I exited Honduras without too much problem (just a slight confusion as I didn’t understand their instructions in espanyol). I had to pay US$3 upon exit and I made my way to Nicaragua. Again I had to pay fumigation fee of US$3 and US$12 for a tourist card at the immigration. Mandatory insurance for Nicaragua was US$25. Everything was money, money, and money here. The customs officer was slow in filling up the forms but I had to keep my cool. Finally, after about 1 hour, I’m done and hit the road again.
The roads in Nicaragua were not bad. I made my way to Somoto and stayed for one night. The next day, I rode to Granada, which was 250kms away on what’s supposed to be the best road after US and Mexican highways. For the first time, my GPS broke down and I had to use the old school navigation (asking locals for direction in broken espanyol). The view was beautiful along the winding mountain road. Very green and I was entertained with lots of interesting sights such as locals stretching out their hands while holding big lizards by the road side. I felt joy when passing the beautiful yellow and green paddy fields here. It felt like riding on secondary road in Kedah. It felt like home…
Nicaragua as I see was more developed than its neighbours. Clean, modern and big supermarkets, good roads (on the national highways), well marked speed bumps and better driving attitudes among the locals. Upon arriving in Granada, I rode straight to Vista Mombacho Apartments. I met my host, Bob, and the apartments owner, Glenn Koons. They let me stay here for free for 7 days. Bob was a biker himself and had ridden well in US on his BMW bikes and both Bob and Glenn were expats who chose to retire here in Granada. That night, Bob cooked delicious rice, fish and salad for me and we talked about his plans to take me sightseeing in and outside Granada during my stay here. How nice of him.
The next morning, Bob took me for an almost 4 hour stroll in Granada, the oldest colonial city which has the finest architecture pastel shaded colonial buildings in Nicaragua. This city had the biggest number of expats, especially from US and Canada. We walked along the nice charming streets, visited the big market, the park, viewed some churches and we went to the edge of Lake Nicaragua. It was indeed a fun walk.
Bob also owned a dinghy boat and he took me for a very nice 2.30hrs ride on Lake Nicaragua. The boat had an electric motor, which was very quiet, hence we managed to see lots of eagles and other birds without disturbing them. We also saw locals who lived by the lakeside doing their daily activities. It was fun.
After one whole week in Granada, it’s time to say good-bye and continued with my ride. I rode to San Jorge pier to board a ferry to a volcanic island, Isla de Ometepe, which was a must see attraction in Nicaragua. The rough ferry ride was 1.30hrs. Luckily I didn’t get seasick. This island was located in the middle of Lake Nicaragua, and it has two active volcanoes; the Concepcion, on the north of the island (1610m, last erupted in 1986), and Maderas, on the south (1394m, last erupted 3000 years ago). One could trek up to the peak but it’s going to be a tough climb and ended up seeing nothing as the peak is always covered by clouds. I didn’t do any trekking when I was there as I didn’t have any suitable trekking gear with me. I only ride a little bit, watched the local life and ended my day watching the amazing sunset by the lake.
After two nights on the island, I continue my ride to the west coast of Nicaragua, to a small nice beach town, San Juan Del Sur, to enjoy the blue Pacific Ocean again.