I fell in love with Nicaragua early in the morning. We hopped on a bus in Playa del Coco, Costa Rica, long before sunrise. We were the first to be picked up, the first to meet our guide, Marco, and our driver, Johnny. We were groggy and shy at first, but by the end of the day, we were calling each other family and sharing street food wrapped in banana leaves together. That’s just how I remember Nicaragua. Comfort. Smiles. Warmth. A strawberry-shake sunset. And leaving, unsure you’ll ever see Nicaragua or Johnny or Marco again, is a little heartbreaking.
Taking one day out of my Costa Rica vacation to see Nicaragua was entirely worth it. It’s been several months now, and I have such fond memories of that single day. I don’t know how to explain it, but I felt very free that day; I felt lucky and exhilarated. I smiled through every one of Johnny’s close calls when his risky passes jerked everyone from their seats. I didn’t mind that the a/c stopped working a few hours in; it just meant it was time to braid my hair. I felt safe, even when the Americans were made to get off the bus at the border to be questioned and have their temperatures taken to make sure we weren’t bringing Ebola into the country.
Nicaragua blew my mind and made me realize I’m not the open-minded traveler I always imagined I was. It was beautiful, whereas I imagined hills of dirt and filth. I expected to be scared, but we were welcomed. I imagined I’d find ramshackle-life, and mostly, it was simple living surrounded by beauty.
These, my friends, are the nearly 20 hours I spent in Nicaragua. I hope you enjoy.
Many of these photos were taken from the bus, but I quite enjoy their feel:
Here, we hopped on a boat to explore Lake Nicaragua, a giant fresh-water later with sharks! Oh, and monkeys!
It makes me want to go back.