Published: October 8th 2011October 8th 2011
The lighting show over the ocean at Las Penitas the night before we left.
The last few days we have spent in Leon and Masaya, population 150,000 and 100,000 respectively. As mentioned before, Leon is a colonial town and it was our launching pad for Las Penitas. The night we left Las Penitas back for Leon we had a pretty awesome lightning show over the ocean. I would venture to say that lightning struck every two seconds or so for a few hours. Interestingly, it never rained in Las Penitas while we were there, but the rain seemed to go on either side of Las Penitas every afternoon.
Overall, Leon was a neat colonial town that had a great little cafe just a block off of the central park called LaRosita - I highly recommend if you are passing through Leon. Our hostel was about a half a block from the central park and it too was wonderful - possibly the best hostel we have stayed at so far in this trip (I think it was called Hostel Italiano). As we were getting ready to leave Leon for Granada (Managua is used as a transition bus station) we stumbled across some information about Masaya and decided to head there for a day since it
The market in Masaya in an old fortress looking thing.
was on the way to Granada.
Masaya has the largest artisan market in Nicaragua, our main reason for stopping over, but we were pleasantly surprised by the city as a whole. I must say, be careful which bus you take from Managua to Masaya - some buses drop you off on the highway about a mile from the central park, and others go directly do the central park. We took the wrong bus. A mile walk later in 100 degree heat with humidity and we were both ready to find a place to spend the night. We settled on the Maderas Inn, but didn't spring $15 more for the A/C. Everyone tells us how much electricity is and usually AC for a night is $10 more than a non-AC room. Almost all light bulbs are CFL or LED due to the cost of electricity.
The artisan market in Masaya was within what looked to be an old city fortress. It was a really neat area for the artisan market. A few hours of walking around and we actually didn't purchase anything. They have some really incredible wood work that I would have loved to purchased, but it wouldn't
Licuado chair and table
Amy chilling. Hard to tell but we would guess they were about 8 feet off the ground.
travel well for the next month with us. If we were at the end of our trip there is no doubt we would have purchased something. In the central park just a block from the artisan market was an amazing licuado stand (smoothies!). We shared a cocoa and ginger licuado our first day and a carrot and ginger licuado the next morning. The greatest part of the whole licuado experience were the chairs. The chairs were very original, tall, and a treat to climb up to and sit on (see picture). Upon our return to our hostel we noticed a festival a block down the road. We went down to check it out and inquire what was going on and it turned out that it was some festival of a patron saint. We enjoyed a candy apple there, a delighful after dinner treat that we expected to be like a carmel apple, but instead it was more like an apple with a sucker coating, it was quite delicious! The festival lasted all night, including fireworks that went off from 8pm through 7am - no the best night of sleep we have had!
As with all the other countries (besides
Art south of the central park 5 blocks or so.
Guatemala) Nicaragua has been exceptionally hot. I believe each day the "real feel" has topped 100. It makes you crave a cold shower a few times a day! For those Texans reading this...imagine June-July-August in Texas without AC anywhere - HOT! On to Granada we go...
There are more photos below