Yes, we had amazing days in Somoto, Las Peñitas, Little Corn Island and Matagalpa, yet, we are struggling to fall in love with Nicaragua. Our hearts are refusing to warm up to Nicaragua the way they did for El Salvador and Honduras. M and I have been discussing a lot about it and we have come to realize that our opinion on this beautiful country was unfortunately tainted by some bad encounters.
Where to start… Since we have crossed the Nicaraguan border, a few assholes (excuse my French), either in a taxi or on chicken buses or on a busy street in a city, have tried to rip us off. We were lied to and shouted at and we had to stand for what was right, which was rather unpleasant. What bothers me (even more than being scammed) is that we tend to justify this kind of behavior with the boom of tourism. As if it was suddenly acceptable to be greedy and rude, just because I quote ‘the more tourists the country gets, the more its people want to make easy money’. This is the unsatisfying answer I get when I discuss with other fellow travelers. Well I’m sorry but we also have such characters back home and they are called thieves or scammers and belong to jail. I don’t think this is a behavior we should excuse over here, just because the country is touristically booming. Those people should get their act together and see that dishonesty will damage the tourist industry on the long term. Anyhow, to any idiot who might want to try ripping us off, think again. We will argue back and piss you off because we are right and you know it so why don’t you forget it?! *Rant over*
It was hard to confess our dilemma (to love or not to love Nicaragua, this is the question) as we have met many (many many) welcoming and helpful Nicaraguan men and women and were given countless genuine smiles along the way. It almost felt like we were betraying those beautiful souls by feeling the way we did. Luckily our time in Nicaragua hasn’t come to an end yet and we still have time to create many more positive memories to overweigh the ones with those dishonest idiots. After we left Managua, we headed to Granada and we immediately felt good there. It has the charm of a colonial town with its colorful buildings, its lively parque central and its cute churches. We were only going to spend a night there but we liked the atmosphere of the city a lot. So we decided to extend our stay to leave us enough time to explore the city and its surroundings. We went on a horse carriage tour, learning about Granada’s history while surviving the heat. I was grateful we found a cheap way to discover the town as I was litterally melting! By extending our stay, we also had the opportunity to go for a boat ride through the 365 isletas on lake Nicaragua. This might be overrated but it was a lovely way to spend a sunny morning before going back to our hostel to chill by the pool (tough life). Our highlight was our excursion to the Apoyo lagoon. The water was clear and refreshing. The spot we had picked to spend the day was lending kayaks and paddle boards and had some lounge chairs so we were able to be both active and lazy. What a perfect combination for a perfect day! Those are definitely the memories we want to take back home with us. Nicaragua has many incredible spots and we feel very blessed to get to see them! The scammers might have delayed our crush on Nicaragua but love seems to be slowly settling in.
Next stop: the island of the two volcanoes, Ometepe island.