Gracias for Gracias
Gracias Travel Blog› entry 2 of 14 › view all entries
December 7th, 2008 – by: hauteboy
The driver was a speed demon, zooming ahead with a boy hanging out the side door announcing the destination. We kept packing in more people, at least 20 by my count before we reached Santa Rosa in a light drizzle.
The next bus left at 10:15, much less crowded. Vendors come on the buses just before it departs, selling drinks, food, gum, etc. I´d hoped for a chicken bus, but alas, no chickens were to be seen. However, we did get a preacher raving away in Spanish for an hour standing next to us. The drive to Gracias was gorgeous, the landscape changed as we drove through pine forests. The drive was about an hour and a half, we arrived just before noon.
Gracias used to be the capital of Central America way back in the 1500s, not sure why as it is quite remote from anything. Antigua and Granada took over in importance so its been a backwater for some time. There is a national park nearby which is the reason most tourists come here. There are a few old buildings and a castillo high up on the hill overlooking the town.
We dumped our bags then walked around town a bit, going through the market and then up the hill to the castillo.
We then headed back to the hotel for a catnap before heading off to the nearby hotsprings. They´re a fair distance out of town, several hrs walk or you can hire a mototaxi (tuk-tuk) for 100L, we arranged for him to come back to pick us up in 2 hrs. The hotsprings (30L) are quite nice, separated into different rock pools of varying temperature. Very popular with locals, there were tons of people here when we arrived. The setting is beautiful, in a forest under the trees. Its seems quite the party place as it is open to 11PM! The waters were very relaxing after the day on the bus, this place is well worth a trip.
It was getting dark as we headed back to town. I guess it would have been possible to hitchhike back instead of hiring the taxi again. After a shower we headed out to dinner. The LP recommended the Rincon Graciano restaurant. We managed to find it after getting a little lost (how do you get lost in a town thats 6x7 blocks). The restaurant looked closed but we knocked on the door and they turned on the lights. The room was gorgeous, red walls and art hanging on the walls and tables. The menu looked delicious, it was hard to choose. I settled on the chicken in sauce with spinach, also trying the horchata(?) drink, made from corn and cacao. The owner makes everything from scratch, so it took awhile to prepare dinner, but it was well worth it.
We headed back to the hotel to crash, again a very early start the next morning as we were going to try to make it to Perquin in El Salvador. This again would involve 3 bus connections, the first one to La Esperanza left at 5AM!
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