Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua

Good morning!

 Koni and I woke up at 8 am to get to the Ometepe as soon as possible. I was feeling great, Koni not so much. Yesterday, we spent the day in San Juan del Sur for Sunday Funday. It’s basically a huge pool party crawl and a ton of fun. I’m coming back to San Juan del Sur on Wednesday for the weekend, so you’ll hear all about it in that blog…

We traveled about 2 hours to San Jorge on the lake via chicken bus and private taxi. At this point, I’m feeling like a travel expert. Taxi drivers are always harassing you, trying to charge absurd amounts. One wanted to charge us $25 direct to San Jorge. However, if you ride with the locals on chicken buses, it’s insanely cheap… Less than $1 to go an hour and a half. And then Koni and I found two others to fill a cab and negotiated the trip from Rivas to San Jorge for about $2 each. Don’t take no for an answer; most taxis try to rip you off. When you realize your options and are confident in negotiating, traveling is fun. You sacrifice the “comfort” of a shuttle for the locals’ chicken bus experience. And when you put a bit of effort into it, you can find cheap cabs too. It’s more fun than a comfortable, direct (and expensive) shuttle. You ride with people living their everyday lives, getting a glimpse of a normal day for them: children going to school, people going to work or making deliveries to other towns.
The ferry across Lake Ometepe was pretty bad. It was crazy windy and the water was choppy. After drinking all day yesterday, Koni got sick. I was fine, except scared with every crashing wave that the boat might tip over.
We got into Moyogalpa and negotiated a private cab 45 minutes away to Santa Cruz for $5 each. The bus there would’ve taken 2 and a half hours and been $2. Let’s take the private taxi.
We got to our hostel, Little Morgan’s, around 3. Exhausted from 2 days of almost no sleep and a bit of traveling, I found a hammock in a tree house to nap. The room had bamboo walls that didn’t quite reach the floor or ceiling, with a mosquito net above the bed. Koni gave me some tips of how to properly use a mosquito net (I’m now a professional)!

The next morning, we hiked Volcano Maderas. While it was nice to hike and had some good views halfway up, it was about 6 hours to the top with just clouds and no view. There was a crater lake at the top (that of course I jumped into) but there wasn’t much payoff other than that. I think hiking Volcano Acatenango in Antigua spoiled me.

We came back muddy, tired, and sore. Our showers were freezing cold and there were bugs everywhere. At this point, I was reminded of a conversation Koni and I had. Comfort and fear are things we create. We are so used to luxuries: hot water, plush beds, and air conditioning. But we only “need” these things because we’ve decided we do. The same for our fears; they only exist because we’ve created them. I’m making a conscious decision to change. If we challenge ourselves against our luxurious standards of living, we’d do much better in uncomfortable situations. For now, though, this cold shower thing is pretty hard. Especially when there are giant spiders. Baby steps…
PS I don’t recommend Little Morgan’s simply because it’s a party hostel, and not the good kind. There were older drunks (that I never witnessed sober), loud music until 6 am, among other things…

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