A Travellerspoint blog

January 2017

Central American adventures end in Nicaragua


View 8 Month Adventure on elliehirch's travel map.

After a few last minute itinerary changes, things worked out splendidly for Jody and I to meet in Nicaragua. We got to spend my last 10 travel days in Central America together. Talk about perfect!
After uniting in Managua, our first destination was slightly north, in Leon. One chicken bus ride later and we had a little time to explore the town..

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But the real attraction was our second day.. volcano boarding! It was a hot and windy walk up the side of Volcan Cerro Negro..

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And the view became beautiful almost immediately..

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We got a great look over the crater of the volcano..

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Then donned our gear..

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And jumped on a toboggan to ride down that volcano..

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So much fun!

Next up we headed to Granada, a cute colonial town that was only a couple more chicken bus rides away (these ones less fun due to extremely packed conditions not entirely conducive to large backpacks). We also explored the town a little bit...

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Then spent a day in Masaya (only half an hour away), checking out the town, local market, artisan market, and lagoon...

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As well as a night trip to Masaya volcano for a look at the active crater..

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Next up was a day trip to Laguna de Apoyo..

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And a night spent partying and sleeping in a treehouse..

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Our next destination was San Juan del Sur. We made it just in time to enjoy the much talked about Sunday Funday Pool Party..

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After a day of drinking at multiple pool locations, we got to enjoy a beautiful sunset...

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And spent the next day relaxing at Maderas beach..

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Our final destination in Nicaragua was the island of Ometepe, which quickly became our favourite. It felt a bit more cultural, the whole island is beautiful, formed by two volcanos (my favourite) and covered in lush greenery. Our first activity was a scooter rental and ride around the island..

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Saw some beautiful spots along the way..

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Our second day started off with a hike.. Now on Ometepe you can climb either of the two volcanos.. Which involves 8-10 hours of climbing and very little in the way of rewarding views due to clouds. I'm all for hiking (obviously.. I hiked all along this trip), but I'm not all for hiking when there's little reward. And besides, Jody just said hell no, we're not doing that.
So we hiked to a waterfall. The 'easier' hike. Which we named the neverending waterfall hike because it was hot as you know what and we sweat like it was our job and then fiinally fiiiiiinally made it to that waterfall! It was beautiful though..

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We cooled off with a stop at Ojos de Agua mineral pool after our long hike..

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After this I am sad to say I have little exciting left to report. Activities on Ometepe cut short by rain, we headed back to San Juan del Sur before I would head off to San Jose, Costa Rica to catch my flight. I spent most of the last two days of the trip sleeping because I contracted yet another illness... But I made it home and I am so happy and so lucky to be looking back on the most amazing couple months in Central America. Everything was a delight, the people, places, sights, culture. I loved every minute of it and I am feeling so lucky that I get to have time at home to see all the people that I love. And then go on to yet another country! Life is good!

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Posted by elliehirch 18:03 Archived in Nicaragua Comments (0)

Roatanned


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After 6 weeks of spending 24/7 with one person, I headed on to Honduras and Roatan solo once again. So many people have been gracious and generous in complimenting my bravery and determination to do so much solo traveling but the full truth is that I'm always scared as well! I've read and heard from many other solo backpackers who say the same thing. Every time I buy a ticket or pack a bag to head off on my own, I'm nervous, I have second thoughts, I wonder if I should really go all alone... And then I feel the fear and do it anyway. Leaving my Mom was no exception. Though it hadn't been long since I'd been doing everything myself, there was no part of me that wanted to see her go. But I was allowed one quick tear, a 30 second pity party, and then I walked on to that ferry ready for my next adventure. Because it is always worth it and the great moments far outweigh the scared ones. I have amazing, supportive friends and family at home, people who I am so lucky to know will be there for me when I get back. And there are always new places, faces, cultures to discover. And I found exactly that on Roatan. I enjoyed a few days exploring the island. It is a beautiful, green, sandy, friendly island. I stayed in Half Moon Bay which is gorgeous...

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Had a great view right from my room door...

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And got to watch huge waves crashing in on one rainy day...

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I went down to West Bay beach to enjoy some sand, sun and margaritas...

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And also enjoyed the views from the hilltops of the island...

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And soaked up some beautiful sunsets..

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It was a short but beautiful stay before taking a little plane off the island and to the mainland.

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The second flight (of the three that took me to Nicaragua) was the scariest of my life.. That little plane experienced a looot of turbulence. So much that it had people beside me saying some audible prayers. But we made er safely and the views leaving the island were amazing..

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Crossing to El Salvador and then on to Nicaragua was also beautiful.. my best plane views of the trip.

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Now the solo adventures end again and I was off to meet Jody in Managua.

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Posted by elliehirch 17:29 Archived in Honduras Comments (0)

You better Belize it!


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If there's one place in the world that is guaranteed to make my Mom and I into the happiest people on the planet... It is the beach! Add beautiful blue water, clear skies, copious margaritas, great seafood, friendly and chill locals, and Belize is the place for us! A Belize Christmas beach vacation was just what the doctor ordered! We started off with a stay in Placencia, a tiny beach town on the end of a peninsula in the south of Belize. Spending Christmas on these beaches was my kind of white Christmas!

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Looking out from a hotel with this view was perfect..

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Even with a rainy Boxing Day that kept us inside more than desired, it was beautiful...

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Having a Christmas dinner prepared for us (and lobster at that!) was a luxury we basked in, complete with margaritas of course!..

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Sunset colours were also picturesque...

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Our second stop was after a bus ride and then ferry to the country's cayes in the north. We started out on Ambergris Caye in the town of San Pedro. Staying in a house 10 minutes from the islands best beach!..

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Which incidentally is a fantastic place to drink champagne on New Year's Eve with the sweet music of the waves in the background..

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It's also wonderful after indulging in more lobster at a fancy 6 course New Year's Eve meal. Throughout our 2 weeks we had arguably some the best seafood I've ever eaten in my life! When you're looking at barbecues like this... How can you turn it down!?!

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My only regret is loving lobster so much that I had it for our final dinner and became subsequently ill for our last night and the ferry ride out of Belize. Talk about bad luck, which I seem to have with regards to illnesses on this whole trip (this would be food poisoning number three.. Thumbs down!) Thankfully still had my Mom to take care of me before we made our teary goodbye. But I'm getting a little ahead of myself here... Backtrack to a more positive side of sea life... Snorkeling! Belize has the second largest reef in the world after the Great Barrier, and also boasts the largest living reef as it has much less damage and death than the Australian competitor. We spent two days exploring the reef near San Pedro, taking in gorgeous coral...

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Many colorful fishies...

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Sharks..

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Turtles and rays...

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And having a great time..

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Boat rides provide mind blowing images out over the area's pristine turquoise waters!

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As did the ferry ride which took us to stop #3, Caye Caulker, home to the most chill, sunny, gorgeous little slice of island paradise. No cars, just a few golf carts and lots of bikes being ridden by friendly locals and tourists alike, taking things as they come in accordance with the island's motto: 'Go Slow'. We stayed in the most adorable beach cabana..

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And basked in the sun everyday obviously!

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We had found the perfect spot!
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Rode our bikes all over town...

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And enjoyed every beautiful sunrise that Caye Caulker had to offer..

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I even convinced Mom to come paddle boarding with me and we had a blast!

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The blue water around the island never ceases to amaze..

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And the hibiscus flowers here and the whole country are fabulous (more Mom influence in the flower pictures as you can see..)

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Caye Caulker most definitely earns my current medal for favorite island getaway!

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Our last afternoon together was spent drinking margaritas and piƱa coladas at a beach bar and eating fresh popped popcorn. Like hellloooooo this is my dream life..

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Talk about two weeks that were unBelizeable!
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Posted by elliehirch 12:13 Archived in Belize Comments (0)

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