Surf's up near Leon
Poneloya Travel Blog› entry 20 of 37 › view all entries
June 17th, 2007 – by: gopackjo
The plan today is to take a little day trip down to the Pacific coast for some lunch and to check out the sights. Poneloya is known as one of the best surfing beaches in Nicaragua, and it's proximity to Leon gives it a steady stream of visitors throughout the year.
I researched the trip and found out that the 'chicken busses' leave from the west side of Leon about 4km from the hotel. I grab a taxi for 15 Cordobas and the taxi drops me off at a small open-air market, next to which was parked an old yellow school bus from the states. I asked the conductor if this was the bus to Poneloya, and he confirmed it. The bus was already full, so I figured I'd take a wander around the market.
It was a typical Central American open-air market. In some places you would be overwhelmed by activity, smells, or flies.
The bus honks it's horn, and people scramble to get on. All of the seats are still full, so I take up a standing position near the back of the bus. I am one of three 'gringos' on the bus which is full of locals on a Sunday morning. Like most busses in Central America, we make frequent stops to pick-up and drop-off passengers.
About halfway through the trip the conductor starts to collect money for the ride. It turns out that the 45 minute trip will cost me 9 Cordobas (under $0.50). Not bad for a 25km trip. I am planning on riding the bus until very near the end, and checking out the surfing beaches near the town of Las Penitas. I recognize a couple of hotels from the Leon tourist map that have beach frontage, so I get off.
There are a few surfers and wake boarders attempting to negotiate the waves, and although one of my 'goals' on this trip was to surf a bit, I have no problem passing on trying today. Today is likely to be the last day on the Pacific coast, so I think I'll have to leave that for some other time. There are a half dozen hotels with bar/restaurants on the beach, so I select one and get a seat. Strangely enough I seem to be invisible, and I sit there for about 20 minutes without any acknowledgement from an employee.
After a short stroll I make it to 'downtown' Las Penitas, a little ramshakle seaside town positioned on an empty, sandy bottomed bay. On the bay is a little hotel called Barco de Oro, a French owned hotel which is a former nightclub frequented by 60's era dictator Anastasio Somoza. I ordered some food and had a relaxing little meal. As I was eating I realized that the empty bay was filling up rather quickly as the tide came in. It only took about 30 minutes for the bay to fill entirely, and there was even a small 'tidal bore' wave that moved in. It was a great setting.
I heard the bus horn honk from up the road, and knew that it was time to head back.
The regularly 'scheduled' thunderstorm hit Leon at about 5pm, and it was a good one. Power was knocked out for a while, and there was a bit of flooding in the streets. I got caught out a bit coming back from a restaurant, but not too bad.
I spent the rest of the night enjoying the A/C in the room and planning future trip things on the 'net.
Tomorrow is the long, hot trip to El Salvador.
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