Another day, another volcano in Nicaragua

Granada Travel Blog

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The behemoth that climbed Mombacho for us. A real beast, eh?

Hello all,

Today was another great one.  I woke up around 7am, and had some of the tasty breakfast here at the Hotel Kekoldi.  I have eaten more fresh fruit here in Central America in the last 10 days then I had in my entire life up until now.  I was eating the ballpark food at the game yesterday, and it was sliced mango for about 15 cents.  When I ordered it they asked if I wanted salsa.  I declined, and then I had found out that they had inexplicably put salt on it.  Salt?  On mango?

The tour van to Volcan Mombacho picked me up at 9:15am.  David, also in the hotel, was taking the same tour, and there was a couple from Minnesota and a couple from Israel along for the tour as well.  Our tour guide was also named David, and he was very pepped up and informative about everything we saw.

The view from the truck passing coffee fields. Note the misty. cloudy background.
  At the visitor's center we boarded a huge 4x4 vehicle for the trip up the volcano.  Some of the inclines were outrageous, and I understood the reason for a specialized vehicle.

The first stop was at a small coffee co-op on the mountainside.  I had a few cups black, and could certainly taste how rich the brew was.  I thought about buying some, but then I remembered how much longer I would have to lug it around and thought better of it.  We got back into the truck and continued up for about 15 minutes longer.

Arriving at the lodge on near the top we were at about 1,150 metres and deep into the cloud forest.  After going into the lodge I was amazed to see the clouds from outside blowing in the door.  The air was heavy with moisture, and it seemed on the verge of a downpour at any second.

A wet march through the cloud forest. And the other smart travellers with thier rain gear.
  I hadn't brought any rain gear other then two ziplock bags for my camera and my wallet.  I figured that it was a rain forest in the rainy season, and I was ready to get rained on.

I got my wish.  Shortly after we started our hike the downpour started.  Everybody else donned their rain gear and pulled out umbrellas, as I started to do my best sponge impersonation.  The walk was amazing, and David identified all of the flora and fauna we saw along the way.  The rain and clouds cleared enough for one beautiful view of Granada and Lake Nicaragua.  Shortly after we saw the only remnant of Mombacho's activity.  About a half dozen fumaroles that were venting out invisible steam kept the area about 20 degrees warmer then the surrounding jungle.

A nice fissure towards the eastern top of Mombacho.

I took my drenched self back to the lodge to hang out for about 20 minutes and wait for the truck to take us back down the mountain.  During that time I got a tasty snack.  It was called Queso & Tostones, and I was worried that it would be american style tortilla chips with that nuclear yellow cheese.  Thank God no.  The cheese was a homemade tasting local variety deep friend on top of soome delicious plantain chips.  It also came with a yummy cabbage salad similar to a vinegar based cole slaw.  Very tasy, and only a buck and a quarter.

We then jumped on the truck and headed down the mountain.  About a third of the way down I, and a family of six from California, got dropped of for the zipline tour.

Here is the group of intrepid adventurers. I am second from the right with my arm hanging on for dear life.
  I'm sure you have all seen them.  They sell it as the best way to see the rain forest.  You are hooked into a harness and hung from wires going from tree platform to tree platform until you reach the end.  All in all this tour had 13 cables and a swinging walk bridge that took
you 1.5 km down the side of the volcano.  Some of them were faster, and some were slower, but everyone was a huge rush of adrenaline for sure.

Did I also mention that I'm afraid of heights?  Well, I am.  Or maybe I was.  Leading up to the tour I could have never imagined myself taking that first step off of a platform.  Amazingly, it was easy and very cool.  There were five guides for the seven of us, and the Benevente family from northern California was very friendly, enthusiastic, and great to hang around with.

Being a lefty, I was using my left hand to brake.
  The guides were good enough to take your camera along on the trip and get some great shots of us on the lines.  An unbelieveable experience and worth every penny!

After getting back to the hotel room I decided it was time to drink some of Nicaragua's best rum, Flor de Cana.  I had one 375ml bottle, and five bottles of the local cola Kola Shaler, and I was on a mission.  I got some ice from the hotel and polished off more then half of the bottle.  I then went out to talk to some other hotel patrons for a while, continuing to drink.  At that point I decided I needed some food in my belly.

In my quest to find something open late I ended up on the other side of the square at Asia Latina, and Asian fusion place that I had seen a flyer for.

Alright! An action shot. Weeeeeeee!
  It seemed a bit above average price-wise, but had a cool funky vibe.  It was also pretty busy which I took as a good sign.  I ordered another  Flor de Cana & Coke, and pork tenderloin in a corriander and ginger sauce.  It was sooooo good I even had that eye-rolling 'yummy face' plastered on for an hour or so.  During the meal I had three more rum & cokes and a Tona, the local beer.

I also struck up a conversation with a guy from Belgium, whose name I can't remember, and Erin from Atlanta.  Belgian guy had been living here for about nine years and had many great stories about the area.  Erin was towards the end of a seven month (!) trip throughout Latin America, and was trying to stay busy until her bus left at 3am to meet her boyfriend in Tegucigalpa.  Her boyfriend worked at the Honduran/American embassy, which made me very jealous.  She suggested I take the foriegn service test back in the states to get a similar job.

No matter how much I travel I always run into people with different stories and different experiences.  It's the kind of thing that makes travelling solo really a fun experience.  It forces you to chat up other people, and other people always seem to be friendly and willing to share thier time, stories, and advice.  Today big thanks got out to the Benevente family from NoCal, David from Winnipeg, Erin from Atlanta, and un-named guy from Granada/Belguim.

I am sure loving this trip so far.  Only 28 days more to go!

Later, Phil

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The behemoth that climbed Mombacho…
The behemoth that climbed Mombach…
The view from the truck passing co…
The view from the truck passing c…
A wet march through the cloud fore…
A wet march through the cloud for…
A nice fissure towards the eastern…
A nice fissure towards the easter…
Here is the group of intrepid adve…
Here is the group of intrepid adv…
Being a lefty, I was using my left…
Being a lefty, I was using my lef…
Alright!  An action shot.  Weeeeee…
Alright! An action shot. Weeeee…
photo by: Paulovic