had a nice view of the volcano on the way out and even got to nap for a bit during the 1 hour ride. As with the other ferry they go insanely slow. Not sure if this is to make the engine last longer or because it can´t go faster, either way a team of rowers would probably move along much faster than this boat that leaves no wake.
We met a British guy traveling with his little 8 year old or so daugther around central america just the two of them. She was pretty brave, not sure I´d be doing all of this stuff and 8. We ended up sharing a cab with them on the other side to the bust stop in Rivas. 20 Cords each, which probably could have been bargained cheaper so don´t pay too much for the cab rides going to our away from the ferries for short trips.
Once in Rivas at the bus station we tried to find our bus to San Juan del Sur, SJDS. After stepping onto two buses and being told no (they all had SJDS written on the bus) we ended up on the correct one just as it left the station. Spent most of the 45 minute trip from Rivas to SJDS standing but eventually made it to the bus stop in SJDS which is a little sign in the street beside some buildings. You would never notice it if you didn´t know it was there.
So after about 7 hours of travel, foot, car, bus, boat, car, bus we made it down the street to our hotel El Puerto. It had great reviews when I researched and most defintely lives up to it. It is run by a German women and her Nicaraguan husband (I assume they´re together). The German comes through in the rooms. Very clean, organized, beds were crisply turned down and there´s a locking cabinet inside a room that already has 3 locks on the door. It is a very safe place and only $20 a night. One of the nicer places we´ve stayed on this trip. The only down fall is the bathroom size. It´s a tad small when you´re using the can. If you were 6?6, stay somewhere else as you wouldn´t actually fit, I´m getting used to having my head resting on the wall. Aside from the cramped bathroom space it is a great place 2 blocks off the beach. Most everything is 2 blocks off the beach as this little beach town, slowly becoming Americanized unfortunately, is pretty small. Easy to get around though.
We quickly moved in, showered, changed shirts, contemplated burning the one I was wearing, and headed to Casa Oro to book some tour stuff and find out more info. We walked the 2 blocks south to the Hostal Casa Oro and found out we could come in the morning and put our names on the list for the Turtle egg laying tour the following evening. Very excited to do that as it is the main reason we are in this town period. Also found out a little about surfing, but there are many other places offering that around town to check as well.
Stopped at a little comedor/restaurant a few doors down from the Hostal and got dinner. It actually turned out to be a very good place for a great price and better than most in town (now that I am in the future and have actually tried a bunch of places on the beach, where you apparently pay for the view, not for the food). I had a tuna fillet in white wine sauce for $4.50. I realized in a conversation the night before back on Ometepe with some Brits that I have never actually had real tuna that didn´t come out of a can. It doesn´t really appear on the menu back home. It was very tasty and tastes nothing like tuna in a can so not sure what I´m actually eating in that can at home. Dinner is completed with two shots of some sort of mint mojito like thing you get when you pay the bill, nice place. Called Pollojito or something like that. An orangeish yellow door with a chicken on it, eat there, it´s best in town so far.
Then we stopped in Cyber Leos, closer to our hotel to finally update some blog stuff. Then man did we sleep, sun and sweating wears you out.