With the yoga teacher training finished, I set out with three of my fellow yoga teachers (Hannah, Laura, Heather and Me in the picture above) to travel and explore the Island of Ometepe. After a brief stint in San Juan del Sur to have last tastes of all our favorite things, we took a cab to the ferry. Hannah and I had suitcases. Let’s just say, I will rarely travel without a backpack again. Once we got to the island, we stayed at a local Nicaraguan hostel called Monkies Island that had a dock right on the lake. The staff cooked dinner for us, and then we crashed. We woke up the next morning and took our yoga mats down to the water and had our practice with the sound of the water, the birds, and the breeze. It was a great practice. Again, the staff cooked us breakfast, and we set off to explore and find the waterfall. After a long and dusty hike, we made it to the cool, refreshing waters. We may have diverged from the trail and done some bouldering thinking we were on the trail, but what does it matter. We made it, and after hiking back down the trail, had lunch at a little country restaurant. On the way back to Monkies Island, a sign lured us to turn down a side road for chocolate and coffee, which lead us to find Finca Mystica, an American-owned hostel with wonderful, locally-grown food, and coffee fresh-roasted and prepared on the property. It was a magnificent find. We decided to make dinner reservations there for the next day, but that night we meandered to the local town to find dinner and bananas and snacks for the great volcano hike we were attempting the next day.
So, Volcano Maderas surprised us a bit. We didn’t really look at the stats. We knew it would take a few hours, that we needed water and lunch, and that it was tough. We didn’t know that we would be on the trail for 8 hours, 10 miles, and 4000 feet of climbing. The trail consisted of dry, normal-looking trail for the first couple of miles, and then as we climbed, the tree roots became the trail, and the mud became our nemesis as we slipped our way up and through and around limbs, branches, and roots to get to the top. Once there our view consisted of a few bushes and the inside of a cloud – not quite the crater lake view we expected. Still, we did it and it was a great adventure with our guides. At the lake back at Monkies Island, we discovered that the small, smooth volcanic rocks of the lake’s beach acted as an excellent mud scrub and skin exfoliate – so much for paying spa prices. It was awesome and free. That night we walked to Finca Mystica for the fantastic meal of carbs we had earned: pizza, popcorn, and cookies. Completely filled, happy, and content.
Our time in Ometepe ended the next day with a brief stop en route to the ferry at the fresh water springs of Ojo de Agua. This beautiful and relaxing stop invited guests to wade in its cool, clear waters, swing from the rope swing, and attempt slack lining across its pool. We enjoyed our short hour and then left for the ferry.
Hannah and I parted ways with Laura and Heather after our taxi ride to Granada. We took the “express chicken bus” back to Managua to catch our flights the next day. The taxi driver we found managed to get completely lost trying to find our B&B, though we showed him a map, the name of the place, the street, the town. I guess we just got a tour of the city, and he didn’t quite get what he wanted in pay. Hannah and I ended our last night in Nicaragua at Managua Hills B&B with cold cervezas, a quick dip in the pool, and a pool-side practice of Chandra Namaskar (Moon Salutation) under a full moon.
Adios for now, Nicaragua.