The Americas travel blog

Masaya Volcano

Today we eat breakfast with our group next to the cacao shop. It's a buffet, not our favourite but the others wanted to have waffles. The food is average and of course we don't get our money's worth, as we don't eat that much. Tomorrow for breakfast we will do our own thing.

This morning we drive to Lake Nicaragua as we have a boat tour our around Las Isletas, the tiny islands around the perimeter of the lake. Some of these islands are inhabited with quite modern houses, some have local fishermen's houses usually of corrugated iron and some islands are just forest. We see quite a few birds and a tree full of nests of the oropendola. We call into a local village where their income is mainly derived from fishing but they also have a small cafe, where we get a coffee. Some of the women are washing clothes in the river and the children are swimming. It's a school day but I don't think they attend school.

We then stop at an uninhabited island where there are quite a few spider monkeys that we can see in the trees near the water. They are so agile jumping from branch to branch above our heads. Another treat at the next inhabited island because it has capauchin monkeys, nicknamed cappuccino monkeys because of their mid brown fur and white faces. So cute! Back to shore and we have the afternoon free.

Phil and I visit the local museum that has some petroglyphs and volcanic stone carvings. They also have displays about the Nicaraguan's religious festivals and some exhibitions of art works. Lunchtime, so it's back to our favourite eating place, The Garden Cafe for lunch in their courtyard. We then climb the 82 stairs to the tower of the Church that overlooks the Square. From there we have great views of the old part of Granada. This town has a lovely feel to it, with its narrow cobbled streets, the colourful houses and the laid back vibe.

A short rest back at the Hotel as tonight we are going to the nearby Masaya Volcano. At 4.30 we meet Chris, our local guide and begin to drive the 30 minutes to the entrance of the Masaya Volcano National Park. On the way the weather turns bad and we get a heavy downpour. If we get too much rain then there won't be anything to see. We vote to go on, in case the rains stops, as this is our only chance. We queue with other vehicles to wait for the park to open, once it gets dark. Our local guide Chris goes to the park office and is told 'yes' they will definitely open. We will be in the second group as they stagger the numbers. We brought a bottle of red with us and Chris manages to get some plastic cups, so we sit in comfort in the vehicle and enjoy the wine while we wait for about an hour or so before it's our turn. Chris is away from us while we wait and as we are about to enter he rejoins our vehicle. We drive the 6kms up to the top of the volcano and we can see the glow as we near the top. We walk over to the barrier and below is this enormous, deep crater and the most spectacular bright orange/red glow from the magma below. There are constant rumblings from the earth and there are clouds of sulphurous gasses coming from the volcano too. We just can't take our eyes off the bright glow that is below us. It truly is an amazing sight.

Back in the vehicle and we head back to our Hotel. Chris is babbling on about all sorts of weird stuff and this is when we realise he is plastered. We presume that when he left us in the vehicle at the entrance, he must have been off somewhere getting drunk! The local guides we have had in Nicaragua have certainly left us with some stories to tell. Its about 8.30 when we get back to Granada so we duck around the corner for a pizza for dinner.

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