Nicaragua – San Juan Del Sur

I am officiallly in love with Nicaragua! What a great country.

I travelled up on the Ticabus which was a reasonably comfortable mode of transportation from San Jose, Costa Rica´s capital city.  The first hurdle was the border crossing.  It took 2.5 hours to get across the border.  We had to get off the bus, and spend 1.5 hours waiting in line for the Costa Rican exit stamp, in the blazing sun the whole time.  I spotted 1-2 other foreign faces but it was overwhelmingly peopled by Costa Rican and Nicaraguans.  After that was done, we hopped back on the bus and drove about 500 metres to the Nicaraguan side.  Back off the bus, we had to collect our luggage and take it in another line for an ´inspection´which involved them briefly glancing at the outside of the bag, it did not even get opened.  I think this was it for most people, but since I was literally the only ´foreigner´in the queue, I got taken off to a back room in another building where I got quizzed about my trip into the country, a very interesting conversation since I didn´t really speak Spanish and they didn´t really speak English.  This wasn´t really a problem though, and soon enough I was on my way to San Jan del Sur

San Juan is a small surfie town on the Pacific Coast of Nicaragua, just over the Costa Rican border.  There are some good surf breaks (I will have to ask my brother if they are actually any good), nice beaches, seafood and a chilled out atmosphere.  I booked myself into a nice hotel with air conditioning, cable TV and spent a few days doing almost NOTHING…. it was great!

It is amazingly cheap in Nicaragua as well, a lot cheaper than Costa Rica.  Beers are around 50p, I ate an amazing foot-long whole red snapper (I know greedy but hey why not!) which cost me US$10, you could get lobster for around the same price, cocktails for 1 pound… heaven.

I met a couple of interesting people whilst there, a lovely costa rican couple, the husband is a deep-sea tuna fisherman and is around 30, I am not sure what the wife did but she was over 50.  They were very much in love (Despite him telling me ´she´s old´… um I guess that is not bad manners in their culture?).  They invited me to a BBQ at their friends house, and when I went cooked me some amazing prawn skewers and furnished me with some beer as well.  After the BBQ we went to a bar where there was a band playing, Manuel fancied himself a singer, and did a couple of numbers with the band.  They were playing a Marimba which looks like a giant wooden xylophone and is played with big drumsticks (two, with two ends each, so there are up to 4 notes being played simultaneously).  It sounds like a cross between a xylophone and the steel drums.  Always interesting hearing music from another culture.

I also met a lovely american couple from Boston whom I went diving with.  They were heading to Granada in their rental car and so I managed to get a ride with them which was awesome! It saved me having to try & figure out the bus timetables up to the city, and they refused to even accept any petrol money from me.  Thanks Bryan and Jen!! =)

I think probably most have you have seen my account of the diving on Facebook but here we go anyway, the diving itself was pretty average, visibility was a bit silty and not that great, but we saw some Jack, a big scorpionfish, angelfish, puffer fish, an eel and a big eagle ray.  The surface interval was better than the diving itself, unfortunately we didn´t see any turtles while under the water but we saw lots from the boat, they are so cute floating on top with their heads poking up! When they see the boat coming they usually vanish back underwater.  We also saw two Pilot Whales, a mum and baby! That was amazing.  The second dive was down to a shipwreck which was mildly interesting.  Unfortunately the water was absolutely full of jellyfish which really stung.  I am not sure exactly what kind of jellyfish they were but they were long stringy things.  You could see them floating towards you, and because they were so long you couldn´t get out of the way.  We were wearing long wetsuits, but I got heavily stung on my face, hands and ankles.  VERY painful, and a couple of days later I am still feeling the effects (albeit mildly).

There were three of us diving plus the Divemaster.  After about 20 minutes on the 2nd dive we look around, and saw that he had disappeared! At this point, I decided that I was definitely not going to lose sight of the other two divers.  We swam around the wreck to check whether he was there, and when we couldn´t find him decided to surface.  Jen was wearing a dive computer, so we surfaced slowly with a safety stop.  Once we got back to the surface, there Fidel was, on the boat, changed out of his wetsuit back into his civvies, happy as anything!  I asked him where he went and he said ´oh my face was getting too stung by the jellyfish´.  Yeah THANKS Fidel…. I am pretty sure this is a breach of his PADI licensing and shocking behaviour from who is supposed to be a professional divemaster.

I saw a group of nuns in their habits, shoes off, paddling in the surf.  =)  Also, I cannot describe the joy of finding family guy on the TV, then the despair of realising it has been dubbed into Spanish.  Agghh!  I also bought some mysterious fruit from a little old lady without having any idea what it was.  I then asked the barman what it was and he told me (in spanish) that one you eat and one you are supposed to put into water and drink.  I tried both of these, and will post photos when I find a decent PC.  One was green on the outside, with pink flesh like a very soft apple.  It had large woody seeds that you kind of sucked the flesh off.  It was OK I suppose, but more interesting to try rather than to go back for more.  The other one had a dark blood-red flesh and juice, almost like beetroot juice.  I was very glad I had cut this open on top of the fridge as opposed to the white bedcover as I got juice everywhere.  This one was crunchy in the middle with hundreds of tiny black seeds, almost like a poppy seed texture, although larger.  It is nothing like any other fruit Ive seen or eaten!

That is probably about it for San Juan, next post will be about Granada, I arrived yesterday and already love this place…..

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3 Responses to “Nicaragua – San Juan Del Sur”

  1. Iris Says:

    Glad you’re loving the place and hope you’re Spanish class is really good. M x

  2. Jo Says:

    Sounds great! So exotic! Mum – you’re Spanish class, oh tsk tsk! 😀

  3. Iris Greenland Says:

    Aaaah how did I write that?????

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