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A Road Trip to Esteli

Approximately 2.5 hours after leaving Leon, making only one wrong turn along the way,  we arrived in the town of Esteli and easily found the central park. Finding a place to lay our heads for the night warranted a bit more effort, but we eventually stumbled across a decent B&B called Hostal Santa Maria. 

For a rate of $15 per night we were quite happy with our little room with “private bathroom”.

Our cuarto was super clean (much cleaner than my feet) and had a comfy bed with good pillows. I was quite excited about snuggling up under the thick comforter that night, much more so than I was about Gord going number two behind the green and yellow shower curtain.

It wasn’t until we registered and handed over our money to pay for our room did we realize that the nightly rate was actually $15 per person, not $15 per night. Not nearly the great deal we originally thought it to be, but we decided to spending the night just the same.

Later that afternoon we took some time to wander around and explore the streets of Esteli. The town was busy and bustling, but not nearly as fast paced as Leon.  The cooler temperatures we felt were a welcomed change from the extreme heat we’ve been experiencing in Leon. 

This being my first visit to Esteli with the afternoon light just right and a fully charged battery in my camera I was anxious to find some new and interesting subjects and objects to photograph.  

Here’s a sampling of what I saw:

A Potential Place to Live

Iglesia de San Francisco

Cowboys

A Colorful Baby Bird

Wall Murals

The city of Esteli may not be a photographer’s dream compared to the colonial cities of Leon and Granada, but as you can see I had no trouble finding the interesting subjects and objects I was looking for.

The majority of day two of our Esteli trip was spent exploring Somoto Canyon.  To read about our experience click here.

We decided to spend night two at Hotel Cualitlan.  We rented one of their cabins at a nightly rate of $40 USD.  A full breakfast was included. 

Although there wasn’t really anything extra special about Hotel Cualitlan our cabin was clean, quiet and comfortable and we had a good night’s sleep.

With all the exercise we got from exploring Somoto Canyon we had worked up an appetite. Ranked #2 on Trip Advisor we opted to try Pullaso’s Ole steakhouse.  My chicken, beef, shrimp and chorizo sausage kebob was cooked very well.  The meat was tender, juicy and very tasty.  Gord’s flank steak was perfectly grilled to medium rare as requested.

Before making our way back to Leon on Sunday we took a drive up the hill through Tisey Nature Reserve. As you can see the view was pretty awesome! If you look closely at the photo (top right) you can actually see a Volcan Telica.

We really enjoyed our 1st road trip in the Galloper and are looking forward to wherever our road trip travels take us next!

Nica Fashionista

When I shopped for clothing in Canada I looked for quality so that my clothes would last.  In Nica my wardrobe consists mainly of t-shirts and shorts. In a t-shirt quality used to mean a nice thick, heavy weight cotton jersey.  With Leon’s toasty hot weather I find myself wearing the thinnest, lightest clothing that I brought with me.  I’ve been wanting to augment my hot weather clothing, but didn’t really care to buy into the local knockoff trends of Hollister, Aeropostale or Abercrombie & Fitch.

If you ever wonder where your summer clothing donations go to when they are out of season in Canada, well I can tell you.  They are donated to countries like Nicaragua and then bought in lots by retailers and then sold to the locals. To kill some time one night Elisha and I went into one of these stores in Esteli. They had some of the most random clothing that you could imagine.  Everything from high-end dress shirts to promotional giveaway t-shirts from fundraiser walks.

Shopping at the Nica Goodwill was super entertaining and something that I want to do again. In fact I think this is my new shopping venue.  I found a super “cool” t- shirt.  After doing some internet research I found out it is from a K-8 school in Oakville, Ontario, Canada.  It’s a Maple Grove Griffins team shirt that must have been worn by a rather large chubby 8th grader because it fits me like a glove. It’s a little short in the sleeves which shows off the guns.

A Real Adventure: Somoto Canyon, Nicaragua

Yesterday we awoke to the many sounds of city life in Esteli, Nicaragua.  Music blaring, children screaming, roosters crowing and cars honking are your alarm clock in Esteli, but all that didn’t matter.  We were excited to be up early because we were going to Somoto Canyon.  

As I later found out, Elisha and I had completely different expectations of our day. She thought we were going on a walk along a river that had a nice place for a swim and some good places for pictures. I thought we were getting strapped into life jackets and sent down a raging river canyon.  Maybe we should talk more because if either of those things had come true one of us would have been very unhappy. 

The guide books tell you that Somoto Canyon was relatively unexplored until a group of Czech scientists stumbled across it in 2004. They claim that it was formed 5 – 13 million years ago. With a built in margin for error like that and no way to prove them wrong, who can argue? Ever since the Czechs found this little gem it has been visited by increasingly larger groups of tourists each year.

The tour itself varies greatly depending on the time of year you visit. Due to the fast and high waters that come during rainy season the canyon is completely closed to the public for these few months of the year. In December my version of the tour may have been the reality and in May at the end of the dry season Elisha’s version may have been closer to reality.  This time of year it is in between.  

We did actually walk alongside part of the river, but we also walked in the water and swam down more sections than naught.  

There were  even a couple areas where the river narrowed enough that we actually had to climb up on the rocks and jump off into the next pool of water.

One particular section gave you the option of climbing between 4 and 40 feet to jump into the next pool.  I jumped from all of the available options, except the 4 footer, that was reserved for Elisha. My ass is still pretty sore from my first jump from 40 feet.  I landed a little too far back and the water felt like concrete.  Unfortunately when Elisha attempted to put the camera on burst shooting she put it on timer instead and completely missed my 1st jump.

Her tune turned from,

“Don’t jump from there!” to “Go do it again, so I can take a video!”

The water was much warmer than any Canadian could envision a river to be, but after a few hours Elisha was getting cold.  There were  three different tour options available.  We took the mid-length option (a 3.5 hour route) which was just enough to make you feel like you earned, it without totally wiping you out.

Our guide, Fausto had a waterproof case for our camera, snacks and Tona.  All of which we needed during our frequent rest stops and photo ops. 

The views were amazing and at one point Elisha could take pictures of Honduras.  For me the water sport was enough to keep me happy. Somoto Canyon was a great tour that fulfilled both of our expectations, without actually being what we expected.

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