Since we were so tired the night before we decided to sleep in and so didn’t head into the centre of Granada for breakfast until 9.30. We were looking for a sandwich shop we had been recommended but could find it and so ended up at Los Portales where I had my first Spanish omelette of the trip with some Jamaica and mango juice. We saw a local funeral procession go by as we were eating which was really interesting, as the body was carried in a black carriage pulled by a horse and followed by all of the mourners. As always there was so much food but we ate up before making our way down to the shore of Lake Nicaragua. Granada is right on the coast of the countries (and one of the worlds) biggest lakes and as so many lake-side cities there are off-shore islands close by where people live.
In order to explore the islands you can take a boat tour or go kayaking. Although kayaking covers less ground it is much more peaceful and the smaller boats allow you to go places a boat couldn’t and so we decided on this option. Carolyn and I shared a double after our experience of kayaking the Zambezi in Zimbabwe and Anry had a single in case we needed him to help us. We saw lots of bird life and a local fisherman who fishes by hand fully clothed every day! We even managed to have a chat with him thanks to Anry’s great translation skills. It was such a lovely day and so peaceful floating along with just the sounds of nature all around you. The couple of hours went by so fast and before we knew it we had to head back to the launch point to change and head down to the ferry.
Our next stop after Granada was Ometepe Island, an island made up of 2 active volcanoes located right in the centre of Lake Nicaragua. In order to get here we first drove down the coast of the lake from Granada to San Jorge before getting the El Chuerra Ferry over to the island. Getting our car onto the ferry was quite an experience and it was surrounded by huge trucks for the journey over. When we got the car we had to pay for insurance in case we got into any accidents etc. however, the lady had pointed out that even though we had paid for the insurance we were not covered on Ometepe. Therefore, we had to be super careful driving about when we finally reached the island about an hour later.
We made a quick stop in Moyagalpa, the main town to use the ATM and chat to some of Anry’s friends who are based on the island before heading to our hotel, the Casa Hotel Istiam which was located right in the centre of the 2 volcanoes and so about an hours drive from the ferry port. The first thing I automatically noticed about the island was how much more rural it was in comparison to the mainland. Everywhere you looked was either green with foliage or blue from the surrounding lake, it was so pretty. We unpacked and headed straight for dinner, we had managed to pick up some really tasty sugar coated corn snacks on the ferry having had no time for lunch and so were very eager to try some of the freshly caught lake fish, the island specialty. The fish was amazing and you could tell it was really fresh, even if it did take a really long time to arrive.
After dinner we decided to check out the party scene on the island and after meeting a local guy from the hotel – Victor decided to check out Little Morgans bar just a 10 minute drive up the road from us. As soon as we arrived we knew this place was not our scene. It was full of young backpackers wearing very little clothes and after the bar staff served us some of the traditional Nicaraguan rum and coke and explained if you drank with your right hand you had to down your drink we were feeling pretty sceptical. It was made even worse once Anry explained later that Nicaraguan’s were not usually allowed access to this bar and he had had to negotiate with the staff to let Victor in! Nevertheless we were there and so decided to have a good time. Once the rum was flowing it all seemed better and we were able to play games like ‘let’s find the most naked girl here’ etc. We also had the chance to get to know more about Victor (mostly by using google translate). Meeting local people and getting to know them is so important to both of us while travelling and so it was great to have the chance to get to know one of the islanders.
After we could stand no more we headed back to the hotel and took a bottle of rum and some coke down to the beach for our own late night party. I can honestly say we all had much more fun on the beach chatting and watching the amazing stars than in the backpacker bar. That said if you are looking for a good party with fellow travellers, I am sure Little Morgan’s would be the place to go! After consuming all of our rum, dipping our feet in the lake in the dark and sitting in a fisherman’s boat drinking more rum we stumbled back to our room, what a night!