From Honduras to Nicaragua : 2 days in León

Published: April 21st 2018
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On Thursday, April 12th, Rebecka and I got up early to take the first ferry at 7AM back to La Ceiba. We were a bit sad to leave Utila since we had had a wonderful time there, but well, now it was time to move on.

In La Ceiba, a tour agent was waiting for us and got us and 3 other people into taxis who brought us to a shopping mall. There we had to wait for the boat from Ruotán to arrive and we were told we would only leave at 9h45. We asked the bus driver if there is an exit fee for Honduras and he told us that there is no exit fee for Honduras but an entrance fee of 14$US to enter Nicaragua and that we will have to pay in dollar ; they don’t except money from Honduras or Nicaragua! °_° So Rebecka and I used the waiting time to go to the bank next door and ask to change money into dollars. Unfortunately you need a bank account there if you want to exchange money, but there was a very nice guy who had heard our conversation with the bank employee and who told us he could exchange our money for us. So nice! ‹3

When we left the bank, it was already 9h40, so still ok for our bus, but the bus driver came midway to meet us and tell us to hurry. They had been wanting to leave for half an hour because the ferry from Ruotán arrived early or something, but hey, not our fault! The others in the bus weren’t mad either, everything ok.

The bus ride was awefully long and the first shuttle was crowded and too small. Fortunately, we changed shuttles in San Pedro Sula and got a better one. During the day, we watched a few movies in the shuttle that had, thanks God!, AC and we had a few breaks, one for fresh fruit (included in the shuttle price) and one longer one for lunch. We only arrived at the border to Nicaragua around 11PM and it was weird, they didn’t let in any foreigners any more. We had to give our passports and the money to the bus driver who gave them to the officers and we had to wait like 30 minutes for 7 passports to get stamped! Strange as well that we didn’t get a stamp that we entered the country, only a paper that says we paid the tourist taxes. They told us that, if you have been to Guatemala and/or Honduras, you don’t need an entrance stamp for Nicaragua. Strange but ok, more free space in my passport. ^_^

At 1AM, we finally arrived to León in Nicaragua and, tired as hell, we checked in quickly and went to bed immediately.

The next morning, Rebecka and I took our time at breakfast and then went out to discover León. It’s a really beautiful colonial city with many beautiful buildings and a good vibe. We enjoyed the day, strolling around, doing some shopping and eating. In the afternoon, we went to the museum of traditions and myths, but this museum is definitely not worth it’s money. It could be pretty nice, but there are not enough explanations and the guide was a bit too friendly to 2 girls traveling... He didn’t speak very well English and he spoke too fast, so we couldn’t understand much.

The only bad experience I had in León was at an electronic store. In Utila, suddenly, my iPad didn’t charge anymore and I was afraid I had a problem with my iPad, but was still hoping it was only a problem with the charger. So I went to this small store to buy a new charger for Apple and they told me I could give it back if it doesn’t work. Well, it didn’t! So I went back to the store and they wouldn’t give me my 15$US back! They exchanged it, gave me another one that worked at first, but burned out after 1h and then they gave me another one that didn’t work either. So I had spent 15$US for nothing... But well, you spend so much money for stupid things, whatever...

I was just afraid my iPad had a problem, so we decided to make a stop in Manágua for one night, the only place in Nicaragua that seems to have an apple store.

When we went back to our hostel, we stopped at a tour agency where we met a few French guys that told us they had gotten a really good price for the volcano boarding : 25$US instead of 30$US. We had not been sure if we wanted to do it, if it’s worth the money, but with the discount and considering that it includes a free TShirt and a free beer, we decided we would do it. First, they wanted to make us pay 30$US but when we told them we knew about the discount they had given the others, they gave us the same discount. :-)

We spent the evening cooking and relaxing at the hostel and didn’t do much else.

The next morning, we had breakfast and at 8h45, our tour agency came to pick us up for the volcano boarding. We were about 20 people, many of them French, and all were really nice. The tour consisted in hiking up the Cerro Negro volcano, which took about 40 minutes. It was a nice hike, a bit difficult because of the board we had to carry and that swayed a lot in the wind, but it was nothing compared to our Acatenango hike. :-)

The hike was actually really nice and the landscape was absolutely beautiful with the black sand everywhere, mixed with white magnesium, red something and yellow sulfur. There were other volcanos around to see as well and, scrapping away just 1cm of sand, you could feel how hot the earth is because the volcano is still very active. Last time it exploded was about 20 years ago and this kind of volcano is supposed to explode every 6 or 7 years, so it’s kind of overdue. Apparently, it can explode whenever, there is no predicting it, and if you’re so unlucky to be there volcano boarding when it happens, you’re kind of done. But well, fortunately nothing happened while we were there ! ^_^

I thought it would be similar to the sand boarding I had done 2 years ago in Chile, but it was very different. We didn’t get real boards, it was more a flat wooden board on that you have to sit (no standing) and slide down the volcano. It was pretty fun anyway and Rebecka and me were the fastest of our group, going proabaly about 45km/h. :-)

When we came back to León, we had our free beer and then went back to our hostel to eat the rest of our dinner from the night before and at around 3PM we took a collective shuttle to Manágua. It was very crowded and we had almost no space to sit. Fortunately we were the first to get in and could place our bags on the back of the shuttle, while an Australian and an Indian guy had to leave them in the shuttle and had to pay for the extra seat their luggage took. These guys were quite nice and we talked a lot with them, mostly about traveling, until we arrived to Manágua 90 minutes later.

There we got pretty ripped-off by the taxi driver, paying way to much to get to our hostel. But well, we were tired, sweaty and just wanted a shower. So, whatever. ^_^

After a wonderful shower we went to the shopping mall around the corner where we found and Apple store and where we went shopping for dinner. We bought lots of food, mostly herbs and coconut oil that we can use later again. We had a delicious dinner with a few good beers and spent the evening relaxing. We had wanted to watch a movie, but, like always, it was already too late and we were too tired to watch a movie, so just relaxing and going to bed early, again. :-)

The next morning, we ate a typical nicaraguan breakfast : rice with beans, eggs and toast. Delicious! :-) Afterwards, we went back to the Apple Store, because the original Apple charger is really expensive and the night before, I didn’t have enough money with me. Fortunately, this charger works very well and so my iPad works again perfectly! It seems it was only a problem caused by a cheap charger. :-D

After that, Rebecka and I went around the corner to McDoncarlds to take a chickenbus (cheap local bus) to Granada.

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