Solo Travel

Selfoe
It’s only been a week and a half, because I don’t count my time at Spanish school as solo travel. For one, I wasn’t travelling; I was living with a family. And, for another reason, there were other students to hang out with all the time. I was rarely alone. So, I have only been travelling alone for about 10 days, and I am glad it’s almost over.

There are a lot of things to like about solo travel. I was able to go see some amazing places that no one else I knew had the time to visit with me! I did it anyway. Plus, when alone, I can do what I want when I want. I generally don’t sleep late, so not having to wait for anyone in the morning is a plus. I also don’t take long to get ready, so not having to wait for someone else is good too. I can get up and go – get coffee, breakfast or start a tour at 7am. That’s nice. I also can decide on a whim to go to a museum or on a tour and not to have to sell anybody else on it. It’s all up to me. I also got to spend my downtime however I wanted. I got some good night’s sleeps (not easy with all the noisy animals in Nicaragua) and read a lot of good books on my iPad.

A lot of the time, for me at least, solo travel meant being alone. I don’t mind being alone. It gives me the opportunity to watch what’s going on around me and experience the world. But then it can also get boring. Or lonely. Meals especially. Who wants to read during every meal? Not me. I am done with it. The good thing in Nicaragua is a lot of the interesting sights involve tours. (You can’t visit most of the volcanoes on your own. They don’t allow it.) And most of those tours have involved other people. Volcano hikes, coffee tours, all of those have included other tourists to talk to. Most of the people who tour around Nicaragua have been very interesting too! I met a Belgian coffee processor, a Kentucky documentary filmmaker, Australian backpackers, an American retiree who volunteers to teach Nicaraguans sustainable farming techniques, and more. There was also my last night in León, where I spent a couple hours with Silke, my friend from Toronto, who had just arrived to town! That was a treat!

But most of the time, I was eating alone, riding buses alone and visiting museums alone. I got to see a lot of cool things, and I don’t regret it. I just prefer company! I am ready to end the solo travel and go back to being social.

Good timing too! Brian is almost here! Technically, he should be here already, but he wandered too far in the Mexico City airport and missed his connection. I really don’t know how it happened, but for me, it meant another night of meeting new people at the Managua airport hotel and reading my book. It’s been fun, but I am ready for company.

Today I head to Corn Islands. Hopefully Brian will be there too. It looks like a paradisiacal Caribbean vacation spot, with diving, lobster and beachfront relaxing in our future. Check here for photos.

Don’t trust the b*#!ch receptionist at Hotel Europeo

I put my trust in the wrong person and I got fooled yesterday.  I feel more angry at myself for falling for her scam but I am going to explain what happened so others don’t get conned too.

First, don’t worry about me. I am fine and only out $80 so you don’t need to start crowd funding.  I am merely upset with myself for not being smarter plus angry at the hotel and their unethical receptionist.

In advance of my arrival in Nicaragua, I did some research on transport from Managua to San Juan del Sur, where my Spanish school is. I emailed both the school and my hotel in Managua enquiries about options. I ultimately went with the school’s taxi as it was a better price and I figured he knows the destination. And I emailed the hotel that I didn’t need their transport.

The hotel receptionist helped me get taxis in Managua on Saturday and was generally very nice so this is probably why I thought I could trust her. She asked if I was good for transport to San Juan del Sur and I assured her I was. When she asked when the taxi was picking me up, I told her 1230p tomorrow and that’s when she put her evil plan into operation. Continue reading “Don’t trust the b*#!ch receptionist at Hotel Europeo”

A Night Out in Managua: Puerto Salvador Allende

Another reason the layover in El Salvador was a positive surprise is one of my new friends gave me a tip on a safe place to go near my hotel in Managua. He recommended Puerto Salvador Allende so I went there for a few hours last night.

The Puerto is a new resort along Lake Managua. Lake Managua is a very polluted lake so for a long time nobody even used the lakeshore. Hence the newness of this spot. It is an extension of the malecón, the malecón, which is a walking path along the lake. Nearby are some of the landmarks of Managua, like the cathedral, the national palace, and the Teatro Ruben Dario. I had a good cab driver from the hotel, who came and picked me up at the end of my visit, and pointed out all these Managua highlights.

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I walked around the malecón for a little bit first, taking photos of the sculptures – they have a lot of these big colored metal trees; my cab driver told me they are called “arboles de la vida” – trees of life. They are relatively new and very colorful.  I am glad I got to see them up close at night because it was very pretty.

Arboles de la vida
Trees of Life in the Malecón, Managua

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One Saturday in Managua: Tiscapa and Zip lining

Today is my only day in Managua. I did a lot of research and everything told me that checking out the city on my own was not safe. I didn’t want to come to Managua without seeing any of it though, so tried a number of tour operators but no luck as a singleton. I had to come up with another plan.

This morning, after check-in, breakfast and a short nap, I hired a taxi to take me to Tiscapa Lagoon. A volcanic lake on a mountain, this preserve offers views of the sprawling capitol city, and a canopy tour of the lake itself. So views and adventure. The taxi driver waited for me while I enjoyed the activities at Tiscapa.

Managua view
View of Managua and Lake Managua from Tiscapa

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