To the Border - And Beyond

San Juan del Sur Travel Blog

 › entry 28 of 72 › view all entries
Volcano spotting isn´t very difficult
Having not visited Nicargua before, it was with some excitment that I boarded the bus in San José heading for Peñas Blancas - the border town on Costa Rica´s North Pacific frontier.   The journey was fabulous.  The spine of Costa Rica is a large range of volcanic rock mixed with a mountain chain that eventually turns into the Andes.  When the mountains turn into plains, you´re left with a long line of volcanoes which march up the centre of the country and into Nicaragua.  They look magnificent from the bus, looming out of the plain and generating their own weather on their peaks. As soon as one volcano recedes behind, another pops up ahead.

La Frontera
I was expecting another Sixaola, so was quite surprised to find a modern-looked set of buildings at Peñas Blancas.  They even have a bank to change money (as well as a load of blokes carrying wads of cash and probably ropey exchange rates). I like borders, there is something weird about them.  Lots of people milling about waiting for something to happen, yet noting really does.  Time seems to stop still.

The no-mans land between the two countries has a concrete wall lined road.  After immigration of the Nicaraguan side, you have to go into a gate in the wall for admission into bedlam.  After paying a dollar to go through the gate, one enters Nicaragua proper.  And then the shouting starts.  I wanted the bus to Rivas, but got offered a lot of taxis.  So I put on my "No, Gracias" face - relatively blank expression, eyes looking beyond with a vague air of annoyance about them (this is his usual expression, ed.).  Then a guy said "bus", I looked at him, he grabbed my arm and manhandled me onto a yellow American school bus with a picture of Christ on the window. I was on my way to Rivas apparently.

Isla de Ometepe and Rivas
The road to Rivas goes along the shores of Lake Nicaragua, which looks like a sea, repleat with waves.  In the distance, two volcanoe rise out of the water to form the biggest freshwater island in the world. The north volcano, Concepcíon, is a perfect cone and looks phenomenal.  They just look huge. On my wy home, I´m definitely going to spend a day or two there.

The town is dusty and manic, just like I expected Central American towns to be.  Whilst waiting for the Bus to San Juan, I was offered a variety of produce, including live chickens in plastic bags.  These people will sell anything.  Onto another bus and plonked next to two girls from London and into San Juan...

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