Diving Corn Island

Dive Sites Corn IslandsWe read in advance about the scuba diving in Corn Islands- big fish, uncluttered sites, nice reefs -and we have enjoyed 5 days of diving here.

It didn’t start out great – on Sunday and Monday,  the wind and waves were very strong – and even with Gravol, it was tough being on the boat. Below the surface, the waves affected visibility and moved us around a lot. But, we kept with it, and the last few days have been great!

We dove with Dos Tiburones the entire time at several different reefs – 8 dives in total. We saw sharks, rays (no photos of the rays), lots of massive lobsters, eels, schools of fish and some beautiful reefs. This is a very heavily fished island so there weren’t a LOT of big fish as we’ve seen in other places like Cuba or Galapagos (but Galapagos isn’t a fair comparison anyway), but it was still fun.

Starfish Corn Islands
Starfish

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Melyna on The Go Stories

The time has really been flying and now Lyna is on her way back to Toronto. The Melyna adventure has ended, but we did have some good times, and some interesting ones. There are a few tales I have not yet told about our adventures, so as I move on to my solo Nica travels, I’ll mention some of the good, the ridiculous and the funny of the 10 days of “Melyna on the Go.”

Meeting other Canadians

There are a lot of Canadians in Nicaragua. We’ve met many from B.C. and Toronto and even a backpacker on the Ometepe shuttle bus from College and Ossington, but the best meet cute was in our hotel in Granada. The hotel included breakfast, but no matter how few or many people they were, the cooks couldn’t keep up with the demand. Lyna was wearing her Toronto Blue Jays shirt and went up to the counter to look for her pancakes. A tall man approached her carrying a plate and as he was asking her if she was from Canada, she asked him “Are those my pancakes?” Yes, she was from Canada, as were he and his friends, and no, they weren’t her pancakes, they were his. April, Lyna said you would appreciate that story. Her pancakes did come shortly after but included the wrong ingredients. Nicaragua! Continue reading “Melyna on The Go Stories”

The Best Volcano Yet: Volcan Masaya!

Wowow wow wow wow.  Last night we went to Masaya Volcano. It’s best to go there at night because you can see the hot lava much better in the dark!!! HOT LAVA IN THE DARK. It was even better than it sounds, and I thought it sounded great.

So, it’s a big deal to go to the volcano at night. Everybody wants to see the hot lava. The cars line up on the side of the highway before the park opens for the night at 5:30pm (but, since it’s “Nica time”, it actually didn’t open until more like 5:45pm). People are standing on the side of the road too; some are vendors, others are just passengers who don’t want to sit in the cars.

Masaya Volcano
Some of the line up for Masaya

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The Natural Beauty of Laguna Apoyo, Nicaragua

Yesterday we moved from Ometepe Island to Laguna Apoyo on the mainland, and we are very happy with the change.

Leaving Ometepe

We left Ometepe Island yesterday via taxi, lancha and another taxi, and 3-4 hours later we were at Laguna Apoyo. It may only be the resort we selected, but what a difference those few hours made.

Let me tell you why we were so happy to leave Ometepe – the only reason was our hotel. I struggled trying to get us a room on the Island to begin with – we did have a few parameters, but it shouldn’t have been that difficult. Wanting 2 separate beds in a room in Nicaragua seems to be a challenge for the hotels here. Be forewarned. Anyway, I found this place on booking.com and it was a great location and had decent reviews and was cheap. When we arrived, they tried to hold our air conditioner hostage. Seriously. They took the air conditioner remote with them and left us in this windowless basement room and walked away. I followed. Good thing I took Spanish lessons because now I knew how to call them liars. I still don’t know Spanish for scumbag. Need to ask around. I showed them our booking. Apparently, they tried to claim that it was $20 more to get air conditioning and that I hadn’t booked it with air conditioning. They had clearly not given an option on the online listing, and the listing said it included air conditioning. I showed them. Lyna and I sat down to lunch and debated leaving right then. But then, the receptionist seemed to realize her mistake, apologized to me and gave us the cherished air conditioning remote. It was unbelievable. First time I’ve had a hotel ransom the air conditioner remote. How about you? So that left a terrible taste in our mouths about that hotel and we were happy to leave. Continue reading “The Natural Beauty of Laguna Apoyo, Nicaragua”

A Kayak Tour of Ometepe

Ometepe Kayaking
Beginning of Kayak Tour

One day of rest was enough! Yesterday Lyna and I wanted to get out and see more of the wildlife of the Ometepes. We biked our way to the town(?) of Mérida and Caballito’s Mar Kayaks.

It was not an easy bike ride or kayak but wow was it worth it. Perfect weather – sun and some wind, and tons of wildlife! Here is a partial list of what we saw: a caiman, turtles, blue herons, monkeys, ospreys, sleeping bats, egrets, ibises, tiger herons, magpie jays, and parakeets. There were more but I can’t remember them!

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A Visit to Mombacho Volcano

Mombacho
Mombacho from the lake

Yesterday we went for a visit to Mombacho Volcano, a close drive from Granada and a beautiful protected Nicaraguan park.

We booked a tour for $35 through Tierra Tours. After a little research, $35 seemed standard unless you book through our hotel which charges $50. We went with the standard price 🙂 The Tierra Tours van picked us up at around 9:30am and we were off. There was already a man from Belgium in the car, and then we picked up a couple from Toronto (actual Toronto, not people from hours away telling people they live in Toronto) and we headed for my first volcano of the trip!

Mombacho is a “dormant” or sleeping volcano. It hasn’t erupted since the 1500s but it is definitely alive. We saw steam coming from the earth and smelled sulfur more than once, especially near the crater. It is closely monitored for activity.

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Day 1 in Granada: Las Isletas Photos

Granada, Nicaragua is a beautiful colonial city on a lake! This week I am not travelling solo; I have a partner in adventures, Lyna, visiting from the wintry north and enjoying all that Granada has to offer: nature, wildlife, sun, hotel pools, music and outdoor bars and restaurants.

So far in Granada we have gone out on the Calzada, taken a boat tour of Las Isletas, swum at our hotel pool, kayaked around Las Isletas, walked the Malécon, enjoyed live music in the square, and more.

Las Isletas

Las Isletas, or the Granada Islands, are a group of 360+ small islands in the lake off the shore of Granada. These islands were created by a volcanic eruption of nearby Vulcan Mombacho, which is where we are headed today! Private islands, many have only one house. Some are businesses, like pool bars or hotels, and one is entirely given over to monkeys and a big part of the panga or boat tours that go out from the Granada docks all daily long.

Las Isletas
One of the isletas

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Things to Do in San Juan del Sur: Parque Aventura Las Nubes

The activity of the day today was a trip to an Adventure Park: Parque Aventura Las Nubes – nubes are clouds. It is an amazing mountain preserve, with hiking trails, beautiful views both east and west, and plant and animal life.

Ometepe Islands
View eastward to the volcanoes of Ometepe Islands
Costa Rica
View west of the Pacific and Costa Rica

Finally I got to see monkeys (monos, as they are called in Spanish), and hopefully it wasn’t the last time.

Howler Monkey
Howler Monkey

In addition to the monkeys, we saw a sloth!, butterflies, and iguanas.

Sloth
Sloth in a tree

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Spanish Lessons in San Juan del Sur

Spanish YaMy experience at the Spanish school, Spanish Ya, has been great so far.  The teachers are friendly and very capable, the space is really nice, and it is very well organized and run.

As I mentioned, the school is very close to my home stay. The classes are held outside on a veranda in the shade of some trees across the street from a small river. The weather has been great for outdoor schooling: blue skies and cool breezes!

Spanish Ya
Spanish school

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Whale Watching in Reykjavik

Whale watching is a pretty popular activity in Iceland. In Husavik and Reykjavik, boat tours seeking whales, dolphins, and puffins in summertime, are commonplace. So, we did what the tourists do and went on a whale watching tour on Sunday.

There is a long pier down by the harbour where all the boats have offices and sell tickets for their tours. Besides whale watching and puffin hunting, you can also book a “Northern Lights” tour. The problem with that is, if it’s cloudy, as it often was for us, you aren’t going to see those lights on land or a boat. But people will pay, so they have the tour. Continue reading “Whale Watching in Reykjavik”