The next phase of our trip meant saying goodbye to León and moving on to my favourite place… the beach!
Saturday 16th July
We woke up and had a lazy start to the day sitting at the beach bar and drinking freshly squeezed juice. It was a beautiful day and we decided not to waste any time and move straight on to the nearby Surfing Turtle Lodge.
The Surfing Turtle Lodge had been recommended to us so we knew we needed to check it out!
The journey there involved taking a taxi to the water crossing, waiting for a tiny boat to collect us, loading our backpacks onto it, and a 10 minute journey across the estuary. There, a cart pulled by a horse was waiting to collect our backpacks so we could walk alongside it through the nature reserve to the Lodge.
The Lodge was really cool: it was made up of a main building with a bar, and then beach huts scattered away from it. It had a really nice backpacker vibe and lots of people there were travelling alone, so everyone was chatty and keen to get to know each other.
Emily and I both underestimated how competitive volleyball could get, and forgot that lots of Americans play volleyball in ‘gym class’ – so they’re very good at it!
Needless to say, neither of us won player of the match. Afterwards, we had a private volleyball lesson with two of the guys there who recognised that there was some room for improvement! And after this we played another match feeling much more confident and actually winning some points for our teams!
Playing volleyball meant that we made friends and were firmly part of the community. So after dinner we took part in some more organised fun: a game of ’30 seconds’ – or as we know it – ‘Articulate’!
Emily is well practised in playing articulate, and she got very competitive! The game went on for quite a while and had three different rounds, and everyone got really into it.
Next, there was a bonfire on the beach, and a ‘Tomas’ tournament (a variation of beer pong), and then an actual beer pong tournament. Emily also taught the gang how to play a flip cup game, which resulted in everyone getting quite drunk very quickly!
It was so much fun and it was definitely one of my favourite evenings of the trip!
We woke up early the next morning to make our way further down the west coast to San Juan del Sur. It wasn’t easy getting up after our mad night of games, but we had time to recover during the four hour trip to our destination.
San Juan del Sur was absolutely crazy because it was SUNDAY FUNDAY! We struggled to find a hostel at first because everywhere was so busy, but luckily we managed to find a budget hotel on the edge of the very small town.
Sunday Funday is a pool crawl between three different hostels, and it seemed like every traveller around had flocked to San Juan for it! It happens every Sunday, so it was well organised with security on the doors, a lifeguard, multiple bars and a drink token system so you didn’t need to take cash up to the bar. There were lasers and a DJ and lots of very drunk people!
My opinion that the event was well organised was slightly shattered when the bus came to collect us at the end of the night. The last hostel was on a hillside and we needed to get shuttle busses down to a beach bar in downtown San Juan. Unfortunately there was big a crowd of people and we got a bit squashed!
Monday 18th July
We opted for a more chilled out day today to get our breath back after Sunday Funday. We explored San Juan del Sur and seized the opportunity to do some shopping and pick up souvenirs. San Juan was the last place we would see an ATM for a while so we made sure we were stocked up with cash! The local currency is the cordoba (Although everywhere accepts dollars) and everything is pretty cheap.
There are lots of street food stalls in San Juan, and we found these the best places to eat. The local cuisine mostly involves rice and beans, plantain, fajitas and burritos – all of which were delicious! The street food was cooked right in front of us and tasted really fresh and healthy.
Tuesday 19th July
Today was our last chance to catch some Nicaraguan waves and go surfing. We went to the main waterfront in San Juan del Sur and hired surf boards for a couple of hours. The waves weren’t as big or as frequent as the waves I’ve experienced on my Uni surf trips, but it was good for beginners and great for us as we only wanted a gentle surfing session!
Without taking the time to even dry off from the sea, we hopped in a taxi and headed east to San Jorge to catch the ferry to the volcanic island of Ometepe.
Stay tuned for more about Ometepe!