I loved the largest Central American country as much as any other backpacker! Nicaragua may not be the first country that comes to mind, but it’s definitely an amazing place to visit.
This great country saw me chilling on beaches, making chocolate and going on a few nights out!
I met the amazing, super-fine, funny, intelligent Lyndsay, a true star. As well as the ridiculously smart Costa and the fairy-like Fiorila amongst several passion fruit caipirinhas!
I also met up again with Eva, after two short months of travelling!
1. All aboard for Volcano Boarding!
The first Nicaraguan city most backpackers find themselves in is León – this beautiful, but very hot, city is famed for its white cathedral. But what most people come here to do is volcano boarding!
The task is relatively simple; strap a board to your back, hike up a volcano, pop on Breaking Bad-esc overalls and ride down!
On the way up, I definitely felt like Frodo climbing Mount Doom – the views were slightly more pleasant than the desolation of Mordor though!
The photos do it more justice than my words but do know that it was very enjoyable – kinda like sledging on snow but with volcanic ash hitting you in the face!
Also, at the top of the volcano, our guide told us to push some top soil aside and feel the floor. Even though this volcano was dormat, the ground still felt warm and cosy to the touch.
2. Taking a breath on empty beaches
As I’ve mentioned, León is darn warm most of the year round. And to escape the heat, most locals head half an hour down the road to Las Peñitas beach!
This beach however is mostly deserted during the week and that’s when I visited and had some me time.
Being alone on the Pacific coast was a great break from the city and I got to enjoy the sunsets with a few beers.
I saw Lyndsay on my first day and we scoped out for some poutine (she is Canadian after all!). Sadly the restaurant hadn’t opened yet and our desire for this comfort food is still present a month on!
3. Karaoke and bottle service
Upon leaving the beach, I headed to the next stop on the Gringo trial; Grenada. This picturesque colonial city is cooler than León, both in temperature and ambience.
Here, I stayed at De Boca en Boca – a fabuloso hostel recommended by several friends.
Funnily enough, I pumped into Lyndsay again! (I’m not stalking her, I swear) and we had an amazing night out after a few passion fruit caipirinhas.
We headed to a karaoke bar to find that we were the only ones there. So being the outspoken, party starters that we are, Lyndsay got up and gave an amazing performance of Don’t Stop Believin’.
Just before this however, we ordered a few drinks and, being in the cheapest Central American country, we ordered bottle service for a fraction of what we’d pay in our home countries.
One drink later, the bar was slowly picking up. I got up and gave a funny, masc4masc version of …Hit Me Baby (One More Time), using the bar’s benches, poles and new veterans in my performance.
4. Making sweet, sweet chocolate
If you go Central America and don’t make chocolate, what’s the point?
A few blocks down from my Granadian(?) Hostel was a chocolate museum – like those present in every Central American towns.
Here I spent two hours learning about the production and processing of the cacao bean!
It was a great experience that saw us roast, grind the beans and create some great drinks and even a chocolate bar of our own design.
5. The Food
Nicaragua was an odd one when it came to food.
I spent a lot of time escaping the heat in McDonald’s, or making my own lunches after missing cheese sandwiches.
But I did get to try lobster for the first time in Las Peñitas.
And, for some reason, I had some pierogis in a Polish-Sri Lankan restaurant in the middle of Granada(??).
Nicaragua was perfect.
Total Spent: £312.81
Total Nights: 10
Cost per Night: £31.28
Notes: Nicaragua could have been cheaper but then I wouldn’t have the great memories of those nights out!