Nicaragua - Highlights Of My Visit To The Gem of Central America
Known for its delicious food like Gallo Pinto (rice with beans) famous in Miami. Nicaragua is a country full of natural beauties. I kept telling the people who showed me around Nicaragua, that it reminded me of the world you see in Jurassic Park movies, full of gigantic green mountains, volcanoes and lakes every where you go. I also had to say as an associator that I am, I had the feeling I was in colony city back in time, those you see in movies or in small towns in Latin countries. Even in Managua, the capital everything looked so quiet, with not too many buildings or cars. Everyone seemed to be relaxed and happy to see you, the vibe of a small town despite it's a city that growing rapidly.
Don't get me wrong, you can find pretty much everything you might need as an spoiled American, maybe even a better version of your favorite snacks. But it's nice to find this uniqueness in Nicaragua. The hidden gem of Latin America is unlike other countries in Central and South America considered to be 'third world countries' that in reality are more modern or congested than the United States its self.
In Nicaragua, you can actually find a virgin land of untouched lands and traditions, where people really live by their means without thinking of ambition or how to get more from the neighbors. It's really incredible that in a poor country I was given three times more change because of course I was distracted and paid a little extra. This kind of honesty from Nica people is impossible to find when you travel.
I believe Nicaraguans are so laid back and humble because think its government is supossed to be communist, where all population should have equal economic means (No wonder there is a Chavez monument in the middle of the capital). Of course economic equality is far from true! Managua people alleged to me when complaining about the thousands of huge 'Trees of Life' the government invested to decorate the streets and main highways of the country, each of them costed more than 20.000 dollars to make and were made by the current Nicaraguan president's wife family. Regardless, they look gorgeous!
These are the highlights of my trip...
Visit the port (Puerto Salvador Allende) to enjoy amazing food and have a very colorful scenery full of restaurants and bar. At night is really when it comes to life.
On the Road in Nicaragua & Masaya
Traveling in cars have always been my favorite to really get to know places, stop whenever i want to. Especially when you have nature views and delicious food stops. Make sure you try Quesillos on the road because they're supposedly the best (cheese, with leche agria; Nica version of sour cream, corn tortillas and chopped onions) everything inside in a plastic bag! Yes, Nicaraguans seem to enjoy drinking or eating almost anything in plastic bags from sodas to quesillos. I loved that!
Masaya is a small town that has the most important street market in the country. There you can find pretty much everything that is manufactured in Nicaragua. Especially those artisan stuff your mom might obsessed about. Between I got some very nice leather sandals!
Laguna (Lake) Catarina
Full of places to eat place with spectacular views of the lagoon. You can ride the horses around the lake, or just enjoy the beautiful view. It's breathtaking!
This was my original destination and my favorite. Leon is a colonial town with a lot of personality. Unlike Managua, Leon is more crowded I think there were more bars than restaurants, probably because it's the college city in Nicaragua.
The architecture and the way the residents live take you to another time. The streets are colorful, each house having its own color. The colonial houses also serve as business. There is no buildings of more than two floors in Nicaragua. The highest visible structure around Leon is the Leon Cathedral, and is a place you cannot miss if you go!
Las Peñitas Beach
15 minutes drive from Leon and you have very clean and quiet beaches. They are great for surfing because the strong waves. However I found myself enjoying the other side of the beach more, where low sea level made an espectacular mini lagoon. I saw a few kids going through the lagoon walking, so I couldn't resist to go inside, it felt like my feet were massaged by the warm mud. Try the Nicaraguan Seafood Soup.
Volcanoes (Masaya and Cerro Negro)
Not only you get to see a volcano inside but you can slide from the top of other one. To see the Masaya Volcano which is currently very active, they only let you stay there for 5 minute. In my case that became 15 minutes of course -laughs- but seriously, it's incredible what lava looks like in front of you.
Sand-boarding or more like volcano-boarding in Cerro Negro. As the name says, the volcano was all black from previous eruptions. I was fascinated by the contrast of the green lands around and the color of the volcano sand. It's a great workout to go volcano-boarding but it's a must-do in a lifetime experience. It's fun and It seem completely safe with the full body suits. Find the tours in leon for around $30 each!
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