Romancing the Stone

Esteli Travel Blog

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In the mountain just when the rain started

Rain in Esteli­

I had imagined the city of Esteli a little different; like a larger mountain city; as something you could see from the distance, but to my surprise suddenly it was there and I was actually a bit uncertain that we were there already.

We had left Matagalpa in the morning and followed the main road connecting cities. The road was passing the huge lowland between the two large mountain ridges. The lowland had been really nice driving in and there had been very few cars. We first met cars when we entered the last 30 kilometres.

The city of Esteli­ was lying in a valley and as Matagalpa spread over a large area, with low houses and sheds all over.

The first rain came at lunch
The highest house were 2 stories high, except of the new hotel situated on the main road which was boosting its freshness in white and pink; looking like a proper European hotel.

After having seen the church in the distance, we turned right towards downtown and leaving the main road going to Somoto. We turned in order to find the hotel, which should be situated near Parque Central. This time we wanted a place with hot water especially after two days without it in Matagalpa. Much to our surprise EstelÃi turned out to be the first city on the trip so far that had street name signs which made it much easier to find our way, but anyway the church is a good point to start in Nicaragua.

The Casa Hotel Nicarao turned out to be quite okay; hot water and the rooms were fairly large, and the rate was 15$ per room per night. We took the rooms and tried to find a nearby parking so we could unload our stuff from the car to our rooms.

The sky became grey

We found a parking close by and checked in at the hotel. I needed a haircut and found a hairdresser next to the hotel that did the job for 2$. The woman was sweet and spoke absolutely no English but we managed pretty well and having very short hair (close to nothing) she hardly could do something wrong. She was very thorough and she had nothing else to do. In the two following days I only saw one other customer, but naturally I did not do a stakeout on her premises.

After my head was almost polished, it started to rain a little. We postponed our trip to some of the national parks a little waiting for the rain to stop and used the time in the little yard in the middle of the hotel and which were covered with steel plates; which again resulted in an incredible noise. After 30 minutes it was done and we left for the national park; Are Protegida Cerro Tisey-Estanzuela.

Rain everywhere

The way to the National Park was indicated at the entrance of Estelí so we went back and entered a dry dirt road. Much to my surprise it looked like it had only rained in the city centre. The road was fair but was pretty steep some places.

After some 30 minutes on the bumpy road we saw a gate on the left side of the road and it said something about a national park. There was an old smiling cowboy lacking some of his front teeth. Babs asked if we were on the right way and how far it would be. We got a big smile from him when he looked at the car! No so far he said and told that where he was standing was towards another attraction; a waterfall.

Our Yaris was not the best car in this kind of terrain so he was right in his smile, but much to my surprise we caught up with an old bus driving the same route after yet another 10 kilometres of driving.

And the duck went on one leg - I still wonder why
The bus was driving between 3 � 5 kilometres an hour but I saw no reason the pass on the steep and slippery road. It made a lot of noise but it also had loads of space between the ground and the bottom of the bus.

We took it easy and followed the spectacles of the bus; we had a hard time driving in the Toyota but still the bus managed to drive upwards and show us the best way to tackle the obstacles. At one point the bus stopped and a guy was picking up his wife and child at the road; at that point I noticed that he had brought a huge black piece of plastic. He knew something we didn�t know; I was thinking.

In a split second the weather turned to worse without going to bad first; clouds made it impossible to see anything and we gave up reaching for the main entrance and the supposed stunning view at Mirador de Tisey trail that was our goal.

Rain in the street
We turned the car toward where we came from.

The new goal was set on a new target the Salto Estanzuela, which is a 36 meter waterfall that the old cowboy said he was guarding the gate for. After a 30 minutes drive we were finally back at the gate to the place, it had started to rain and our smiling friend. At that point we started to get really happy about our decision to turn around.

We turned the car towards the gate at the entrance for the waterfall and the old guy went out in the rain and let us in. At the shed they were hiding in we asked the 3 guys if we could bring the car down to the waterfall and like on commando, they all had said Noooo at the same time shaking their heads from side to side.

It had now started to rain even more and we could not stop laughing; we parked the car and put on our rain jackets for the one kilometre walk in to the terrain towards the waterfall.

The wild wet women

We started the descent and quickly saw that the 3 guys in the shed were more than right; it would have been impossible to drive down there; there were huge rocks and the road (or what it was), fell 25 meters in less than 100 meters.

Suddenly the rain started pounding and we looked at each other; it would be no match to get down and instantly got a picture of Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas in the American action-adventure romantic comedy; Romancing the Stone from 1984. I had no intent in casting for the scene where they slide down in the jungle more than 25 years to late, so we had to give up getting there too.

It was completely nonsense to walk in this rain and the trail was wet and slippery; getting down was one thing but getting up again would be a total different story.

When will it stop?

We went back to the car looking like two drowned mice, wet all over. We turned the car around wondering if we could manage the return trip along the dirt road that had gotten slippery with water running along the road like small creeks. The 3 guys at the gate laughed at us and waved goodbye.

Mostly because we were going down almost all the way we managed the return to Estelí in the rain. It turned out that the city was under water or at least some of the road crosses were completely flooded. We were driving very slowly in steel coloured Yaris, and we had to follow the locals in order to see if it was safe to drive cross any given street.

Back at the hotel it was time to change clothes and get a (hot) shower.

Water streets
I tried to hang up my wet clothes in my room in order to have them try up a little but the weather was so humid that it would be impossible.

After having gotten dry clothes on we again waited in the patio of the hotel while the rain hammered on the steel plates. I decided to try the Nacatamales; which was a mixed small dish cooked in banana leafs and it turned out to be really good.

The rain didn't really stop and the sky was totally grey all the time, but we decided to check out the city anyhow. The rain had got weaker after a while and finally stopped after further 50 minutes.

We were really happy when it finally stopped but then we had the next surprise; billions of flies where hatched and there were everywhere; where are the birds and the geckos when you needed then.

Hiding for the rain
The flies were quite big; anyway their wings were, and they went everywhere; into the pants and under your shirt, it was crazy. I could not wait to get into a shower again because I had flies everywhere.

We I took my clothes of after the very humid walk I had fly wings everywhere on my body. Looking in the mirror I was quite surprised how many wings I had on me. Seconds later I started to wonder where all the bodies of the flies had gone because it was only wings I could see.

After yet another shower we had our lazy time and agreed to meet up at 7.30 pm for an apero before going for a Cuban restaurant. There was a Cuban restaurant just around the corner which had been recommended by Lonely Planet but the Cuban place turned out to be closed.

Wet streets
I could remember that I had seen another Cuban restaurant which we had passed that day so we headed for that one.

The restaurant was primitive but the owner and his wife were really sweet people. The food was okay and they served some local Nicaraguan wine produced in the highland that was quite funny to taste. As usual at 10 pm everything closed and we had to return to the hotel and hope we could get in.

Chokk says:
Could not be more true:)
Posted on: Jun 05, 2010
vances says:
Quite an adventure - you walked through a waterfall to reach a waterfall!
Posted on: Jun 05, 2010
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In the mountain just when the rain…
In the mountain just when the rai…
The first rain came at lunch
The first rain came at lunch
The sky became grey
The sky became grey
Rain everywhere
Rain everywhere
And the duck went on one leg - I s…
And the duck went on one leg - I …
Rain in the street
Rain in the street
The wild wet women
The wild wet women
When will it stop?
When will it stop?
Water streets
Water streets
Hiding for the rain
Hiding for the rain
Wet streets
Wet streets
How has a boat?
How has a boat?
The clouds are coming
The clouds are coming
In the forrest
In the forrest
Nice green colours
Nice green colours
Clouds on the way
Clouds on the way
Where is the backgound
Where is the backgound
Spooky mountains
Spooky mountains
Jeddi?
Jeddi?
The farm
The farm
It is getting wet
It is getting wet
Big ears and eyes
Big ears and eyes
Where is the road?
Where is the road?
Dinner
Dinner
In the woods
In the woods
Water every where
Water every where
At the hotel
At the hotel
In the patio
In the patio
The house duck!
The house duck!
The patio
The patio
The menu
The menu
Flowers
Flowers
My bananaleaf
My bananaleaf
Babs having fun
Babs having fun
Its i not clear
Its i not clear
Streets of Esteli
Streets of Esteli
Streets of Esteli
Streets of Esteli
I am keeping one eye on U guys
I am keeping one eye on U guys
Streets after the water
Streets after the water
Blue shop
Blue shop
No kipping
No kipping
Purple cormer
Purple cormer
Red baron was here
Red baron was here
Colours
Colours
In the rain
In the rain
Streets of Esteli
Streets of Esteli
Streets of Esteli
Streets of Esteli
Streets of Esteli
Streets of Esteli
The flies
The flies
The hotel patio
The hotel patio
My hotel room
My hotel room
The bathroom
The bathroom
My two beds
My two beds
My room was in the corner to the r…
My room was in the corner to the …
The living room or the patio
The "living room" or the patio
All the decorations of the patio
All the decorations of the patio
Paintions everywhere
Paintions everywhere
Birds and decorations
Birds and decorations
The hairdresser that cut my hair
The hairdresser that cut my hair
Estili in the sun before the rain
Estili in the sun before the rain
Colours of Esteli
Colours of Esteli
Business is the name of the game
Business is the name of the game
Speaker cars running around in the…
Speaker cars running around in th…
The gold shop
The gold shop
Colours of Esteli
Colours of Esteli
The main street of Esteli
The main street of Esteli
Colours of Esteli
Colours of Esteli
Babs before the rain
Babs before the rain
The patio and one of the many wome…
The patio and one of the many wom…
Fruit stand
Fruit stand
Inside a everything shop!
Inside a everything shop!
In the everything shop!
In the everything shop!
A colourful building at Parque Cen…
A colourful building at Parque Ce…
The watchman or securityman!
The watchman or securityman!
The Cathedral of Esteli
The Cathedral of Esteli
The new fire truck
The new fire truck
The old fire truck
The old fire truck
The broken Ambulance
The broken Ambulance
The broken Ambulance
The broken Ambulance
One of the few garden of the town
One of the few garden of the town
Political painting
Political painting
Political painting
Political painting
Steet art
Steet art
Where did the street go?
Where did the street go?
Colourful house
Colourful house
Steet art
Steet art
Steet art
Steet art
Steet art
Steet art
Painted commercial
Painted commercial
Babs looking for some hot coffee
Babs looking for some hot coffee
A colourful bus
A colourful bus
The middle one is one holiday
The middle one is one holiday
The hospital
The hospital
Colours of Esteli
Colours of Esteli
In Parque Central
In Parque Central
The Cathedral of Esteli
The Cathedral of Esteli
In Parque Central after the rain
In Parque Central after the rain
The Cathedral of Esteli
The Cathedral of Esteli
The Cathedral of Esteli
The Cathedral of Esteli
The fast food stand
The fast food stand
Inside a Cuban restaurant
Inside a Cuban restaurant
We are in the cigar area of Nicara…
We are in the cigar area of Nicar…
The menu and the prices
The menu and the prices
The menu and the prices
The menu and the prices
A local sweet wine from the mounta…
A local sweet wine from the mount…
My food
My food
The vegetarian offer
The vegetarian offer
Esteli Hotels & Accommodations review
A hotel run by a junta of women
We had been staying at a large number of midrange hotels in Nicaragua which all have been run by families and Casa Hotel Nicarao in Estelí is another… read entire review
Esteli
photo by: Yoshu