3 days in beautiful Granada

Published: April 25th 2018
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On Sunday, April 15th, Rebecka and me arrived at around 2PM, after a very uncomfortable 1h ride in a chickenbus to Granada. Since we had the whole afternoon free and nothing planned, we checked into our hostel and then went to discover Granada. This small town is really beautiful, only small, cute, colourful buildings, a nice little parc in the center of town, in front of a beautiful cathedral, a lively and cute restaurant/bar street and access to the lake. We strolled around all afternoon, taking pictures and eating ice-cream. Then we went back to the hostel (de boca en boca) and relaxed for a few hours before going for dinner. There, we met Gwendoline from Brittany in France. She seemed like a very nice girl and we got along very well from the beginning. She told us, the next day she wanted to go to the Mombacho Volcano and do some hiking up there and asked if we wanted to join her. Apparently, it’s a bit expensive to go there, because you need to take a shuttle for 20$US up the volcano if you don’t want to hike 2h30 up to the top to start the hike you actually want to do and then, up there, you need to take a guide that also costs about 14$US per group. So it would be cheaper if we’d go together. We looked up this volcano online and read about it. The reviews were quite good and so we decided to join Gwen. The only problem was the money : we didn’t have much left and no ATM in town seemed to have money that Sunday night... Finally, after trying several cards and trying every bank in town twice for dollars and córdobas, Rebecka was able to take out a bit of money and I was able to get 60$US !

That allowed us to do the tour the next day and that night, have dinner. We went to a really good japanese restaurant and had some delicious sushi and noodles with vegetables and shrimps. It was a bit expensive, but sometimes you need to treat yourself well. ;-)

The next morning, we were a bit in a rush, because Rebecka got up late and was pretty stressed out because of an insurance problem. In the end, we managed to get the bus anyway, I just had to lend Rebecka some money because in her stress she had forgotten hers at the hostel.

So, we took a chickenbus direction Rivas and after 20 minutes we got off. There we took a tuc tuc up to the entrance of the Mombacho park (we were too lazy to walk up there) and met a couple from Paris. They wanted to do the same tour as us and so we continued together. We got to the entrance just in time to get the 20$US shuttle (20$ per person) up to the top. There we had the choice to either do the 1 1/2h trek around the crater or the 2 1/2h trek that’s a bit longer. For the first one, you just pay a 5$US entrance fee while on the other trek you pay the entrance fee and you have to take a guide for 14$US (spanish ; 17$US for an english guide). In the end, we decided to the the tour without a guide and I think that was a good decision.

The hike was pretty easy and more a walk than a hike, but it was beautiful. Flora and fauna up there were really beautiful and we even saw a few monkeys. We took our time and rested for a good while on the viewpoint half way of the trail. From there, you had a wonderful view of the Lago Nicaragua, the Laguna the Apoyo and the Masaya Volcano. :-)

In the end, we got back to the entrance after 2h and took the shuttle back down to the entrance of the park. There were more monkeys there and since Gwen loves monkeys, we spent some more time there taking pictures and watching monkeys. ^_^

When we finally got back to the main road, there were many tuc tuc drivers that offered to bring us back to Granada, but there all asked much too much money! So we waited for a chickenbus to pass and bring us back to town. After only 10 minutes, one passed a bit further away and we ran to get it. In every chickenbus, there is one person screaming out on the street the destination of the bus, looking around if there might be some people wanting to hop on. If they find someone, they just stop for a second until you were able to ran to the bus and jump on it. Pretty fun ^_^

We got back to the hostel pretty early (+/- 2PM) and, since Rebecka and I were starving, we went for lunch. I was in a very bad mood, because I was just too hungry, but after having eaten a huge falafel plate, I was feeling better and my good mood was back on. :-) We managed to get more money for the ATMs in town, that apparently had been refilled that morning, and then went back to our hostel. There, we had about 20 minutes to rest before our shuttle to the Masaya volcano arrived. We had booked it the night before, because Rebecka wanted to see it. Masaya is still active and, in the evening, you can see the lava. While our bus waited in the queue, I saw Skander and Anja standing outside of their shuttle and so I went to greet them. I hadn’t known they had already arrived to Granada, so it was a nice surprise. :-) Unfortunately, they were too hangover and tired to go for a beer after the tour, but maybe we’ll meet again somewhere in Costa Rica, who knows. ^_^

When we finally arrived to the top, we were pretty disappointed. You couldn’t really see the lava, only the red colour and had to guess the lava below. After having seen errupt Fuego in Guatemala, this was a complete disappointment and definitely not worth it’s 20$US !

When we came back to our hostel, we found Max and Jennifer there. They had arrived just a few hours earlier and we went for dinner with them. Max was, again, boasting around about what we had missed in El Salvador, trying to give Rebecka a bad conscience and I got more and more annoyed. So, I was really happy when, after a short time, Gwen arrived and joined us. I talked to her then and let Rebecka, Max and Jennifer talk in Swedisch. Max and I stopped talking all together, I guess he saw that I really don’t like him, but I’m a bit sorry about that for Rebecka, because they are good friends and it would be easier for her if we liked each other. Well, you can’t have everything. ;-)

After dinner, we went back to our hostel where a concert had started. Cucha Cucha is a group of young people from Argentina and Uruguay that have been travelling across South and Central America for 2 years, playing music for free accommodation. They were really good and played amazing music ! We danced all evening long and had a great time! :-D

The next morning, Gwen left for Ometepe and Rebecka and I went to Laguna the Apoyo. The only place where you can really go there is the Paradiso hostel, so we went there and spent the day relaxing at the beach, swimming, eating and sunbathing. :-)

At 4PM we took the bus back to Granada and at 6PM we took a free shuttle to the Treehouse hostel, located about half an hour outside of Granada. A friend of mine, Alex, had recommended us to go there and we thought it would be cool to spend a night in a hostel in the trees, but then we learned that it’s in reality more a party hostel than a hostel to enjoy nature. ^_^ We took just a bag for 1 night, not our big bagpacks, because a French guy in our hostel had told us that it’s quite a hike up to the hostel and, once arrived there, we were really happy to have followed his advice !

On the shuttle there, we met 3 guys from Austria and 1 guy from the Netherlands. They were really nice and we had a lot of fun with them during the night.

The Treehouse hostel is really awesome! The location in the trees is really cool, we had a nice double bed in the middle of the woods, food was delicious and cocktails great and cheap. The staff at the hostel consisted only in volunteers and they were all super nice. Most people arrived with the shuttle at 9PM and left at around midnight, coming there just to party. Every night, there is another thing going on and that night, the theme was « beachparty » and everybody who put on beach clothes got a free shot. I wore my bikini and a beach towel and lent it to some other people so they could also get a free drink. It was also game night and we played a drinking game. Rebecka and I were in a team with Jason, a guy from Toronto, Annika, a girl from Canada, and Josh, a guy from Ireland. We lost, but we had so much fun that night! I can’t really remember the end, but it doesn’t matter. We had the best time and it was even worth the bad hangover the next day! ^_^

The next morning, we visited to local community next to the Treehouse hostel. Every volunteer at this hostel gives, during the day, lessons to kids in the local school, English or other courses. It was great to see how happy the kids were and how much the locals enjoy their company. We asked locals if they don’t mind the party hostel next to them and their joined answer was « no ». The hostel helps the community a lot, employing only locals as security, as kitchen staff and for driving the shuttles. Thanks to the hostel, they were able to build a playground for the school (that gets no funding at all from the government!) and many families live from the money they earn working there.

So, even if it’s a party place, it does a lot of good for the local community! :-D

At around 1PM, we went back to our hostel in Granada to get our bags and to get to Ometepe. It was quite hard to leave the De boca en boca hostel, because it’s probably one of the best hostels I’ve ever been to ! The rooms are spacious and have private showers and toilets, each locker has a plug inside so you can charge your stuff safely while you’re exploring the town (awesome!), staff is really friendly, they have lots of hammocks and comfortable common areas, there is a good and cheap bar, they offer tours, you can leave your luggage for free if you go for 1 night to the Treehouse hostel and the location is really good. The only bad thing was that it gets really hot in the rooms at night and wifi often didn’t work well. Otherwise, it was amazing, organising also concerts and game nights. :-)

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