Okay. So the most dreaded day of my trip has come. It’s time to take the 16 hour bus ride from Guatemala to Nicaragua. I booked through my hostel in Antigua, leave Thursday 2/19 at 2 am and hopefully getting to Leon around 5 pm.
Long story short, it sucks to have the name Michael sometimes. The travel agency mixed up two Michaels and their trips/dates, so I got on my 2 am bus but to El Tunco, El Salvador, thinking I’d get a connecting bus from there to Leon. The bus driver told me differently so I got off the bus, went back to bed and sorted it out in the morning.
Amidst all the chaos and confusion (I’ll save you guys from this story) I got my money back and was able to catch a 9 am bus with just minutes to spare. I met Johnny and Sukie, both from England, along the way. The bus took us to Guatemala City, where we waited 8 hours (supposed to wait 3) for our direct bus to Leon. We left at 7 pm, crossed 3 borders, all of which in the middle of the night and very sketchy, and got to Leon at 9 am. The 24 hour bus ride is a blog post in itself.
First impressions: Nicaragua is hot. We walked about 30 minutes to our hostel, drenched in sweat. We stayed at Bigfoot Hostels, a cool place known for volcano boarding trips. I spent the rest of the day exploring the city, which to be honest, was a bit of a disappointment. There were a ton of beautiful churches and markets but beyond that, it didn’t seem like there was much to do.
Back at the hostel, I decided it was time to shave. It’s so hot here and the beard was just so itchy. Sorry guys, I tried, just not me. Also, I unexpectedly ran into Koni! We caught up and spent the rest of the night together.
In the morning, we went volcano boarding on Cerro Negro, an active volcano that builds itself up as it erupts. We hiked to the top, carrying our heavy boards and battling strong winds. At the top we had an awesome view of the surroundings, including a few volcanos in the distance. We threw on our oversized prison suits and lined up. Volcano boarding is very much like sleigh riding down a volcano. I went pretty fast – putting my feet down every once and a while to slow down and consequently kicking up a ton of sand and rocks. I fell off about halfway down, but got back on and raced to the bottom. I was going pretty fast when it started getting bumpy, at one point getting air off of a large bump.
It was all so much fun and definitely worth the trip, but I’m ready to leave Leon and move on. Since the shuttles only leave at 9 am for San Juan del Sur, Koni and I are going to take chicken buses (local, crowded buses) to San Juan del Sur for Sunday Funday! First, an overnight pit stop in Poste Rojo. Hopefully. This should be an adventure.
PS I also met Nick Brown from MTV’s The Challenge. I totally recognized him and got to talking. It just so happens he’s from New Rochelle, NY, just ten minutes from my home in NY!